Wallowing or complaining about an ex can hurt your current relationship but there are ways an ex can help!
- Longing not good! A 2012 study found that "increased longing" for recent ex-partners led to a decline in relationships over time, and that resolving feelings for your most recent ex can maximize the potential of a new relationship.
- Keeping in touch, not good! A 2016 study concluded that communication with a former flame (under certain circumstances) can have harmful effects on a current partnership.
BUT SOMETIMES THINKING ABOUT AN EX CAN BE GOOD: A study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, Researchers from the University of Kansas did two experiments:
1. Participants were instructed to reflect on a past relationship, focusing on "nostalgic memories." Researchers then asked volunteers about how satisfied they were in their current relationship and how motivated they were to stay in the relationship.
Interestingly, reflecting on memories with an ex improved participants' feelings for their current partner. Why? Fond nostalgic memories about past relationships remind people of the positivity of romantic relationships.
2. Researchers investigated “self-growth” by asking volunteers about how much they thought they'd grown after leaving their previous relationship. Self-growth was related to positive regrad for their current relationship. People who felt “more mature” reported increased appreciation of their current partner and more motivation to maintain their current relationship.
AND ROMANTIC NOSTALGIA IS THE BEST:
Rather than thinking about good times with an ex, people were asked to think about positive past experiences with a current partner. They found that when people recalled past experiences with their partner, it was associated with "greater relationship commitment, satisfaction, and closeness."
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