How do you know if someone’s really over their ex?

Sometimes you meet a person who ticks all your boxes, but they also haven’t 100% gotten over the heartbreak of their last relationship. Of course, the first questions you ask yourself are: “Is this a huge red flag? Does it mean they are emotionally unavailable? Should I walk away?”

This is a really important topic in today’s video, and my answer to this probably isn’t what you’d expect. 

Give it a watch to find out the signs you can look out for to discern whether someone is truly a bad bet or if they have real potential.


“Should you date someone or continue to date someone who is still getting over an ex?”


This is a question I get asked a lot—people wondering: “Is there a certain amount of time I should leave it for? How do I know if someone is actually emotionally available?”

So we’re going to be talking today about the people who have real potential, and the people who make really bad bets for your time, your energy, and your emotions. I’m also going to tell you something that people in this position do that makes them incredibly appealing and even makes them appear to be emotionally available when, in fact, they are the exact opposite, so stay tuned for that.

Let’s deal first with the big misconception: Thinking that it’s about time—that if someone’s been broken up for six months or a year, that must be okay, but someone who is fresh out of a breakup is a bad person to invest in.

The reality is that there are people who have been broken up for a year who are still very much not over that person, and then there are people who have been broken up for three weeks who are completely done with that person.

There are also misconceptions about how the length of a relationship can affect things. We often associate long relationships with taking a long time to get over. But there are people who have been in stale relationships who leave after years and have a fine time moving on. There are other people who have only been dating someone for a month and are truly heartbroken for a long time afterward.

So time is very misleading and a bad thing to base your decision on when deciding to invest in someone like this. So if it’s not necessarily about time, either in the length of the relationship or how long they’ve been broken up for, how can we tell if we should continue with someone?

Firstly, how raw is the emotion for them? Do they still talk as if they’re in the middle of it, or do they have some distance from it at this stage—some clarity, some perspective? It’s not necessarily about time, it’s about emotional distance.

I’m not sure I subscribe to the very simplistic idea that someone has to be completely over the pain of their breakup in order to move on. There are different types of pain in a breakup. There’s the pain of longing for your ex and still wanting to be with them, and then there’s the pain of just having your heart broken. There’s the ego death of a breakup and just feeling like we weren’t wanted or we were discarded. In some cases, there’s a betrayal element to a breakup.

These things can take more time to work through even after we’ve decided that we never want that person back again. So I don’t believe that everyone gets through every ounce of their pain from a breakup before they successfully move on. I don’t think life is that simple. But I do think it’s important that the person you’re speaking to and dating has some emotional distance to where they actually have some perspective, some clarity. They’re able to see things clearly. They are not just mired in pain, unable to see the light.

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The second thing to look for is whether this person is actually serious about moving forward with their life. How do you tell if someone is serious? Well, for one thing, they don’t talk just about their pain, and how hard it was, and how much they still think about their ex—just indulging the pain. They actually talk about the work that they’re doing, the growth that they’re doing, the ways they’re moving on with their life, that they want to find a relationship that’s more suitable. They show that they’re proactively moving forward instead of just talking about their pain.

And by the way, when you do have someone who is talking about the progress that they intend to make, it’s still incumbent on you to measure that progress very, very soberly—to look at it and go, “Is what they’re saying they’re doing lining up with them being able to make progress in our relationship? Is it lining up with them gradually starting to actually talk about this person less? Or is it still the main topic of conversation for them at any moment where they start to become vulnerable?” Are you seeing that progress?

The third thing to look for is whether what they’re telling you suggests that they are in any way protective over what they have with you—even if it’s early in dating. Look, how many of us on a first date are going on that date massively conscious of anything we could say that could turn someone off? When we want to find love, most of us go into dating having those fears of saying the wrong thing because we want it to work out, especially if we like someone. So if you’re on date three, or four, or 10 with someone, and they’re saying things about their ex that could jeopardize what they have with you, you have to ask yourself how serious they could possibly be about wanting things to continue with you, or caring if they don’t continue.

One of my clients said to me recently that a guy she’s seeing said to her, “If my ex were to change, I would get back with her.” This is not something you say when you care about screwing it up with someone—when you’re protective over something you have with someone. A good litmus test is you imagining not wanting to wreck it with the person you like, and saying the exact same thing to them. If you said it, would you be worried that it would screw up or scare away the person you’re dating? And if the answer is yes, then it probably means this person isn’t serious about it progressing with you—that they are simply using you as this sort of sponge that they can wring for comfort and emotional validation at a time when they need it.

Now, some of you are watching this, thinking, “Matt, it’s so clear that a guy like this is not emotionally available and would make a bad bet for a relationship.” But here’s the confusing part: When someone is in a lot of pain, they can become an open wound with us, and when they’re an open wound with us, and they cry on our shoulder, whether literally or metaphorically, when they open up to us, when they let us into their pain, it can create the illusion of massive connection. It can create the illusion of someone in some special way letting us into their inner world. It creates a kind of faux intimacy that we can take as a barometer for how strongly they must feel about us. We can take it personally in the best possible way: “Wow, look what they’re doing with me.”

That is a non sequitur. When someone is in that much pain, they are looking for a shoulder to cry on. They’re looking for someone who can be a salve for the really difficult emotions they’re going through. Don’t confuse being the person that was in their path with being the special target for all of these feelings and emotions in a way that means there must be progression after this. What’s more likely is that you will be used—you will become the collateral damage in this person’s search for comfort in a difficult time of their lives.

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We mustn’t confuse the presence of genuine emotion with intention. And by the way, it’s all too easy to be giving someone the girlfriend experience or the boyfriend experience at a time when they have just come out of a relationship, and they are looking to nominate someone for the role of giving them all of the things they’ve been used to in that relationship. They are used to regular phone calls from someone, they are used to someone checking in with them, they are used to having that kind of daily comfort, so they may be seeking that outside of a relationship. But that doesn’t mean that, ultimately, they’re going to be seeking a relationship with you. It just means they’re looking for those same familiar feelings and touchpoints that they were getting when they were in a relationship with that person.

We have to reverse the way we’re making these decisions. Instead of saying to ourselves, “I have so much chemistry, so much attraction, so much connection with this person. I just wish that they were available. Maybe I’ll keep going until they become available.” We have to flip it. We have to stop treating availability like it’s a luxury item—instead saying, “The essential with anyone I date is that they are available—physically and emotionally. If they are not, it doesn’t matter how much connection, chemistry, and attraction I have for this person. It’s utterly irrelevant.”

Now, you may even find that you get more attracted on some level (if you’re honest with yourself), when you discover that someone is not available. And if that’s you, that is a video for another time, because that’s a much deeper subject and deeper work that we have to do together. But we’ll talk about that in upcoming videos. What I will say for now is this:

If you want this person’s attraction and commitment, you walking away is actually your best chance at getting it. Because when someone tells you they’re not ready, indirectly or directly, and you stick around anyway, they’re much more likely to lose respect for you because they realize you don’t take yourself seriously by what you’re putting up with with them.

If you walk away, if you say to someone, “Hey, I like you, but, clearly, you’re not over this person, and I can’t be around someone and invest in someone—my good time and energy—in someone who’s not actually ready or isn’t over their ex,” and then you walk away, that person is going to have respect for you. And that respect can be the basis for a different level of attraction. So if they do come back—and they’ll be more likely to come back if you do this—if they do come back, they’re also going to bring you a higher standard because they realize that having a low standard with you is what lost you last time.

So even if you need to speak to the short-term-ist part of your brain that is seeking that connection right now with this person, then I promise you that respecting yourself and walking away is still the best route to getting what you’re looking for. And in upcoming videos, I look forward to helping you also do the deeper work that means you won’t even be trying to get a person like this in the first place.

Thank you so much for watching. I appreciate you and I’ll see you next week.

The post If You Hear THIS, You’re About to Get Your Heart Broken appeared first on Get The Guy.

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