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Here’s Why You Have So Much Trouble Letting Go of Your Ex-Husband


Truth be told, there is no one secret to a long-lasting marriage, and sometimes, things sadly don’t work out in the end. While we’re well aware there are so many shades of gray when it comes to how ex-partners deal with a breakup, the reasons why one might choose to maintain contact with an ex-lover can be narrowed down into six scientific reasons.

In a bid to find out just why the uncoupled might preserve a connection, researchers asked around 350 participants to list their potential reasons for doing so. Of the whopping 2,302 given, just 153 were shortlisted before volunteers were then asked to rank them by importance.

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The research, along with the seven key motivators, was then published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences. They are as follows:


“They were a great listener.”

“They made me a better person.”

“We shared a lot of good memories.”


“They had a lot of money.”

“They were a fallback plan.”

“They would buy me nice gifts or food.”

Continued romantic attraction:

“I still had feelings for them.”

“I thought we might get back together later.”

“I didn’t want them to forget me.”

Children and shared resources:

“We had children together.”

“We had shared property.”

“We worked together professionally.”

Diminished romantic attraction:

“I realized I was no longer in love with them.”

“I lost sexual interest in them.”

“We both cheated on each other.”

Social relationship maintenance:

“To maintain good relations with their friends.”

“To prevent awkwardness in our friend group.”

“We saw each other frequently.”

Sexual access:

“To keep having sex with them.”

“The sex was good.”

“We still had sex from time to time.”

Of course, there were some gender discrepancies—men rated the practical and sexual reasons higher than women did—but when personality traits were taken into account, the differences were slight.

“Although a breakup nominally marks the end of a romantic relationship, the current research suggests that resource exchange [read: love, status, information, money, or sex] between ex-partners can extend beyond relationship dissolution,” the paper concluded.

So, can you relate to any of these sentiments?

This post was written by Katie Skelly. For more, check out our sister site Now To Love.

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