The Piece About The Kind Of People Who Love to Stay Friends with Their Exes

The Piece About The Kind Of People Who Love to Stay Friends with Their Exes

Originally published on broadly.vice.com

For anyone who has ever wondered what kind of psychopath stays friends with their ex, a new study has sought to uncover why people with “dark personality traits” (such as narcissism, duplicity, even psychopathy) maintain relationships after their expiration. For many people, staying friends with an ex is unthinkable. Even Psychology Today has urged the public not to befriend extinguished flames because: “they are less emotionally supportive, less helpful, less trusting, and less concerned about the other person’s happiness.”

In “Staying friends with an ex: Sex and dark personality traits predict motivations for post-relationship friendship,” Oakland University researchers Justin Mogilski and Lisa Welling asked 860 subjects to list the motivations for their involvement with their exes. According to the Daily Mail, the researchers also surveyed the subjects to determine who had dark personality traits. “Previous studies have shown that people who score highly for these traits are more likely to pick friends for strategic reasons, and prefer short-term relationships,” the Daily Mail reported. The researchers wanted to know if this were true for former lovers too.

To determine this, subjects were tasked to rate their reasons for maintaining relationships with their exes by importance. The highest importance ratings were given by those who felt their former relationships were “reliable, trustworthy, and of sentimental value.” But researchers also found that subjects who had “measures of dark personality” were more likely to maintain relationships with their exes for “practical and sexual reasons.”

In an interview with Broadly, the narcissism expert Dr. Tony Ferretti explained why people with dark personalities—particularly the narcissistic ones—would want to cuddle with the cold corpse of their dead relationship. “Narcissists hate to fail or lose, so they will do what they can to maintain some connection if they didn’t make the choice to end it,” Dr. Ferretti said. “They can experience narcissistic injury when rejected by a partner and have difficulties letting it go or healing from it.”

Romantic relationships are important to psychological health, Dr. Ferretti explained, adding that intimate bonds boast many benefits: “People who are in close, healthy relationships are typically more physically active, more socially connected, live longer, and are physically healthier,” he said, adding that partnered individuals are even less likely to smoke and tend to their overall health. “People who are in deep, close, healthy, and intimate relationships tend to be happier,” Dr. Ferretti said. With such a broad list of benefits, it’s no surprise that someone might want to keep a former partner close or to try to reclaim what they once shared together.

But for narcissists, there are other benefits to relationships, Dr. Ferretti explained, and other motivations to cling to one that has ended. For example, a narcissist may feel as if their social status or position is amplified because of their partner. This is why some egomaniacs acquire “trophy wives,” Dr. Ferretti said, adding that in the mind of the narcissist, a trophy wife is an improvement to their self-worth and confidence. “Narcissists have a tremendous amount of pride and can’t accept others being with their ex.”

Dr. Ferretti agrees with the findings in the study by Mogilski and Welling, stating that dark personality types are most interested in how relationships can be useful to them and that such people “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,” he said.

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22 Comments

    • Pink Panther
      May 13, 11:07 Reply

      Hehehehee!!! I take it you’re not buying the psychological marketware they are selling.

      • Keredim
        May 13, 11:10 Reply

        Utter bullshit!!!

        Lets not even start with the fact that the study may not be demographically representative..??

  1. pete
    May 13, 10:59 Reply

    I’m still friends with my ex. Even drove him & his family to a function recently. Do i have a dark personality?

    • Pink Panther
      May 13, 11:07 Reply

      Check yourself well,pete. You might be a serial killer in the making 😀

    • Keredim
      May 13, 11:08 Reply

      Yup as dark as your skin.

      According to the study, by driving your ex and his family to a function, you are ingratiating yourself to them. Perharps to boost your social status…

  2. Delle
    May 13, 11:15 Reply

    I don’t think trying to be in touch or maintain some kind of connection with an ex brands you a narcissist or psychopath. My ex and I are in a pretty good place, but not keeping tabs on each other anyway. It all depends on how the relationship was dissolved…amicably or violently.
    This whole post goes against what I used to think, quite scary.

  3. ambivalentone
    May 13, 11:29 Reply

    This is just about narcissists who like to keep in touch with exes. How about the others who like to keep in touch with exes?
    I personally find it creepy. If the relationship had not been defined and just sorta slipped into sex by mistake, friendship is cool. But ‘we-were-going-out’ kinda exes now friends kinda thing….awkward. Someone will catch feelings where someone has moved far ahead.

    • Tiercel
      May 13, 12:08 Reply

      Someone catching feelings kwa?
      I thought they’d have been there and done that,hence the tag exes.
      That kind feelings don’t come into friendship na

    • Delle
      May 13, 12:16 Reply

      Catching feelings when the other person has moved on doesn’t always happen. It’s healthy to keep your friendship with your ex especially if that was the basis of your relationship before it transcended into something more romantic. It depicts maturity.
      But this narcissistic, psychopathic thingy going on is just so fussy and over unnecessary biko.

  4. Santa Diaba
    May 13, 11:45 Reply

    Omg, Omg. It’s like this post was written because of me!
    I recently reconnected with an ex, the very first in fact, and I plan to use him for sex.
    However that one is still “boo-ing” and “bae-ing” me, and I am encouraging him just because of the penis.
    I guess I fit the bill for “dark personality” huh? ???

  5. bruno
    May 13, 11:54 Reply

    describes my ex accurately enough

  6. Richard Moore
    May 13, 12:23 Reply

    Hmmm…
    Maybe I should say it…
    Maybe I shouldn’t say it…
    Oh what the hell.

    *sipping Bailey’s in silence*

  7. Tiercel
    May 13, 12:43 Reply

    Well,Kere already called bull on the so-called study.Got nothing more to add

  8. JustJames
    May 13, 14:07 Reply

    I have some amicable relationship with my exes. But can’t call them my friends.. Except one.

    But “cuddle with the dead corpse of their relationship though”.. That came from a deep place.

  9. Mr. Big
    May 13, 18:10 Reply

    Oh dear….. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at this article

  10. Mitch
    May 14, 00:24 Reply

    This is a load of utter crap!

  11. Handle
    May 14, 10:25 Reply

    The study didn’t say remaining friends with your exes makes you a narcissist. 860 persons might not be the perfectly represent all demography but it is enough in this case.

    They re measured by the importance given to certain reasons for keeping exes. The highest were “reliability, trustworthy and sentimental value”. But on the other spectrum they found out that those who were measured high for dark personality traits were more likely to be friends with exes for ” practical and sexual reasons ”

    As you can see there are two kind of people that choose to remain friends with exes for different reasons. On one hand the ” normal” and on the other the “narcissist”.

  12. DI-NAVY
    May 14, 11:40 Reply

    I don’t find it comfortable being friends with my exes even though we won’t be enemies because of the douchebags I’ve had as exes. But when we bump into each other, we can exchange pleasantries. The two exes i had agreed to stay friends, one is seriously catching feelings like madt while the other one is still hung. I can’t deal. There’s always an atom of jealousy maybe because of how we broke up. I bailed on them, lol when they didn’t expect it.

    • Lyanna
      August 18, 19:59 Reply

      “I bailed on them, lol when they didn’t expect it”. Smh. Feeling proud as punch, aren’t you?

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