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Health and Relationships

Choosing to spend your life with someone means always having someone to talk to about your day, having someone around to open up the pickle jar when it gets stuck, and most importantly—having someone to eat all your meals with.

But what does it mean for our health when we’re in a romantic relationship? We’ve all heard of gaining “happy weight” when we’re attached to someone romantically, but is that actually real? In order to understand how romantic relationships affect our health habits, we surveyed 2,000 people to see how and if their partnerships had an effect on their diet or exercise routine.



What Happens When You Have an Unhealthy Partner?

When you are sharing a life (and plenty of meals) with a partner who has unhealthy habits, it turns out that it can actually affect your habits as well. In fact, 42% of those who indicated that their partner had unhealthy habits said they tended to have unhealthy habits as well. And who typically has an unhealthy partner? From our survey, we found that women were 60% more likely to have a less healthy partner.
So, how does this actually affect your everyday eating and exercising routine? Of the participants who had an unhealthy partner, 49% said that they ate unhealthy foods more than before, and 36% said they ate healthy foods less than before they were coupled up. From our survey it also looks like unhealthy people encourage their partners to overeat—with 38% of the respondents saying that they overeat more now than before they were in a relationship.

An unhealthy partner will also affect your exercise habits, with 37% of our respondents saying that they spend less time at the gym than before they got together with their partner.

Unsurprisingly, we found that 44% of respondents with an unhealthy partner said they had gained more weight than before they got into their relationship.

What Happens When You Have a Healthy Partner?

From our survey we’ve found that having an unhealthy partner can affect your diet and exercise habits, but is a healthy partner just as influential? In our survey results we discovered that an astonishing 66% of respondents said they tended to have healthier habits when coupled up with a healthy partner, which is all the more reason to date that cutie you saw at the gym.

Of our participants who indicated they had a healthy partner, 67% said they ate less unhealthy foods and ate more healthy foods than before they were in a relationship. And it looks like overeating when you have a healthy partner is also less prevalent: 61% of our respondents said they overate less than before they got together with their partner.

It also appears that healthy couples are hitting the gym together (or are at least encouraging each other to exercise). Of our participants who had healthy partners, 57% said they exercised more than before they were in a relationship.

With all of this encouragement to exercise and eat healthier, it’s not surprising that 47% of the respondents said they’ve gained less weight than before they were in a relationship.

Interestingly, a person’s health seems to have little effect on their partner’s sleep habits or their propensity to skip breakfast, with a large portion of our respondents indicating that these two activities were about the same as before they were in a relationship.

Are There Any Similarities?

It turns out that people who are in relationships with healthy and unhealthy people have a lot more in common than you might think. For example, 60% of respondents with an unhealthy partner cook together (versus 77% of respondents with a healthy partner) and 63% of respondents with an unhealthy partner grocery shop together (versus 76% with a healthy partner).

Most our respondents also indicated that they discuss health habits with their partner (77% with an unhealthy partner and 82% with a healthy partner) and many of our respondents said that they feel tension in their relationship due to health habits (56% with an unhealthy partner and 40% with a healthy partner).

Overall, most of our respondents said that they felt influenced by their partners’ health habits—for better or for worse.