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For most people, contact with former partners, if they do not have common children or business, is limited to exchanging greetings or a short conversation, and then as a last resort. However, there are people who, after breaking up, are friends with an ex-girlfriend or boyfriend, which makes you want to ask them: "Why?" Doesn't this situation lead to trouble sooner or later?
The content of the article
- 1 Experimental conditions
- 2 Reliability, pragmatism or sex?
- 3 Dark sides of personality
Trying to find an answer to what might be the motivation for inter-sex friendship between ex-partners after the breakup of a romantic relationship, Justin K. Mogilskiy and Dr. Lisa L. M. Welling, Ph. D. in the Department of Psychology at the University of Auckland in the United States, analyzed the new research cycle. A detailed report and results of these studies are presented in the academic journal "Personality and Individual Differences" for September 2017.
Experimental conditions i
In the first phase of the study, 348 participants gave reasons why someone might be friends with an ex. This resulted in a long list of 2,000 items. Subjects of the second stage (513 people) assessed the importance of each of the reasons indicated by the first group. After that, the analysis revealed a rating of seven main categories that summarize similar motives for which people would like to remain friends after parting.
- Reliability and sentimentality. This category includes answers like this: “He (she) was an excellent listener (interlocutor)”; “I liked his (her) company” and others;
- Pragmatism, that is, the continuation of friendship dictated by practical considerations: "He bought me good gifts (food)"; “I was hoping to meet her friend”;
- Continuation of the romantic attraction: "I was still in love with her"; “I couldn't imagine my life without him”;
- Children or common resources: “We have common children”; "We work together"; “We have a common business”;
- Decreased romantic attraction: “Sexual interest has been lost, but communication continues to attract”; “After the breakup, negative feelings ceased to be present”;
- Maintaining social relationships: "To prevent awkwardness in the group of our mutual acquaintances"; “I wanted to stay with my friends, of which my former partner is a member”;
- Sexual Access: “Sex was good”; "Sex is the only thing we have in common."
The participants were then asked to rate these seven categories on a scale that identifies personality traits and varying degrees of deviation from psychological norms.
Reliability, pragmatism or sex? 2
The category including “sentimentality” or ex-partner qualities such as “reliable, trustworthy” received the highest ratings on the importance scale. The reasons that indicated that continuing the friendship was practical, that is, pragmatism, received the lowest scores.
Men rated pragmatism and reasons for sexual access much higher than women. In addition, high scores for personality traits such as antagonism, honesty-humility, and extraversion predicted importance ratings for pragmatism and sexual access. The results are fairly consistent with previous research and suggest that post-relationship friendship can provide an opportunity for ex-partners to exchange desired resources (status, information, money, sex).
Dark sides of personality3
The study also found that those who were more likely to stay on friendly terms with their “ex” for sex showed high levels of manipulativeness and deceit on the personality test. This is not surprising, as previous research also found that people who remain intimate with their ex are more likely to be sociopaths.
On the other hand, people who do not exhibit high levels of manipulative and deceitful behavior are more likely to remain friends because their “ex” was reliable and trustworthy, and also because of a sentimental attachment to him.
It may be a good idea to stay friends with your ex, and it all depends on your motivation. But, if you really want to end the relationship, move on and don't drag the past along with you - it's silly and also dangerous because someone (you, your ex or your current partner) could get traumatized.