Smoking and being a couch potato could improve the health of your relationship, but it comes at a cost.
A recent study found that engaging in harmful behavior with a romantic partner improves your relationship but ruins your health.
The study published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin focused on couples who smoked, loafed and ate junk food.
Researchers at the University of Zurich analyzed diary entries and observed how participants described everyday experiences, behaviors and social interactions.
They found that those who shared problem behaviors with their partner, including smoking and sedentary behavior, were correlated with greater closeness and relationship satisfaction on a daily level.
However, they did not find an increase in closeness or relationship satisfaction when couples ate unhealthy foods together.
The experts noted that while these behaviors are known to have detrimental and even deadly long-term effects, engaging in shared problem behaviors had positive effects on relationships in the short term.
“It is possible that the willingness to bear the long-term risk to health or well-being when engaging in shared problem behavior…may make ‘going on together’ a unique experience that brings couples closer,” the researchers wrote. researchers.
They believe that these behaviors help reduce conflict, increase closeness, and support relationship cohesion when the problem behavior is performed together and reflects the same behavior.
On days when couples engaged in more shared problem behavior, they also reported higher overall relationship satisfaction.
It has been proven that participating in recreational activities as a couple strengthens and stabilizes the relationship, in part because it allows them to share positive emotions.
Engaging in problem behavior together may be related to the belief that these specific types of behaviors are often seen as “indulgent,” “risky,” or “turn-on.”
These activities are also often used to relieve stress or reduce negative emotions.
In the end, the researchers concluded that couples were willing to engage in unhealthy behaviors “because they want to improve their partner’s well-being.”
Smoking and lying on the couch all day aren’t the only problem behaviors that can benefit your relationship. Another study found that lying to your partner is good for your relationship, in certain scenarios.
Researchers found that secret shopping can actually strengthen relationships as petty, but secret shopping makes people feel a bit guilty, leading them to spend more time with their partner to offset their secret spending.
So if you want to splurge on a small gift, you might want to keep it to yourself. But if you want to smoke or be a couch potato, invite your loved one over and enjoy your unhealthy habits together.