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Boyfriend still has feelings for his ex

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Dear Guys,

I’ve been seeing my boyfriend for about two months. It seems like a short period of time. For me it was beautiful and enough time for me to fall in love with him. He broke up with his ex-partner of 2 years about a month before meeting me. We met in February and were together in March. We’ve been together ever since. Suddenly his ex found out he was with me and she demanded to see him. When I spoke to my guy he told me it was over between them and that was beyond repair. I trust him for this. But he also told me he still has feelings for her. And that he still wants to be with me too. He said he understood if I wanted to leave him because he still had feelings for her. I asked him why he got with me when he had feelings for her, and asked him if I was a rebound. He said that I was not a rebound. Then I asked him if he was with me just for sex. He said he enjoyed me for everything. Meaning not just sex, but also my company etc. I love him. I dont want to lose him. It hurts me that he still has feelings for her. When we got together, we played together, we laughed. We had small issues where he was jealous of the amount of men approaching me. We resolved this gently and we were going great. After his ex contacted him, we weren’t so playful anymore. He barely even kisses me. I’m ready to accept he still has feelings for her, and that he will get over her in due time -because he told me they were beyond repair. But the pain is still there. He is good to me, but I feel broken. I know he is too. I love him. I want to stay with him. I’ve had many boyfriends before him. and never did it hurt me to leave them when they betrayed me. But he is different. He is 20 years older. I love his eyes, his hair, his faults and his brilliance. I do not know what to do. I dont want us to end.

Leila

Dear Leila,

Thanks for writing to us.

It’s entirely possible that your new boyfriend has feelings for his ex and for you at the same time. Even if his previous relationship is beyond repair, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t care for her, or has forgotten all the good times they had together. Just like you might remember many of the fun times you had with your ex-boyfriends.

The issue here is time, or lack of time, between his break up and the beginning of your relationship. People often need more time than a month to heal from such a monumental loss or change. He was with his ex for two years, which means it could take him quite a long time to be truly open to a new person.

Are you ready to be patient Leila? Because if you’re not, you need to move on now. This could be a long process. And frankly, he still seems emotionally “open” to his ex, which does not bode well for any type of new relationship. It sounds like they’re still in the “extracting stage,” which can sometimes involve emotional outbursts, passionate pleas, and even hooking up a few times. We would recommend keeping a low profile during this time. There’s certainly no reason you couldn’t date him and enjoy his company, but we might hold off on any more serious physical activity(sex) until he’s a bit more removed from her.

But break ups and beginnings are never really “clean” anyway, so even if he’s finally broken off all communication with his ex, or at least nothing more than the occasional phone call, if for some reason they try to remain friends, which is unlikely, he’s still going to have a place in his heart for the memories of that relationship. But it’s still possible to begin a new connection with you even after he’s truly extracted himself. And as things progress with you, hopefully, the luster of these memories will fade, and the more present moments with you will take over the forefront of his mind and heart. We just don’t think he’s quite ready yet.

We know you think this man is special but don’t wait forever, and don’t sacrifice everything just to be with him. What we mean is don’t sacrifice who you are and who you want to be, just to be with this man. Twenty years is quite a gap, and although it’s not impossible to bridge that gap, he has a lot of time on you where he’s explored and lived. Don’t stop living your life and pursuing your goals to be with him or any man. Stay true to yourself.

Keep us posted. Leave us a follow up comment or comments.

THE GUYS

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28 Comments on Boyfriend still has feelings for his ex

  1. @Lia……If he’s still open to his ex, then he either is still in love with her or has unresolved feelings for her. However, it’s also important for you to understand that, if he was in love with you, he might not still be open to her. Sounds like he needs space to figure this out. Just make sure if he does come back that he’s not settling for you, and that he truly is over her and committed to you AND in love with you.

  2. @Lia…..We’re just seeing this comment now. Maybe he just needs to resolve a few things, or maybe he does feel guilty. Whatever it is, you need to give him the space and time to do so. That said, it’s also okay to state how you feel and what you want. We’re not saying that you should give him an ultimatum, but if he truly wants to be with you, he’ll do what he can to make that happen. During the break, you can’t do anything. But if he is truly into you, you won’t have to. He’ll just miss you. Keep us posted. And we hope you’ll share our site with friends. (Also, check out our e-reports on the seven most frequently asked questions.)

  3. thanks so much guys! I literally just told my friend about you guys lol but I’m trying my best to give him space, yesterday was the first full day we didn’t speak. I figured since he saw me everyday since the first day we met he just needs some time to actually miss me. The ex has mutual friends & appeared on one of the friends social media sites which I believe made him begin to think about her. Is it possible this is just him caring about her well being after her recent break up & not that he’s in love with her? Since he’s had plenty of times over the past few years to feel this way but didn’t think twice about her? I guess I just can’t seem to wrap my mind around how he could spend everyday/all day with me, introduce me to his family & everyone he knows and then end up feeling like this. Even his siblings and mom seem to think he’s in love with me. He’s wanted to date me for years now but I just never noticed him until recently. This entire thing has taken such an unexpected turn I’m just hoping we can make it thru this ):

  4. @Lia……..We understand this must be really confusing. Hang in there. But to reiterate: It’s fine to give him space, and be understanding right now, but if the two of you work this out—we hope you do—there needs to be a balance of power where both of you are able to communicate what you need from each other and a relationship in general, not just do things on his terms. Keep us posted. Take care.

  5. I’m in the same situation somewhat. Me and my boyfriend have been dating for two years. And his ex and him had been broken up for 3 years around that time. Recently, things have been edgy. And we decided to take a break. We got into a big argument 3 days ago. And was on the bridge of breaking up. We spoke last night for the first time again. Then all of a sudden he told me he still loves his ex. The argument from 3 days ago was that he spoke with his ex to rekindle their friendship. Which was strange to me because we were on break and they spoke. He told me nothing of it Until the day we stopped speaking. But then he said he wanted to be with me. But he’s going to have to tell her that they can’t be friends anymore. I asked him if you two are just friends then why should she know about us and why should you stop speaking? He then said he needed time to think about our relationship. Which pissed me off to the point that I told him that he can have. Which was why we stopped talking. So last night he came clean about still loving his ex. I was in a state of shock that I didn’t even have anything to say. And this is why he wanted more time to think about our relationship. Even though he told me their relationship is beyond repair he said that if we broke up he might want to date her. I’m so confused and hurt. This past week has been hard for me. Im over my ex and I don’t speak to them unless we are having a group debate on social media about games which my bf is always in. I really don’t know what to say to him because it’s like he never moved on. And in the beginning and even now he said I help him forget about her. I feel like I was the rebound. I asked him was I a rebound and he gets mad and says no. But I just don’t understand. He said he loves me. But now I don’t know what to think. I told him that I’ve had enough and I don’t think this is something I can do. But he keeps asking me am I sure. I really don’t want it to end, but I think it might have to..

  6. @Gabby…..Thanks for sharing your story. It sounds like he has unresolved feelings towards her. Did she break up with him? If so, he might still need closure, or feel that he never got closure, or secretly wished she hadn’t broken up with him. The other thought we had is this. Part of him still being open to her is the fact that he’s not sure about your relationship and you. (Sorry to say that. We know that might be difficult to hear.) But much of the time when people stray, it’s because they don’t feel satisfied with, or valued within, their current relationship. We wish you the best. Keep us all posted.

  7. He told me before that they both agreed to break up. And he says that I make him happy and made his life easier. But since the argument he told me that he still loves her and has feelings. But is willing to make our relationship work. I don’t understand how he can say he loves me, but still loves her too. I don’t think I can be with him, because one moment hee wants to be with me then the next he says he wants time to think about it. I’m so confused, I asked him why did he get with me if he wasn’t over her and he said he really liked me but was unaware of his feeling for her still being there. I do remember when we went on break he said he didn’t like breaks because he did the same with her and she went and dated someone else. And he regretted that since. I’m honestly ready to give up…😟😟😟 because I don’t understand.

  8. @Gabby…..We are sorry. We can understand how hard this is for you. Obviously this is your decision but we’d like to remind you of something. Don’t settle. Your partner should love and respect you the way you love and respect them. They should think you’re the jackpot, not the consolation prize. You take care.

  9. @Leila I am totally in the same situation.my ex still texting and flirting with a girl he had a fling with back in high school. She has a boyfriend nd she nd my bf agreed to try stay away from each other as they are both in serious relationships. He admitted to having feelings for her.he says although he has these feelings they are not enough to b in a relationship with her.he says he loves me and that our relationship is the best relationship he’s ever had.he says the one part of the reasons he flirts with her is coz I don’t flirt with him so basically he is lacking that in our relationship so he feels like flirting with the ex fills that part in our relationship. Other thing is he feels the need to confide in her when he’s going thru a hard time coz he says she has been thru most of the things he is going thru so he feels like they can relate.while confiding in her it leads him to flirt with her.I hv decided to give him space to figure out this then c if he still wants to b with me or not coz he says he wants to destroy these feelings he has for her coz I’m more valuable to him.I don’t want to lose him but if he can’t figure out this he will leave me no choice but to dump him.

  10. Hi there. I got my own story to tell too which is somehow similar to this. Let’s begin.

    Our story is pretty crazy. We met online, we never met in person (Yeah I know, keep reading). We’re on our 8th month now and things has been a wild rollercoaster for me. When we started talking, i never really wanted to entertain him because come on, he’s some random guy i met online. But as days pass, i realize that he’s a good person. But I got scared and pushed him away for the fear of being hurt and that he’s a guy from the internet. But I realized my mistake and talked to him again. He’s mad and i understand why, so i told myself i’ll do everything I can just to correct my mistakes and make it up to him. But things changed. It was happy in the beginning but as time goes by he changed. It seems like I’m not important anymore. (I am making the story short) Then I found out he was in contact with his ex again. and yada-yada, december came and he told me he’s flying to mexico, his ex’s dad gave him a job there and his plane ticket has been paid by them already. So he went there and lived with them for 2 months. At first it was great because he began appreciating me again.. but one day, he didn’t text me for 3 days.. then he said that they went to this house there was no wifi blah blah blah. Then he told me that his ex tried to go over him but he said he pushed her away.. Since then he doesn’t text me much often anymore.. then i asked him why and told him i’m jealous.. he got mad and broke up with me… he said every time he tries to talk to me his ex gets mad and every time he tries to talk to her I get mad so he broke up with me and told me he’s gonna find someone else who doesn’t get jealous… then days passed we didn’t talk and then he texted me saying he was sorry but he keeps on saying i’m the one who broke up with him…. then it started that we don’t talk anymore.. there will be days he will call me but just because he can’t sleep at night (he calls me when he can’t sleep and asks me to stay on the phone until he wakes up) and when he does wakes up, he just ends the call without saying anything… then yada-yada he came back to the US and is on bootcamp right now.. basic training.. he sends me letters and yeah.. the letters are full of sweet words and fluttery stuff… it’s just that i sometimes don’t know if it’s genuine…. I’m pretty sure he’s not over his ex.. i mean come on they’ve been on for 3 years.. and i’m just a random girl he met on the internet… but I admit I really fell for this guy.. and now i don’t know what to do knowing that his ex (who he said cheated on him) still has feelings for him and still tries to talk to him…. and I know deep down him, he still has something for her…. and I feel like I need to be out of the picture… what should I do… and to add up, before he went to mexico, i found a video of them on youtube uploaded about a year ago and he has a comment there posted a year ago too then i looked again, there’s a new comment posted 2 months ago (we were already together) that tells her to unblock him….. sorry for the long post

  11. @Echo….Sounds like you have a pretty good handle of the situation. WE agree with you. He does not sound like he’s over his ex. Seems like he’s waffling between the two of you and trying to keep you both in the fold until he figures it out. What do you think?

  12. Mine is even worse. I have been dating this guy for 2 months now. Befor dating him, he told me he was over he ex. He said he loves me and want to be but with me. I felt for his lies. Most weekends he travlels to a different state and he would tell me that it was for car business. I believed him. But recently i discovered that he was always going to visit his ex which is not actually his ex but his girlfriend. They’ve been together for 2 years before they had a problem. He still have her name save in his phone as baby. Now i know i was a rebound. Truth is i love him and i don’t know how to handle things right now.

  13. @Jenifer…….We’re sorry. It’s tough to find out the person you love is deceiving you. What is your plan? Honestly, you deserve to be with someone who loves and respects you the way you love and respect him. Don’t you think?

  14. Hi guys, I’m sort of in a similar situation.

    I’ve been seeing a guy for the past 2 months but I knew that he had just recently gotten out of a relationship and ended it (I couple of months before, I was actually the one that caught her cheating on his with another guy- long story). To add to the complication, he is one of my older brothers best friends (he’s 22 and I’m 21). Either way, he lives in Spain and I like in the uk, but 2 months ago we both decided that I would visit him because we were both coming out of ‘relationships’ and wanted to hang (i know this sounds even more messy, but his younger brother and I slept with each other a couple months before.. it was actually him who told his brother to go forward, nonetheless that’s something that happened).

    With all this complications and clear ‘do not go there’ signs.. we nonetheless had a great time together in a Spain and developed feelings (we did have sex as well). When I got back to the uk I had exams and that was my main focus. We’ve been speaking for the past two months and our connection has deepened and our understanding of one another, we both understand that the situation we are in is very confusing and may conflict within our social circles.. nonetheless we both feel like this is a unique love, and have both agreed to become celibate until marriage if we were to date just because we really feel like this is something unique going on.

    Last night he called me and was feeling very low and revealed that he hasn’t known what to do for the past months, the he loves his ex but also has strong feelings for me. He said he’s been in back to back relationships throughout his life and I’m the first relationship he’s had where he feels like he can be himself and loved, but he’s afraid of losing me. Note: throughout us speaking I did know that he was fresh out of a relationship and I’ve reassured him time and time that he should take his time to be ready, and so will I be taking my time… that either way it will happen if it’s meant to be. But when he spoke to me last night, it sort of slipped out that when I told him I loved him he didn’t know what to say (however a Month before he said he loved me).. this hurt me a lot. He later on explained that he didn’t want to have this dicsuccion before because he knew I had exams and he didn’t want to get in the way.. but I just feel hurt in the sense that he knew he couldn’t be there for me (our relationship has been very one sided- and he’s confessed that he doesn’t know why he’s so scared to be the boyfriend he knows I need), but nonetheless has kept me around because he has benefited from it.. but I haven’t gained anything from this. I do love him, but I feel like the last 2 months have just been for him to have someone and I do want to be patient but he hasn’t given me anything to hold on to that I can have trust in him. A part of me says that’s I should have to deal with this and drop him, but another part of me knows that I could be more understanding and patient, but how can I do that when I’ve lost trust in him and everything he’s ever told me. Oh and by the way him and his ex have been dating for 4 years. So I’ve always known from the start that he wouldn’t be ready and I was fine with that because I was also going through my own things, and to be honest I just wanted to build a strong foundation of friendship.

    I’m sorry that there’s a lot written here and it’s a bit confusing, but this is all going on and I just feel abit lost and alone.

  15. @Sasha…..We can understand why you’re feeling so confused and lost. What we would suggest is that you take a step back, forget about labels and declarations and see if there’s a friendship somewhere in the mud. If there is, this might have legs down the road. If not, we doubt anything will develop. Honestly, what he’s saying is he’s not ready, and that he’s still stuck on his ex. As you know, the timing is off. That said, if you can handle it, try being friends but avoid discussing dating or your feelings or anything related to a relationship. We’d even suggest putting yourself back out there in the dating world. (If that’s possible.) Thoughts?

  16. Hi guys,
    I completely agree with you. Right now what I need is a friend, especially someone that can be a friend to me. He definitely isn’t ready, and I believe if he tries to make amends it’s out of fear of losing me. I have drafted out notes of ”points” to bring up when I speak with him later on and what my “needs” are if he’s willing to fulfill that in this friendship. To be honest, I do what to let him go but I’m finding it hard.. I guess that is because I need to unlearn or rather create a new habit. I will definitely look into dating others, I am afraid of meeting someone completely new but I think that would be a good place to start. Thanks for the advice guys. Oh and here are my notes, but I still don’t know if I’m doing more than I really ought to be doing.. especially since I’ve been open and supportive throughout, your thoughts would be greatly appreciated :

    Points:
    – no dating or romantic behaviour e.g kissing
    – friendship only
    – take dating off the table
    – promise each other to be committed to this, even if we feel lovey dovey. So also restrict all romantic talk “I love you”… to think before we speak basically, instead of getting ahead of ourselves
    -both bring 50 50 to this friendship, if one party knows that they are not willing/unable to. Then they should withdraw from the relationship out of fairness for the other partner

    Needs:
    -Honesty and transparency: you have to let me in on what’s going on on your side. No secrets, even if you think it will hurt me. The sooner you’re open and honest, the better for me.
    -Amend trust, if you don’t know how to, ask.
    -a friend, I’m going through a lot too, I need to know that you also have my back and will be there for me.
    -Time, I’m still emotionally hurt.
    – while this is happening I need to allow myself to find the chance to be open to other lovers and start dating other people too.

  17. @Sasha……Your list is great. Comprehensive, but to the point. While we encourage a friendship there is a possible downside. You don’t want to get stuck in an emotional holding pattern. So if you can’t create some sort of separation emotionally you might want to put some distance between you until if/when he’s emotionally open to you. (Translation: You don’t talk to him until he’s over his ex and truly wants to explore a relationship with you.) That said, if you’re thinking that way it could also prevent you from being open to someone else. You see the possible issues don’t you? We wouldn’t say you’re treading dangerous waters, but they are a bit murky.

  18. Hi Guys!
    Thanks for the help honestly, I’ve just finished speaking with him and I’m only reading your comment now. I’ve definitely set up my boundaries, he was planning on flying to the UK next week to see me and I’ve told him that I need time to emotionally disconnect and that I think it would be best if we didn’t make any summer holiday plans involving one another. And if so, than to rather meet up for dinner or lunch, but not to spend the night together or anything ‘risky’. With that said, he was understanding and supportive although he tried to push his luck with asking if we could still kiss if he visited, but I remained clear on my boundary and desire for my future. With that I could sense a lifting off of tension and a weight that has been there over us for the past two months, it was definitely a great decision to make, especially on my behalf. I did express my desire to meet other people and give myself the chance to date, and he too expressed that he will continue to be celibate but take time to focus on his career and not on woman (as he’s been doing since his first girlfriend).. it was a peaceful, respectful and mutual ending to our relationship. Thanks again for the help, it means a lot that I got to open up about such a difficult matter in my life.

  19. @Sasha…..We’re glad we were able to help in some way. It sounds like the right decision for you. We wish you all the best. Keep us posted. ps. And we hope you’ll share our site with friends. Thanks.

  20. Shermaine // July 2, 2017 at 9:48 am //

    Hi Guys!
    I’m in a similar situation as well, my boyfriend of 5 months still has some lingering feelings for his ex of 4 years, but he says that their relationship is irreparable, not to mention she is attached to another guy too. They still contact each other once in a while to catch up. He said the lingering feelings came from all the effort he put in during his one sided relationship with his ex. To the point that he went into debt because he spent too much money on her just to win her over. So there’s a lot of regret there. I don’t know what to make of this. Help?

  21. @Shermaine…..We understand. A couple of thoughts. It’s normal that he might have lingering feelings. That said, the question is, if she wasn’t with this other guy, and if she was still open to him, would he be going after her? A few questions for you: How long was he broken up for before you started dating? How did your relationship begin? Did he pursue you? Does he talk about her? Does he tell you he loves you? Have you asked him if he’d go back with her if she wanted him back? (If you really want us to dig into your question/s, we’d suggest you try the Ask a Private Question option and go that route. Yes, there’s a fee, but clients seem to be quite satisfied. Read testimonials on our Get Relationship Advice page) That said, we’ll do our best here in the comments but what we can do is somewhat limited.

  22. I have been with my boyfriend for almost 3 years. I found out a year ago he was still in contact with his ex gf. She found me on social media to tell me. She said that they were still on and off seeing each other the whole first year that I was with him. I didn’t find out about any of it until we were already in our 2nd year and moved in together. When I found out he stopped talking to her only to reach out again 5 months later. Telling her he loves her. I love him. This has hurt me so much bc I do everything for him and our 6 kids combined. He has 4 and I have 2. Their mom abandoned them all so they live with us too. I can’t just walk away. They need stability. At the same time I feel like I’m going insane silently. My decision doesn’t just affect me. It affects all of our kids. He tells me it’s finally over. He has attachment issues. When he’s with his current person he has a hard time letting go of the previous. It has always been that way for him. I saw texts that said, if you could send me a pic of you and your new man I’d be settled in knowing you are happy.” Why does he need to know she’s with someone to stop contact? I just want honesty. I offered that if he felt like he needed to contact her then contact me instead& let’s talk about it. I am very open minded and would allow him to get his feelings out. I don’t want to be a fool.

  23. @Laura…..Thanks for sharing. We’re sorry. When you say “still in contact” does this mean he’s seen her or just talked with her? What does he say when you bring up the topic? How did he explain it to you?

  24. He admitted to texting and calling her only after she contacted me and sent me 20-30 of the texts they had been sending. She saves them all from years ago, I guess so she can do this. When I bring it up, it’s usually bc he asks what’s wrong. He assures me that he is completely over her now. Like he feels betrayed by her twice bc she contacted me. He said she was very controlling and always said how much salt he should put on his food, what he should wear, wouldn’t allow him to hang out with friends. She broke up with him several times. He said it was a curse and it’s finally over.

  25. His mom and I are very close. She says he has a big heart and he has issues with letting go. She also said that she has never heard of his ex gf bc she was never introduced. She also said, even though he’s 40, I’m the first “real relationship” he’s ever had and she thinks he’s afraid of commitment.

  26. @Laura…..Sounds to us that it’s too soon to tell what’s going to happen and that he’s trying in his own way to be a good partner. Do you trust him? And is he willing to have heart-to-heart discussions with you? Are the lines of communication open?

  27. I’m trying with trusting him as hard as that is. We’ve had heart to heart discussions and I feel better for a few days. He tells me that he will do anything I need him to do to make it better. I do believe he is trying and I will keep trying also. Thank you for responding. Even your questions make me think about what I need to do. Trusting him is where I need to get.

  28. @Laura…..Glad we were able to help. Please keep us posted and come back anytime. ps. And thanks for sharing our site with friends.

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