Dear V: What if he’s still in love with his ex?

Dear V,

These last few weeks, my boyfriend has acted strange. The other day, he was going to crash at my place so he asked me to grab some shoes from his closet. I accidentally found a box filled with pictures and gifts from his ex-girlfriend. I tried talking to him about it but he was defensive and accused me of snooping. He insinuated I’m jealous, saying it’d be ridiculous for him to date me if he wasn’t over her, since he was the one who broke up with her.

I have an odd feeling about this. What should I do?


The Replacement


Dear The Replacement, 

No matter what your boyfriend says, if you have a gut feeling something’s wrong, listen to it. Trust your intuition and you’ll end up less hurt in the long run than if you ignore your doubts.

That said, get the full story before getting on his case.

How long did they date for? Why did he dump her? Are they still close?

There’s more to the story than a black-and-white question. If they only dated for a few months, it’s more likely he’s over her than if they dated for years. Along those lines, if he ended things because he moved for work, it’s more likely he’s clinging onto chances of getting back with her than if he split with her because she stole money from him. There are situational circumstances to consider before confirming your doubts.

Since you already tried to talk to him, focus on getting more details. Pay attention to how often he talks about her and if he still interacts with her in person or on social media.

Sure, exes can be friends, but don’t be the third wheel in your own relationship. If he’s constantly doing her favors or ditches plans with you to see her, he’s more focused on rekindling the old flame than building a future with you. 

Otherwise, don’t jump to conclusions. If he makes you happy, confides in you and doesn’t stay in touch with his ex, maybe he’s just a sap and couldn’t let go of things with sentimental value. He might just be afraid of letting go of that period in his life, not his ex in particular.

Once you’ve gathered your thoughts, try to have a calm conversation with him about it again. He’ll either be honest with you or he’ll snap to defend himself, in which case you can decide he’s not over the past relationship.

If it turns out he’s hung up on his ex, move on. You deserve a guy who sees a future with you, not one living in his past.