Can exes be friends? Most men sure think so. According to a study published in the peer-reviewed journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, men are believed to view their past relationships more favourably and positively than women. Needless to say, maintaining a platonic relationship with a former lover post breakup is a personal choice, one that many may find iffy, regardless of their gender.
For the study, which was conducted by the University of Graz, some 900 adults were surveyed, each currently in a heterosexual relationship for the last four months. The respondents have also previously been in relationships, which have lasted for at least four months. Researchers found that overall men — more than women — held more positive feelings towards their exes.
Citing interesting theories for this distinction, the researchers said that women tend to view relationships with a more “pragmatic” attitude, seeking long-term association and exclusivity. Men, on the other hand, are likely to endorse a lighter attitude, viewing sex more strongly as a “physical act that gives pleasure”.
To put it simply, when a relationship fails to work out, women think of their emotional investment as a waste of time, making them more resentful, whereas men see it as a “sexually gratifying experience” that lived up to their expectations and desires. This, however, does not generalise the sexes or take away from the fact that many heterosexual couples make the conscious decision to remain on amicable terms following a breakup.
The researchers further theorised that women are also more likely to blame their ex for the breakup, owing to their “problematic behaviours” such as infidelity, emotional and/or physical abuse, while men are likely to say they “do not know what caused the split”. Moreover, women tend to engage in “constructive coping mechanism”, seeking support, assurance and closure from friends, whereas men have difficulty in believing that their “ex partner was not the right one” for them, the study revealed.