Your date just recently went through a pretty devastating breakup, but swears he’s ready for another relationship. Is he really?
Here are six signs that he’s not over his ex:
1. He talks about her a lot (or doesn’t talk about her at all).
Pay attention to what he says — and doesn’t say. Sure, an ex might pop up in conversation in the early days of dating, but does he mention her a lot? Does he gush about her? Does he constantly badmouth her? Either way, if he won’t shut up about his ex-girlfriend, she’s still very much on his mind and he’s probably not ready for someone new. On the other hand, if he never mentions his ex, the silence could also be telling. Is he feeling guilty for thinking about her? If someone is really over a former partner, he or she should be able to talk about that relationship without repeatedly dwelling on it or being in total denial about it.
2. She’s still in his life.
Yes, you’d expect your date’s ex to still be in his life if they share custody of a child (or dog), but outside of those more complicated commitments, if she’s still his best female friend — or he’s still her handyman/landscaper/emergency wedding date — raise that red flag. If they’re constantly texting each other, her stuff is still at his place, or he’s still tight with her mom, he’s probably not ready to move on yet.
3. He shows signs of jealousy or competitiveness.
If, when his ex comes up in conversation, your date appears to be unhappy that she’s dating someone new, be careful. He might be dating you just because she’s dating someone else, too. Other red flags: keeping tabs on her social media accounts, asking about her, and using competitive language when talking about her. If he’s trying “to win the breakup,” let him do so without you. He’s not in the right headspace for another relationship yet.
4. You suspect you’re a rebound.
Sometimes you meet a great person at the wrong time. If your date’s breakup occurred less than a month ago, you might want to step back and give him more time before you agree to pursue a relationship with him. Breakups are rarely clean breaks — at least not emotionally — and you don’t want to feel like the third wheel as he figures out life without his ex. Let him fully mourn (and let go of) that relationship before entering a new one. Don’t be a rebound relationship.
5. You’re her competition. Or she’s yours.
If his compliments are all comparisons to his ex — you’re prettier, smarter or funnier than she was — she’s still the number-one woman on his mind.
And if he compares you to her as a form of negative motivation — her pancakes were better than yours, and her nails were always perfectly manicured — run. Don’t try to live up to a previous flame. Whether he’s conscious of it or not, it’s manipulative to pit women against each other, even when one of them is, in theory, no longer part of his life.
6. You just know.
Trust your gut. If you don’t think he’s ready to date again, don’t date him. Wait for someone emotionally available and who can give you his full attention.