If they are still hung up on their ex
Has it ever happened to you: you meet someone new, date them for a while, build expectations in the process, sleep with them and get attached only to discover later that they are still hung up on their ex?
Perhaps they have even mentioned about their ex a couple of times and how it all ended… Except that you know now that it didn’t.
Now you have this dilemma of being with someone who is emotionally tied up with someone else.
What you need to know here is that as long as they keep being attached to their ex you will never have a ‘normal’ relationship with them. You may think that over time they may forget and move on, but unfortunately, it is more complicated than that. Unless you were in the exact situation, you will never know what it really feels like to be the ‘second best’. Yes, this is what you are and will be to them - the ‘second best’.
If you keep continuing with the relationship then, whether you realize it or not, things will never feel ‘right’ and you won’t be feeling what you are supposed to be feeling when in a ‘normal’ relationship. I can actually give you almost a 100% guarantee that you will experience all of that's described below. The bottom line here is this: love and put yourself first, because if you don’t you will end up loving them more which means their emotions and needs will have a higher priority.
These are the traps you will fall into when dating someone who is still hung up on their ex.
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You may feel sorry for them and try to be supportive. We all know what it is like to go through a breakup. It hurts and it is a painful experience. It is only natural to feel sympathetic towards such individuals and do everything in our power to alleviate their pain. Right?
Well, not so fast. The problem is that you have no idea what it is on their mind, and whether they use you to cope with the pain and loneliness, or are truly dating you for YOU. They are surely in pain and it feels good to have YOUR caring ear and YOUR understanding soul to confide with. You DO want to be supportive… except that your own feelings and needs never get addressed - by being with them, deep down, you are hurting too. Unless you put yourself first you will be in pain as long as… they are in pain.
The right thing to do here is to recognize that perhaps they overestimated their ability to be in a relationship and you cannot fix their breakup pain for them. They need to deal with the loss (on their own) and you need to let this ‘non-relationship’ go.
You may feel jealous and a constant paranoia of them ‘getting back together’. This is so common! What is also common that exes DO get back together. They may break up again, but do you want to be in the middle of all this?? Knowing that there is a woman #2 lurking in the shades of their past is tough enough, but dealing with the possibility of losing them to her is unbearable.
They may change their mind or become tortured by guilt. They may get pulled in different directions if there are kids involved or their ex calls with rightful demands. They may not belong to themselves and have no to little control of their own free time.
If there are kids involved then her calls will have higher priority over yours. Her problems, problems with the kids, her and their emotional well-being and anything related to their past relationship WILL have a higher priority over YOU.
Here are the examples that took place in real life:
~ You have something scheduled already but then she calls with some VERY LAME excuse to help her with something. He cancels it with you and runs to her side ‘to help’
~ She had a panic attack at work and he was called ‘to assist’. He drops everything and runs to help her ‘feel comfortable’
~ You enjoy time together, but when she calls he picks up the phone, excuses himself, and retreats to talk. You sit and wait-wait-and wait, wondering whether you should continue waiting or leave.
~ If he is still hung up on his ex then you will find out her name pretty quickly. Let’s say her name is Linda. Every time when he is with you he will keep blabbing about ‘Linda is this’ and ‘Linda is that’, ‘Linda, Linda, Linda….’ Pretty soon this ‘Linda’ thing will start coming out of your nose, mouth, and ears. You will get sick of this name, the sound of it and, perhaps, of him too.
~ He cannot schedule anything with you until he calls her first. This is especially true when they have kids together. He wants to be available to her, he moves his schedule around her to accommodate HER schedule. Interesting how he never tries to do it with you…
As long as they are not over their past relationship they won’t be able to prioritize on a healthy, balanced level. Their ex with kids will always come first and you will always be second.
You soon discover that you have been molded into her role. If she was a good cook and a cleaner then you may find yourself cooking and cleaning a lot. If she was good with his kids then you may find yourself picking them up from school and /or playing on the playground each weekend. You will soon feel like even though you have been dating for only 2 months your relationship seems so much older… as if you have been dating for 3 years or have been married for over a decade…
Even though they are with you now they are still – mentally and emotionally – with their previous partner. Therefore they can neither see nor appreciate your individuality, which in return, results in them not seeing YOU and perceiving the relationship (with you) as something NEW AND DIFFERENT.
They hate the fact that they failed and they are afraid to make a mistake again. It leaves you in a position where no matter how hard you try you may never be good enough. They may compare you to their ex, they may judge you too harshly, they may go as far as eventually saying you are not what they are looking for.
You may never know what EXACTLY they are looking for because to tell you the truth – they do not know it either. Their blaming you is nothing but a protective shield to stay away from a possibility of making yet another mistake again.
The opposite of this is an uncontrollable urge to become a couple. If you happen to be there you will immediately fill the slot. They do not want to look like a failure and worry what others ‘say’ and so they get themselves tied up with someone rather quickly. They want for the things to ‘look’ and be ‘normal’ again.
As you can see, at the end of the day it is not about YOU, it is all about THEM, their inner unprocessed conflicts, unresolved turmoils, and emotional agenda. Yet another reason FOR YOU to hit the road and to never look back.
They are unable to focus on you and your relationship. Since they are still not over their ex it means they are still thinking of her, dwelling on the breakup, playing different scenarios in their head, and having imaginary (or real) conversations with her .
It means that their thinking of their ex makes them emotionally unavailable to you plus it makes them emotionally unfaithful. In other words, you end up dating someone who thinks and dwells on someone else. How is it fair to YOU??
You will never know if they date you for YOU. As I have mentioned above, they simply could use you to dull the pain, to forget her, to make her jealous, to punish her, to make her feel guilty for breaking up, to make her regret her decision.
They could also be with you because they do not want to be alone, they need sex, they are out of control, they want stability, they are afraid to be alone and if they are much older, they may assume you are their last chance.
They feel wounded, needy, and scared. They need an ego massage and self-confidence boost. They need all of it and they need YOU to feel better. That is not to say they do not like you, it is about their current state of mind that is so shaky, fluid, and unreliable that makes it impossible to know whether they are with you for YOU or for all the reasons mentioned above.
At the end of the day, no matter what you do or how hard you try you will never feel loved or like The One. You will end up like a squirrel in a spinning wheel working hard on 1) proving your value 2) making them to forget their ex and 3) making your relationship work.
They will sure enjoy your attention, love, and devotion, they will sure feel like they have an option… to stay or go, to love you more or less, or to forget you entirely. They are unstable, unreliable, vulnerable, and super emotional. And do you know what ‘emotional’ means here? Them being emotional means UNPREDICTABLE.
Do not get yourself involved with someone who is not over their ex. NOTHING GOOD will come out of it, nothing good.
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: Articles - Rebound relationships: don't let them use you as a spare airport to land, and Be The One for YOU! or if you feel like you got attached and you need help to break it off you may find my empowering eBook very helpful When you are DESPERATE FOR HIS LOVE - how to leave your bad relationship without feeling like you are going against yourself.