I Thought It Was A Good Thing That My Boyfriend Hated His Ex But It Was Actually A Red Flag

When we first started dating, I asked my new guy if he was still in touch with his ex and he assured me he definitely wasn’t. In fact, he hated her. This made me feel secure in our relationship because I took it as a sign that he’d shut the door to his past for good. Unfortunately, it proved more complicated than that.

  1. He was always putting her down. Sometimes he laughed about how crazy his ex-girlfriend was. This didn’t sit well with me. I couldn’t help but think, “What’s her side of the story?” Honestly, I also felt bad on her behalf because she was getting ragged like this but couldn’t defend herself. I’d never even met the woman, so how could I just believe all these awful things about her simply because he said them?
  2. He was with her for three years. And yet, he claimed he’d never felt any strong feelings for her. This took me by surprise and was a huge red flag. Why did he stay with her for so long, then?! He must’ve felt something for her, or was he completely heartless? He kept saying, “Nah, it wasn’t serious. She wasn’t my type.” I was completely baffled.
  3. Would he be like this if we broke up? I couldn’t help but wonder if he would cut me off so harshly if we ever broke up. Would he tell his new girlfriends what a crazy idiot I was and that he’d never loved me? Eek.
  4. I flipped when he mentioned his ex. I grew to hate hearing about her. Sometimes she came up in conversation and it was always the same negative stuff that he spoke about regarding her. It was too much. I started literally shutting down or changing the subject because it made me feel so uncomfortable.
  5. He compared me to her. His ex became the standard by which he measured other women, but not in a good way. He’d always say things like, “I’m so glad you don’t have your head in the clouds like my ex did” or “It’s so nice to meet a woman who isn’t a gold digger like my ex was.”
  6. She was still on his mind. The thing is, no matter how much he claimed to hate her, the point is that she was still on his mind to some extent. That was another thing I started to worry about. Could he still have feelings for her?
  7. The opposite of love isn’t hate. You know how they say that the opposite of love isn’t hate but indifference? Well, it’s true. If this guy still felt so strongly for his ex, couldn’t that be seen as passion?
  8. He was hiding something. At first, I stupidly believed that his ex was crazy. I stupidly felt good about myself when he told me how different I was from her. But then I started to see that he was actually the crazy one.
  9. He wasn’t a good boyfriend. The longer I dated him, the more I realized he wasn’t good boyfriend material. He had controlling tendencies and always tried to make himself seem like the perfect partner in the relationship. I wondered if his ex had had to suffer through these parts of his personality too. I was growing more and more understanding of her than before. I felt ashamed for laughing at his stories of her in the early days of our relationship.
  10. I’m more impressed by guys who don’t play the victim. Since dating that guy, I’ve realized how important it is to be with someone who doesn’t act as though their exes were all terrible people. Some honesty about the past is much appreciated and says a lot about who the person is and how they’ve grown. This guy hadn’t grown at all since his last relationship. He was such a man-child.
  11. I don’t want an ex-basher. I really don’t want to be with someone who bashes his ex. He cared about his ex at one point, so what’s his deal? Does it mean that as soon as he doesn’t need his exes anymore, he can completely write them off, as well as all the good times they must’ve shared. Otherwise, why would he have been with them for months or years? Come on! It’s so unfair for him to try to rewrite history to make himself look better.
  12. I refuse to date a woman-hater. Although my ex wasn’t really a woman-hater, I didn’t like how he treated his ex, who was a woman. It made me fear that he wasn’t just being unkind to her but hiding some secret woman-hating tendencies. This came up a few times, like when he’d compare me to his ex and add, “You’re so much better than other women.” That’s an insult, not a compliment, jackass.
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.