A study in Personality and Individual Differences found that people with “measures of dark personality” were more likely to stay in touch with their exes for practical and sexual reasons. Yep, we’re talking about the narcissists and psychopaths out there.
The study “Staying friends with an ex: sex and dark personality traits predict motivations for post-relationship friendship” found that for the most part, people said they stayed in touch with their partner because they were reliable, trustworthy and the relationship had sentimental value. “This is consistent with other research showing that individuals prioritise these types of qualities (eg, altruism, agreeableness, cooperativeness, trust) in an opposite-sex friend,” say the authors.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the authors point out that “men rated sexual access higher on importance than women did, which is consistent with other research showing that men are more likely than women to form cross sex friendships due to sexual attraction.” Cue: late night booty call from the douchebag ex.
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However, people with “dark personality traits” may have different motivations for that post-breakup Facey message. As an FYI: the authors explain “dark personality features are a collection of antagonistic behaviors and interpersonal styles that are associated with disagreeableness, manipulativeness and callousness, and exploitativeness”.
The authors hypothesized that because individuals who score higher on measures of dark personality tend to “choose friends for strategic purposes, rate friendship as lower in importance and prefer short-term versus long-term romantic relationships […] it’s likely these traits will be associated with valuing friendships for utilitarian or instrumental reasons, such as to maintain sexual access.”
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Their study confirmed that study participants who scored highly for ‘dark personality traits’ – were more likely to rate “practical and sexual reasons” as key reasons for staying friends.
Essentially – if your ex is keen on a post-breakup text, find out why. If he just wants to use your place as a crash pad because it’s close to the train station, wave your red flag.
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