The Crazy Reason You’re REALLY Staying Friends With Your Ex!


I recently read a shocking headline that read “Being Friends with an Ex” could mean you have psychopathic tendencies. Wait what? Naturally, I had to look twice. So apparently, according to a recent study out of Oakland University, people only stay friends with exes for sexual and darker motivations rather than to pursue real lasting friendships. They concluded that staying friends after a breakup permits the exchange of resources and that’s why people do it. What they said was that if you stay friends with your ex, it is typically in order to “exchange desirable resources (e.g., love, status, information, money, sex) after romantic relationship dissolution“. Men, in general, valued the sexual aspect more than women, while women valued sentimental aspects somewhat more than men. Not such a big deal, right?

Well, the researchers also found that the underlying reasons were more related to narcissistic, selfish reasons, rather than mutually beneficial ones. It’s more about “what’s in it for me” and “what tangible things will I lose if I lose them”. This is quite dangerous because the other person ends up being used. It hurts their pride to completely let go, they want the best of both worlds and, as a result, end up stringing an ex or an undesirable partner along just for their own selfish reasons. People like this, researchers said, “may stay connected to [exes in order to] have access to valuable resources. They also have inside information about their exes vulnerabilities and weaknesses that they can exploit and manipulate which gives them a sense of power and control.” Now take a long hard look at yourself if you’re having a hard time really letting go of someone. Does any of this ring true for you and your motivations for holding on?

The Crazy Reason You’re REALLY Staying Friends With Your Ex!

What this study really demonstrates is that people use other people for their own purposes. No big revelation there! But, what I also see here is why people refuse to let go of toxic situations as well. I’ve always maintained that holding on to negative situationships is all about pride and ego, and, as this study proved, narcissism. Sometimes it’s for malicious reasons, other times it’s just about having a hard time letting go when it also means you will be letting go of something that means more to you than the relationship – sex, status, emotional attachments, social circle – or whatever else you deem is important. Like with everything else, I first start by looking at myself, I know I’ve held on way too long to certain people because I was afraid of losing something I was enjoying from them, even though they were toxic for my life. Now I certainly know better and have grown away from things like that, but, looking back, although I never manipulated or took advantage of an ex’s weaknesses, I was certainly guilty of many of the things they were referring to like holding on for my own purposes rather than letting go. I’ve also been on the receiving end of this as well.

Many people who contact me desperate to hold on to someone who really doesn’t want them are in similar situations. They refuse to let go and move on to greener pastures for whatever reasons. Their ego and pride make them see this person in a different light that isn’t realistic at all. They feel they can’t live without the other person and are desperate to hold on despite their misery. Why? Because whatever “thing” they are getting out of this situations is feeding a need they have. Perhaps it’s to be loved or wanted, or perhaps a sexual need, or even an emotional need. Whatever the case may be, they are making a toxic situation even more toxic by holding on.

Although this study is great food for thought, this certainly doesn’t mean you can’t be friends with an ex, nor that you’re a psychopath if you are, but you really need to know what your motivations behind it are and if it’s truly a mutually beneficial arrangement AND if it’s only going to hurt you more to keep them around. Remember, an ex is an ex for a reason, there was something not compatible between you and the relationship you had was not good so it’s over. Let go and move on. Plain. Simple.

READERS: Have you had trouble letting go of an ex or a current situation for selfish reasons? Have you been used by an ex? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Your Sister in Dating Bliss,

Single Dating Diva

Copyright Single Dating Diva


  1. Interesting study. I agree with you the fact if you are friend with your ex doesn’t make you necessarily a psycho. However, I noticed some people remain friends with ex’s not only for post break-up sex, but being involved with someone who knew you well, your weakness, your values, up’s and down’s is someone some people miss it. But if you want to be friend with an ex who has being the champion in toxicity, conjugal violence or manipulation, then you got a problem. Awareness is the key. Not everybody is ready to turn the page, it’s a process, a personal process that can take 1 hour or 1 year. The idea of loving, opening up to someone is a learning process, sometimes beautiful sometime painful depending HOW you want to develop it. People recreate family toxic relationships with their ex’s, nothing new about it, not rocket science to discover there is a pattern on it. BUT, that opening let us grow emotionally. As a colleague of mine said to me after being rejected by someone ” the idea is to open and to try, even if it hurts, you learn”. We must try to learn to do things differently to obtain diffent results, hopefully positive ones!


  2. I disagree with this. I think in SOME cases people stay friends because one (or both)has ulterior motives (usually one wants to get back together). Other times it’s more than that. I had a fantastic boyfriend and when we broke up we stayed friends. We broke up because we had several differences that we knew couldn’t work. I even helped him write his resume and helped him find a job. Strangely, I was looking at my Facebook friends and saw he unfriended me. It was strange but I assume because now he’s married and has two kids he doesn’t want to talk to me. Maybe his wife was jealous because he always told me I was the one. That’s what I assume.

    Now I have another ex who I am Facebook friends with and I know it’s because he wants me back. He’s since been married a few times (3-4)and has 4 kids and in between marriages/relationships he tries to get back with me. He’ll often make snide comments about me saying I can’t do better than him. The funny thing is I broke up with him over 25 years ago because I could do better. He was 21 and still in school, had to serve a jail term every weekend for stealing a car etc. The kicker was I sent him money to come visit (he lived 5 hours away)and he spent the money on another woman. I dumped him and to this day regrets this happening. I don’t, I moved on. Through the years he would periodically call me and a few times stopped by my house trying to convince me and upset when I always said no.

    I am generally on good terms with most of my exes and while we don’t stay in touch, most live not far from me so we run into each other from time to time and chat. A few have tried to get back with me but I always say no.

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  3. My fiancé is friends with a lot of her exes and it does bother me but I don’t know what to do I’m in love with this woman and I want to marry her And I guess yes I’m confused and it hurts sometimes and now that I read this I’m even more confused and worried

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