Almost Two-Thirds In Relationships Have Kept Ex As ‘Back Burner’ Option During Pandemic

by : Niamh Shackleton on : 02 Aug 2021 11:30
Almost Two-Thirds In Relationships Have Kept Ex As 'Back Burner' Option During Pandemic, Study FindsBlue Bird/Pexels/RODNAE/Unsplash

If you’ve thought about calling your ex over the course of the ongoing pandemic, it turns out you’re not alone.

A study of nearly 400 adults in marriages found 62% had a ‘back burner’ just in case their relationship failed. This figure comes despite 93% saying that their relationship was ‘exclusive’.


Adding further insult to injury, half of those who said they had a ‘back burner’ admitted their option was an ex partner.

Couple arguing (Pexels)Pexels

A study, published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behaviour and Social Networking, defines a ‘back burner’ as ‘potential romantic and/or sexual partners who are kept metaphorically ‘simmering on a back burner’ while one maintains a primary relationship or remains single’.

While many would think using your ex as a ‘back burner’ is a good idea after a few gin and tonics, it turns out sleeping with an ex primarily leads to a bad mood for both.


Explaining this, Dr John Banas, from the University of Oklahoma, said:

If having ex-partner back burners cascades into increased communication, increased sexual activity, and bad feelings for the admirer, then those in committed relationships might wish to exercise greater caution before forming a back-burner relationship with an ex-partner.

According to another survey, women are more likely to go back to their ex than males, with 54% of women having had sex with a former partner, compared with 44% of men.

Ex partners stock image (Pexels)Pexels

Discussing how there’s been a surge in people going back to their ex in light of lockdown restrictions easing, Dr Brenda Widerhold, from the Interactive Media Institute in California, added, ‘As we see society re-opening, there appears to continue to be a surge in the use of dating apps during what is dubbed ‘The Summer of Love,’ making it ever more important to study new trends in connecting for friendship and romance.’

Most people will return to an ex as a form of comfort, but it’s been found 14% do it in the hopes of reconciling with them.

There’s been a surge in dating in general throughout the pandemic, with the use of dating apps skyrocketing last year. According to Widerhold’s study, on March 29, 2020, just after most of the world saw lockdown restrictions imposed, Tinder broke its record for the most activity in a single day, with more than three billion swipes. However, if you’re a serial swiper, just make sure it’s not your ex.

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Niamh Shackleton

Niamh Shackleton is a pint sized person and journalist at UNILAD. After studying Multimedia Journalism at the University of Salford, she did a year at Caters News Agency as a features writer in Birmingham before deciding that Manchester is (arguably) one of the best places in the world, and therefore moved back up north. She's also UNILAD's unofficial crazy animal lady.

Topics: Life, Pandemic, Relationships, Study


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