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
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