It’s a fact of life when you’re mature dating that you’re often going to be meeting singles eager for love who will have a dating past including the dreaded ‘ex’. Here are some tell tale signs which might mean that you date might not be quite over their ex:

1. They want TOO much TOO soon

When you first start dating someone, especially in the mature dating scene, if they instantly want to see you all the time and label you as a couple this could be a great sign (if you like them, obviously), but wanting too much very soon can also be a red light.

It could mean they simply know you’re special or, it could be a sign they are desperately trying to replace whatever they had with their ex. Even in mature dating, there is never any real hurry when you are first dating; dates should be fun, relaxed and about seeing where things go at their natural pace.

So if you find your new partner pushing for things to be too serious, too early, it might be that they either can’t bear to think about what they’re missing with their ex, or they can’t bear not to replace them with a new version (ie: you) asap. And living in someone’s shadow is never a very nice idea.

2. There’s lots of ‘we’

Getting to know someone’s history is a perfectly normal part of dating. Naturally, especially when mature dating, this history is always going to include an ex; an ex who inevitably went on holiday/ went to gigs/ visited museums/ liked so-and-so restaurant etc. all the way to existing family relationships.

There’s nothing wrong with the occasional mention of ‘when we were in Florida’, or ‘we went camping in Scotland’, however, if every single place, band, food or TV programme you mention brings back a ‘we’ style anecdote, you know your date probably isn’t quite ready to be an ‘I’ yet, let alone a new ‘we’.

3. There’s no ‘we’

While too many mentions of an ex can be a klaxon-style alarm bell, no mention at all can be equally as telling. Many singles senior dating will have had long, pivotal relationships which understandably make up an important part of their past. Perhaps the very thought of remembering anything about their ex brings them to tears, or perhaps it makes them so unbearably angry they can’t say their name without punching something – either one is still very much the ‘not over them yet’ stage.

You don’t need to know every detail about a new partner’s past relationships, but it is insightful and healthy to know the basics. If they can’t even share that, then you know something is up.

4. They always dictate your plans

Does your new partner always insist on going to a certain bar or a certain restaurant or certain park for a Sunday stroll? They might just be decisive and thoughtful enough to plan nice dates for you, but there is also the chance they are planning where you go because they; a) know where their ex is likely to be and don’t want to bump into them (which is perfectly normal behaviour), or b) know where their ex is likely to be and do want to bump into them.

This is all the more likely for singles over 50 who have come out of relationships with well established routines. Of course, if you live in a small-ish city or town, sometimes seeing a partner’s ex might be coincidence. But when this ‘accidental’ bumping keeps happening, there could be a little more at work than just chance.

5. Their friends are cagey

Often one of the hardest parts of a breakup is coming to an amiable status with the ex’s family and friends. Those of us on the older dating scene often have important relationships and bonds that will inevitably be more difficult to manage than our younger counterparts. Even so, if you meet a new partner’s inner circle and they particularly ‘off’, or if they make snide mentions of your partner’s ex, it might be a sign that they haven’t come to terms with the break-up yet.

It is not necessarily a deal-breaker, because of course your partner doesn’t automatically have the same feelings as their friends. But do perhaps at least take it as an alarm bell that things to do with the ex generally have not moved on as much as you might hope.

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