Sex Relationships

This is why you might want to stay friends with an ex

"Resource exchange" takes conscious uncoupling one step further, according to science

New research reveals the reasons why people stay friends with their exs

If you don't want to exile your ex, and consider a shift into the friend-zone a possibility, science has some solid reasons why choosing mate-ship might be right for you.

New research, published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, has revealed there are seven key reasons why people choose to stay friends with a former romantic partner.

The study found there were some obvious motivators such as still being attracted to the person, as well as still having some form of emotional attachment. And of course, just to make things a little more complex, there are notable differences between what men and women want.

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These are the key reasons researchers found as to why you might want to be friends with your ex after a breakup:

• Reliability / sentimentality
• Pragmatism or reasons involving money
• Continued romantic attraction
• Children and shared resources
• Diminished romantic attraction
• Social relationship maintenance
• Sexual access

To distil down the key factors, researchers first asked a group of 348 volunteers to list the reasons why they would consider friendship with an ex.

The group revealed 153 reasons in total, which were then condensed down to seven after being ranked in importance by another large group of volunteers who had taken part in another personality questionnaire.

Interestingly, feeling sentimental toward an ex was the most important reason for maintaining a friendship, while practical reasons, like money, was ranked least important.

The study highlighted the differences between sexes, with men rating practicality and the ability to continue having sex as more important than women did.

Also, extroverts are more likely to want to remain friends with an ex – mostly to keep having sex. Those who reported negative emotions leaned toward friendship for sentimental reasons.

So while it might not always be easy to have a friendship with your ex, it would seem, the authors write, that "resource exchange between ex-partners can extend beyond relationship dissolution" is possible.