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Study: 1 In 6 Cell Phones Has Ex-Boyfriend's Number
WASHINGTON (CAP) - A new study out of the Pew Research Center finds that as many as one in six cell phones in use today actually carries the phone number of an ex-boyfriend. Researchers said some of those phones were even contaminated with the numbers of multiple ex-boyfriends as well as the occasional old text promising to be hers forever.
"We believe this is a case of your girlfriend hedging her bets - a little bit of insurance, if you will," said Dr. Francis Spitznagel of the Pew Center. "She knows you won't be pawing through her purse, let alone using her phone, so she's pretty confident the information is safe."
The study found that once a boyfriend's number is stored on the SIM card, it can survive for days, weeks, or even months after the relationship has ended, especially if the new boyfriend has less long-term potential than his predecessor. However, just because the phone number is there doesn't mean the girlfriend plans to use it, although she'd like her friends to think so in order to keep them away from her ex-boyfriend.
"The amount of time she spends staring at the number with her finger hovered over the 'send' button is directly proportional to how big of an asshole you were on Friday night, and whether she was dumped by the ex-boyfriend or did the dumping," noted Spitznagel.
Experts say the best way to combat this address book contamination is to show more enthusiasm when she makes plans that don't involve beer or sports and express genuine concern for her feelings and emotions even when they may seem unreasonable. Pundits point out that while neither of these remedies is a silver bullet, if utilized consistently, they can keep relapses under control and new symptoms from emerging.
"You're never going to completely eradicate the ex-boyfriend's number, no matter how well the phone list is scrubbed," said CAP News relationships expert Dr. Sandra Goodlei. "The best you can hope for is that she sees the number and wonders why she still has it in her phone.
"She still won't get rid of it," Goodlei added, "but at least she'll question why it's there."
Goodlei said that if she switches to a new provider, upgrades her calling plan, or does something else that necessitates the purchase of a new phone and the contagion is still present, it means the ex-boyfriend's number has metastasized and could easily spread to butt dialing, Facebook friending, and chance encounters at the bar.
"We've seen these terminal cases all too often where the victim doesn't even know his days are numbered because he's in such a state of denial," noted Goodlei. "The only option at that point is a good support network who can make the patient comfortable as the inevitable end draws near."
Conversely, the study found quite the opposite to be true regarding ex-girlfriends' numbers, concluding that zero out of six cell phones contains such information. In fact, every phone involved in the study had been wiped clean of all numbers belonging to any females, even including the owner's mother.
The study will be published in the Pew Center's fall bulletin, available wherever high maintenance girlfriends shop and dine.
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