‘Back burner’ relationships with exes are rising during pandemic – Study Finds

NORMAN, Okla. — Having sex with an ex puts people in a bad mood, according to a new study. A team, including researchers from the University of Oklahoma, say keeping former partners on the “back burner” in the hopes of keeping them around for fun leads to negative feelings about the other person – and yourself.

Study authors looked into relationships during the COVID-19 pandemic, which appears to be contributing to a rise in people reconnecting with their ex-boyfriends or ex-girlfriends. Their research finds the negativity partners feel is especially pronounced when the person is currently in a committed relationship but decides to get back in touch with a former partner.

The study of 397 adults in marriages discovered at least 62 percent are keeping someone on the “back burner” just in case, even though 93 percent of people claim their relationship is exclusive. Half of the “back burner” participants admit to having at least one former partner waiting on stand-by.

“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,” says Oklahoma’s Dr. John Banas in a statement to SWNS.

More women than men are having sex with the ex

Nearly two-thirds of people report maintaining communication with their ex-partner during the pandemic. When it comes to sex with an ex, women are actually more likely to go down that road than men. In fact, 54 percent of women have had sex with a former partner, according to a survey. Just 44 percent of men said the same.

While the majority of people say that the reason they do it is that it is comforting being with an old partner, at least 14 percent of respondents admit they had sex with a former partner because they wanted to reconcile with them.

“As we see society re-opening, there appears to continue to be a surge in use during what is dubbed ‘The Summer of Love,’ making it ever more important to study new trends in connecting for friendship and romance,” concludes Dr. Brenda K. Wiederhold from the Interactive Media Institute in California.

The findings appear in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking.

South West News Service writer Joe Morgan contributed to this report.