Should you stay friends with your ex?

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It’s easier to stay friends with an ex when you were the one who instigated the breakup (Getty Images)

Should you stay friends with your ex? A new study reveals how Brits navigate the often confusing do’s and don’ts of breakups, with just 8% of those who have an ex-partner remaining friends with ALL of their ex-flames.

Meanwhile, half (51%) are not friends with any of their previous partners and about a third (37%) say they are friends with one or some but not others.

Interestingly, men are more likely than women to say they are friends with at least one of their exes (51% of men versus just 40% of women). It seems women are more interested in moving on when a relationship ends, as more than half of women (56%) say they are not friends with any of their ex-boyfriends, compared to 45% of men.

Cheerful male and female friends enjoying champagne while talking at home during Christmas party

Ex-boyfriends are more likely to stay friends if the relationship ended amicably. (Getty Images)

Deciding whether or not to stay friends with an ex seems to come down to a few important things. When relationships end without significant wrongdoing by either party, Brits with an ex prefer to stay friends – IF they were the ones to end the relationship.

Just under half of those surveyed (44%) with an ex would choose to remain friends if they were the dumper, while three in ten (31%) say they would rather not be, and 24% agree not sure.

In contrast, Britons are understandably more divided when a partner ends a relationship with them – a third (36%) of those with an ex would prefer to remain friends with someone as a fool, while 40% would prefer not to be friends and 23% don’t know.

Another big debate — and a common source of argument — is whether you would be comfortable with your own partner still being friends with their ex. Or does that scream trouble?

Research shows that attitudes towards them depend on how “friendly” they were. Indeed, the majority of the British public would feel comfortable if their partner was “on good terms” (62%) or “amicable” (66%) with an ex.

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However, the waters become a little murkier when this closeness is stronger, with Brits divided on whether they would be happy if a partner were properly ‘friends’ with an ex (40% comfortable, 44% uncomfortable). Being “best friends” with an ex is a more obvious no-no (only 21% would tolerate it and 61% would be uncomfortable).

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Close-up of a female couple dealing with relationship problems

Had a bad breakup? You might want to return their stuff, but chances are you’ll keep any gifts you bought. (Getty Images)

So, immediately after the end of a relationship, what is normal etiquette for us Brits? The most common priority after a breakup is returning all of your ex’s belongings (40%), although only 6% would throw away any gifts their ex bought during the relationship.

One in five (20%) would unfollow their partner on social media if the relationship ended, while 16% would delete their ex’s contact details from their phone, 15% would update their relationship status, and 14% would delete all photos of them and theirs Ex partner. Only one in nine (11%) Britons with an ex would recover and have a brief fling with someone else to heal the pain.

Because men and women deal with breakups differently, men are more likely than women to say they’re having a rebound affair, by 14% to 8%, while women are more likely than men to unfollow their ex on social media (24% to 16%) and returning their ex’s belongings (44% to 35%).

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In the background is a young woman looking upset after an argument with her husband

How would you react if you found out your partner is still friends with their ex? (Getty Images)

Of course, when a relationship ends, the other question is what happens to your shared social circle and shared family connections… Most (55%) say they have no expectations of how their friends and family should behave when they through a breakup, and only one in ten would expect their friends or loved ones to unfollow their ex on social media.

But of the third (35%) who say they would expect their friends and family to change their behavior after the breakup, the most common choice was a quarter who said they would expect friends and family not to spend time with spend with her ex. Additionally, 15% would expect their loved ones to stop speaking to their ex.

It seems there's hope for some who want to stay friends with their exes — but is that really wise?  (Getty Images)

It seems there’s hope for some who want to stay friends with their exes — but is that really wise? (Getty Images)

When it comes to how you should behave when seeing a friend or family member’s ex, British politeness appears to be the stronger driving force, with two-thirds of the British public (64%) saying they would be polite – if not necessarily friendly either – if the separation between those involved was hostile. Only 10% would be actively friendly and only 7% would be actively unfriendly.

This is in line with what Britons would expect from their friends and family if separation were difficult, with 61% expecting them to be polite but not friendly to their former significant other, with 11% saying they would like them to be friendly are , and 7% say they would prefer unfriendliness.

So let us know how you feel about it on Twitter @YahooLifeUK – are you still friends with an ex or have you moved on?

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