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Signs Your Past Relationship is Holding You Back

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Are you in a new relationship but find yourself obsessing over your ex? Use these 10 signs to find out if your past relationship is affecting your present. By Morgan Miller

signs past relationship

It’s been said more than once that one of the easiest ways to get over a past relationship is by jumping into a new one.

It’s easy, fast and a safe way to avoid heartbreak almost completely.

After all, old love lost can always be replaced by new love gained.

But what do you do when you find new love, but still find yourself obsessing over your old love?

It could happen to any of us.

You may date someone new, but inside, you may secretly dream of getting back with you ex.

Ever been there?

[Read: 15 secret signs you’re in a rebound relationship and don’t know it]

Moving on from a past relationship

Rebound relationships are perfect cures for heartbreak.

But to actually get over a relationship, you need to learn to accept the end.

Unless you learn to convince yourself that you need to move on, your thoughts about your ex will always linger on no matter how many new people you date or have sex with. [Read: 7 secret signs of a bad relationship]

Past relationships can affect your life forever

You may date someone new, but you’ll never be able to truly love them unless you let go of the illusion of love you’ve created around your ex. Your happy moments will never feel happy, and the minor arguments you have with your present lover will only make you want to get back with your ex even more, even though there’s no chance of that ever happening.

Remember, your ex and you broke up for a reason. There’s nothing you can do about it but move on. Fantasizing about it will only make you feel miserable and leave you unhappy, even if you’re in a relationship that’s far better than the one you’ve shared with your ex.

Signs your past relationship is holding you back

It’s alright to think fondly of your ex now and then. After all, you did share a lot of great moments with them. But unless you close the past chapter and start your present romance with a clean slate, you’ll never be able to move on. And the love that you experience with anyone else will never truly be love, because you’re still holding on to the love you have for someone else, someone who will never love you back again. [Read: The right way to talk about past relationships with your lover]

Are you still in love with your ex? Use these 10 signs to find out of your ex is ruining your present romance and any chances of a happier life.

#1 Comparisons. In your mind, do you constantly find yourself comparing every little detail of your new relationship with your past relationship? You have to understand that no relationship is ever the same. Instead of comparing how one relationship is better than the other, just learn to enjoy the present romance. After all, pros and cons never work in love, instincts and feelings do.

#2 Bumping into your ex. Do you imagine circumstances where you bump into your ex? Do you visualize how amazing it would feel or the way you’d tightly wrap your arms around your ex? If you dream of the happy conversations you’d have with each other or how the lingering touches would feel, you’re definitely still in love with you ex even if you feel otherwise.

#3 You talk about your ex. How often do you talk about you ex with your lover, your friends or even with yourself? Talking about exes is a way of keeping in touch with the memories. If someone else talks about your ex, that’s acceptable. But if you secretly look for ways to twist the conversation towards your ex, you definitely haven’t moved on yet. [Read: 13 signs your boyfriend’s not over his ex yet]

And just so you know, even bitching about your ex to your new lover is still your way of keeping in touch with your ex’s memory by comparing your relationships.

#4 You dream of your ex. Well, I’m not talking about literally dreaming of your ex here. Do you spend a lot of time now and then daydreaming about situations where you and your ex bump into each other and spend time together, at work or on a holiday or some other place?

If you fantasize about scenarios where you and your ex have to spend time together, or recreate a fantasy where both of you fall back into love, you definitely need to work on your moving-on skills.

#5 Dating with a vendetta. Are you dating someone new only to prove a point to your ex that you can find someone just as sexy and awesome as your ex *or even better*? It may be a good way to piss your ex off, but once the high of rubbing it on you ex’s face wears off, you’ll realize that you still have a soft spot for your ex. [Read: How to stop feeling jealous of your ex]

#6 Online research. Do you google your ex now and then? Digging the dirt on your ex once a year is completely fine, and once a month is safe but on the edge. But if you’re googling your ex at least once every week, you need to keep yourself distracted because you still seem to be obsessed with your ex.

And if you do find yourself looking at your ex’s facebook wall, twitter feed or blog every night, you need serious help. You are still deeply addicted to your ex and no matter how many people you date, your ex will always have your heart until you’re ready to move on. [Read: Things you should know before googling an ex]

#7 News of your ex. Are you excited by hearing any news about your ex, be it their new job or the new person they’re dating? Perhaps, you’re ready to move on but you’re still obsessed with your ex. Carry this on for a few months and you may just end up becoming a stalker!

#8 You want to have an affair. If you’ve considered having an affair with your ex or if you’re trying to convince your ex to have an affair with you, you know you haven’t moved on yet. Even thinking it is a sure sign that you’d be willing to give up your present relationship if your ex would give you a second chance. Do you really think you can ever be happy in a new relationship when all you want to do is look for ways to have sex with your ex? [Read: Ex sex – Getting back with an ex for sex]

#9 You fantasize about your ex. Do you secretly fantasize about your ex while having sex with your present lover? It may feel really good visualizing your ex naked in bed with you, but with thoughts like that, you’re only driving your mind further away from your current romance.

#10 You don’t want to move on. This is the scenario most lovers fall into. Even though the relationship is over, many of us never want to move on. We may date someone else, but deep inside, we still keep our ex close to our heart hoping that they may return one day, even if it takes years.

If you’ve never really tried to get over you ex, and secretly use your partner only to fill the void on your heart, you’ll never ever be able to move on, and you’ll never experience a relationship that can truly be fulfilling and blissful. [Read: How to let go of the one you love by hating them]

Learn to move on

You may still have a secret crush on your ex, or you may dream of getting back with them someday. But you know what, that may never happen.

The odds of dating an ex and having a successful relationship with them are very slim. The same problems will crop up all over again, and the same misery will follow. If you find yourself obsessing over your ex, learn to move on. You really have no other choice here. [Read: Questions to ask yourself before you consider dating an ex again]

Live in the present, and focus on improving the relationship you have with your present partner. By holding on to your past, you’ll be stuck in a miserable memory that will neither give you happiness or love, because everything you do and the world you create in your mind will only be a figment of your imagination. [Read: Signs your ex is thinking about you too]

It may take a while, but by letting go of your ex’s thoughts and avoiding ways to know more about your ex, you can move on and get over them completely. And only then can you truly experience the happiness of your current romance.

[Read: Circumstances when you can and can’t be friends with an ex]

Use these signs to find out if your past relationship is still holding you back from having a perfectly happy new romance. And if you find yourself indulging in any of these signs, you need to understand that it’s time to let go and move on, to a better romance.


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Have your say!
  • Brian
    June 11, 2012 | Permalink |

    This is so true, it’s actually painful to read. I’m in a relationship for almost a year now. But I was in a long term relationship with a girl I was dating for almost five years until she cheated on me and started dating the guy. I was devastated and my world spun out of control for a long time.

    Eventually, I started dating the girl I’m with now, and she’s absolutely wonderful. She’s so loving and caring, it’s like I’ve found the one.

    But no matter what I do, I can’t stop comparing her to my ex in my mind. My ex was extremely sexual and would always indulge in crazy sexual activities. Compared to her, my present girlfriend is rather tame because she’s been raised by a traditional catholic family. Even though my present girlfriend is perfect in all ways, I can’t help myself from digging the dirt and finding flaws with her by constantly comparing everything she does to my ex.

    I’m annoyed half the time, and the other half, I’m confused because I love my girlfriend so much, but deep inside I still want to get back with my ex.

    Thanks to LP, you guys have helped me understand just how stupid I’ve been and what I’m leading myself to. I have a perfect relationship now, and instead of being happy in it, I’m clinging to the past where there’s nothing but pain and misery. I just have to learn to cherish my past, overcome my ex and truly convince myself that I’m ready to move on. I could never have realized these subtle flaws of mine without your help.

  • Jess
    June 12, 2012 | Permalink |

    Past relationships always have a funny way of creeping into our minds and our present relationships.

    This is an insightful article on just how an innocent thing like a memory of an ex can creep into a present romance and ruin it without anyone’s notice. Just as long as we remember to separate the past from the present, the relationship would be just fine. But if we can’t let go of the past, and try to find pieces of that old romance in the present romance, it’s as good as playing with broken shards of glass. You’re bound to get yourself cut and hurt.

  • June 25, 2012 | Permalink |

    Love is actually a mental disease. once it affects you, there is no remedy, but i think it is always good to get over your past, after all, an exit is an entry somewhere. You will surely get your heart desire.

  • Kirsty
    January 10, 2013 | Permalink |

    I’ve been dating someone who broke up with his wife over two years, she was the one who ended it, and they have two children from the marriage and they are yet to finalise the divorce which is taking an age, approx 18 months now. I’ve been very patient with this as my Boyfriend fears his ex will make like difficult if she found out that he is with someone else especially with the kids, they do not know I exist.

    It seems as though he is more interested in what his ex is up to and keeps regular communication with her, he sees the children every Wednesday evening and every other weekend during this time I rarely hear anything from him and feel isolated like I do not exist. Recently it seems that he makes arrangements without any consultation with me when plans change when having the children which means my time with his gets bumped which is upsetting.

    When he isn’t with the children we see each other a lot, we practically live together with a few days at my flat and days at his.

    Recently I have caught him emailing women from websites, these women are either married or living with someone, it’s a website where people can have illicit rendezvous with no strings attached. I confronted him with this and his reasons where he was depressed and could not see a light at the end of the tunnel which made me feel that I was not worth much to him and that I was not full-filling his needs. He said he was sorry and that he would seek counselling which he never did.

    I feel I haven’t gotten over this as I constantly question if he is faithful
    And that he was more sorry he got caught.

    I’m not sure if he is more scared about being single and being on his own therefore stringing me along than actually having feelings for me and being with me because he wants me??

  • lara
    March 28, 2013 | Permalink |

    Kirsty, dump him. he just loves his wife and is acting out on her.you can get a divorce finalized in weeks if not days. if he truely loves you and wants you he will make the change, honor you, respect you and make you the priority. focus on making yourself happy.

  • Lea
    January 15, 2014 | Permalink |

    I’m in a relationship now with a man who I’ve known for more then 20 yrs. We started dating about 8 months ago. He is a great guy and cares a lot about others.
    For the last few months he’s been in a depression because of a few things. And he is always thinking of things negatively. And I’m tryin to help him out with the thing that causing his depression cause I know why he is. Cause I told him I will always help him any way I can with it to make it easier on him. But there are times when no matter what I do or how hard I try he says I not helping.
    There are times he compares me to how is ex’s were and I am far from it. I would never do to him what his ex’s do cause I know how it feels to be treated to way cause I’ve been through it be for to. And I use to compare my past relationships to the new ones. But I stop doing that when I realized not all men are the same nor are relationships. So if something does bother me I’ll tell him or go to an outside party to talk about it to get someone elses opinion be for jumping into conclusions. Cause there are times I say things be for thinking first.
    This site have help me that not everything is perfect and we all have decisions to make. And communication is most of the time the key to a happier life

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