Apparently getting back together with an old boyfriend or girlfriend is a relatively common occurrence. Unfortunately, the practice could lead to problems.
A new study of relationship patterns finds that nearly half of older teenagers and young adults break up and get back together with previous dating partners.
Additionally, over half of this group have sex as part of the reconciliation process.
In the study, published in the Journal of Adolescent Research, Sarah Halpern-Meekin, Wendy Manning, Peggy Giordano and Monica Longmore studied data on 792 daters and cohabiters ages 17 to 24.
This age cohort is also known as “emerging adults.” The researchers studied two relationship patterns specifically — reconciliation with an ex, or breaking up and getting back together, and “sex with an ex,” when couples break up, yet remain sexually involved.
Investigators found that approximately 44 percent of emerging adults who had been in a romantic relationship in the past two years had experienced at least one reconciliation with an ex-romantic partner.
Moreover, 53 percent of those who reported reconciliations also reported having sex with their ex.
Furthermore, racial minorities in particular were even more likely to experience reconciliation or sexual relationships with previous romantic partners.
These findings led study authors to discuss the implications of reconciliations with previous romantic partners. In their analysis, researchers warn that emerging adults who reconcile may be prone to a behavior pattern that involves cycling through relationship formation.
“Furthermore, having sex with an ex may be problematic because former partners can have difficulty moving on from an old relationship or building new romantic attachments,” they said.
Source: SAGE Publications