The Scientific Upside to Gaining Weight in a Relationship

July 1st 2016

Tricia Tongco

Yup, "love weight" is a real thing. But what does it indicate about how happy a couple is?

According to a 2013 study on the connection between marital satisfaction and weight gain, newlyweds who are happy in their marriages are more likely to gain weight.

Led by Andrea L. Meltzer, Ph.D., an assistant professor in psychology at Southern Methodist University, the team of researchers evaluated 169 newlywed couples by measuring their weight, marital satisfaction, stress, steps toward divorce, and a few other factors.

In a blog post for SMU Research, Meltzer summarized their findings:

“On average, spouses who were more satisfied with their marriage were less likely to consider leaving their marriage, and they gained more weight over time In contrast, couples who were less satisfied in their relationship tended to gain less weight over time.”

The research suggests that the primary reason that people maintain their weight is to attract a mate.

So if someone is unhappy in their marriage, they are more likely to stay slim in order to be attractive in the dating market.

On the other hand, a happily married couple no longer feels the need to attract a new mate and thus aren't motivated to stay slim. So gaining weight together as a couple means you're in it for the long haul. 

While that is a sweet upside to gaining love weight with your spouse, it's still harmful to your health. The results challenge the notion that satisfying relationships always benefit your health.

The study concluded that in order to prevent newlywed couples from gaining weight, they should think of weight in terms of health rather than appearance.  

So, couples, take note – it's possible to be both happy and healthy. 

[h/t Your Tango]