A lot of us for one reason or the other can’t help but to remain friends with our ex but science has come with an explanation that it may have to do with our personality.
While it is almost always difficult to step down from a relationship that was once romantic to one that is nothing more than a platonic one, the fact is some of us make it a point to remain in the lives of our exes.
A new research published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, has however sheds more light on the reasons why we can’t help but be tied to our past. A study conducted by Psychologists at Oakland University in Michigan asked participants to rank more than 150 potential explanations for why former lovers might choose to remain as friends.
The authors of the study were able to identify seven main categories of reasons why people remained friends with their exes:
Continued Romantic Attraction,
The researchers found some of the study participants make statements like “I still had feelings for them” and “I still felt jealous after the relationship”;
Some of the participants found a somewhat useful social connection and with the fact that that their exes have a lot of money which they found useful and too tempting to let go of;
Social Relationship Maintenance,
This spoke of people that found it difficult to let go of their ex and would rather have them as friends as a means of preventing awkwardness in their friend group or social circle;
Perhaps because the sex was the bomb with the ex, the research found that some of the participants kept on being friends with their ex, including the fact that they could get a hook-up buddy anytime they felt like without any complication;
Children And Shared Resources,
Shared resources and responsibilities such as children, property or debts which facilitated regular interaction and connections which made friendship paramount after the end of the relationship;
Reduced Romantic Feelings,
when the romantic feeling between both partners are reduced, the study found a high tendency of the participants transiting to just friends;
And lastly, some partners could not help but stay friends with their exes because they found them to be great listeners or people that completely supported their goals.
The study found that the participants ranked sentimental reasons as the most important reason for keeping their friendship alive. Pragmatic motives on the other hand was concluded as a move designed to use the ex for anything from free rides to home repairs as the least most important reason.
Furthermore, the researchers found that participants that exhibited similar personalities tended to value similar reasons for pursuing post-relationship friendships.
For instance, the researchers found that men and women who were found to be extroverts were more likely to express interest in a “friends with benefits” scenario, while partners that were more agreeable tend to value sentimental reasons for maintaining a bond with a former flame.
Moreover, participants that had were found to have darker personality traits associated with hostile or manipulative behaviours were found to be more likely to stay in contact with an ex for pragmatic reasons such as financial support, social connections, and potential hook-ups.
What this suggests is that some people tend to maintain friendship after a break-up for reasons that are selfish, untoward and shouldn’t be expected from a friendly ex.
Lastly, if you’re keen about maintaining friendship with your ex for a particular reason doesn’t necessarily mean that such reasons serves the same purpose for the other person. Pairings that have fundamentally different reasons for remaining friends may result in hardship than happiness afterwards.