Losing weight has a number of important benefits. Many of those benefits improve your physical and emotional health. But losing weight can also have an impact on your romantic relationships – and not always for the better.
A paper from researchers at North Carolina State University examines the effects of weight loss on relationships. For the study, 21 couples in which one partner had lost at least 30 pounds were surveyed.
According the researchers, the impact of weight loss was often a positive one. In such instances, the partner who lost weight was able to talk about his or her changes – and, in doing so, inspire his or her partner to adopt a healthier lifestyle. These couples were able to bond over lifestyle changes and enjoyed improved physical and emotional intimacy.
But this wasn’t always the case.
For other couples, the impact of weight loss was negative. In some cases, the individual who lost weight nagged his or her partner to lose weight. This nagging led to added relationship tension. Moreover, some individuals reported feeling threatened or insecure because of their partners’ weight loss. These individuals tended to make critical comments, be less interested in intimacy and even tried to sabotage the success of their partners.
For better or worse, losing weight does affect relationship dynamics. But rather than dissuade someone from losing weight, researchers suggest:
[This study] should encourage people to be aware of the potential pros and cons of weight loss on their relationship. It is really important for the partner of someone trying to lose weight to be supportive of their significant other without feeling threatened by their health changes. This approach will help people lose weight without jeopardizing the quality of their relationship.
In other words, communication is hugely important. This is true of all relationships at all times, but especially true when experiencing or undertaking a life change like weight loss.
Have you ever lost weight in a relationship? How did it change your relationship?