According to recent research published in the Journal of Social and Personal Problems, couples who have high levels of commitment, high satisfaction and fewer available alternatives are more likely to remain friends with their ex.
The study, conducted at Purdue University found that commitment is one of the biggest factors that determine if ex-lovers can remain friends because it requires both intimacy and attachment.
"When the romance ends, feelings of commitment do not magically disappear. Relationship partners who have grown to depend on each other to fulfill their needs may be reluctant to lose both tangible (e.g., shared friends) and intangible (e.g., emotional ties) connections that were developed over the course of the relationship," said lead researcher Kenneth Tan.
Researchers studied a group of people ranging between 18 and 30 years old for a year. Interviewed every four months, they were assessed for satisfaction, investment, commitment and available alternatives in their relationships.
If the couples broke up after the first interview, they were then asked how much contact they had with their ex, and whether it was a positive or negative experience each time.
Although it may seem strange or impossible to remain friends with an ex, it seems to happen all the time. It is especially prevalent if the couple were friends before they began dating.
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