I wondered often if he was really over his break-up.
He kept assuring me that he was.
Only to tell me a few months later that he “wasn’t ready”.
It was then that I realized that I was living in an illusion, painted by his false promises. I was led on by his empty words and I felt like an idiot for it.
It was confusing to find myself in an unfulfilling relationship with a seemingly great partner who just couldn’t progress things between us. While we cannot control someone else’s action and if they choose to ignore their own issues, we can certainly make sure we’re not on the receiving end of it.
Relationships should feel like it’s flowing in its natural and uninterrupted course.
When you’re with someone who has someone else in their heart, though, it won’t. And instead may turn out somewhat like this:
#1. They Rush In The Beginning
They rush because they want to feel like they’re over their ex.
They want to feel like they have moved on.
Unfortunately, this comes at your expense.
This can manifest as quickly rushing into labels, love bombing and just overall a feeling of too much too soon. While it’s good to casually date when someone is trying to move on, a relationship is certainly not — especially if they are not transparent about their feelings towards their ex.
Maybe you’re just chalking it up to being a passionate affair, but deep down you’ll know if that’s really the case. Even with good intentions, someone who’s not emotionally available will likely not be able to give you what you are seeking in the long run.
What it should feel like: It should feel like a natural pace, where both of you are moving things forward at a speed both of you are comfortable with.
#2. Then Things Get Stagnant
This is when, after a lot of rushing, they’ll find themselves in a place where they are not sure of their feelings towards you and their ex is still on their mind in one way or another. This will manifest as them slowly pulling away in some form and creating distance between you two.
Plans will be postponed, promises broken and words will begin to amount to nothing.
Needless to say, this can be an incredibly confusing, often painful period. Relationships are an opportunity for two people to expand — and if you’re in a stagnant relationship where you’re not getting any closer, you’ll sense it.
Keep in mind that there may be other reasons behind the sudden slow down — Maybe their commitment issues are coming to surface or maybe something happened to change their minds. In any case, you shouldn’t feel like you’re driving the relationship forward while the other person is resisting it.
What it should feel like: The flow of the relationship should feel easy. You shouldn’t feel stuck. It shouldn’t feel like your partner is intentionally trying to pull the brakes and slow things down.
#3. Exes Come Up In Conversations Often
At first, you might ignore it. But soon enough you’ll find yourself in more and more conversations about their ex and the past relationship.
In extreme cases, they might even hint at you being more like their ex, whether through how you dress or act. They might want to do things they did with their ex, in a naive attempt to overwrite past memories.
While many of us may be inclined to take up the healer role and be someone’s savior, it shouldn’t be to the extent that it starts to drain you.
Unless past relationships naturally come up in conversations, you shouldn’t really be talking about exes all that much anyway. You shouldn’t have to feel like your partner’s therapist and/or savior.
What it should feel like: Exes may come up casually in conversations now and then, but should never feel unnatural and obsessive.
#4. Part Of Them Feels Out Of Reach
You feel like they’re holding back in some way. You may even feel like they’re wearing a mask at times, but you just can’t be sure.
You can’t force someone to be more emotionally invested. They will only pretend, to make you believe that they are.
They might have issues with opening up due to past traumas, but if they’re actively avoiding opening up to you then they may have someone else on their mind. You shouldn’t have to work hard to earn your partner’s vulnerability.
Maybe they will still put in the effort now and then, but it will be forced out of a sense of duty rather than genuine drive. This kind of effort will drain them eventually, and dim the sparks in your relationship a little bit every time.
What it should feel like: It should be a natural process of two people letting their inner worlds merge and it certainly shouldn’t feel like work.
#5. Something Just Feels Off
When your partner is consumed by thoughts of someone else, it means they are not whole themselves and they are not in a place to fully love.
Meaning, they are just not emotionally available. And you deserve someone who is. You deserve someone who is not obsessed with someone else.
Often times, we make up excuses to avoid what our inner voice is telling us. I kept telling myself that maybe he needs some time. Sure, he did — but he needed some time alone, not with me. By himself. To figure himself out. If anything, my involvement in the process was delaying him working on himself and was evidently counter-productive.
Trust your intuition.
More than any other sign, the most important is perhaps if you deep down feel like they are not over their ex. The hard part is to recognize whether or not you are making up excuses to convince yourself otherwise.
What it should feel like: You should feel hopeful and that you’re looking forward to seeing how things unfold—Not fearful that your partner is not into you as much as you are into them.
Through observing these signs and really tuning into your intuition, you can learn to recognize when someone is simply not emotionally available for you. And if you’re already at this stage, the next step may be being brave enough to cut things off. And let’s be honest, not everyone is. It took me some time to cut off my ex, because I was still hopeful.
I was hopeful that he would eventually get over his ex and finally be able to see my worth. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. If they can’t see your value and appreciate you now, chances are they might not later either.
They might snap into their senses when they no longer have access to you. But until then, they will continue to idealize and fantasize about ‘the one that got away’, while you’ll just be the next best option in their mind.
And no one should have to feel this way. You’re worth far more.