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Digital Infidelity: When Tech Makes Keeping Tabs on “Back-Burners” Easier

The rise of smartphones and social media has made it easier for people in committed relationships to maintain contact with old flames, have emotional affairs, and keep a spare close by in case things don’t work out.

If you’re worried that smartphones and social media are stealing too much of your significant other’s time and attention, you’re really not going to like this from The Washington Post’sCaitlin Dewey:

“A new study by researchers at the University of Indiana found that Facebook users in relationships frequently use the site to keep in touch with “back-burners” — exes or platonic friends they know they could connect with romantically, should their current relationships go south.” 

While the concept of a spare lover or back-up husband is nothing new (Chris Rock once called the latter a “d— in a glass case”), Dewey’s article focuses on how social media and text messages have allowed “digital infidelity” to thrive. 

“On average, respondents in relationships said they had romantic or sexual conversations with two people (!) besides their current partner.”

Simply put, it’s easier to stay in touch with an old flame or exchange flirty messages with someone whose life events pop up on your screen everyday. The nature of these interactions is also very personal, which lends itself to a sense of intimacy. Many folks in committed relationships maintain these lines of communication with their potential back-burners. The phenomenon is called “emotional affairs.”

Take a look at Dewey’s piece (linked again below) and tell us what you think.

Read more at The Washington Post

Photo credit: AntonioDiaz / Shutterstock


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