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's Caitlin 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

SpaceX catches Falcon Heavy nosecone with net-outfitted boat

It marks another milestone in SpaceX's long-standing effort to make spaceflight cheaper.

Technology & Innovation
  • SpaceX launched Falcon Heavy into space early Tuesday morning.
  • A part of its nosecone – known as a fairing – descended back to Earth using special parachutes.
  • A net-outfitted boat in the Atlantic Ocean successfully caught the reusable fairing, likely saving the company millions of dollars.
Keep reading Show less

Are these 100 people killing the planet?

Controversial map names CEOs of 100 companies producing 71 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.

Image: Jordan Engel, reused via Decolonial Media License 0.1
Strange Maps
  • Just 100 companies produce 71 percent of the world's greenhouse gases.
  • This map lists their names and locations, and their CEOs.
  • The climate crisis may be too complex for these 100 people to solve, but naming and shaming them is a good start.
Keep reading Show less

‘Climate apartheid’: Report says the rich could buy out of climate change disaster

The world's richest people could breeze through a climate disaster – for a price.

(Photo by SSPL/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • A new report from a United Nation expert warns that an over-reliance on the private sector to mitigate climate change could cause a "climate apartheid."
  • The report criticizes several countries, including the U.S., for taking "short-sighted steps in the wrong direction."
  • The world's poorest populations are most vulnerable to climate change even though they generally contribute the least to global emissions.
Keep reading Show less