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Picture this: The new man in your life is kind, handsome, and romantic, and you have so much in common. Each date is better than the last, and for the first time, you’re starting to see a future for yourself in a long-term, committed relationship. There’s only one problem: He can’t seem to stop talking about his former partner. He may compare anything from your personality to your looks to your way of handling conflict to his previous significant other, and it could leave you thinking that his mind is stuck in the past. Whether your beau claims to have had a negative or positive experience with his ex, it’s not a good sign if he continues to reference his former relationship. So, what to do when your boyfriend compares you to his ex?

Well, the answer is complicated. Greta Tufvesson and Nikki Lewis, founders of matchmaking service The Bevy, recommend that you assess the nature of his comments before deciding on a response. Does he make occasional references to his S.O. or does he consistently bring up past relationships? Are his comments made playfully or with malicious intent? Does it appear as if he puts his ex on a pedestal, and anyone else would fall short by contrast? Is he still in contact with his ex or perhaps checking her social media pages regularly?

While these details may impact your response, being compared to a former girlfriend is never an easy situation to deal with. “Too many comparisons, whether posing you favorably or unfavorably, become too much if they’re done too often in either direction,” explains Tufvesson and Lewis. “In either scenario, it suggests he isn’t over her.” Read on for advice on what to do when your boyfriend keeps bringing up his ex.

I'm not going to apologise first

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Should your boyfriend compare you to his ex?

“Your boyfriend should not compare you to an ex unless it’s in a positive or appreciative light,” says Tufvesson and Lewis. If he makes it seem like his ex did everything right and you pale in comparison, that’s a clear red flag.

Though a former partner may come up innocuously in conversation, the frequency with which your boyfriend references an ex could be cause for concern. “A jab here or there is one thing, but constant negative comparisons are not OK,” says Tufvesson and Lewis.

Either way, it’s a sign that he might be stuck in the past and not giving your relationship the attention it deserves. “It could possibly signify he is not over his ex, and moreover, not deserving of you,” Tufvesson and Lewis say.

What should you do when your boyfriend compares you to his ex?

The answer isn’t cut and dry, according to our experts. The ideal response depends on the nature of the comments and how often they are made.

If it happens regularly, and it’s done with ill intent, that may be a sign that it’s time to move on. “If the comparisons are consistent and hurtful, you need to pull the plug on the relationship,” explains Tufvesson and Lewis.

Comments that don’t seem malicious, and are made in a joking manner, should be handled differently. Although your relationship likely can continue, the references to your boyfriend’s ex still must be addressed.

“If it’s less frequent and meant to be playful, you can ask him to be mindful that the comparisons hurt your feelings,” Tufvesson and Lewis explain. They add: “A good guy will understand and acquiesce.”

Maybe this relationship just isn't meant to be

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What does it mean when your boyfriend compares you to his ex?

The most important takeaway from those comparisons is that your boyfriend’s past connection is still on his mind. That could prevent him from being a contented, devoted, and fully present partner. “When your boyfriend compares you to his ex, it could reveal that he is not over his [past relationship], and not ready to commit to a relationship with you,” says Tufvesson and Lewis.

When decoding the meaning behind the comments, it’s important to pay attention to the frequency. The occasional comment may be harmless, although annoying. However, the more they occur, the more they pose a problem for your relationship. “Too many comparisons, whether posing you favorably or unfavorably, become too much if they’re done too often in either direction,” says Tufvesson and Lewis.

But no matter how often they occur, references to your boyfriend’s ex send one strong and clear message, according to Tufvesson and Lewis. “In either scenario, it suggests he isn’t over her.” He should resolve to fully move on from his prior relationship. And if he can’t stop living in the past, it may be best to go your separate ways and focus on a future with someone else.


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