A lot of people in California stay in contact with their ex-partners after breaking up. But when you get into a new relationship, does contact with your ex cause problems? Some relationship researchers looked into this question.
Less than half of people say they stay in touch with their ex
Researchers surveyed 260 undergraduate college students who were involved in a relationship. To qualify for the study, participants must have been with their current partners for at least one month and had a past relationship that lasted at least three months. Researchers found that:
- About 40% of the people surveyed were still in touch with their ex.
- About 90% of those people contacted their exes at least once every couple months.
- A smaller subgroup of those people spoke with their exes more than once a week.
A key finding from the study was that there was a connection between the seriousness of the current relationship and a person’s willingness to cut off ties with their ex. The more serious the current relationship, the less likely a person was to be in contact with their ex.
How does contact with an ex affect current relationships?
Researchers found that people who stayed in contact with their exes were less committed to their current partners. To answer more questions, researchers conducted a second survey where they only interviewed people who communicated with their exes.
After the second survey, researchers determined that more frequent communication with an ex was linked to a less satisfying current relationship. The reason for maintaining contact was also important. Not surprisingly, people who admitted they were keeping their ex as a “backup” option were less satisfied in their current relationships. Researchers did not look into questions about whether contact with exes could lead to breakup or even divorce proceedings.
Issues of trust can cause divorce
Maintaining friendships with exes is a complicated subject. In some cases, it can create trust issues between spouses and potentially lead to divorce. Even if one spouse is not keeping their ex as a “backup,” it may look that way and cause conflict in the current relationship.