Being friends with your ex could mean you're a psychopath

Wow. Maybe it’s time to unfriend…

Photo of 500 Days Of Summer

Wow. Maybe it’s time to unfriend…

Psychopath tests are readily available in their hundreds online, with many anxious to discover if they possess any of the known qualities. The common traits usually include lack of empathy or remorse, shallow feelings and high impulsivity, but according to new research it seems that there’s another common variable to watch out for – being friends with your ex.

Yes, we’re serious.

Being chummy with an old flame is generally considered something to be proud of these days – prompting impressed reactions and jealousy from second parties. On closer inspection however, it turns out that those ‘enviable’ people who managed the impossible and have a string of past lovers on speed dial could actually be psychopaths.

Yes, that’s right. Psychopaths.

According to a new scientific study by Oakland university, the people who manage to stay friends with their exes are more likely to have ‘dark triad’ personality traits: narcissism, psychopathy and Machiavellianism among others.

If you’re in a bit of a panic that you could be a serial killer in sheep’s clothing – don’t stress. The research merely points out that a huge amount of people who stay in touch with their ex boyfriends do so for the wrong reasons.

Few stay in contact because they genuinely want their old love to move on and find happiness with someone else. In fact, many solely keep their exes close for selfish motives: to manipulate them and intentionally prevent them from moving on being the most common.

The research also found that ‘post-relationship friendships may provide opportunity for ex-partners to exchange desirable resources (e.g. love, status, information, money, sex) after romantic relationship dissolution.’

We’re not saying that everyone who goes to the cinema with their ex has a personality disorder, but maybe we should look a little closer into why we're not letting go.

For some it will be due to a simple desire to save a valuable friendship, but for others the results could be a little bit more revealing.

We won’t be introducing ourselves as psychopaths just yet, but the study does suggest it's perhaps time to unfollow our exes on Instagram.

Jenny Proudfoot
Features Editor

Jenny Proudfoot is an award-winning journalist, specialising in lifestyle, culture, entertainment, international development and politics. She has worked at Marie Claire UK for seven years, rising from intern to Features Editor and is now the most published Marie Claire writer of all time. She was made a 30 under 30 award-winner last year and named a rising star in journalism by the Professional Publishers Association.