Exes are a fact of life for most of us. And that’s something you can deal with just fine, because you, too, have significant others in your rearview mirror.
The issue is whether or not your date is over—really over—his or her ex. You can move forward with confidence if you know your new interest has truly left the past in the past. Here’s how:
1. Ample time has passed. Hurrying into a new relationship is never a good idea. The heart needs to heal and the head needs to get clear.
2. You’ve got a fresh start. Your date isn’t drawn to places and activities enjoyed in a previous relationship. Every experience with you is a new discovery together, just the two of you.
3. You feel reassured. At a certain point, it’s okay to ask how he/she feels about the ex. Listen carefully to the response and see if your confidence is bolstered.
4. Keepsakes have been discarded. They don’t need or want tangible reminders of the previous relationship.
5. There is an absence of ex talk. Your date has the wisdom and sensitivity to forego references to his/her ex. More important, they have no need to talk about a past relationship.
6. But they will talk — if you ask. This person doesn’t hide anything from you and doesn’t come across as defensive.
7. There’s limited contact. If there are kids involved, of course there will be necessary coordination and conversation. If not, there is likely not much reason to maintain contact.
8. You’ve detected no comparisons. It’s lousy to be compared to a former love—and your date knows better than to do it.
9. Your date has attended to his/her emotional hurts. Any relationship with an ex is going to bring some baggage. Evidence that they have worked through (or are currently working through) lingering pain is a good sign.
10. There’s been a social media disconnect. Lots of ex partners stay friends on Facebook and other outlets, and it may be harmless. But creating distance online is a sign that the past has been left behind.
11. Proper boundaries are in place with the ex’s family and friends. Old connections can be hard to break, and maybe some of those relationships shouldn’t be ended altogether.
12. Words and actions are consistent. When this person says he/she is over the previous relationship, there are no actions that contradict the words.
13. There are no electronic footprints. Old texts have been deleted along with voice messages and other leftover communications.
14. Your heart and gut feel at peace. Feelings often deceive (jealousy in particular is a crazy-maker), but your intuition can speak the truth. If you feel at peace down deep, there’s probably a good reason.