Whether you want your ex around post-breakup or not, science has determined what the chances are that you'll be able to stay friends. It's not a 69 percent chance, but thank you for asking.
"Can we still be friends?" is the inevitable breakup mantra of the modern age. Sometimes it's a sincere question, sometimes it's meant to soften the blow after your soon-to-be ex incinerates your belongings in your driveway.
It's a noble thought, but for 43 percent of us, it's not a viable reality. We'd be much happier stabbing their voodoo doll with sharpened sticks and crying uncontrollably whenever Kelly Clarkson comes on. Yet, amazingly, 48 percent of couples are able to accomplish the impossible feat of making the "friends" thing work.
How the fuck?
Well, according to a recent study, it's the most genuinely committed relationships that have biggest potential for a friendship after a breakup. When you really cared about the person and making the relationship work while you were dating, it's easier to maintain the connection despite the loss of romance.
True commitment, it seems, equals post-breakup closeness. The study, published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, followed the relationship trajectories of a group of straight 18- to 30-year-olds — 49% were casual daters, 46% were dating exclusively and 5% were engaged. They were interviewed once every four months, for a year, to assess the quality of their relationships based on satisfaction, investment, commitment and available alternatives.
Then, the couples who had broken up during that year were interviewed to see how often they were in contact with their exes and what the nature of their relationship was.
Their findings? People were most likely to be friends with their exes if they had a relationship that involved a high level of emotional investment and satisfaction, fewer available alternatives and a high level of commitment. And interestingly enough, the individuals who had the highest measures of those attributes were also the individuals who were friends before they started dating.
"Being committed to your partner means being intimate and attached, as well as desiring that your relationship continues into the future," Purdue University's Kenneth Tan, co-author said. "However, 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."'friends before, friends after? Part of that commitment in the relationship — and once it ends — may come from valuing each other as individual friends, not just boyfriend or girlfriend.
"Previous research has found that post-breakup friendship is more likely to occur when couple members are friends before they were romantically involved," Tan said. "Furthermore, given that friendships can be an important component of a romantic relationship, we believe that it is likely that if you are friends with someone before the breakup, that you are more likely to stay friends with them after."
None of this changes the fact that your ex cheated on your with both your Mom and Dad and also named their F.U.P.A, but it does mean that you might be able to predict, with some degree of certainty, how long that person will be in your life for.
Lesson learned? Only date off Craiglist. That's where all the real exes chill.