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Signs Your Partner Went Back to their Ex

Updated on March 17, 2022
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Andrea has been an online writer for 8+ years. She mostly writes about dating, couples, weddings, travel, interior design, and gardening.

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The Ex Never Left the Picture

For those who are coupled up, it’s a worst-case scenario: your significant other decided to go back to their ex. Maybe they had unresolved feelings or they never truly broke up, but the gist is — they are back together and you are now the one with the broken heart.

Sometimes people have a harmless crush or nostalgia for their ex, but they know deep down that their ex is in the past for a reason.

If you want to know if your partner still has feelings for their ex, consider the following signs.

Signs Your Partner Has Gone back to their Ex

1. You feel like time is being split up. You feel your connection with your partner isn’t focused. You know they spend too much time with their ex, and it doesn’t feel plutonic. You should listen to your intuition; your gut is smart.

2. Stalk their social media. Try not to get addicted to doing this, and don’t jump to conclusions with the first thing(s) you see. Just keep tabs and see how things are going — does his ex follow him a little too much with comments and pictures? Are their comments to each other suggestive?

3. He mentions her name with too much of a halo around it. He frequently tells you a different story for why they broke up. He still seems to be processing it, leaving little room for him to process the new relationship with you.

4. Your new girlfriend is jealous of every interaction you have with the opposite sex because deep down she doesn’t trust people because she’s not trustable. Extremely jealous people are jealous more often than not because of their own deeds.

5. When you work odd hours or on weekends, they hang out with their ex. It’s strange if when you’re gone and can’t fulfill your partner’s social needs that they’d turn to their ex.

6. They accidentally call you by their ex’s name. It can happen innocently, but don’t give your partner a free pass. Give them a stern look, so they know not to do that again.

7. They have to leave the room to make frequent phone calls, and you discover the calls are to their ex. If they’re sneaking around to make phone calls to this person that is distinctly suspicious.

8. The time that they stopped dating her and started dating you was too short, and they didn’t have a chance to grieve the breakup. You have to grieve broken relationships, otherwise, you’ll be dating someone and grieving simultaneously, making for an inevitable mess.

9. They buy their ex more expensive gifts than they do for you. They still have vacation plans with them to travel the world. Who does that? Why are they buying her jewelry and not you? Why is she buying him symphony tickets and not you?

10. Inconsistent off-and-on communication. You would describe your relationship as “hot and cold” or “hit and miss”. Consistency is king in relationships, so if it’s not there… something is wrong.

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11. He out loud compares the two of you, as if you are cars and have competing features with different novelties. You should never feel like you’re a product. Your partner is being insensitive, and you shouldn’t put up with that.

12. You find odd things at their place, things that let you know someone else was there romantically. Like a hair clip or a shirt you have never worn. Worse: lipstick on clothes. Or a new toothbrush that clearly isn’t your boyfriend’s or girlfriend’s. Would your boyfriend have a pink toothbrush? (Maybe he likes pink… but for the most part, it probably belongs to a woman.)

13. They don’t like going to your place, but if they do, they seem awkward or uncomfortable there. You guys should have the same connection at both of your places, with hardly any variation if at all. Anytime you’re dating someone, and they don’t want to come over to your place, that is a red flag.

14. The age difference between you and your boyfriend is more significant than the one he has with his ex. If you are 41 and he’s 24 and his ex is 22… there is a chance he’ll go back to the 22-year-old. We tend to have more in common with people who are closer to our age.

15. You never go out into town together. Your partner might be afraid that you’ll run into the other person their secretly seeing, which could be their ex.

16. His favorite date is hanging out at his place watching TV with minimal discussion about feelings. And touching your body. Do you feel like you’re in a relationship or a booty call?

17. Your partner gets overly concerned that you are seeing someone else when you very clearly are not. People who cheat assume their partner is cheating too.

18. No talks of what the future might look like. You don’t talk about the future because there isn’t one, or he is using that energy on someone else.

19. Doesn’t use a clear definition for the term “friend.” A friend could be anything from a dog, his ex, a co-worker, you, his mom, the television. They have a hard time knowing what are the boundaries of a friendship vs. something more passionate.

20. She sometimes disappears over the weekend and you have to pry her to get details about where she went, with whom, and why. She likely doesn’t want you to know where she went and why if she is being aloof with the details and causing you to have to ask lots of direct questions.

21. They broke up on ambiguous, amicable terms. It was a weird breakup, and it was sudden — they might want each other back.

22. Your boyfriend obviously has unresolved emotional issues from the past that they are dealing with that go beyond normal baggage. Instead of clearing space in their head and grieving the breakup, they spend time with you to distract themselves. They’re using you as a tool.

23. Your partner has nostalgia for their past relationship, and it is unusually high. Why are they so nostalgic? Are they missing their girlfriend? Why?

24. They seem to be confused about who they are dating, who is their friend, and what it is they want. It all feels wishy-washy. Labels are unclear.

25. When you discuss the past, the way they talk about the timeline of their past relationship varies, and the reasons for what happened are inconsistent. If the story keeps changing that means they’re not telling you the truth, and they’re leaving out information.

26. Many of the same things he compliments you about… he also says about her. He copies and pastes compliments that he knows works. He plays by a formula.

27. You have never met his ex. This only counts if he is still in contact with his ex. He doesn’t seem to want you two in the same space sharing info. You guys are not friends for a reason.

28. He often slips up and makes a rude comment or two, because he isn’t emotionally invested in supporting you nor knows what he wants. He treats you like you’re replaceable, or he has someone lined up in his queue for when he breaks up with you.

29. She doesn’t get rid of items associated with her ex. She is holding onto these objects rather than giving them back, throwing them away, or donating them.

What makes you feel like your partner is seeing their ex?

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© 2016 Andrea Lawrence

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