Valentine’s Day is approaching, and as happens every year, the commercialized holiday will likely drum up relationship anxiety for those in uncertain or undefined romantic entanglements. Our rom-com-centric society urges us to seek out "the one" – but how do we feel content in our choice?
This dilemma may be particularly true for millennials, who, as everyone loves to announce, are supposedly more commitment-phobic than previous generations. But regardless of whether today’s young adults are Tinder addicts bent on destroying the institution of marriage, maintaining relationships with potential backup partners in case your current one doesn't work is a well-known and certainly not new pattern of human behavior.
Communications researcher Jayson L. Dibble of Hope College has been studying how modern technology is impacting this phenomenon, given that platforms like social media and texting have made it incredibly easy to keep in touch with a stash of prospects, fittingly dubbed “back burners”. His 2014 investigation confirmed that many people use communication methods associated with intimate relationships (no, not sexting; rather positive, assuring, and open dialogues) to keep in contact with at least one back burner, even if they’re currently in a committed relationship.
But before you start to squirm with guilt because you fall into this category, or explode with jealousy at the thought that your significant other does, take note of his group’s other findings.