No folks, it’s not ‘just lunch’! Meeting up to dine with an ex will probably make your current partner wild with jealousy. There’s something about sharing food with a former love interest that’s threatening, a recent US study found.
Your partner might be OK with it if you chat to an old flame. But as soon as there’s food involved, the alarm bells start to ring.
Eating lunch or dinner with an ex could make your current squeeze more jealous than grabbing a coffee together or chatting over the phone. In fact, when it comes to jealousy, it’s sharing a meal with a former romance, not meeting them in person that seems to matter most, the US study showed.
Students, who were between 18 and 22 years old, were given hypothetical scenarios in which their current partner was contacted by an ex, either by e-mail, phone, over coffee or a meal. Then they were asked how jealous each scenario would make them. There was no difference between guy and girl students, researchers found.
It was no surprise that exchanging e-mails caused the least jealousy. But when their hypothetical partner met up with an ex for an hour-long coffee, the students were just as jealous as if they’d chatted on the phone for an hour. When it comes to relationships, it seems that there’s something about eating with an ex that ups feelings of jealousy.
So what is it about sharing a meal that makes people so jealous? Research has shown that eating together is an important part of dating and romance, so it makes sense that the idea of a partner dining with an ex can cause some to worry.
People are always on the lookout for potential threats to their relationship and enjoying food with a former lover could mean unity on the part of both diners in a way that a coffee or phone conversation wouldn’t, researchers hypothesised.
If someone takes the time to have a meal with an ex it probably means they’re up for spending more time with them, and not just there because their ex-wants them to be. So eating with an ex could give people more reason to worry about losing their partner – and to be jealous.