The Psychology of ‘Backburner’ [Romantic] Relationships (from The Atlantic)

(Link):  The Psychology of ‘Backburner’ Relationships


  • by Julie Beck
  • It’s natural for humans to pay attention to all their romantic options, and new research shows Facebook helps them do that.
  • The communication is key here. A backburner is not just someone who wanders into your thoughts every once in a while—the college sweetheart whose Facebook photos you occasionally browse, or the cute friend-of-a-friend you met on vacation and have always thought you’d really click with, if you lived in the same city. These “what-ifs” only become backburners if you actually reach out to them.

    Dibble notes that sometimes backburners know they’re backburners and sometimes they don’t—I suppose it depends on whether the communication in question is more artful than a “hey, what’s up?” text sent at 1 a.m.

This is a follow up to this news story:

(Link):  ‘Back-up husbands,’ ‘emotional affairs’ and the rise of digital infidelity

One thought on “The Psychology of ‘Backburner’ [Romantic] Relationships (from The Atlantic)”

  1. I find myself fairly consistently wondering whether I’m really the backburner if all I get is the “hey what’s up?” It feels like a booty call more than anything at that point. Although they never really seem to follow through with actually trying to get me to go over at that hour, at the same time, if I reach out for emotional support when something traumatic happens, I get nothing but crickets. Dating is such a mess nowadays.

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