What makes someone “back burner” worthy, and once we put them on the back-burner, will they every progress to the main course? Are we consciously choosing who is worthy of a boil instead of a simmer?
I didn't think I was romantically interested, but I arrived wearing makeup.Alex wasn't "benched"—i.e., strung along as a backup in case my first-choice romance didn't pan out.It's more like we put each other on the back burner: We had a mutual, but unspoken, understanding that a relationship between us wouldn't work at the time, but if a few things were to change, who knows?It just makes her feel more secure, she says, to know there's someone in the wings. There was a time in my life where I referred to the women I was dating as "One-ey" and "Two-ey." I'm not proud of it — but it's not like either was my girlfriend.I've also discovered I was on the back-burner myself.When we later matched on Tinder, he sent me a message saying, "Found you! But in my loneliest moments, my imagination would go wild, playing and replaying a narrative shamelessly inspired by the "best friends turned lovers" cliche.Read more: Your Boyfriend's Ex-Girlfriend—the Worst Person Ever?When I started seeing my boyfriend, Alex was one of the first people to meet him.He approved, calling him "sweet." But whenever I had doubts about my relationship and wondered what would happen if my boyfriend and I broke up, Alex was one of the first people who popped into my mind.The concept of the back-burner came to my attention recently (probably because I was back-burnered) and it made me wonder…why do we do this to people? Things were going well (I thought) and he would text me, call me, ask me how my week was, see what I was up to: you know, the usual mid-day text that is supposed to lead to other plans being…planned.If we don’t like them, why don’t we just NOT date them? However, after awhile it became apparent that the really-nice-cute-guy-who-seemed-interested was never actually making any plans with me.