You meet someone, there’s a spark, and you swap numbers. Maybe you go on a few dates, but that spark never catches fire, and it doesn’t progress.
That spark, however, never completely flickers out. So whenever you’re single, you check in with them. You know, just to see what’s up. That’s a ‘backburner’ relationship.
And they’re multiplying to epidemic levels.
Without the interweb and Facebook and Insta connections, people would drift out of our lives so much more easily. Now, we’re putting more and more people on the backburner because it feels nice to have options and regular romantic attention.
All sounds reasonably innocent until you’re in a relationship and having problems, and revisiting the backburners. Because looking for emotional needs or attention outside your relationship is never good… In fact, it’s kinda cheating.
And problems can REALLY arise with backburners when you know this isn’t the right person for you but you’re feeling a bit neglected and what’s the harm in saying hi ya know?
Really, you’re keeping this person around because getting any attention is way better than none.
Maybe if this is a person that you’re attracted to and the feeling is mutual, but the timing isn’t right, there’s good reason for a backburner. Keeping in touch until you’re both ready to have a crack at it, which makes sense.
Unfortunately, in my experience, most backburners are like scabs you continually pick at, keeping the wound open instead of letting it heal and disappear. Also, why would you want to keep a scab around? They look gross.
Love hurts. And hey, a scar is much better than a scab.
Also, if you really liked this person that you’ve got on the backburner, why aren’t you having a crack at it?
If you are interested, and there’s no reason apart from your own fear, then give it a go. Why not?
If you’re stringing the person along for that self-esteem boost that comes with romantic attention, then it’s time to let the person go.
Take it from me when I say, the majority of backburners end with people getting burnt.
Xavier Toby is a writer and comedian
Email me if you dare: firstname.lastname@example.org