Bringing up exes early on- Sign of insecurity?

I started talking to this guy online a few months ago and we finally met for the first time last week. We've been on three dates so far with a fourth coming up next week. When we chatted online, he brought up his ex and another girl he dated at different points into our conversations. I didn't mind.. but thought it was kind of weird that both have the same career choice as me (I figured... okay, so I guess he just has a "type" or something). I didn't respond because I didn't want to talk about my past relationships yet, and we changed the subject.

Neither of us are particularly talkative or socially savvy, but toward the end of our first date, he smiled and brought up a weird story about his ex- but quickly pointed out that she was married now and they were friends. I just smiled and nodded, and he switched the conversation. Second date, he brought up the same girl he mentioned to me online, but this time added that it didn't work because she was "too demanding". I didn't say anything and just nodded that I understood. Third date, there was no mention of them and he made plans for a fourth date next week.

I mean, it's one thing to have the "ex talk" at some point and I'm glad he feels comfortable enough to talk with me about them some, but... hmm. He mostly just did it in passing or during a long pause in conversation. Is he even aware of what he's doing or is he just insecure?


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Most Helpful Girl

  • It could be a sign of insecurity or it could be a way of trying to show more of himself to you. If he was constantly bashing his exes or talking about them more frequently I would be more concerned. I feel that past relationships could provide insight for the new person in my life. Where I've been, and kind of like a preview of how I can be in a relationship. I give you props for how you reacted about it though. It was very mature to listen but stay quiet, sort of like showing it wasn't a topic you enjoyed hearing about without being blunt or hurtful. It had a lot of tact, and by the looks of it considering there was no mention on the third date, he may have gotten the message. If it continues I would politely say something like "I'm happy you're comfortable enough with me to talk about your past, but I get quiet and don't provide much feed back on the matters because I feel it's just a little too soon for me to share about my exes with you"

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    • Very well said- and thank you. He isn't bashing them, just briefly brings them up on occasion. When he talked about his ex on our first date, it was a moment when he had finally relaxed a bit and was telling funny stories- one just happened to involve his ex. It initially caught me off guard, but I just smiled with him and remained attentive. The girl he mentioned on our second date at the aquarium happened to work with seals, so he brought her up when we got to the seal exhibit when there was a gap in conversation (it was interesting that he mentioned that "it didn't work out because she was too demanding" though- he stopped and looked me in the eyes when he said it). I mean, his relationships are part of his past and I don't expect him to forget about that. I want him to be comfortable and open with me- that's what it's all about. Next time he does mention them, should I reciprocate and very briefly mention my last relationship and how/ why it ended?

    • Maybe you should. But keep it brief. And only if you're comfortable doing so. It takes various amounts of time for different people. I think it also coorelates to how badly the relationship ended. "Things didn't work out, we were young, or they cheated" is far lighter than "they beat the shit out of me, or they poisoned my dog" from what I've read he seems like the shy intuitive/ quizzical type that can pick up on hints, although I am curious as to what he meant by demanding. There are so many ways to define that word.

    • Demanding.. yeah. I mean, from what I know of him so far, the guy is extremely independent, ambitious (he's getting his PhD), and not very expressive... he's definitely not a people-person, and likes his space. I mean, if he didn't make plans to see me at the end of every date and spend 3-5 hours with me each time, I'd really have no way to know he liked me- to what degree he does, I have no idea. We had no physical contact until the end of our third date (movies/restaurant) when in a burst of confidence, I initiated a quick/slightly awkward hug. He mumbled about how he "doesn't really do PDA", but when I texted him an apology in case I made him uncomfortable, he said it was alright and that he was just awkward. Next week he wants to take me to the museum and then the lab where he works to show me what he does, so maybe he is warming up to me a bit?

      I probably won't bring up my ex unless he brings up his again. How I go about that is another story.

What Guys Said 2

  • Absolutely it can be

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  • Sounds like it. Also sounds immature. He dated a married woman? if so that is a BIG red flag.

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    • No- they dated when they were 17 (he's 25). NOW she's married.

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    • Only if you want to, and it clarifies anything for him or you.

    • Absolutely- I wouldn't bring it up unless it was appropriate and definitely not with any ill intent. I just want him to know that I'm willing to be open with him about it and show that I have moved on. And thank you for your input- I really appreciate it.

What Girls Said 2

  • If you two are getting to know each other, bringing up exes without a reason isn't a good one. It might show a sign that he's still hung up on them or he has bad timing. But I think it he did it to tell you that something wrong happened in the relationships and what he doesn't want.

    For instance, he said his last girl was too demanding... so he doesn't want a demanding girlfriend. I don't think it's insecurity though.

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    • Yeah, I pretty much took that as a big hint.. one of his exes did cheat on him though. I'm not the demanding type though- I give him his space, but not sure what his definition of "demanding" is. I initiated a hug at the end of our third date (first physical contact so far) and he reciprocated, but muttered that he didn't do PDA. I apologized, but he said it was alright and that he was just awkward. I mean, during every date he makes plans to see me again and talks about other places he wants to go with me, but other than that he's very reserved.

    • Lol. Aww.

      All of the stories about his exes though, did they have something that he didn't like about them? I'm assuming one was about her cheating and of course the one about her being too demanding, but if they didn't have a point, he has an odd way of filling time... lol.

    • Yeah-when I saw him for the first time (we had chatted online for about a few months beforehand), I was driving through a parking lot and saw him walking around. I grinned and waved at him, and he sort of just stopped in his tracks and stared at me as I drove by without smiling. It was oddly endearing.

      He keeps me on my toes for sure, but maybe that's why I like him. He didn't go in-depth about them.. just would very briefly bring them up then find something else to talk about.

  • maybe he is just trying to figure out if you will do the same to him or not..

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    • That's what I'm wondering... But no, I certainly would not.

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