Social Question

ETpro's avatar

Are males or females more likely to remain friendly with an ex?

Asked by ETpro (34436points) March 14th, 2013

Here and here it’s the guy that seems willing to stay friends with a former mate. In this case it’s the gal who doesn’t seem willing to cut her ties. My impression is that women are usually the ones asking how to get an ex to step out of their lives. But in my own life, I’ve had one former lover who kept calling after I got married, and I eventually had to forcefully convince her to leave us alone because it drove my wife crazy. Which do you think is more common, or does gender have nothing to do with it?

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22 Answers

janbb's avatar

I suspect it is temperament rather than gender that determines whether a person wants to remain friendly with an ex.

gailcalled's avatar

Often the case for amiability rests on having children.(Note, I said “Often.” I know that there are dreadful exceptions.) Certainly that was the case when I split with the father of my kids and when my second husband split with the mother of his kids.

We all stayed friendly and shared all important events with the ex’s, often overlapping since my kids and my step-kids lived several miles from each other and attended the same school, where Mr. Gailcalled was the Headmaster.

My daughter and my youngest step-son had birthdays back to back. We celebrated with everybody, including Mr. Gailcalled’s ex and her long-term boyfriend, who was everyone’s dentist.

linguaphile's avatar

I’m friendly with some of my exes, and others, not so much. It depends on the former and current dynamics between us, the type and reason for breakup, and whether our current lifestyles support the continued friendship.

Examples of lifestyle differences—One of my exes could have been a good friend, but he fried too many brain cells on drugs and can’t carry a linear conversation. Another also could be a good friend but he has gone so far into his career that I can’t understand what he’s talking about half of the time.

The only one I would love to NOT talk to is my daughter’s dad, but until she’s 18, I will keep it cordial.

marinelife's avatar

I don’t think it’s a gender issue. I think either sex can remain friends with an ex. It depends on the people, the relationship and the terms of the breakup.

Linda_Owl's avatar

I agree with @janbb , I think it is the temperament of the individual instead of the gender that determines if a person wants to remain friendly with an “ex”.

Nially_Bob's avatar

Depends on the person and relationship, as @janbb states.

janbb's avatar

It further occurs to me that if we are talking about differently sexed couples, it would most likely take both the male and the female partner to want to remain friends for it to transpire.

Shippy's avatar

I don’t think so @ETpro it is a person thing. Or a between two people thing.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I have exes as friends but my husband does not, but really he’s the nice person in our relationship- I think it just depends on the circumstances.

glacial's avatar

@ETpro Umm… assuming you are talking mainly about heterosexual couples, doesn’t it have to be 50/50 by definition?

janbb's avatar

@glacial I noticed that too and mentioned it in my second post.

glacial's avatar

@janbb Holy smokes, we left almost identical comments. That’s what I get for not reading other people’s answers. :P

elbanditoroso's avatar

what about divorced (or split-up) same sex couples? Do they generally stay on good terms with their ex-partners? More so or less so than heterosexuals?

Carinaponcho's avatar

My dad is still friends with some of his past exes. My mom on the other hand has never spoken to one since they broke up.

YARNLADY's avatar

I fail to see how it can be anything other than even, except in the case of multiple marriages. If a man is friendly with his ex, then she is friendly with her ex (him) as well.

Blondesjon's avatar

I’m thinking not really that, logically, it would need to be 50/50 to work.

Unbroken's avatar

Gender has nothing to do with it.

At one point half my friend’s were my exes. I am still confused if this is healthy even when there is cordiality mutual interests and an understanding of boundaries. I want it to be because I value friendship as a cornerstone of a more intimate relationship. But when for whatever reason things don’t work out in the more intimate situation I don’t want to lose my partner and a friend.

But I will if necessary. Sometimes however the lines get blurred. I mean physically it is easy to draw boundaries. But emotionally and intangibly there are moments where the line doesn’t seem so clear. For that reason and many others I only have two friends that were exes.

But I think there are enough incidents where both the female and male have been stalker types. I think it is a product of personality traits rather then gender induced.

Pisces's avatar

Women very often want to be “friends” afterwards. For my own part, I would find it difficult to remain “friends” with a woman if intimacy ceased. Of course if we had mutual friends (or children) we would probably remain “friends”, but otherwise no.
You might think it a bit cynical, but to to me it has the ring of truth to it.

ETpro's avatar

@janbb Thanks, and I’ll get to your supporting logic, revealed further down in the responses and backed up by numerous posts as they roll around.

@gailcalled That’s quite a tribute to the natural amiability of the lot of you.

@linguaphile Understanding and sympathies extended.

@marinelife, @Linda_Owl, @Nially_Bob, @Shippy & @rosehips I guess you are absolutely right. GA’s

@KNOWITALL You’re absolutely right that circumstances have a great deal to do with how easy it is to remain friends. Another GA. :-)

@janbb, @glacial, @YARNLADY, & @Blondesjon You’re right of course, for every hetero couple that remain friends, there’s a male AND a female involved. But in all fairness, the question was about the desire to remain friends, and there, gender bias could definitely be possible.

@elbanditoroso I don’t know. That’s a whole separate question that would be interesting to explore. And again, we could then ask if the gender of the couple has any effect.

@Carinaponcho Interesting. Granted it is anecdotal evidence and not from a broad sample, but it upholds my theory so I like it. :-)

@Pisces I started reading the dialog at and discovered I didn’t like it. I can’t swear though that the ring of truth isn’t what I find off-putting in it.

snapdragon24's avatar

Rarely do I want to be friends with my exes, but I do have ⅔ of them that ended on good terms and we say hello once in a blue moon.

ETpro's avatar

@snapdragon24 I guess my averages are about the same.

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