“My ex is a TOTAL PSYCHO” said practically everyone at some point.
And if you’re still hanging out with yours, you could be right. But that means you’re probably one too.
If you’ve ever regarded those friends who remain chummy with exes post-breakup with suspicion, it turns out you might be on to something.
Those rarest of rare human beings who maintain friendship with their ex-partners and appear to have no desire to set fire to their clothing and trash talk them over the internet (just an example, of course) may not be as angelic as they’d have us believe.
A study published in the Personality and Individual Differences journal has found that people with certain “dark personality” traits may be interested in staying friends with their ex for less than noble reasons – i.e. for sex or money.
Psychologists at the Oakland University questioned 861 participants in a recent study about issues like how they got on with their exes after the split and their reasons for remaining in contact.
They also filled out questionnaires that tested their personality traits, which were designed to highlight any dark traits they might have – from narcissism all the way through the dark triad to Machiavellianism and psychopathy.
People were then asked to list five reasons why they stayed friends with an ex after they broke up.
Men rated sexual access and pragmatism as more important than women. But both agreed that remaining friends with a former partner wasn’t exactly uncomplicated.
The participants who scored higher on the dark personality traits were more likely to stay in touch with an ex. Plus, they were more inclined to choose factors like practicality – perhaps money or information – and the possibility of sex as motives for staying friends, rather than for sentimental or genuine reasons.
In other words, those with dark personality types were keeping their exes close in case they could use them to gain something.
Of course if you’re one of the few who do actually remain pals with your ex, it doesn’t automatically mean that you’re a psychopath. You could just be good friends who refuse to let your failed relationship stand in the way of your friendship.
And there are plenty of positives to be gained by staying in amicable contact with your former beau – namely not having to duck into the canned foods aisle at the grocery store to avoid an awkward run in with your ex-partner.
But for those of you who are using the friendship as a means for tapping into valuable resources, we’re onto you – no matter how innocent you claim the friendship (and your intentions) to be.
Adele, we’re looking at you – “I wish nothing but the best for you two”?
Yeah, right, psycho.