About Your Facebook Back-Burners

So, your current relationship might implode in a sea of angry yelling about being a “man-child” and bunch of broken action figures (. . . or not). But you’ve been preparing for this day, right? That’s why you have a couple back-burners in your life: women who you could connect with romantically in case this girlfriend doesn’t work out. And she’s doing the same thing.

A study published in Computers in Human Behaviour has found that both men and women use Facebook and texting to keep back-burners in play, should their current relationship fizzle. The practice is widespread: as many as half of all men and women are doing it. Furthermore, the average study subject said that they regularly had romantic or sexual conversations over social media or text message with an average of two people beside their significant other.

Of course, keeping a back-burner isn’t really new (see: Sex in the City . . . or don’t). What is new is that social media and texting make keeping back-burners very, very easy. According to (some) psychologists, three factors come into play when it comes to predicting the stability of a relationship: satisfaction, emotional investment, and the availability of alternative partners. Thanks to modern communications, there’s more availability of alternatives than ever.

So, where does that leave you? Well, social media and texting aren’t going away (short of a geomagnetic solar storm on the scale of the Carrington Event), so you have two options: increase both of your satisfaction in the relationship, or deepen your emotional investment.

Oh, third option: keep more back-burners.

Photo courtesy of Carl Jones

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