If you've ever tried to get over a breakup by quickly moving on to a new boo right away, you've probably learned the hard way that this tactic rarely works. Rather than skipping over the whole mourning process, you actually just pushed it down a little deeper, where it doesn’t go away so much as stick around, unresolved. Plus, now you've brought another person into the mix. It's a bummer, but knowing the signs you jumped into a relationship too quickly might be able to help you avoid making the same mistake twice.
If all this is sounding uncomfortably familiar, well, let’s just say I definitely get it, because I've been there myself. After breaking up with my first love, I immediately jumped into a new relationship. I went through all the motions of being with them, but my heart was just never really in it. As you can guess, it fizzled quickly and painfully for everyone involved. In the end, I was dealing with the pain and guilt of two breakups. So while at first it may seem like you've outsmarted a whole breakup system, slowly but surely, those unresolved feelings will start to creep in and express themselves — often without you even realizing it’s happening. If you suspect you're in that situation, but aren't totally sure yet, experts say there are clear signs to look out for that will confirm you've moved on too quickly. Here's how they say you'll know if you're still not over your ex — and what to do about it.
Every relationship, failed or otherwise, comes with a few mistakes that, if you haven’t learned from them or resolved the underlying issues, you are likely to repeat. Dating coach Erika Ettin says this is especially true if you've moved on too quickly and haven’t “worked through the problems in your last relationship, and you see them repeating themselves” with your new partner. So, if every fight you have in your new relationship feels like a serious case of déjà vu, consider that a sign you're still dealing with some lingering issues with your ex.
How often do you still talk about your ex? Does it seem like they just happen to come up a lot in conversation? Well, there's a reason they are so present in your mind: You're not over them. And if that even happens when you're talking to your new partner, then Leckie says that's another sign that “you are not over your ex and they are still occupying a large part of your mind."
This last sign is a big one, and probably the most confusing of the bunch. Leckie says to pay close attention to how you feel when you're alone, and especially when you're alone after hanging out with your new partner. Do you feel content and relaxed, or do you find yourself getting sad, feeling lonely, and thinking about your ex?
“If after hanging out with the person who you are in a new relationship with, you come home and become very emotional about your ex — this shows you miss them and are likely not that into the new person you are dating," Leckie says. She also warns that you may even be “using them as somewhat of a band-aid or a distraction,” which probably isn't a great idea. If you're experiencing this, it's time to take action. But what should you do?
Staying in a relationship with someone you're not that into to avoid having to deal with the unresolved feelings you have about someone else is not really fair to them or, honesty, to yourself. In that case, it's time to get serious about what needs to happens next. The first step, Ettin says, is to be honest with yourself. She suggests you ask yourself, "Am I in this relationship because I'm afraid to be alone and skip that process, or because I really want to be?”
Once you know where your heart and head are really at, Leckie says to put yourself in your current partner’s shoes. “Would you want to date someone who couldn’t stop thinking about their ex? Not likely,” she says. From there, it’s time to have a tough but important conversation, says Leckie — one that's an “open and honest in-person discussion with them, and apologize for jumping into the relationship too quickly. Explain how in doing so, you have realized that you moved too quickly and still need time to heal. If you approach it in a kind and compassionate way, they will be more understanding, although you can expect them to be upset, as they may be taken off guard.”
Dealing with this kind of situation is never easy or fun, but if there is any real lesson to be learned through it, it’s that avoiding your feelings doesn’t work — it just compounds the problem. While it may feel really difficult in the moment, remember this is not the end — it's the first step to moving on. As Ettin says, "Being alone can be a beautiful thing if you're learning, growing, and finding your own happiness.”
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