People often brag about their ability to stay friends with their exes as though it demonstrates some kind of coveted personality trait that other people lack. Well, as it turns out, the habit of seamlessly transitioning from lovers to friends might not be all it’s cracked up to be.
A new study from Oakland University reveals that people who exhibit narcissistic and even psychopathic tendencies are the kind of people who stay friends with their exes. Researchers Lisa Welling and Justin Mogilski came to this conclusion by polling 861 people about the nature of their friendship with their former flames. The same people were then given a questionnaire that revealed “dark personality traits.”
What’s interesting is that most people who maintain relationships with their exes claim to do so with the best intentions, whether it be an unwillingness to relinquish a unique bond or a strong sense of trust. In reality, the relationship is actually maintained with strategic motives in mind, like “practicality and the chance of hooking up."
“Although a break-up nominally marks the end of a romantic relationship, the current research suggests that resource exchange between ex-partners can extend beyond relationship dissolution,” Welling and Mogilski write in their study. They also explain that post-relationship friendships usually exist because they “permit continued exchange of desirable resources.”
While the study does suggest some very sinister undertones when it comes to remaining friends with your ex, it doesn’t mean the practice should be abolished altogether. So the next time you find yourself eating cotton candy on the boardwalk with a former lover, just ask yourself Am I doing this for the right reasons?
Learn how not to end a relationship with the first season of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and let us know if you think staying friends with your ex is a good idea.