Your boyfriend is still emotionally attached to his ex-wife and you feel like you’re constantly competing with her. Even though he says that he loves you and that he’s over her, it still doesn’t feel right.
It’s like he doesn’t see how much all of this is affecting you. After a while, he even got irritated about you feeling insecure about it.
But the signs are there! You’re just not sure whether you’re seeing an actual problem or if you just may be jealous.
He tells you that you’re imagining things but that doesn’t make his behavior less problematic. Of course, you understand that people need time to move on.
They need time to put the pieces back together and to make sense of it all. You understand that!
You’ve gone through so many bad break-ups that you’ve lost count and you always had to take your sweet time assembling your heart back together. That’s completely normal!
However, once you decided that it was time to move on and date again, you were over those exes. You would never bring the pain of a previous relationship into a new one.
You feel like he’s doing just that. Even though he’s spent hours explaining to you that he’s over her and that he’s ready to get into something more serious with you, you don’t believe him.
You’re not blind, you can feel the way he still clings to her. But what if you’re wrong?
That’s why I’m here to help you see clearly that you’re not the one at fault here and that you shouldn’t let him gaslight you. If you see any of these signs then your boyfriend is still emotionally attached to his ex-wife.
11 signs your boyfriend is still emotionally attached to his ex-wife
1. He always compares you to her
Is there anything worse than when your boyfriend constantly compares you to his ex? He makes it hard for you to forget about her as he always compares the two of you.
You can understand that they were married. He proposed to that woman and even though that thought hurts like hell, you still feel a lot of respect for her.
You listen whenever he says that she would do something in a certain way. He mentions her even when you put effort into your appearance and says things about how his ex-wife used to dress differently.
You’re sick and tired of listening to how she used to do things. He compares you to her even at times when you feel like there’s no reason to.
For example, with the way you walk, talk or prepare his favorite meal. He compares everything you do to her.
It’s exhausting at this point! He truly can’t stop thinking of her, however much he may try, and you feel like you’re the third wheel.
2. He gets defensive when you try to bring her up
When your boyfriend defends his ex-wife more than your emotions, it’s clear that he’s still emotionally attached to her. He doesn’t care that he hurts you with his behavior because he would rather defend her than you.
This just makes me question why you’re even with him but let’s talk about this problem. It’s definitely one of the signs that he hasn’t moved on because whenever she does something bad and you bring it up, he gets extremely agitated.
It’s as if his ex can’t do anything wrong and this also means that in his eyes, you’re mostly at fault in these situations. He always has an excuse for her.
She’s the one who can’t do anything bad in his eyes. He even says that you must be jealous.
You’re hurt by his behavior but he doesn’t seem to care. All he thinks about is his ex-wife and how she would feel if she knew that someone was talking like that about her.
3. He still flirts with her
Let’s just get this out of the way – flirting with an ex is never harmless! It’s not a sweet interaction that you have to tolerate, nor does he have an actual excuse for it.
You can see the way they look at each other and you can hear the flirtatious undertone in the things they say to each other. Though it may be that she doesn’t even reciprocate his efforts!
He tries hard to show her that he’s still interested in everything he says. He compliments her too much, makes a move to touch her, and always stands a little bit too close.
Your boyfriend is still emotionally attached to his ex-wife while you’re standing on the sidelines, crying your eyes out. Now that’s not really something that you have to endure.
You can bring this up but don’t expect him to understand where you’re coming from. He’ll explain his behavior by saying that it’s just a natural way for them to communicate.
He can’t just stop a habit as deeply rooted as this one. He may say that he’ll stop eventually and that he needs time to learn.
However, there’s a good chance that he’ll call you crazy or delusional. He’ll tell you that you’re imagining things.
4. He never lets you say anything bad about her
Did she cheat on him or betray him? Move out and take all his money?
Has she always had an excuse as to why she couldn’t make him her priority? Even so, there’s a good chance that he won’t let you say anything bad about her.
It’s not that you’re trying to trash-talk her, it’s just that from what he’s said, she seems to be an awful human being. She put him through so much misery and pain that you were sure that he would never want to talk to her again.
You were wrong, obviously. Even if she doesn’t want to talk to him at all, he still won’t let you say anything bad about her.
He makes sure that you know your place in his life by him always standing up for her. You don’t want to fight with him but he has to understand that she wasn’t good to him.
She did so many terrible things to him that you wonder how he even stayed so long. When you two started dating, you could clearly see the damage she had caused.
However, you saw a tortured but kind soul and you didn’t want to do the same to him as his ex. If anything, you wanted to show him that love can be a beautiful thing.
He’s kind of making it hard for you. He never lets you say anything bad about that woman, which only makes you feel like you’ll never be enough.
5. They still communicate daily
There’s no real reason why you should be communicating with your ex, especially not on a daily basis. What is there to still talk about?
He has a girlfriend who’s sitting right there next to him! You were aware of the fact that they were texting frequently and you just brushed it off but once you saw that they were constantly talking, you felt the way your heart broke into small pieces in your chest.
It hurts! What are they chatting about?
Why does he talk to her about his day and not you? Does she really mean more to him than you do?
You can try to confront him about it but you will only be met with a wall that you won’t be able to break through. He’ll tell you that he does that out of habit.
He’ll say that he can’t just stop talking to her after everything they went through together. Your boyfriend is still emotionally attached to his ex-wife and you’re the one suffering because of it.
I hope you understand one day that you don’t have to deal with this behavior. There’s no innocence behind talking to your ex!
If anyone does this, it’s out of disregard for their current partner’s feelings. You may trust him but that doesn’t mean that he’s being respectful toward you.
If anything, he’s making sure you understand that you will never be as important to him as she is.
6. He always talks about her and the memories they made
You could be walking through a beautiful park or on a road trip to put some adventure into your relationship and it’s all lovely – until he mentions his ex. How many times have you heard him mention her and the memories they made?
He doesn’t even seem present at the moment! It’s like he’s always daydreaming about her and what they went through.
This puts him in a state of mind where you feel like it’s just him and his memories. You’re completely left out of it.
You don’t feel like you’ll be able to make any new memories without him bringing up his previous experiences with his ex-wife. You can’t even enjoy your time with him most of the time.
This is definitely a sign your boyfriend is still emotionally attached to his ex-wife. Because if he wasn’t and it was you he was interested in, he’d talk to you and he’d make new memories with you.
He would make everything perfect so that you two could remember the times you spend together but you don’t get that. You’re just in a relationship with a guy who’s not over his ex.
7. He keeps tabs on her love life
It doesn’t matter how you found out but you simply know. You know that he’s keeping tabs on her love life.
He knows who she’s dating and how long for. He knows where she goes out with that person and he probably stalks both of them on social media.
That’s awful. You can’t tell me that you’d keep tabs on your ex’s love life and that’s because you’re over them.
Someone who’s moved on will not want to know what’s going on. Someone who’s over their ex will be happy that they’re dating and moving on with their life.
He’s not that type of person, obviously. Your boyfriend makes it apparent that he still loves her.
He wants to make sure that he’s the best guy she’s ever been with. He also wants to see whether she’ll marry again after they went through a divorce.
Of course, you’ll check up on your ex every once in a while but you’re not obsessed with his life!
Your boyfriend, however, is completely captivated by her love life. He’s fixated on who she’s with that he can’t even focus on you anymore.
You probably can’t even talk to him about it. He seems bewitched at this point.
8. He acts more affectionate with you when she’s around
He’s probably a very affectionate guy, so he doesn’t mind holding your hand or hugging you. At night, he cuddles with you until you both drift off to sleep.
That’s a sweet guy you have there, yet he seems much more affectionate when she’s somewhere near. That’s when he makes sure to show everyone just how important you are to him.
He doesn’t mind getting too tactile at times but I can tell you with certainty that he doesn’t do it out of love or affection for you. He does it so that he can make his ex jealous.
It’s sad to hear something like this but you’re not the only person who’s ever been through this. I hear this issue on a daily basis from women around me.
He makes you feel like a rebound whenever he does this to you. When he bends down to kiss you and the kiss lasts a little bit too long, you know that she’s somewhere nearby, watching.
Your boyfriend wants his ex to know that she’s been replaced.
Someone who doesn’t care about his ex anymore wouldn’t care whether she knew this information. He would simply be happy that he has you in his life or at least he would be consistent about his love toward you.
It wouldn’t randomly spike at times when someone that important is around. He wouldn’t have to prove himself to her.
Just the fact that he feels the need to make her jealous says a lot about where he stands.
9. They get physical
I need to start this one off by saying that you’re not overthinking things! You’re not just being paranoid or overanalyzing situations.
Your boyfriend is still emotionally attached to his ex-wife and it’s obvious whenever they touch. You may bump into her when you’re just walking down the street and the way they hug just seems a little too close for your liking.
Maybe his hand moves a bit too low down her back and her body seems to mold into his. They hug for too long and then she continues to keep her hands on him and he doesn’t mind, of course, because he continues to keep his on her hips.
This is not a good sign at all. You wait for them to stop making you feel uncomfortable but they only make it worse with everything they do.
I mean, it’s okay to exchange a friendly hug. They were married and they’re probably still affectionate with each other.
That’s not the issue. The issue is in the fact that they don’t care about how you feel about it.
His ex is not responsible for that – he is. He should put some distance between them because he’s the one in a relationship.
It’s not okay that he always keeps his hand around her waist when they’re around each other. It’s not okay that they practically sit in each other’s lap right there in front of your eyes.
To be honest, that’s basically cheating. It’s inappropriate and of course, it’ll make you feel awful about yourself and your relationship.
If you choose to ignore this when it happens and not make a scene over it, then I applaud you. I couldn’t stay silent or calm.
10. He still refuses to introduce you to his family
How long have you been dating? Has it been months or maybe even over a year?
And he still doesn’t want you to meet his family? Now that’s suspicious.
If your partner doesn’t want to introduce you to his family members, then he’s still emotionally attached to his ex-wife.
Don’t believe me? Well, then what other explanation is there?
You’ve probably already asked him about this and he may have replied that he didn’t want them to get their hopes up. They may even compare you to his ex (like he’s not doing that already) and they could get angry at him that he’s moved on.
His particular reason doesn’t make sense. He says that he’ll take you home to meet his parents but he still finds a way to avoid doing this.
Why? Would it really be so awful for you to meet them?
If anything, that just means that something isn’t right and you should be able to figure out what quite easily.
11. He holds on to her stuff
We all have things from our exes, like stuffed animals, hoodies, mugs, and books. You shouldn’t throw them out that easily, especially if you still use them frequently and they have their own place in your everyday life.
You wouldn’t even be mad at him for keeping some of the stuff he got from her. However, the issue is that he keeps her things – her make-up, her clothes, her stuff in general.
You may even find a drawer full of her belongings that he still keeps. He’ll say that he does that because he feels like he should take them back to her and not throw them away.
But when you ask him to do this, he finds another excuse as to why he can’t. This makes you feel awful and understandably so.
He’s so emotionally attached to all of those things that you can’t seem to help yourself when you spiral down into your insecurities. He’s obviously still in love with her and you should’ve seen that coming.
Who keeps all of his ex’s things without wanting to take them back? Well, a boyfriend who’s still emotionally attached to his ex-wife, that’s who.
12. He hasn’t deleted their pictures from social media
I would love to tell you that romantic relationships are completely separate from social media but you know that it’s not true. The pictures you see on there always confirm the feelings people have for each other.
Usually, the very moment a relationship becomes official, both parties post photos on their social media accounts. Of course, that kind of means that people have to delete the pictures they have on there with their ex.
You shouldn’t be mad at this if they have kids and they’re in the pictures. He probably left those photos there because of his children, which kind of makes it less horrible.
However, it’s a big issue if he still keeps the photos of just him and his ex-wife on his social media accounts. He doesn’t even seem to understand why that’s such a big issue to you!
You don’t want people to think that you’re the side-chick. They’re not together anymore and he should want to delete them but he doesn’t, so your boyfriend is obviously still emotionally attached to his ex-wife.
If your boyfriend is still emotionally attached to his ex-wife, should you compete with her?
I don’t think you should continue your relationship with this man if he doesn’t keep his ex-wife at arm’s length.
Some of the points you read above will make sense – for example, they need to communicate if they have children. They have shared custody over them and they have to constantly talk to each other because of that.
That’s completely fine and you really have to understand why this is important. But things like flirting and physical affection aren’t normal or innocent and are anything but harmless.
You’ll always feel like you’re competing with her. He’s obviously not making anything easier for you with his behavior and because of that, you’ll have to put your foot down.
Talk to him about it. Explain how that whole situation affects you and how it makes you feel.
If he refuses to understand where you’re coming from or makes you feel crazy or guilty for experiencing your emotions, then you have no reason to stay by his side.
However much it may hurt, choose yourself – because he has a lot of moving on to do and he shouldn’t have to break your heart in the process.
You deserve someone whose attention will always be on you. You’ll find someone who’ll make sure that you feel safe and you’ll never have to compete with some ex-wife or ex-girlfriend of his.
So, save your heart for someone who’s able to love you properly. He obviously can’t be that for you.