“Backburning”, this toxic love trend that relegates you to the rank of “option”

“Backburning”, this toxic love trend that relegates you to the rank of “option”

This is a situation you may have experienced: you like a person who seems to have so many feelings for you in return, because he showers you with attention when you see each other. But he or she behaves strangely outside of your meetings. Instead of feeling like a couple, you feel like you’re being pushed aside by your partner, almost as if they’re keeping you “optional.” This phenomenon has a name: it is backburning.

While you sincerely love a person, they seem reluctant to be in a relationship with you. Even more disturbing, when you meet, she showers you with all kinds of attention and once you separate, you feel like she’s pushing you aside. This type of relationship is called “backburning,” or being “kept waiting.”

Maintain a relationship… just in case

Fans of backburning actually keep the other person on hold, considering that he/she can potentially interest them, but do not cease their other relationships.

The other is therefore a sort of “option” for the future, but is absolutely not at the center of his life or his attention.

How to recognize backburning?

If this type of relationship resonates with you, here are some clues that will help you ensure you are not a victim. Generally, the person who maintains this type of relationship communicates in a calculated manner, in order to maintain a link for a future relationship, without investing on an emotional level, at the moment T. We can therefore notice that this person:

  • Communicates irregularly or superficially, without deepening the relationship;
  • Makes vague promises or doesn’t keep them because she doesn’t want to;
  • Alternates his level of attention to you, giving you his full attention at one time and much less at other times;
  • Frequently makes excuses to justify his various absences;
  • Ignores serious topics or requests for deeper engagement;
  • Engages in the relationship minimally, but enough to maintain the connection with you;
  • Exploits your vulnerability, showing up at strategic moments when you are more vulnerable or need more support.

How to explain this practice?

Different reasons can explain this need to resort to backburning. According to Emma Hathron, dating expert for Seeking.com, there are for example:

  • A fear of commitment, with the risk of making the wrong choice or losing your freedom. It is also a way to avoid facing negative consequences if the relationship does not work;
  • A lack of certainty about their feelingsthis gives time to see how this can evolve, without closing the door to other relationships;
  • A need for validation and attentionto ensure its power of attraction towards others;
  • Relational opportunismbecause by multiplying relationships, it is also a means of serving one’s interests.

What are the consequences for the victims?

When you are a victim of this type of practice, “we may experience feelings of uncertainty, frustration, and insecurity” adds Emma Hathron. “This dynamic can also affect one’s self-esteem and ability to trust in future relationships.”.

And for people who follow this trend, she advises to question themselves. “If you practice backburning, if you constantly go from hot to cold with your partner, you need to examine your plans for the future and decide concretely if the person you are dating corresponds to them. If the answer is yes, it’s time to have a more serious conversation about that future. If the answer is no, then this person is not right for you. Time is precious and uncertainty only depletes it by causing anxiety.”.