New study examines on/off relationships and 'sex with an ex' among teenagers and young adults

January 22, 2013

A new study finds that nearly half of older teenagers and young adults break up and get back together with previous dating partners and over half of this group have sex as part of the reconciliation process. This study was recently published in the Journal of Adolescent Research.

Researchers Sarah Halpern-Meekin, Wendy Manning, Peggy Giordano and Monica Longmore studied data on 792 daters and cohabiters ages 17 to 24, 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.

Study authors found that approximately 44% of emerging adults who had been in a in the past two years had experienced at least one reconciliation with an ex romantic partner and 53% of those who reported reconciliations also reported having sex with their ex. Additionally, in particular were even more likely to experience reconciliation or with previous romantic partners.

The study authors discussed the implications of reconciliations with previous : "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."

Explore further: Are 'hookups' replacing romantic relationships on college campuses?

More information: "Relationship Churning in Emerging Adulthood: On/Off Relationships and Sex with an Ex"

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1 / 5 (1) Jan 22, 2013
I never have, and never will, go back to a partner I've broken up with. If I think it's necessary to end a relationship, there is no reconciliation. I abide by an old Scottish proverb:
Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, and I'll bear the shame my d*mned self. I'm no Charlie Brown. Lucy would never get me to kick that stupid football a second time.

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