Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Why that 'good friend' you once dated could be a narcissist or psychopath

Posted By on Wed, May 11, 2016 at 7:53 PM

click to enlarge A new study from Oakland University suggests that if an ex remains a friend, the motives might not be all sunshine and daisies. - SHUTTERSTOCK
  • Shutterstock
  • A new study from Oakland University suggests that if an ex remains a friend, the motives might not be all sunshine and daisies.

We're used to seeing media outlets that quote a new study and use it to make some provocatively titled piece of click-bait. (Hey, there, Vice Magazine!) But one thing we're not used to is that study coming from a local university, especially Oakland University.

But that's what's happened. Thanks to the psychology department at Oakland University, under the leadership of Dr. Lisa Welling, we have some clues to the phenomenon of why those exes hover around when, romantically speaking, you've already moved on. 

Turns out not all of those pals-turned-exes mean trouble. Some exes felt it was important to maintain platonic relationships because they felt they didn't want to lose an established, trustworthy friend.

But those with darker motives tended to keep up relationships for "practical and sexual reasons," or because their narcissism made it difficult to admit the relationship had failed, especially if the narcissist viewed their lover less as a partner and more as an asset. 

It's a nifty piece of research, which involved interviews with more than 800 subjects. It has since been covered in the Daily Mail, Teen Vogue, Bustle, Complex, Marie Claire and elsewhere. It's also something that will be quoted much more than it is read, and will likely be misinterpreted for years to come. Thank you, internet!

Tags: , , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

January 19, 2022

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit

© 2022 Detroit Metro Times - Contact Us

Website powered by Foundation