I’ve been in my share situations when it comes to dating.  However, aside from unavailable men, the one that seems to keep rearing its ugly little head is the situation of the ex.  In these cases I can’t even reminisce on Mya’s “Case of the Ex (Whatcha Gonna Do)”.  At least in that song the ex-girlfriend poses a threat by trying to get the man back.  In my experiences the guy’s ex-girlfriend doesn’t seem to come around or knowingly cause an issue.  The concern is that HE is still emotionally attached to her.  I’ve noticed that this emotional attachment usually comes off as anger or hurt. Likewise, if he’s not attached he uses his ex to manipulate the situation to where the outcome best suits him. Either way, I usually don’t find out about the attachment until further down the line when my forced choice to move on is, by then, an unpleasant one.

Someone who is emotionally attached/emotionally unavailable gets overly sensitive about his or her ex.  The attached party expresses emotions of utter sadness or piss-tivity.  Case in point, two of my previous experiences include, after being intimate with a guy I’d been exclusively dating, he began weeping about an ex and asked me to hold him; or, during an ex venting session from the scarred party found out that he was still paying his ex’s, whom he had been broken up with for five years, car insurance while dating me.  Clearly neither party was over his ex.

Then you have those who play on the emotions of the other party.  It appears their ex wronged them by cheating on them or in extreme cases beating them (I have an ex who was beaten by his ex-wife). Every time we would discuss/ debate/ argue he used his ex to justify his actions.  He would say “well I do this because in my last relationship, my ex would…” fill in the blank.  Apparently, the ex did everything from infringe on his goals to drink too much.  (But he still allowed her to come visit the cats. Ha!)

Another told me that he did everything for his ex, and since I was so independent he was happy he didn’t have to do those same things for me.  Wait… what?!?  Who even thinks saying that to someone is the appropriate response to have to anything?  Now let’s just say this one didn’t realize the impact of what he casually blurted.  My first thought led me to believe he was just not that into me. On the other hand, it was also possible that due to his past, he may just have been incapable of being who he was in his last relationship or giving what he once did.

Naturally, women are supportive beings.  Some may want to prove to the guy that they are the total opposite of what he experienced in the pass (I’ve been this woman).  Men do the same- they want to show the woman they are more of a man than the last bum/lose/scrub/F**kboy that she has dated (that’s if he’s really that into her).  We feel as though if we show them all of the sides of us that aren’t parallel to what he or she has experienced in the past, we will win him or her over.

That line of thinking is by far WRONG! I’ve learned we have to be careful of giving too much of ourselves and being overly available.  By doing so, we give the opposite party a chance to sit back and coast.  This takes any responsibility from the party that is so tied in their previous relationship.

I said all of this to say know the signs of someone who is still emotionally attached to an ex or using their past to manipulate their current situation (and who knows if it’s not partially or all fabricated for that matter).

If they are angry at them, they use any opportunity to complain about them, they cry on your shoulder over them, or basically any other strong feeling that he or she may have towards their ex (feels that they most likely play down)- love, hurt, disappointment, blame- they are still struggling with the emotions from a past relationship and are still very much attached to that ex.

I would simply suggest walking away.  However, all too many times we want to stick it out in hopes that they will see the light and all the effort that we put into showing them that we are so different from what they are used to. Many times this does more harm to ourselves than it does good. The reason for being is that in the end, you were a bridge to get the wounded/ attached party over to the side of healing and un-attachment. Then there is always the chance that they will go back to the one that they are so attached to leaving you to become your own project by picking up the pieces of you and putting them back together again.

Just make sure at the end of the day make sure you keep a level head, manage your emotions appropriately and stay true to yourself!