Back burners are desired prospective romantic/sexual partners that people communicate with to establish a future romantic or sexual relationship. We surveyed 658 college students about the extent to which they reported using various positive relationship maintenance strategies (positivity, openness, assurances) during communication with their most important back burner. Consistent with previous research, singles did not differ from those in committed romances in the number of back burners reported; however, singles and casual daters utilized the positive maintenance strategies to a greater extent than did those in committed relationships. Men reported using more assurances than did women, but the sexes did not differ on the other strategies utilized. Implications and limitations are discussed.

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Communication Research Reports