Your Ex Might Be A Psychopath If They Want To Stay Friends, According To This New Study

Woman holds onto a man's hand from behind
Unsplash / Elizabeth Tsung

You know what they say: breaking up is hard to do. Out of the millions of ways you can end a relationship, you’re always left with one question: should you keep in contact with your ex? Or should you cut off all ties for good?

Personally, if you didn’t end on a bad note, I’ve never seen the problem with staying friends with exes — after all, they were someone who was once incredibly important in your life. But according to new study conducted at Oakland University, your decision to keep your ex in your life might actually mean you’re a psychopath.

In the study, subjects answered questions about their romantic histories, including whether or not they were still friends with their exes. They also filled out a questionnaire meant to highlight narcissistic and psychopathic traits. That’s right, you guessed it: people with “darker” traits (i.e. narcissism, sadism and psychopathy) were more likely to stay friends with their exes.

It may seem like a strange connection at first, but when you think about it, it sort of makes sense — after all, it’s more about why the person wants to stay friends with their ex. And for psychopaths, it’s all about resources.

According to the study:

“Having exes around provides the opportunity for the psychopaths to still get access to certain resources, such as information, money, or sex. By collecting bonds with ex-partners that can’t stay away, psychopaths reported their ‘strategic’ motivations, such as the ‘practicality and the chance of hooking up.’

Basically, there’s a chance your fuckboy ex just wants to keep you around because he knows he can still get things out of you. As the great Dua Lipa once said, “Don’t be his friend, you know you’re gonna wake up in his bed in the morning and if you’re under him, you’re not getting over him.”

Of course, that’s not to say that every person who wants to stay friends with their ex is a legitimate psychopath. There’s totally a chance they honestly just want to keep you in their life because they value who you are and the role you’ve played in their lives. It’s important to try to recognize possible narcissistic traits and psychopathic tendencies in your ex-partner and run the hell away if you think they’re there.

So should you stay friends with an ex? That’s totally up to you, but just make sure you aren’t getting taken advantage of in the process. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Callie is a writer, editor, and publisher at Thought Catalog. Her debut book, ‘The Words We Left Behind,’ was released in January 2024.

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