Nothing is worse than meeting a cool new guy, but getting the sinking feeling that he might not be over his ex. And sadly, your gut instinct might be correct because lots of newly single people jump back into the dating scene before they are really ready, trying to fill a gaping hole in the heart.
If you want to be more than his re-bound girl, it pays to notice if he’s really ready for another chance at love. The number one factor that produces readiness? Emotional availability. His heart, mind, and body need to be free to be given to you, which means he’s no longer offering those parts of himself to her.
So how do you tell if he’s emotionally available? Check out these top 5 signs that he’s still hooked on his ex.
1. The Break Up has Been Official for Less Than a Month
Love isn’t a switch that you turn off and on. If he was in love with her, it will take time to release the mental, emotional, and physical bonds of love. Right after a break up, there is typically a period of push-pull time, where the previous partners resist the urge to be pulled back together, if for nothing else than habit- it’s what they are used to.
If you enter his life during this time, you end up in the middle of a love triangle in his head and it won’t feel good. So if your new beau is freshly single, go slow until he’s had plenty of time to let go.
2. His Mood is Unstable
As you well know, most break ups suck. Even if you’re convinced you don’t belong together, you’re still in for an emotional roller coaster that involves swinging between a new sense of hopeful freedom and the sadness of loss.
So beware if he seems hot then cold. Ditto if he goes from clingy to distant. All are signs that he’s got more healing to do and isn’t yet ready for real romance.
Related: Turning a Hookup Into a Relationship
3. He Frequently Mentions His Ex
Is his head filled with thoughts of only you? It should be.
But if his ex comes up in conversation a lot or he uses “we” when referring to her- it’s a sign she’s still taking up important real estate in his mind. A big red flag? He leans on you for support about his relationship with his ex! Nothing is a more sure sign that someone is not ready to date than these signals that she’s still not far from his mind.
4. Lots of Contact
Hey, it’s ok to stay friendly with your ex if that works for both of you. But beware if he still sees or talks to her frequently. More than occasional contact with an ex is a clear sign that part of him is still wrapped up in their connection. After a breakup, as you remodel your sense of identify from duo to solo and build new support systems, the ex’s importance should gradually recede into the background. If she’s still in the foreground- there’s no room for you!
Related: Guys' Top 5 (BS) Breakup Excuses
5. He Hasn’t Learned His Lessons
Does he still seem bitter about his ex? Blaming her for everything, without seeing his own role in the difficulties? If so, he hasn’t gotten enough emotional distance to have learned his lessons from this relationship- which means he’s apt to make the same mistakes with you! When a guy can calmly share why his last partnership fizzled and explain what he would do differently in the future, he’s ready to give it another try with a greater chance of success.
With these signs in mind, you can determine if a newly single guy is really ready for love. When in doubt, go slowly and give your budding bond a chance to blossom over time.