Help! My Boyfriend Is Obsessed With His Ex

Tips for deciphering whether or not your partner is really ready to be in a relationship.

Dear Monica, I am dating a man who does nothing but focus on his ex-wife. Whether we are with his children, by ourselves, or with other couples, all he does is talk about her, their past and whom she is dating.  Is it normal that he is so all consumed about her? —B.K., Radnor

Let me tell you bluntly: All this ex-related chatter is an indication that your guy is not focused on you, your relationship or your future. The only thing on his mind is the ex. Clearly he is not over her and probably was burnt to a crisp. There are situations where talking about the ex is reasonable. Obsessing about her every move is not. Check out these tips for talking about an ex to a new partner.

  • He’s just had an awful day in divorce court with her where he has been monetarily raked over the coals once again. Commiserating with your new partner about this and needing a shoulder to cry on is perfectly fine. It is also a test of how true-blue and understanding you are of his situation. In this case listen but don’t insult the ex. Just be there for him.
  • You are out to dinner with friends and he is probing the other couple, wanting to know who his ex is dating. Totally inappropriate. Who she is with should be none of his concern. His only focus should be you and your relationship. He is making a fool out of himself in front of the other couple and making it blatantly obvious to one and all that you are second fiddle.
  • Asking your opinion about how to handle issues with the kids when it comes to his ex is flattering to you. Clearly he values your opinion and is comfortable opening up to you.
  • Bashing his ex 24/7 is totally uncool. Remember love and hate are equal emotions. You’ll know he is truly over his ex when he is completely disinterested in her. Tirades about her behavior and her escapades are a signal of where his mind is—leaving little time for his mind to be on you.
  • Introducing you to his ex at a function involving the families is a huge plus. This means he is open about your relationship and taking it seriously. Regardless of what you think of her, always keep a smile on your face. Taking the high road is the only way to go.
  • Talking ill in front of the kids about their mother shows a lack of judgment and an inability to break away from his feelings.  The kids should always be kept neutral. If he is spinning them into his web, he totally wants their mother back
  • As your relationship deepens, asking you to be a liaison between him and his ex shows how serious he is about keeping you in his life. Many exes cannot communicate well. It is wonderful to have somebody in the triangle now who can be a positive and calming influence.
  • Introducing you to friends who knew them as a couple is a good thing. If he is on the attack about his ex in the company of those who know her, it is a tacky move and cruel to you. It also puts the mutual friends in a bad situation, as they inevitably feel pressured to pick sides. When he is with you, he should be focused on you and only you.

If you are not ready to date, you should not be dating. When you enter into a relationship, each party ought to be treating the other with dignity and respect. If your partner is only concerned with his ex, her whereabouts, and whom she is sleeping with, he should be calling a marriage counselor and trying to get back together with her. Clearly your guy is not in love with you, as his heart is elsewhere. Move on before he causes you any more embarrassment and wastes more of your time. Find someone who is actually single and free of his past.