29.05.2024

Drinking, smoking or eating comfort food with a partner improves your relationship

Being comfortable with your partner is seen as a sign of a strong, stable relationship. However, it appears that being settled can lead loving partners to bring out the worst in each other, too.

Researchers have found that couples who did unhealthy things together, such as lounging on the sofa all day, felt closer to one another the following day than those who opted to go for a walk or run.

And they warned that this increased feeling of intimacy can damage our ability to be healthy over the long term.

The team, from the University of Zurich, analysed data from three previous diary studies of unhealthy behaviour in couples.

Researchers have found that couples who did unhealthy things together, such as lounging on the sofa all day, felt closer to one another the following day than those who opted to go for a walk or run (stock image)

Researchers have found that couples who did unhealthy things together, such as lounging on the sofa all day, felt closer to one another the following day than those who opted to go for a walk or run (stock image)

In both the smoking and sedentary study, participants reported higher relationship satisfaction and closeness the day after indulging in unhealthy behaviours together (stock image)

In both the smoking and sedentary study, participants reported higher relationship satisfaction and closeness the day after indulging in unhealthy behaviours together (stock image)

In the first, smokers noted how many cigarettes they smoked together each day for a month.

In the second, inactive couples wore accelerometers for a month to track when they were sedentary together.

And in the third, couples took pictures of their food each day to record how often they consumed meals high in fat, sugar or salt.

Across all studies, the participants rated their closeness and satisfaction with their relationship each day.

In both the smoking and sedentary study, participants reported higher relationship satisfaction and closeness the day after indulging in unhealthy behaviours together.

In the final study there was no change in closeness or relationship satisfaction when couples jointly consumed unhealthy food.

Writing in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, the team said: ‘It is possible that the willingness to put up with long-term health or well-being risk when engaged in shared problematic behaviour… may make ‘indulging together’ a unique experience that brings partners closer.’

Smoking or eating comfort foods are often used to relieve stress – so couples may choose to engage in these behaviours with their significant other ‘because they want to improve their partner’s well-being’, they added.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *