Most people in life fall into one of two categories: those who stay friends with exes, and those who do not.
A May 2016 study by researchers at Oakland University found that participants who displayed so-called “dark personality traits,” including narcism and psychopathy, were more likely to stay close to their exes for “practical and sexual reasons.”
Whatever your stance on it, pursuing a friendship with an ex-lover is contentious, particularly if one of you has a new partner.
Business Insider asked Matthew Hussey, the “love life and dating strategist” behind the blog howtogettheguy.com, if it can ever actually work.
“If the romance is visibly dead, then you have a shot [at friendship]. But you’d better hope your partner believes it’s dead,” he said.
It can be tough to draw a line in the sand, which is why Hussey generally recommends keeping a distance from your ex. “Going off the radar is still the best recipe to get over someone if you can,” he said.
Of course, it’s not always possible to stay away, especially if you have kids together or work in the same office.
Even without those complications, going cold turkey can still seem daunting, particularly if you’ve been in a relationship with someone for a long time.
While one or both of you may still have feelings, Hussey said, you can be “amicable from a distance.” That means no day-to-day contact.
“If you try and stay too close to someone, you will always end up at that place: back in bed,” he warned.
In an episode of his LOVElife radio show, Hussey told a caller whose ex-partner had been continuously chasing her to meet up six months after their break-up, that a friendship is something that should never be forced.
If someone appears to be doing that, it’s usually because they want something, he said. And, possibly, something more than a platonic relationship.
“I don’t think you need to slip back into the comfort of seeing this person,” he said. “I’m not quite sure what you’d gain from that other than some sentiment and wistfulness about the past.”
Hussey asked: “Can you actually imagine being around this guy and talking about the new guy you went on a date with this week?”
If the answer’s no — regardless of how you would feel in that situation — then maintaining a friendship is probably not going to help anybody, according to Hussey.
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