Meeting Ex for Coffee Less Threatening Than Meeting for Lunch

C. Price

Written by: C. Price

C. Price

C. Price is part of's content team. She writes advice articles, how-to guides, and studies — all relating to dating, relationships, love, sex, and more.

Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

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Is lunch really just lunch? Or do we attribute all sorts of subtexts to sharing food with a member of the opposite sex, especially when that person is an ex?

According to a new study, we all tend to react with greater jealousy at the thought of our partner sharing lunch with one of their exes than simply grabbing a cup of coffee.

The study, published by Kevin Kniffin and coming out of Cornell University, asked 79 undergrads hypothetical questions related to a current partner’s interactions with their ex.

Kniffin found respondents consistently rated meals shared with an ex created more jealousy than coffee shared with an ex.

Interestingly enough, when it came to both meals and coffee, the study found timing also affected jealous responses, with late afternoon coffee and dinner causing greater jealous than early morning coffee and lunch, respectively.

Researchers concluded:

“These findings suggest that people believe that commensality involves more than the physical consumption of calories. More specifically, the pattern across both studies suggests that people are attuned to the potential relationship threat that they implicitly expect can be posed by extra-pair commensality.”

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