The topic of being friends with an ex often comes up in friendship groups.

Many believe it’s the worst idea ever versus those who think it’s nice to be civil to each other.

It can be hard to let go and so staying friends without sex can be a comfort. You can hang out, talk on the phone, go to the cinema, but without all the drama of a relationship…but is this a good idea?

A scientific study has found that only people with dark personalities, such as those who are disagreeable, manipulative and exploitative, are the most likely to remain friends with their ex-partners for practical and sexual reasons.

There were three hundred and fifty participants in the study and these people were asked to think of reasons to stay friends with an ex-partner. They took their responses and whittled them down to one hundred and fifty factors.

These were then divided further into categories such as reliability, sentimentality, and sexual access.

For example:

“They were a great listener” which would fall under reliability/sentimentality.

“We still had sex now and then” which would fall under sexual access.

The researchers of the study asked a different group of five hundred people to rate how important these one hundred and fifty reasons were to being friends with an ex. These five hundred participants were asked to take a personality test.

The results showed that those who had high results on dark personality traits were more likely to stay friends with an ex-partner for pragmatic reasons. They then found that those who scored low on the honesty and humility aspect of the personality test were more likely to stay friend with an ex-partner for sexual access.

These results correlate with studies in the past that have found that people who have dark personality traits do not value longer relationships, instead of value sex and short term relationships more. These people tend to be more manipulative and rate money and power.

There was also a difference between the genders, no surprise really. Male participants were much more likely to be drawn towards pragmatic factors and sexual access for being friends with an ex compared to female participants.

The thing to take away from this study is not that if you are friends with your ex-partner, there is something significantly wrong with you or your ex-partner. As if the relationship ended amicably and you both are happy remaining friends then that is a healthy response to a breakup.



The insight from this study comes when you notice your ex only gets in touch or shows an interest when they have no money, have just broken up with someone or are showing an interest in one of your friends.

If you do notice that your ex is displaying these kinds of personality traits, it might be wise to spend less time with them and perhaps even think about cutting them out of your life entirely.

Holly Walden

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This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Avatar
    رواء سلطان

    I don’t accept being friends with an ex

    1. Avatar
      Life Advancer

      If you both agreed that you don’t want to be together any more, and nothing serious happened between you two? Then I guess there is no reason for not being friends. Of course she/he will not be one of your best friends…. but… 😉

  2. Avatar
    Katelyn Stoesz

    If you were good friends before you got together then yes the friendship could continue if it ended good.

  3. Avatar
    Nathan Hafner

    What if you have children together? Isn’t it better to stay amicable for the child’s well being??

    1. Avatar
      Ramona Burns

      My point exactly. The study results referred to in this article do not seem to take into account relationships that involves children.

  4. Avatar
    Ramona Burns

    This is just stupid I am still friends with my ex-husband because we have children together. It’s in the best interest of our children for us to remain on a friendly basis. If I cut him out of my life entirely how would that benefit my children? Plus he is one of my best friends and he helps me when I have no one else to turn to. Your article does not account for relationships where children are involved.

  5. Avatar
    Jillian lacroix

    I agree with Ramona there is nothing wrong with it being civil with your ex.I benefited by my parents being friends. And by you insinuating that my Parents have dark personalizes. That’s not aways true!

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