Shedding unwanted pounds is a wonderful thing; not only are you adding years to your life, but you may also feel more energetic and confident. This healthy new lifestyle of yours may lead to new interests, like that yoga class on Monday nights, as you leave behind old habits, like all-you-can-eat pizza Wednesdays.
What happens when you’re in a relationship and the only one making these healthy changes is you? Without communication and support from your partner, there may be some trouble on the (healthy) horizon.
Research from North Carolina State University and the University of Texas at Austin found that if one partner is not on board with the other's lifestyle change, a "dark side of weight loss" can emerge. Some of the partners in the study who lost weight “nagged their significant other to follow their lead, which caused tension in the relationship.” On the other hand, those who hadn't lost weight “reported feeling threatened and insecure by their partner's weight loss.”
It’s not all bad news. According to this study, researchers found that, after weight loss, the couples' communication generally changed for the good. The partner who lost weight was more likely to talk about healthy behaviors and inspire their better half to maintain or start a healthy lifestyle of their own.
When couples were both committed to a healthy lifestyle change, researchers reported that it lead to an increase physical and emotional intimacy.
"This study found that one partner's lifestyle change influenced the dynamic of couples' interaction in a variety of positive or negative ways, tipping the scale of romantic relationships in a potentially upward or downward direction," said Dr. Lynsey Romo — an assistant professor of communication at North Carolina State University and lead author of a paper on the research — in a release. "When both partners bought into the idea of healthy changes and were supportive of one another, weight loss appeared to bring people closer. When significant others resisted healthy changes and were not supportive of their partner's weight loss, the relationship suffered."