“‘He still loves his ex but likes me. Or at least, that’s what he says.” Almost every woman in every part of the world has said this or heard someone say this to her at least once. This kind of conundrum in relationships is all too common. Being torn between two people and being confused about whether to stay in the past or do better in the future is a situation most of us can relate to.
This is a confusing situation not only for the person torn between two people but also for those two people. And if not handled well, it can turn into a painful experience for everyone involved. A reader of ours dealt with something similar and came to us with this very question. Counseling psychologist and certified life-skills trainer Deepak Kashyap (Masters in Psychology of Education), who specializes in a range of mental health issues, including LGBTQ and closeted counseling, answers that question for our reader and others who find themselves in a similar situation.
He’s Not Over His Ex But Likes Me
Q. It’s a one-sided love story of mine, and quite a painful one too. He proposed to me long ago and since I had liked him back for a while too, I said yes. And then, he broke up with me in four days because of his first love. How brutal was that? I let it go and forgave him and he too hasn’t stopped talking to me. He left me for her but he continues to be involved with me. It seems like he still loves his ex but likes me.
Should I wait for him to get over his ex? I really don’t know right now. He cannot forget her but now we have become even closer, so I feel like I should just wait it out and maybe in the end he will be mine. We are also physically involved. But he doesn’t want to be in a committed relationship with me. He is confused. What should I do? Clearly, he’s not over his ex, should I be patient and wait for him?
From the expert:
Ans: I would think that it takes time, space, and introspection to solve any kind of confusion one may be going through in life. When it comes to exes and staying in touch with an ex, this matter is far from resolved. If I were you, I would give him a reasonable amount of time and space to think about the things he wants and ask him to set his priorities in life.
Living a double life is not the most healthy choice as far as emotional health is concerned, especially in matters of romance and sex. Romance and sex, just like any other intense mental state, make you believe in the certainty of things based on the complicated and strong feelings they both come with. For example, we think that if someone is perfect in bed, they have to be good for us as lovers outside the bed too. Or sometimes we judge one as a perfectly good lover even though we don’t feel sexually compatible with them.
Experience and I are sure; some statistics would disagree with us on this. Feelings alone are no guide to reality neither in the world outside nor inside of us. One has to employ rational faculties as well as know what’s right for oneself and what’s not. For the exercise of rationality in tricky matters of the heart, one may need a lot of space and time to evaluate and make a judgment.
Related Reading: 15 Clear Signs Your Crush Doesn’t Like You Back
What To Do If a Guy Still Loves His Ex But Likes You As Well?
When you see a movie about one-sided love, hear of the concept of unrequited love or experience it first-hand, the whole ‘so close yet so far’ meaning becomes clear as day. When someone professes their love to you, wants to be with you but is held back by something else, leaves you riddled with the feeling of almost having them but not quite. That brings in its wake a spate of yearning and longing
Then, you may be left wondering, “He’s not over his ex, should I be patient or move on?” The more you dwell on this question, the harder it becomes to look past your one-sided love. Well, like with anything concerning the matters of the heart, there are no absolute rights or wrongs here. The right answer is the one that feels right for you and one that doesn’t destroy your emotional well-being and mental health.
Whether it is his ex that he still can’t get over or just a fear of commitment that looms over him, a ‘so near yet so far’ relationship can make for a harrowing experience. In that case, the only way you can save yourself the emotional disturbance is by getting some answers and being honest with yourself. Now that the expert has given us his take, Bonobology takes it forward from here and answers a few other questions for you. What to do if a guy still loves his ex but likes you as well? Here are a few tips:
1. Is he the dumper or the dumpee?
Trust us when we tell you that this answer can make all the difference. If he was the one who dumped her, then the dynamics are vastly different from if he was the dumpee. As the one breaking the relationship, he is probably more resolute in his choice and might just be going back to her over and over because she’s not letting him go.
If he made the choice once to not be with her, you may be able to give him the benefit of the doubt that he’ll do it again and come back to you. However, if he is the dumpee or the one who was dumped, it is possible that he could just be using you as a buffer in a rebound relationship until he for sure gets back with his ex. When dating someone who is not over their ex, this is an important question to ask.
2. What are you getting out of this relationship?
If it’s just good sex once or twice a week, then that might not be reason enough to put yourself through emotional turmoil. We understand that you’re attracted to him and that his hair makes you think of Harry Styles. As much as any girl would swoon over that, it is still not a good enough reason if he is not in place to reciprocate your feelings.
Does he really care about you? Does he show affection to you in a boyfriend-like manner? In a “he still loves his ex but likes me” situation, you need to put your hormones aside and think with your head. Be honest with yourself and ask yourself if you’re really being fulfilled and taken care of in this relationship.
Related Reading: 9 Things That Happen When A Man Is Vulnerable With A Woman
3. Are you the one dragging this out?
Has he given you clear signs that he’s not ready for a new relationship and have you just casually brushed them aside? Has he told you that he’s too confused to commit but your unwavering faith doesn’t allow you to give up on him? No matter how much you love him, he is only worth investing time into if he gives you the same kind of love in return.
Is it just you sitting and waiting on him even though he’s shown you otherwise? If this is the case, well then the answer is pretty straightforward. It’s possible that your hope of being with him is coloring everything that you see. It’s time for you to accept reality for the way that it is.
4. Do his actions correspond with his words?
Actions speak louder than words, and in this situation, they need to speak louder than ever. Just because he texted you last night telling you that he loved you does not mean it ends there. If he stood you up at the coffee shop the next day without even so much as an apology, are you sure you’re right about the second part of “he still loves his ex but likes me”?
In any situation, considering a person’s actions is far more important than the empty promises they make to you. Thinking about the so close yet so far meaning makes no sense if he’s actually not even treating you well enough. Are you just rushing into a relationship based on his hollow promises?
5. Take a step back and let him be
And if that bothers him and he rushes back to you, you know he’s truly in love with you. The more attention you give him, the less he’ll know if he wants to chase you or not. Hanging around him all of the time isn’t going to take the confusion out of your equation.
Once you take a step back, he might get the time and space to consider his feelings, and that’s extremely critical if he’s confused between his ex and you. If you want him to stop dilly-dallying between you and the other girl, you need to back off and leave the ball in his court without trying to influence his decision. The more involved you get, the more confused he might feel.
Related Reading: Can You Sense When Someone Likes You? 9 Things You May Feel
With that, we have covered what you should do when dating someone who is not over their ex. As difficult as it may be, a predicament like this needs to be handled really well. This kind of ‘so near yet so far’ relationship can take quite the toll on your mental health. If you need some guidance with your emotional well-being, consider tapping into Bonobology’s skilled panel of counselors.
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Yes, they might. It is possible to love more than one person at a time. They might be still in love with their ex because of the history that they shared, but they could be developing new feelings for you at the same time.
It is not common but it is normal. If he is your boyfriend, he should’ve ideally started a new relationship only after having gotten over his previous one. But sometimes the feelings from the past relationships linger on.
It depends on how long they were together. if they had been in a long-term relationship, it can take a while for him to get over her. If not, then it might just take a few months at max.