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When Your Girlfriend Won't Let Go of Her Ex: Understanding Avoidant Attachment

Updated: Apr 30, 2023

girlfriend thinking about her ex

If you're in a relationship and your girlfriend won't let go of her past relationships, you may be wondering what's going on. It can be frustrating to feel like you're competing with someone from your partner's past, but it's important to understand that this behavior is often a sign of avoidant attachment.

Understanding Avoidant Attachment

Attachment theory suggests that the way we form relationships in adulthood is influenced by the attachments we formed with our caregivers in childhood. Those with avoidant attachment tend to worry about their relationships and seek reassurance from their partners. They may feel avoidant when their partner is not available, and may become preoccupied with thoughts of the relationship.

For someone with avoidant attachment, holding onto past relationships can be a way to cope with feelings of insecurity. By keeping an ex in the picture, they may feel like they have a backup plan if the current relationship doesn't work out. It can also be a way to avoid facing the pain of a breakup and the uncertainty of starting something new.

Signs Your Girlfriend still think of her Ex in an unhealthy way

So, how can you tell if your girlfriend is still holding onto her past relationships? Here are some warning signs:

  • She frequently brings up her ex in conversation, even if it's not relevant to the topic at hand.

  • She compares you to her ex, either by pointing out ways in which you're similar or different.

  • She keeps mementos from past relationships, such as old letters or gifts.

  • She's still in contact with exes, whether through social media or in person.

  • She seems hesitant to fully commit to your relationship, even if you've been together for a while.

If you notice these signs, it's important to approach the situation with empathy and understanding. It's not uncommon for people to hold onto past relationships, and it doesn't necessarily mean that your girlfriend doesn't care about you.

Ways to Deal with Your Girlfriend's Attachment Style

If you want to help your girlfriend let go of her past relationships and move towards a more healthy attachment style, there are some things you can do:

  • Encourage her to go to therapy. A therapist can help her work through her attachment issues and develop new coping strategies.

  • Have an open and honest conversation about your concerns. Let her know how her behavior makes you feel, and try to understand where she's coming from.

  • Don't underestimate the power of alone time. It's important for both of you to have space to reflect and process your feelings.

  • Make a pact to focus on your current relationship. Agree to let go of the past and focus on building a strong foundation for your future together.

  • Work on building trust. If your girlfriend knows that you care about her and are committed to the relationship, she may feel more secure and less likely to hold onto her ex.

Take Our Attachment Style Quiz

If you're curious about your own attachment style, we invite you to take our attachment style quiz on our website. Our quiz will help you determine if you have an avoidant, avoidant, or secure attachment style, and provide you with tips on how to improve your relationships.

In conclusion, if your girlfriend won't let go of her ex, it's important to understand that this behavior is often a sign of avoidant attachment. By approaching the situation with empathy and understanding, and working together to build a stronger relationship, you can help your girlfriend let go of the past and embrace new possibilities for your future together.

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