Do Platonic Friendships Exist Between Ex-Lovers Literature Review

Type of paper: Literature Review

Topic: Friendship, Relationships, Dating

Pages: 2

Words: 550

Published: 2019/10/07


Love resembles a vortex that charms us to its depth. People fall in love and none is forced to do so. Different people have different life experiences that they can testify to one another. The experiences can either be painful or sweet in memories. The truth is that once you are in love with a person and you happen to break up, the affection will remain in your heart for sometime ready to be replenished at any moment. Once the pain is gone you may find yourself feeling like you need to get back as friends and it is not surprising to find that the other person shares with you similar feelings.

Can we be still friends? Resources and Barriers to friendship quality after romantic relationship dissolution

Influence of Resources

Resources have an influence on the friendship quality between former dating partners. According to a research conducted on some college students, it was realized that those who received more resources had higher levels of friendship quality with their former partners. Some barriers to friend quality include: lack of family or friends’ support, involvement in a new romantic relationship and using neglect as a disengagement strategy.

The role of resources which are received from a former romantic partner and the barriers are the predictors of friendship quality after dissolution of a romantic relationship.

Social Exchange theory

A theory called social exchange theory has been put in place to examine how a former relationship can be handled or how it can have the effects on someone’s life. This framework is built on a combination of behaviorism and elementary economics. This theory investigates whether resources and barriers influence the quality of friendship with a former romantic partner. The investigation carried, helped us understand that the barriers and resources plays a very big role in determining the fate of a former relationship.

The following hypotheses were developed using the principles from the social exchange framework.

Hypothesis 1: The frequency of resources received will be positively related to friendship quality in post-dating relationships.

Hypothesis 2: satisfaction with the frequency of resources received will moderate the association between frequency of resources received and friendship quality in post-dating relationships.

Hypothesis 3: The presence of barriers will be negatively related to friendship quality in post-dating relationships.



Hypothesis 1and 2 were positive hypotheses. It was supported as there was a direct relationship between the frequencies of resources received and the quality of post-dating relationships. The quality improved with an increase in the resources received. In as much the frequency of resources received did not work for some post-dating relationships, for a majority it worked. The third hypothesis examined the effect of barriers. It was realized that barriers impacted negatively on the quality of post-dating relationships.


Gender insensitive: The participants who were involved in the research, had 71% women and 29% males. This did not give a good finding bearing in mind that both genders play a very important role in examining and determining the fate of a post-dating relationships.

Type of relationship (misrepresentation). The research left out those individuals who had children with their former partners and those who had taken too long after the dissolution of their relationships. This misrepresented the sample space. The groups above needed to be considered so as to determine the long-term effect of a former relationship and whether children had any impact towards rekindling a former relationship.

The Social Embeddedness of Redefining Romantic Couplings

Symbolic Interaction

Symbolic interaction theory examines the contours of post-dating relationships. Some of the questions that one can ask himself/herself during this study include:

  • How do people orient themselves to one another after a dating relationship ends
  • What is the power of dynamic between one’s social network and his/her postdating relationship

The relationships between former spouses or lovers may satisfy legitimate needs such as friendship, shared history and extended social networks. (Metts, Cupach and Bejlovec, 1989)

People may act towards things on the basis of the meanings that things have for them. Another meaning may arise out of a social interaction and the meaning may be handled in and modified through an interpretative process. The interactions that may exist between former lovers depend on the nature of the relationship and the type of social interactions that they had with each other. The meanings may change and expand throughout the course of a relationship.

Cross-sex friendship with a romantic history

A research carried out by Bell in 1981 came out with findings that over 50% of former lovers were friends. It is hard for men and women to be in platonic relationship. The matter is even worsened when they were once in a relationship. This is because there are always some attractions that exist between people of the opposite sex. There is usually a natural human instinct that drives people of the opposite sex together.