Let me tell you a secret: Men never fully recover from a breakup.
They simply move on.
How do I know?
According to new research from Binghamton University, there are two main differences between the way a breakup affects a man and the way it affects a woman.
First of all, men experience less emotional and physical pain following a breakup than women. Second of all, men are less likely to fully recover from a breakup than women.
It all comes down to biological factors. For a woman, the implications of a night of passion with a man could change her life forever (pregnancy, childbirth, being a mother).
But a man can simply choose to “leave the scene” without any further biological investment. Even so, this doesn’t mean men don’t suffer emotionally. They do.
On top of that, most of them experience a feeling of deep loss for a long while. During this time, they might decide to start chasing another woman or conclude that the woman they’ve lost is irreplaceable.
The guy you’re dating right now could be in a similar situation. He might still be hung up on his ex because he didn’t find anyone better or he thinks she’s irreplaceable.
Want to find out for sure? Here are….
15 Signs He’s Not Over His Ex
1. Not long has passed since their breakup
Is he still hung up on his ex? He could be, especially if the breakup is still fresh.
You see, there are men who simply can’t be alone after a breakup. They don’t want to think about what happened and process their heartbreak.
Instead, they prefer to think that another woman can take their pain away. That’s why they run into the arms of another without taking the needed time to heal.
If he told you that less than 3 months have passed since they split, you should worry!
While it’s true that some guys move on faster than others, according to this study, a minimum of 12 weeks is needed for a man to move on from a low-quality relationship.
2. He keeps photos and mementos of her
A while back, when I was dating a guy, I noticed something that baffled me: His phone wallpaper photo was a picture of his ex.
I knew that woman was his ex-girlfriend because I had seen photos of her and the two of them together on his social media.
At that time, I said nothing about it. I didn’t want to bring up a hurtful topic for him. But, when he invited me over to his place, I was left literally open-mouthed.
I was shocked to see that he had photos of her and mementos of her on display not only in the living room but also in the bedroom.
That’s when I knew he wasn’t over her.
3. He takes you to the same places he took her
Look, this guy misses his ex a lot if he takes you to the same places he took her. On top of that, he might be a bit obsessed with her if he proudly tells you that.
Unless he’s trying to create new memories with you there (as part of the healing process), take it as a really bad sign.
The same goes if he gives you many details about was his ex-partner used to order there or what she thought about the place.
He might compare your taste in food, drinks, and restaurants/pubs.
4. You are not the first girl he’s dating after the breakup
I’m sure you’ve heard about rebound relationships. You were probably involved in one at some point in your life when you needed someone to fill the hole someone else left in your heart.
If so, then you know that rebounds don’t last long and they don’t mean much, emotionally speaking. Are you his rebound?
Maybe he told you that he’s seen other girls before you and after the breakup. Or, maybe you’ve learned this information from other people or online.
That may have led you to believe that someone else was his rebound. But, if he’s talking about a string of women, you could be one of them.
5. He wears something that belongs to her
Want to hear a pretty weird story? A friend of mine dated a guy for a while and something seemed off about him.
She couldn’t pinpoint what exactly made her uneasy. However, as she discovered more and more things about him, she ultimately found out that he was still very much in love with his ex.
How? She noticed that he was wearing an unusually-looking bracelet all the time and asked him about it. Turns out, the bracelet belonged to his ex-girlfriend and he was safe-keeping it.
It was a simple object that she forgot to take back after the breakup, but for him, it was like a trophy.
So, if you see anything like it, run! His feelings for his ex run deep.
6. He’s still friends with her on social media
The guy you’re dating didn’t let go of his ex if he’s still friends with her on social media and follows her posts.
In this situation, there is only one exception to the rule: More than 18 months have passed since the breakup and they’re actually friends.
But wait, is that really possible?
It is possible for two people who were previously involved in a romantic relationship to stay friends if they’re mature enough and they want to work on making that happen.
However, if you feel that’s not his case, then take it as another reason to worry.
7. He’s trying to sculpt you into someone else
Another sign you’re dating a man who is not over his ex is when he tries to change you. Here are some examples:
- He suggests various outfits for you
- He tells you how to get your nails done
- He picks a hairstyle/hair color for you
- He tries to control your behavior
- He often compares you with his ex
Can you relate? If you can, then you might have to reconsider dating this guy. He’s trying to sculpt you into someone else – probably his ex-girlfriend. It shows he doesn’t like you, for you.
8. He is not fully invested in your relationship
How can you tell whether a man is invested in the relationship he has with you? Here’s how:
- He goes out of his way for you
- He keeps in touch throughout the day
- He wants you to be part of his inner circle
- He opens up to you and is vulnerable
- He wants to commit to you
But what if he’s more invested in his ex? Ways to tell are:
- He goes out of his way to help her
- He still stays in touch with her
- He spends time with her family and friends
- He refers to her as his best friend
- He can’t honestly say he’s over her
9. He stays in touch with her family and/or friends
Does he ever mention his ex’s friends and/or family? If he does, and he’s proud of still being friends with them, that’s not healthy.
You are right to doubt whether he’s moved on from his ex-partner or not. I am saying this because I’ve been there.
I was the friend someone wanted to meet because they weren’t over their ex and I had a lot of info about that person.
However, I never disclosed anything and that’s probably why they stopped contacting me.
What does this mean? He is using her friends/family to learn things about her and to get under her skin indirectly by keeping in contact with her close ones.
10. He still thinks of her as his best friend
Romantic relationships are very complex. As a woman, you’re not just your partner’s lover. You are also his best friend, his mother, and sometimes even his “maid”.
Maybe the relationship he had with this girl was just like that. Maybe she played numerous roles in his life and now he’s holding on to just one: her friendship.
As you may expect, this is unhealthy, too! Most often than not, it’s a way to still keep her close to him, hoping that someday, she will be his again.
That may or may not be wishful thinking, but for you, it means he’s not over her.
11. He compares her with you frequently and unexpectedly
The tendency to compare our current partners with our former partners is common and usually harmless.
However, it may become destructive if…
… he brings her up when you least expect it
… he makes you feel less attractive than her
… he makes you think you’re less smart than her
… he suggests she’s better than you at things
… he laughs at your clumsiness and says she’s nothing like you
Any type of comparison goes, not just the kind that makes you feel bad. For example, if you do things differently than her, he could say something like…
… OMG you’re fun to dance with. My ex didn’t like to dance.
… I am so glad I can party with you. My ex didn’t like parties.
… I can’t believe you agreed to give me head. My ex wouldn’t ever do something so nasty.
12. He talks about his ex-girlfriend a lot
Now, no matter what a man says about his ex-girlfriend, if he talks about her a lot, it means he’s stuck.
Maybe he’s obsessing over the things that went wrong with her. Or, he simply can’t get her out of his mind. Either way, it’s not a good sign for you.
He must cope with the loss and be at peace with the breakup. Otherwise, the trauma will follow him and cripple his future romantic relationships as well.
What could he say about her? He may get triggered by things you do together, such as:
- You go kayaking together and he mentions how much his ex-girlfriend liked it
- You cook dinner for him and he tells you about one time when his ex cooked for him
- You do something a certain way and you hear him tell you how similar you are to his ex
13. Confronting him about her makes him pull away
It’s one thing when he talks about her, but if you bring her up, he reacts strangely. All of a sudden, he is not interested in sharing details about his former relationship.
Has this happened to you? Whether it has or not, it’s a sign he can’t let her go. He reacts by shutting you off because he feels threatened.
Your questions can make him feel uncomfortable and as if you’re assaulting his independence. That’s why he might pull away and reveal his attachment style: avoidant.
14. He doesn’t think he’s ready for a new relationship
Is he giving you mixed signals? Is he unsure about what he wants? Does he know what he’s looking for?
Answer all these questions honestly. They will point you in the right direction.
If you conclude that he isn’t in the same place as you are and you two want different things, the reason could be that he’s still hung up on her.
And if that’s true, he might not be the one for you. Believe me, when you’ll meet the right guy for you, you’ll know. He won’t give you reasons to doubt him and he’ll be ready for you.
15. He never opens up about his ex-girlfriend
On the other side of things, you could be dealing with a man who is not over his ex-girlfriend, but who doesn’t talk about her either.
However, you shouldn’t have a hard time recognizing this sign if you go ahead and ask him about his ex.
If he doesn’t want to share anything about her, it means it’s still painful for him to talk about his past relationship. He isn’t at peace with how things ended with her and he can’t truly move on yet.
How long until a man gets over his ex?
Here’s what the scientific research in this field tells us:
- 3 months are enough for a man to get over the end of a low-quality relationship, according to a study done in 2007.
- 6 months are required on average for a guy to let go of his ex, according to a survey conducted in 2017.
- 18 months or more are needed for a man to recover from a long-term relationship or marriage, if at all.
What should you do if he’s not over his ex?
Finding out that the man you’re dating still has feelings for his ex-partner is not easy. It may have a negative impact on you, especially when he compares you to her.
Actually, the fact that he didn’t move on can have numerous bad consequences for your relationship. That’s why you should give this some thought.
The way I see it, you have two options:
- You can try to talk to him about it and find out what is truly keeping him from moving on and if there’s a chance for you to work on that together.
- Helping him move on is not your problem and you’re aware of that. Why bother fixing a broken heart, when you can find someone else and live a beautiful love story with him?
Ultimately, the decision is yours. Only you know if he’s worth the trouble and risk or not. Choose wisely!