Men Apparently View Ex-Partners In Better Light Than We Do, Study Finds

couple breaking up

Breaking up is hard to do, and no matter how much you vow to remain friends with your ex after a split, it can often be hard especially depending on the reason for the breakup. It can be hard to look back on a relationship fondly, but it may surprise you to learn that men tend to view their ex's in a better light than women do.

In a recent study published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science research shows that men tend to have more positive feelings about their ex than women do. Ursula Athenstaedt, a social psychology professor at the University of Graz in Austria who was lead author on the study told TODAY that the results were a bit shocking. “We had not expected that there would be gender differences in the beginning,” Athenstaedt said.

The findings go against what many assumed what would happen. According to TODAY, of the hundreds of people asked how they thought men and women would feel with regards to their ex after a breakup, only a quarter thought men who think more highly of their ex than women.

The research asked 295 people, all of whom were in a heterosexual relationship that lasted at least four months and hadn't ended more than five years prior about their feelings towards their ex and the relationship as a whole. The study found that in general, men had more positive attitudes toward their ex-partner than women did. It also found that men had more positive feelings about their ex because of their 'permissive sexual attitudes and the amount of social support that individuals perceived from their ex-partners" while negative feelings towards an ex were more linked to "attributions of greater responsibility for the breakup to ex-partner or relationship itself."

“Let’s say that men might be open for more sexual intimacy, more than women might be,” Athenstaedt told TODAY. “But it could also be that they are simply missing the person who had supported them well during the relationship, and thus appreciate the friendship.”

“Women might have found good reason to break up the relationship and, thus, blame the breakup on their ex-partner,” Athenstaedt explained. “It might be good for both genders to move on, and somehow women seem to overall to have an advantage.”

Although thinking fondly of an ex may seem like the mature thing to do, Athenstaedt explains that it may actually prevent more men than women from moving on to new relationships. “The lesson could be that former relationship do matter. It might be worthwhile to accept this, process it and to find a way to deal with it.”

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