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Signs They're Not Over Their Ex

I’m having a hard time making sense out of what happened with the last guy I dated. I met him on social media through mutual friends that we had, and coincidentally he was on a dating app that I had just joined and was new to and I noticed that I was friends with him from months prior. We messaged back-and-forth that day and he wanted to make plans as soon as I got back from my camping trip I was on. I knew he was serious and meant business when he made the plans, gave me a time, found a place that he thought I would like because I only eat seafood.

Fast forward to the date. He was on time, great looking guy, great personality, and we instantly clicked. He wanted to see me the following week, we made plans and that’s when everything gets interesting. The first red flag that I noticed was on his Snapchat. He had a posted picture of him, his sister, and his ex-girlfriend. I knew what he was doing that day he was very excited about having his sister come over with her children to his house to swim in the pool. He has a daughter four years old. I confront him on the picture and asked him if he was still involved with his ex ,which I knew is a recipe for disaster. He proceeds to tell me that he’s not involved with his ex. She has a son from a previous marriage. He said that was the first time since they broke up months prior that he invited her over. He thought it would be safe because the sister was there. He said it’s been hard for their kids to understand the break up and thought it would be OK so that the kids could get together. I also brought up the fact to him that on his Facebook he still has many pictures of his ex-girlfriend and him, which I told him looks like a sign that you’re not over her. A couple days later, he informs me that he took my advice cleaned up his social media and pretty much cut off contact with her. I think in hindsight that should’ve been an indicator he was not fully over his ex and needed time to process it.

We continue to go on several dates we just have so much in common. Things did move pretty fast, as far as having me meet his family and even his little girl, but I have been in those type of situations years prior where things were rushed and it was for love bombing and toxic behaviors etc. This just felt different. It was very easy to be with him, and even though it seemed too good to be true, I just really felt that I deserved it. The family loved me so much, I felt right at home there, like I should’ve always been there. I get invited the following weekend to his sister’s bridal shower.

Coming back from that weekend, I knew something was off. He wasn’t acting the same. I’ve been down this road before and I kind of had a feeling it was the X. He had been posting our weekends away and pictures apple picking with his daughter on social media, and although they weren’t friends anymore, I have a feeling she was checking things out or they had mutual friends that were informing her. I come home and go on Facebook to find he wiped out all of our pictures and I knew that my gut feeling was correct. I messaged him and asked him what’s going on. He told me, “I’ve had so much fun with you and so many laughs and I really like you, but my ex contacted me before we went away for my sister’s shower, and I was going to see how this weekend went, but I think I still have feelings for her and I can’t continue seeing you if I feel that way. I’m so sorry. I never meant to mislead you or lead you on in any type of way, please don’t hate me.

Can you just please help me to understand and process if he was really intending to do this the whole time, or if it seems like it could have been a genuine mistake where he just didn’t process his feelings for the X and jumped in too quick?

Here's what made me pump the brakes:

He said that was the first time since they broke up months prior that he invited her over. He thought it would be safe because the sister was there.

Question Number 1: Why is he inviting his ex over?

Question #2: Why did he feel he needed a chaperone in the form of his sister to make the situation "safe."

By safe, I think he means safe from temptation. Safe from them re-connecting. Safe from any possible conversation about their history. The fact he fast-tracked everything combined with how he introduced you to his family and child tells me this guy wasn't cheating on a girlfriend.

What really stood out to me is that he introduced you to his daughter fairly soon after meeting you. Everybody has their own time-line for that, of course. For me, that seems soon, but I digress.

Honestly? It sounds to me like everything he said was true. I think he was trying to move on from the Ex and wasn't ready to start anything up with someone new. I don't think he used you. I don't think he lied. I just think you were collateral damage in his ongoing attempt to get over his Ex. Were you a rebound? Yes, unfortunately. That doesn't mean he was intentionally being thoughtless, though. The upside to this is his inability to be alone is a red flag. It's quite likely you dodged a bullet. People who can't be alone aren't the most self-aware or introspective. In fact, they tend to avoid those two qualities because they aren't mature enough to face what they learn about themselves. That hinders growth.

Many people agree to give a relationship another try because they wish to avoid the emotions involved with grieving the loss of it. That's probably why this guy seemed to expedite the dating process. He wanted to regain that level of intimacy and familiarity he had with his ex. That, and not the ex themselves, is what I think people miss when they agree to get back together with someone. It's hard to be single. It leaves a lot of space in our heads to ruminate and analyze.

With that said, let's now discuss how closely you followed his social media. I don't need to tell you this practice will ultimately be destructive for your well-being and future relationships. What will help you is if you can pinpoint what triggers that compulsion to go down that particular rabbit hole. That choice rarely leads to anything but self-doubt and mistrust, which can create conflict.

Until you address that, you run the risk of alienating someone genuine.

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