Your girlfriend is still in a relationship with you, but you’ve got the feeling she’s already lining up her next love interest – this is known as monkey branching and it’s more common than you’d think.
Not only is it morally wrong, but some people even consider it to be cheating. In this article, I’ll share 15 ways to tell she’s monkey branching you so you can decide what to do next.
1) She’s always on her phone
This shouldn’t come as a surprise – she’s planning her next relationship and the easiest way to do it is through technology.
But nowadays, everyone seems to be attached to their phones more than ever, so how can you tell she’s monkey branching and not just scrolling through Pinterest?
Well, the most obvious sign is that she’ll be secretive about it.
She’ll always keep her phone locked, sometimes even placing it face down so you can’t see any notifications that come through.
Also, she’ll use her phone late at night or even take it to the bathroom so she can message her potential love interests – unhygienic but private all the same.
2) She accuses you of cheating or flirting
Has your girlfriend started acting suspicious of you even though you’ve got nothing to hide?
Does she accuse you of flirting or chatting to other girls behind her back?
The chances are, she’s projecting her guilt and shame onto you. Especially if you know you’ve given her no reason to doubt you.
Another thing would be if you’re quite the flirt or if you have cheated on her in the past.
Her accusations would have some basis, no matter how untrue or unfair they are.
But, if these rants come out of nowhere it’s probably her guilty conscience shining through.
You see, by projecting her feelings onto you, she relieves her guilt slightly. She almost convinces herself that you’re up to no good, so she doesn’t have to feel so bad about her actions.
3) She’s had (lots) of past relationships
The truth is:
There’s nothing wrong with having had past relationships – whether it’s a lot or just a few.
Each to their own, right?
But the main issue is when they’ve been one after another, continuously.
This is a major sign she’s monkey branching. She’s gone from boyfriend to boyfriend, never giving herself a break or time to be single in between.
What this shows is that she can’t be alone.
She needs attention at all times. Once she’s got it, she’s onto the next guy who shows interest.
Does she do this to hurt the guys she’s with? To hurt you?
The chances are, she knows it’s wrong but she can’t stop herself. She might even try to resist jumping from guy to guy, but every time she feels that familiar pull to get into a new relationship, she can’t resist it.
4) She’s highly insecure
The true reason why people monkey branch is not because they’re terrible people (although in some cases they can be). It’s usually because of a deeper issue, such as low self-esteem and insecurities.
Deep down, she lacks confidence and worries about how she’s perceived by others. This makes her seek validation, even from people she doesn’t know well.
As a result, she probably has poor boundaries.
You might notice the following in her personality:
- She’s highly critical of herself or tries to be a perfectionist
- She often makes bad decisions, especially in her love life
- She acts confident and self-assured but it’s clearly put on and overdone
- She might act defensive or jealous depending on the situation
Now, many people suffer from insecurity and lack of self-esteem. Does that mean they are all monkey branching?
No, not necessarily. But if you resonate with a few of the signs listed today in addition to insecurity, there’s a good chance she’s monkey branching you.
5) She still has dating apps
Normally, once you’re in a committed relationship, it’s time to say goodbye to dating apps.
After all, what on earth do you need them for if you’re content and settled with your SO?
You might be wondering the same thing when you discover Tinder, Plenty of Fish, or any of the other popular dating apps on her phone.
There’s no doubt she’ll make up an excuse, “Oh, I forgot to delete them”…or, “Don’t worry, I never check them anyway, I’m pretty sure my profile is inactive”.
But the truth is:
Deleting an app takes 3 seconds. So if she’s unwilling to do it, the first thought that comes to mind is monkey branching.
It makes sense – she needs a backup plan for when she moves on from this relationship.
And the easiest and fastest way to meet someone new is online. She has access to all the bachelors in a 50-mile radius, so there’s no shortage of options.
Something else to take into consideration is her social media.
If she never posts pictures of the two of you together or is still publicly “single” online, it’s a cause for concern.
She’s not being open about you guys being together, and her secrecy could suggest that she doesn’t want her current relationship holding her back from her next one.
6) She seems to have less time for you than before
In the beginning, I bet everything went unimaginably well.
You went on dates, she was always keen to hang out; it felt like she couldn’t get enough
But as time has gone on, you’ve noticed a change in her behavior towards you.
She’s less affectionate. She isn’t free to chill out as much as before. She might even act a bit cold or distant with you.
This is the “thrill” of the relationship wearing off. And if she’s already started her hunt for the next victim (just kidding, the next guy) she’ll have less time for you.
Think of it as a kid with a new toy. They’re obsessed with it when they first get it.
But after a day or two, if you give them something new to play with, they’ll likely ditch the old one and the new toy will become their favorite.
That’s pretty much what happens in monkey branching.
Now, there’s the chance she has less time for you because:
- She’s spending more time trying to find someone new to get to know
- She’s already found someone and is laying the groundwork for her next relationship
There’s no doubt this leaves you feeling rejected and unwanted. Even more so because she won’t come clean and explain the change in her actions.
7) She’s flirty with other guys (even in front of you)
Another sign that she’s monkey branching you is if you catch her openly flirting with other guys.
Even if she doesn’t verbally make it obvious, you may see her exchanging eye contact with guys when you’re out and generally appearing concerned over her appearance more than usual.
That’s because once she’s set on finding a new branch to jump onto, she’ll be on the lookout for her next potential partner.
When you confront her about it, she’ll either accuse you of doing the same (because she’s projecting) or she’ll gaslight you (coming up next).
This can cause a ton of problems in your relationship. For one, no one wants to see their partner openly flirt with others.
And secondly, it can make you question her commitment and loyalty. Not to mention, it’s pretty disrespectful to do it behind your back, let alone in front of your face.
8) She gaslights you when you call her out on it
Gaslighting is when your girlfriend makes you think you’re being crazy or paranoid for thinking she’s up to no good.
A typical scenario will go something like this:
You ask, “Were you checking out that guy earlier at the bar?”
She replies, “What the hell is wrong with you? You just make stuff up out of nowhere. Stop imagining things and get a grip on yourself!”
Even though you saw it with your own two eyes, and you know you aren’t imagining it or being paranoid, she’ll keep going on until you finally give up.
In some cases, you might even start to believe what she’s saying. You tell yourself you’re overthinking things, maybe you did imagine the whole thing.
This is a form of psychological abuse.
And it’s dangerous.
It’s one thing to stick around with someone who you only suspect of monkey branching (until you get to the truth) but to stay with someone who gaslights you will harm your mental health.
Over time, you can end up distrusting yourself. Your self-esteem weakens. Some people develop anxiety or even depression. It’s not something to take lightly, and it’s clear a sign of a toxic relationship.
9) She makes a lot of plans without you
It’s normal in a relationship to have time apart.
Spending time with friends and family, getting stuck into your hobbies, whatever it is, it’s healthy to have time away from your partner.
But, what if that starts to become a regular occurrence?
Before, your girlfriend would have dedicated plenty of time to spend with you, and also time to do her own thing. But now she never seems to want you around.
She always seems to make plans with the girls, just as an excuse to not have to include you.
It’s not rocket science, even if she’s not monkey branching you, something is going on that she doesn’t want you to be a part of.
10) She acts shady about her whereabouts
That leads me nicely onto this point – she’ll act evasively whenever you ask her where she’s been.
If you press her on the subject, she might lash out defensively and try to accuse you of being controlling or nosy.
And of course, she has the right to go out wherever she wants without telling you her every move.
But in a serious, respectful relationship, there wouldn’t be a need to keep these things a secret – unless she’s got something to hide.
Once or twice you can let this slide, maybe she’s just not in the mood to share. But if it becomes a regular occurrence, it’s a major red flag that she’s monkey branching you.
11) She doesn’t commit to future plans
Another sign that she’s got her sights elsewhere is that she’ll become hesitant to make plans with you.
In the past, she’d love planning a trip for the following year or keeping the weekend free to go out together.
But now, she acts like she’s unsure of her plans. She might even say that she’s busy and can’t commit. She may just avoid the conversation of making plans altogether.
Why is she doing this?
Well, she’s “winding down” the relationship.
If she’s already got her next boyfriend lined up, she won’t want to keep investing in this relationship. And she won’t make plans with you when she doesn’t know how much longer you’ll be together.
This can seem particularly cruel (and it is) because while you’re still daydreaming of a future together, she’s already daydreaming about another guy.
But instead of coming clean and sparing you further heartbreak, she’ll likely keep going until she’s ready to leap from your relationship into the next.
12) She lacks a strong moral compass
Earlier, I mentioned that some of the reasons people monkey branch is because they lack self-esteem, they are insecure, and they don’t do it to hurt you purposely.
But, in some cases, it could just be that they don’t have strong morals. And they don’t care about you or your feelings.
The good thing is, this will have become clear throughout your relationship.
That’s because it’s unusual for someone to have strong morals in all areas of their life, but not when it comes to their relationships.
You might have noticed that she:
- Doesn’t take responsibility for herself
- Is often dishonest without giving it a second thought
- Lacks respect for others i.e friends or family
- Thinks more about herself and her benefits than the right thing to do
Now, if you’re dating someone who ticks all those boxes, you’re already in for a turbulent relationship. Add in all the other signs, and you’ve got yourself a monkey brancher.
Think about it this way:
Even if she treats you like a king, but is inconsiderate to everyone else, don’t you think there’s a time when she’ll treat you the same way?
13) You guys got into a relationship pretty quick
Serial monkey branchers move fast.
They don’t spend time building up a solid foundation in their relationships – they want validation, love, and affection straight up.
It’s not uncommon for them to get intense straight after the first date, act as your girlfriend, and even rush for you guys to become committed to each other.
This is because while she craves all those things, all the perks of the relationship, she doesn’t know/want to invest the time into building it over time.
Because as quickly as she develops feelings for someone, she’ll fall out of love and be ready to get into the next love adventure.
Note – sometimes relationships do move fast, especially if there’s a lot of attraction and connection. And that’s okay.
But if you noticed that she was unusually trusting or lovey-dovey with you from the get-go, it might be a sign of codependency. This can stem from her being insecure.
14) She puts off meeting your loved ones
If she doesn’t want to meet your friends or family, you’ve got good reason to be worried.
When a girl is completely invested in a relationship, there’s no better feeling than finally meeting the most important people to her boyfriend.
It’s a big deal. Their opinion has an influence and even though it’s nerve-wracking, it’s worth it to get in their good books and take the relationship to the next level.
So what does it mean if she doesn’t want to meet them?
Her delaying of the big meet-up is a way of stopping the relationship from becoming “too serious”.
Even if she acts as if she loves you and you’re the one for her, any concrete development in the relationship scares her off.
If she becomes great friends with your pals, or your mom falls in love with her, it’ll only make her life harder when she ends things.
Of course, there may be genuine nerves involved in which case a simple conversation with her should sort it out. But if she’s adamant she won’t meet them, there’s the possibility she’s monkey branching you.
15) She starts to lose interest in you and the relationship
And finally, one of the most obvious signs that a girl is monkey branching you is when she noticeably loses interest in the relationship.
When you have arguments, she doesn’t even join in, she just gives up and says what you want to hear.
When you want to do something fun together, she shows no enthusiasm. She might even make you feel like you’re annoying her.
She won’t ask about your day. She’ll stop calling to see how you are. And your sex life? She’ll have every excuse in the book as to why she’s not in the mood.
This all happens when she’s secured her next branch to jump to. She’s wrapping things up with you, and her focus has already moved on.
The kind thing to do when ending a relationship is to act with respect, even if all the positive feelings have gone.
But when someone has their sights on their next relationship before you’ve even broken up, they’re hardly thinking about your feelings.
So, is she monkey branching you?
By now, you should be able to figure out if your girl is monkey branching you. If it turns out she is, it’s understandable to feel betrayed and hurt.
You might also wonder how you didn’t pick up these signs before. Some of them are glaringly obvious, right?
Don’t beat yourself up over it. When you fall in love, genuinely in love, it’s natural to overlook a person’s flaws.
Even if you were aware that she jumps from relationship to relationship, it’s normal to think that with you it’ll be different. That your connection will snap her out of this habit.
And unfortunately, some of these signs only come out with time. When you’re already up to your heart in the relationship and you don’t want to face the reality.
But if you’ve realized she is monkey branching you, it’s a good idea to confront her about it.
If she owns up, talk to her about her actions. Help her understand how this is harming herself and the guys she dates. Whether you decide to stay with her or not, it might stop this cycle of hurtful behavior.
And if she doesn’t own up to it?
You’ve got to make the call to walk away.
Don’t be someone’s pastime until they find someone else who catches their eye.
Don’t stay in a relationship where you’re constantly unsure of your partner’s behaviors and thoughts.
You could end up losing your confidence and trust in others, let alone an even worse heartbreak if you let the relationship develop further.
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