You meet someone who seems damn near perfectly compatible for you. You possess many of the same qualities, support each other, have passion and genuinely care for each other. You’re taking it slow, but both acknowledge the strong possibility of a relationship somewhere down the line. The union is off to a great start. Then their ex comes back.
It’s honestly as if exes sense that you could truly be happy and decide to show up wanting to rekindle the relationship. More often than not, they’ve probably kept some form of contact, and noticed that their former beau isn’t giving them as much attention as they had been because someone else is making them smile. But now they’re reconsidering whether they should get back together with their ex. The above scenario happens more often than not and you’re left with a tough decision.
Do you continue to date this woman/man despite the possibility of them returning to their ex? Or do you cut your losses before things get too crazy? The truth is that feelings do not magically go away just because a relationship has ended. This person, like you, had a life well before you entered the picture. As much as you would like to share a future with them, it just may not be in the cards at this very moment.
Whenever an ex has the power to make who you’re dating consider them as an option again despite how amazing things are going between the two of you, that’s a red flag. The red flag is less about your mate choosing their ex, but more about them needing to tie up loose ends with their previous relationship. The last thing that you want to do is interfere with that process.
It will be tough to distance yourself from someone who you’ve grown to care for deeply, especially if you can really see a future with them. But it’s necessary if you ever truly want a chance at a functional, healthy, mutually-fulfilling relationship with them. They might not understand it at the moment, but you’re actually helping them make a more sound decision.
When a person needs to tie up loose ends, they need to heal. They need time to focus and process any residual feelings they might have left over for their ex. If you remain in the picture, you’ll simply distract them from focusing on what they need to to truly move on.
Granted, it could go either way with you distancing yourself. They could return to their ex, who most likely will push hard for reconciliation, but that’s already a very strong possibility. After all, a couple of months of bliss cannot compare to years of history shared between the two of them. The familiarity and emotional connection alone automatically places the ex in the more favorable position, especially if the person you’re involved with is not a risk-taker and doesn’t like change.
All that you can really do is hope that they see you distancing yourself as the ultimate sign of actually caring enough about them and your romantic progression to do something that is the complete opposite of what you truly desire. Anything other than giving them the time and space that they need to figure things out is detrimental to the process…and quite selfish for all parties involved.
It’s tough, and no one is in a more favorable emotional position in this scenario. Feelings are running pretty high on all ends, because an authentic connection has been established between the two of you. If it wasn’t real, then no confusion would be taking place and they would automatically go back to their ex. Rebounds don’t spark confusion.
Giving the person that you’re dating time to figure things out doesn’t mean that you should wait around forever, but how long you choose to wait is up to you. Whatever is decided, clear-cut and honest communication to both parties is necessary. What it does mean though is that you have a little bit of hope that they’ll grant themselves the proper care and healing that they need to move forward and view you as a solid option worth choosing.