Psychologists Reveal Why You Don’t Want to Stay Friends With Your Ex

After a breakup, it’s common for people to want to stay friends with their ex-partner. However, studies and research from psychologists have revealed potential negative impacts in doing so. Staying friends with an ex can actually be damaging to mental health and slow down the healing process post-breakup. By keeping an ex-partner in one’s life, negative emotions such as anger or jealousy may resurface, and it is believed mixed signals can further hinder the ability to move on. Therefore, it may be best for individuals to cut off all contact with their ex-partner and allow themselves time and space to heal.

Emotional Attachment

Emotional attachment is one of the main drivers for people to desire friendship with their ex-partner. Researchers have found, however, that this emotional attachment can also inhibit individuals from truly moving on from the relationship. Psychologist Susan J. Elliott argues that continuing a relationship of any kind with an ex-partner means going back on previous progress made post-breakup. Whether the attachment stems from fond memories or apprehension about being alone, trying to maintain a friendship with an ex-partner may not be beneficial for personal growth and moving on.

Mixed Signals

Apart from emotional attachment, staying friends with an ex-partner can lead to confusion about relationship status. Actions and emotions exchanged during friendship can create mixed signals, causing individuals to question the nature of their relationship. Psychologist and author of “Love Factually,” Dr. Duana Welch, explains that staying close to an ex-partner almost always results in somebody giving or receiving mixed messages. This can cause confusion and uncertainty, especially for those who want to move forward and establish new relationships. As such, it is often recommended by counselors and therapists to maintain distance from an ex-partner until both parties are emotionally stable and no longer harbor romantic emotions toward each other.

Hinders Healing

Maintaining a friendship with an ex-partner following a breakup can also hinder the healing process. The presence of an ex-partner in someone’s life can cause negative emotions such as jealousy, anger, and disappointment. Psychologist and dating coach Paulette Sherman argues that being friends with an ex-partner increases the likelihood of grief and negative feelings resurfacing. These negative emotions can make it harder for individuals to come to terms with the end of the relationship, and can also make it difficult to move forward in life. As such, ending all contact with an ex-partner may be necessary for those who want to heal and move forward.

Moving On

The end of a romantic relationship can be emotionally challenging and often requires time and space for individuals to heal. While it may be tempting to remain friends with an ex-partner after a breakup, research has shown that this often leads to negative consequences. Studies have found that trying to maintain a friendship with an ex-partner can create emotional attachment, mixed signals, and hindrance to the healing process, thereby impacting mental health negatively. Additionally, individuals may experience negative emotions such as jealousy or anger when maintaining contact with an ex-partner. As such, it’s often recommended to cut off communication with an ex-partner to allow for personal growth and healing.

The study conducted by researchers at the University of Kansas supports this claim by revealing that individuals who remain friends with their ex-partner experience less personal growth, hindering their ability to move on from the relationship effectively. Therefore, it’s essential to prioritize healing and personal growth post-breakup first, rather than holding onto a past relationship that may hinder one’s progress in moving forward. In summary, cutting off contact with an ex-partner can be challenging but may be necessary for individuals to prioritize their own well-being and ensure that they are best situated toward moving on from the past relationship.

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