You may have heard stories about couples breaking up after one person loses weight. Maybe it was the newfound confidence that comes with being at a healthier weight, which meant that having low self esteem no longer kept them in a relationship that wasn’t good for them.
Perhaps it was in fact the partner that ended it- they hadn’t wanted to be pestered about losing weight themselves, or hadn’t wanted to engage in the more physically demanding activities and the couple had drifted apart.
And lastly of course, you may have heard of couples where jealousy became a big issue when one partner lost weight. Insecurity and the perception that the other person would leave them for someone else causing conflict and eventually the end of a relationship.
But before you believe all these horror stories, you might want to take a look at the findings of a study done by North Carolina State University and University of Texas at Austin, examining changes to relationships with weight loss.
Couples talked more openly about ways to improve their health and weight, rather than tiptoeing around the subject so as not to offend the other person.
Better support and stronger convictions
The partner who had lost weight offered more support to the other person in making positive changes to their own health, and were able to be more assertive is suggestive healthy choices.
More connected and socially outgoing as a couple
Couples found that they communicated better, felt closer to their partner, and that they also did more activities together such as exercising hiking, travelling, or going on dates.
Again, this was attributed to better communication. Communication means less conflict, misinterpretation, and cause for tension or stress.
It wasn’t a magic bullet
What the researchers found is that in a smaller minority of those studied, that weight loss did cause those problems like jealousy, insecurity, and resentment, but that these only tended to occur in the couples that self reported being in an unhappy relationship to start with.
This isn’t to say that a relationship with the occasional fight, difference of opinion, or negative feeling towards the other person can’t still be completely healthy, as long as the couples are able to find a way that works for them to resolve these issues as they arise.
If you have concerns about your relationship changing with weight loss, you should take comfort that good relationships just seem to get better. Working towards a healthy weight on your own or together has many benefits, not only to your physical and mental health, but it would seem, also to the health of your relationship.