Research into the relationship habits of young couples has shown that nearly half of older teenagers and young adults repeatedly get back into relationships with those they have broken up with previously. Over half of this group also has sex as part of this process, as stated by a study recently published in the Journal of Adolescent Research.
The researchers analysed the dating habits of 792 individuals aged 17 to 24, described as ‘emerging adults’, and focused on two specific habits – reconciliation with an ex, which was categorised as those who break up and then get back together, and sex with an ex – when couples remain unattached but continue to engage in sexual activity. These habits, it was discovered, are two of the most common relationship trends amongst couples who have broken up.
Over 44 percent of emerging adults who had been in a relationship in the past two years had been involve in at least one reconciliation with their previous partner, and 53 percent of these reconciliations involved having a sexual relationship once more with their ex-partner. The study showed that racial minorities were even more likely to take part in these reunions with previous partners.
The researchers stated that this pattern of repeated reconciliation with old partners may indicate a behavioural pattern which involves cycling through the formation of a relationship. In addition to this, if couples have sex with one another after a break-up, it could cause emotional difficulties in trying to move on from that relationship – removing the emotional weight of a break-up or building a new romantic attachment becomes more difficult in this situation. While returning to a relationship that already has emotional roots may be easier and comforting, in reality it can cause more complications than it solves.