Your new date’s romantic history isn’t something to be afraid of. Or is it? The niggling feeling that their previous partner is casting too long a shadow over their life is difficult to ignore. Rashly confronting them with your suspicions typically leads to outraged denial, which will do little to alleviate your worries. Instead, keep an eye out for the following tell-tale signs and talk each through before the situation becomes terminal.
1. Endless texting
It can be infuriating when your date spends their time engaged in a form of textathon. What really grates however is the discovery that these texts are to an ex. While it’s true that some exes do become friends, alarm bells should start ringing when the contents of the texts seem to be a matter of national security.
As tempting as it might be, resist the temptation to abduct your partner’s phone. A more mature reaction is to calmly raise the matter with them. Explain that the incessant messaging makes you feel uncomfortable. Try to find out why they feel the need to be in such close contact with their ex. Getting them to talk openly will give you the chance to gauge their true feelings.
2. Conversational appearances
Your date’s previous partner will have formed an important part of their life, so it’s natural that they receive a mention now and then. The time to worry is when the ex makes excruciatingly regular conversational appearances.
Regardless of the context, too much ex-talk shows that he or she is constantly on your partner’s mind. More to the point, it shows that your date cares little for your feelings in the matter. When it comes to exes, blessed indifference is the ideal state.
3. Consulting old photos
Seeing photos of your date smiling amiably with their previous partner is never great for the old self esteem. What really irks though is when these photos are prominently on display – whether that’s around the home or on social media sites.
If the images of partners-past loom a little too menacingly, rationally talk to your date about it. It may be that they’ve simply forgot to remove old photos (not everyone is a Facebook fiend). If they’re adamant about keeping the photos where they are, it’s probably time to move on…
4. Emotional reactions
A particularly bad sign is when your date is upset by an ex hooking up with someone new. While it’s a little odd that they even know about this development, it’s odder still that it should affect them. Try to get to the bottom of their reaction and decide to what extent they are still emotionally involved with your predecessor.
5. That competitive feeling
Nobody likes being compared to other people. This is especially true when it’s your date comparing you to their ex. While positive comparisons can just about be acceptable, the moment they start criticising you is the time to run far, far away.