Although it may seem quite the norm when your former boyfriend or girlfriend wants to stay friends, studies have proven it may mean they are a psychopath, or worse, a narcissist.
These type of people are prone to ego-boosting behaviors that are not only strenuous for them, but for those they spend time with as well.
A narcissist or psychopath can sometimes be easily spotted by their “me, me and only me” behavior. However, that may not always be the case, which is why caution must be taken when dealing with these individuals.
You may know someone who maintained contact with a former partner for friendly reasons. While that may not be the most farfetched thing you have ever heard, research carried out at Oakland University in the United States proves that these “friendly” relationships may hint to narcissism.
Referring to the study, these type of people partake “dark personality traits”, which in turn make them desire to pursue a friendship once both parties have called it quits.
The study conducted at Oakland University asked 860 individuals to clarify the reasons for their aspiration to stay in contact with their former partners, screening those who implied the dark traits.
According to the Daily Mail reports, the people who “score highly for these traits are more likely to pick friends for strategic reasons, and prefer short-term relationships”, and those who carried out the research were curious to know if can also be applied to relationships with exes as well.
Subsequently, the researchers requested people to rate their motives for staying in touch with their exes by level of significance.
The study showed that the majority claimed that these people made an impact in their lives because they were “reliable, trustworthy, and of sentimental value.”
Nonetheless, the more interesting thing the study found was that those with “measures of dark personality” were more inclined to keep exes in their lives due to “practical and sexual reasons.”
According to the study, “men rated practical and sexual reasons for staying friends as more important than women did”.
If you have ever found yourself in this type of situation, this may sound utterly familiar. We all have that one ex that just will not give up. Either they will text you out of the blue asking to “hang out” or just wanting to know how you are.
During the time in which we receive those messages, it may seem legit and even courteous. Nevertheless, if we step out of the box for a minute and look at the bigger picture, we begin to grab a hold of the real situation at hand.
During the time spent with our former partners, we may have noticed some odd character traits like selfishness and egoism, but we may have brushed them to the side, referring to them as “flaws”, which we chose to accept.
Yet, according to psychology, these individuals all have similar traits.
Narcissists and psychopaths are referred to as the dark triad, which contains a group of three main personality traits: psychopathy, narcissism, and at times even Machiavellianism.
What this means is that they lack empathy, can be cruel and selfish, and possess egotistical and pride-like characteristics. Notwithstanding, narcissists tend to be disparaging, manipulative and cunning. Therefore, the word dark is used to predict their vindictive nature.
You may be asking yourself why someone would want to remain in a friendship with someone such as the one described above. For one, these type of people are very witty, which means they have the ability to mask these traits with kindness and affection.
Other times, they may not be a bad person, as seen in the study. Most of the people interviewed claimed that they remained friends with a former partner due to reliability and trustworthiness. This implies that the person on the other end of the story may not be the monster they are made out to be.
However, when viewed from the darker point of view, the study conducted also concludes that those who had indications of dark personality were more inclined to keep relationships at the touch of a button for less tasteful reasons.
The research showed there were quite a few people who stated reasons for maintaining the relationship to be “sexual and practical”.
Therefore, the next time your ex tries to lure you into spending time with them or doing something for them, drop everything and run. You may have a psychopath on the loose.
When speaking of narcissism for an interview with Broadly, expert Dr. Tony Ferretti explained why individuals with dark personality traits would want to keep links with a past relationship. “Narcissists hate to fail or lose, so will do what they can to maintain some connection if they didn’t make the choice to end it,”
Dr. Ferretti said: “They can experience narcissistic injury when rejected by a partner and have difficulties letting it go or healing from it.” Dr. Ferretti also stated that, “People who are in deep, close, healthy, and intimate relationships tend to be happier.”
Narcissists often cling to those who are more empathic, compassionate and understanding. As a result, when such a relationship ends, they feel the need to stick around.
It is not uncommon for these type of people to make an effort to keep their ex partners around. Therefore, the next time your ex tries to initiate contact, make sure they do not check the boxes of the characteristic traits.
A professional writer with over a decade of incessant writing skills. Her topics of interest and expertise range from psychology, to all sorts of disciplines such as science and news.