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| Dating and Networking

03/02/15

Back in the fold: What to do when her `ex` shows up unexpectedly?

The phrase "X Marks The Spot" typically is associated with finding buried treasure or something so magical that you'd work hard and dig until you discover this coveted gem. Relationships seemingly have that same mantra; when you find someone you really connect with, you want to see it play out, work diligently to form that initial bond and exude optimism as it relates to where this might eventually go.
The "X" certainly can be associated with the aforementioned feelings, but there's another "X" that could prove to be difficult and equally pivotal in where this early in the relationship, only you have to add an "E" in front of that "X."
Yes, the ex boyfriend can be quite the variable for men who have met a woman and really enjoy spending time with them and are on the cusp of calling what they have with her a relationship, just in time for the deadbeat boyfriend to show up and proclaim his love for his ex.
You have to love the timing, right?
This hapless, lifeless guy rolls back into her life right around date number 3 or 4, as if he has the kind of radar that knows exactly when she is moving on and happy with someone else. The hard part for the new guy is having to be sort of the odd man out, even if you and the girl have been having a wonderful time together. Let's just say the ex boyfriend is total scum, treated her like a second class citizen and his idea of romance was a trip to the grocery store.

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Even with all that factored in, he has something you don't have with her: a history. He'll be able to call in the blink of an eye and conjure up emotions in her that you can't. Some of those memories inevitably will be bad, but you can't overestimate the "backslide," a woman going for a guy she knows well because it is perceived as easy and safe. You're the new guy, and that can be scary enough for a woman to resist the urge to proceed and be happy and return to the miserable existence she had with her ex boyfriend.
As the new guy, you're best bet is to calmly and rationally ignore the urge to totally pour your heart out and instead opt to take the high road. Tell her how much you've enjoyed getting to know her and that she has your number when she's ready. Walking away from something you feel is promising isn't easy, but being too available to someone who is in the midst of confusion is going to make her procrastinate on a decision that ultimately for her sake she needs to make.
The new guy has to rest on the impression you left with her and hope that is enough to make her see clearly enough to choose you. If that doesn't happen, you can't take it personally, mostly because you put yourself out there, had a few dates with her and had a tremendous amount of commonality with her.
You can't look at this as a win or loss endeavor but rather the notion that timing just wasn't on your side this time.

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