12 signs he still loves his ex-wife (and what you can do about it)

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You’ve found the perfect guy and have settled into a nice and stable relationship.

You’ve fallen head over heels for him and everything has been going really smoothly.

Well, almost…

There’s something that’s unsettling you about your relationship and you can’t quite put your finger on it.

Your intuition is telling you something is off.

You know he’s been married before. You’ve probably met the ex-wife before yourself.

But now there are niggling signs making you question whether that relationship is well and truly over.

You’re left wondering whether your partner still has feelings for her.

No-one wants to be the other woman. Or in a relationship with someone who is pining after their ex.

So, how do you know if this is you?

Here are 12 signs he’s still in love with his ex-wife and what you can do about it.

1) He still talks to her…frequently

Now, let’s get one thing straight first. There’s nothing wrong with being on speaking terms with your ex. It’s a great thing, especially if kids are involved.

Coming out of a long-term relationship is never easy and if you can manage to do that while staying on good terms, then that’s a great thing.

But, how often is he talking to his ex?

Is he calling and messaging her when you’re not around? Do they organise to meet up for coffee chats frequently?

If they’re getting a little too cosy and relying on each other from day to day, it’s a good indication that the feelings are still there — for both of them.

It’s worth having a conversation with your ex.

Don’t come out attack him. It could be a simple case of old habits dying hard. He’s used to having this person around every day to talk to. Even though their relationship didn’t work, he still likes the comfort in this.

He may just need a gentle reminder that you’re there for him now and you’re that person in his life.

He could be entirely blind to what’s going on.

So, have the talk and see how he reacts. That will let you know where his feelings lie.

2) She’s plastered over his social channels

The last thing you want as the new girlfriend is to log onto Facebook and see images of your boyfriend and his ex-wife posted everywhere.

Not just any photos either. The cute ones of them snuggled up on the couch together or sharing a moment.

These are the photos that should be deleted the minute the relationship ends. They’re reminders of the past and what was.

If your boyfriend still has them up, it might be time to question his motive.

Once again, he might simply need a prod to know those photos should be taken down.

Ask him about the cosy photos you two have up online. Are there any?

If he still resists and you find him looking back at these photos from time to time, then he’s clearly not over his ex-wife. There are feelings still floating about that go beyond the world of social media.

3) Her name comes up…a lot

Does his ex-wife’s name tend to crop up each and every conversation?

It might feel harmless at the start — after all, they do have a long, shared history together.

But when he does it during intimate moments you need to be beware.

For example, has he ever accidentally used her name during sex or some other emotional moment between the two of you?

This is never a good sign. Don’t hold it against him if he just does it once.

But if it’s something that keeps happening — both in and out of the bedroom — then it’s worth noting he has someone else on his mind.

The problem is, this isn’t something he is doing on purpose. Which actually makes it so much worse.

He subconsciously can’t stop thinking about her, which is why he keeps slipping up with her name.

If this has happened a few times already, it might be worth having the discussion and asking him outright: do you still love your ex?

4) He stalks her online

It’s something we have all been guilty of at some point in time.

Social media makes it so easy to stay in touch and keep up with people that we don’t see in our normal day-to-day lives. Like our ex.

You’re innocently sitting next to him on the couch and you glance over to see him scrolling through his ex’s Facebook page. When you catch him out, he almost jumps out of his seat, not realising anyone was watching.

Of course, he fumbles about looking for an excuse, but there really isn’t one.

He wants to know what she’s up to because he still cares about her. Is she doing well? How is work going? How are her friends? Is she happy?

There’s nothing wrong with still wanting the best for someone, even after you have broken up. But his motivations play a key role here.

Does he genuinely want to know what she is up to at the moment?

Or is he taking a snoop to see if she’s in a new relationship? Ie, is jealously rearing its ugly head?

The first reason is one you can look past and move on from. Time will heal that wound and he’ll find himself checking after her less and less.

The second is a sign he isn’t over her yet. He’s already in a relationship with you, so why should it matter if his ex has found someone else as well?

It doesn’t. Unless he still loves her, of course.

5) He’s still angry

Whenever you bring up the ex, or he comes across a photo of her, or someone else mentions her, you see this twitch of anger in his eyes.

Breakups can be messy and while in hindsight it’s for the best, those feelings don’t just disappear.

It’s likely he still has unresolved feelings for her that are holding him back.

It hurts too much for him to speak about her, which is why he’s anger comes out. It’s clear he isn’t over her, no matter what he tells you.

It doesn’t mean he necessarily wants to be back in a relationship with her. But he isn’t at peace with the ending of their relationship yet and likely needs more time to heal from it.

It can even help to suggest he talks to someone about those feelings as a way of working through them so they don’t build up and affect your relationship.

Of course, on the other side of things, he could simply be missing his ex and still completely in love with her.

6) He keeps in touch with her parents

If there are kids involved in this past relationship, then it’s understandable that he’s still in touch with the in-laws.

If not, then he’s struggling to let go.

Let’s face it, you give up the in-laws as soon as the relationship is over. They are simply on loan to you as a family while you’re with this person.

If he’s still actively seeking them out to communicate with them, something more is going on.

It’s likely he still has feelings for her.

Perhaps the break up was bad and she no longer talks to him? Then the in-laws are his way of staying connected and not letting go.

It’s time to start that conversation and work out why he’s holding on to this relationship. What is he getting out of it?

Having an open discussion will make his motives very clear.

If he’s defensive about it, then it’s likely he knows that he shouldn’t be in contact with them, but he can’t help his feelings.

It’s time to give him an ultimatum: unless he has a really good reason for it, then talking to the in-laws has to stop. It’s time to put you and your friends and family first.

If he truly likes you and wants to make it work, he won’t hesitate to give it a go.

7) You haven’t met his family or friends

Just like holding onto the in-laws is a good sign he hasn’t let go of his past relationship, this is another key indicator.

His parents don’t even know you exist in his life. Why?

In fact, you’ve never even been out for a drink with his friends. What’s holding him back from introducing you to the most important people in his life?

Ask him how long it took for him to introduce his ex to his parents. To his friends? Was it much quicker?

We all know what meeting the parents entails. It’s acknowledging the relationship is a long term one. It’s a sign that you care about each other deeply and see yourself together.

If he’s not ready to take that step with you, it’s because something is holding him back. And we can all guess what — or should I say who — that something is. He’s scared of turning what you have into a serious relationship because he’s holding onto those feelings with his ex.

If he’s not willing to introduce you to family and friends, it’s because he isn’t ready to replace his ex just yet. It’s a good indication of where you stand.

8) He puts her first

If there’s one key sign that your man is still in love with his ex, it’s when he chooses her over you.

It’s not something he’ll necessarily do consciously and he’ll always have an excuse for it:

  • “She was in a bad place, she needed me”.
  • “It was just this one time, it won’t happen again”.
  • “I made her plans first, I couldn’t just cancel”.

If you’ve heard one or more of these phrases, it might be time to rethink your relationship. It’s clear he’s putting her first and that’s not fair on you.

Whether he’s doing it on purpose or not, it needs to stop if he expects to have a healthy relationship with you.

Let him know you’re not OK with it and see if it’s something he’s willing to work on.

If he doesn’t see a problem, you have a very clear sign that he’s still in love with her.

9) He hangs on to her things

One of the first things that should happen when you break up with someone is to clean out their things.

Instead, it’s all sitting packed away in the corner of the room, yet to make it back to her.

A break-up is a mourning process. So, you do need to give him time to grieve. He might not be ready to get rid of her things straight away.

But, if he is refusing to even entertain the idea and gets very defensive about it, it’s safe to say he’s holding on to something more than just her things.

There are strong feelings there that he’s not willing to put in the past.

Once again, you might need to bite the bullet and let him know that it’s her or you. If he isn’t willing to let go of her, then he isn’t going to able to move forward with you.

10) He compares you to her

It’s never a good thing when a guy your dating compares you to another woman. It’s even worse when that woman is his ex-wife.

It’s pretty safe to say he’s not doing it on purpose.

After all, he likes you and isn’t setting out to hurt your feelings. Which only leaves one other option.

He’s doing it because his ex is still on his mind.

Every time he talks about her and compares you to her, it’s because he’s thinking about her at the moment. Even without realising he’s doing this.

You need to speak up every time he does it. Make him aware of how it makes you feel and make him aware of how often he’s doing it.

Men often don’t understand the impact their actions can have, which is why you need to speak up at this stage and hope that it makes a difference.

Of course, if he can’t get his ex off his mind, it’s because his feelings for her are too strong.

11) He’s going through the motions

While you’re in a relationship with this guy, it often feels like he isn’t fully present and is more just going through the motions of a relationship.

He opens doors.

He pays for meals.

He treats you.

He surprises you.

He’s everything you dreamed about, but something is simply missing.

It’s the spark of commitment.

He isn’t being 100% himself in the relationship because he’s still holding onto his past love. It’s stopping him from moving forward and throwing himself 100% into your relationship to see where things go.

If you feel like you’re just going through the motions with him, you’re not going crazy.

It’s simply a sign that he might have someone else on his mind at the moment and not quite ready to move on.

12) He’s taking things fast

On the flip side, he may be taking things just a little too hard and fast with your relationship.

He’s always ready to move onto the next level, when you’re feeling a little more hesitant and like things need to slow down a little.

It’s almost as if he’s trying to convince himself he’s over his ex and outrunning his feelings in the process.

It’s likely that he wants what he had with his ex-wife. He misses being in a committed relationship and wants to skip through the early stages to get there.

It doesn’t necessarily mean he misses her…

But that’s a conversation the two of you need to have together.

What next?

Have you noticed a few of these signs in your man?

Don’t fret too much.

While it’s not the best feeling to discover your partner is still in love with their ex, there’s often more to it.

The first thing you need to understand is that when you’ve had a long relationship with someone, the feelings don’t just disappear the minute you break up.

They can even linger there for months afterwards.

Think about it this one: you end up in a long-term relationship with someone because of those strong feelings.

Even when the relationship breaks down, you can’t help but remember the good times and the reason you fell in love in the first place. But none of this means you actually want the person back.

Yes, he’s still thinking about his ex. Yes, he still probably wants her.

He’s human.

This doesn’t mean he wants to be with his ex. It also doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you.

He’s simply still getting over her and that can take time.

Should I stick it out?

You’ve connected with this guy in the first place because you share common interests and have feelings for each other. It’s important to remember that.

Of course, it takes more than this for a relationship to be successful. You need to take a pause and consider whether he’s a good long-term fit for you.

If he’s showing signs that he’s still not over his ex — and not making any moves to help this process along — it may be a good indication he simply isn’t ready to be in a relationship at the moment.

He’s not in the right headspace and needs more time.

On the other hand, if he’s showing signs that he loves his ex (outlined above), but has made progress trying to get over her, then perhaps it’s worth holding on.

He’s not the type of guy to leave a relationship and get over someone straight away. That’s not a bad thing. It shows he cares, which is what you want in a guy.

And if he’s taking steps to help himself get over her, then it shows he’s invested in your relationship and wants to make it work.

At the end of the day, it’s up to you what you choose.

It’s important to understand that just because he still loves his ex, doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you.

It’s a process and one you can either stick around for or run for the hills from. There’s no right or wrong.

Good luck!

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If you want specific advice on your situation, it can be very helpful to speak to a relationship coach.

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