How men and women view their exes differently

Staying friends with an ex-partner is a difficult subject for most of us.

To some of us, the ability to let love transition into a platonic relationship is in itself evidence of emotional maturity.

To others, it’s a big problem that suggests the spark is still there and is a threat to any present relationship. Now, a fresh study published in the journal of Social Psychological and Personality Science revealed that there could be a gender divide when it comes to the topic of exes:

It appears that men see ex-partners in a more favorable light than women do. The reasons behind this difference, however, may come as a surprise to you.

The research, headed by Ursula Athensteadt from the University of Graz, surveyed close to 900 people. Each person was involved in a heterosexual relationship for a minimum of four months and had an ex with whom the relationship also lasted at least four months. Athensteadt’s team discovered that men, in general, hold more positive attitudes towards their ex-partners than women do.

The team shared a number of intriguing theories regarding this difference.

They wrote that “women are more likely to hold ‘pragmatic’ love attitudes, including a stronger preference for long-term, more exclusive relationships,” while men are more likely to “endorse a ‘game-playing’ attitude to love” and “value sex more strongly as a physical act that gives pleasure.”

In a nutshell, this evolutionary theory could mean that females are more likely to see their investment in a relationship as pointless if it does not result in lifelong commitment, while their male counterparts are more likely to view the relationship as a sexually gratifying experience that met their needs and desires.

The team also noted that women were more likely to blame men for their breakups and were more likely to report “problematic partner behaviors” such as cheating or emotional and physical abuse as the causes of separation. Meanwhile, men “are more likely to claim that they do not know what caused their past breakups.”

Lastly, the study revealed that women engage in more “constructive coping than men do,” turning to friends for support, who give them reassurance that their ex was not good for them.

Men, on the other hand, “usually experience greater ambivalence,” are more likely to be emotionally attached for longer,” and “are less likely to believe that their ex-partner was not right for them.”Hence it could be said that men are “more likely to preserve positive evaluations of their ex-partners.”

If you would like to learn more on the topic, see the video below.

What are your thoughts on this study? Let us know by joining the conversation in the comments, and please share this article if you’ve enjoyed the read.

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