You Can Now Blame Your Spouse if You're Unhealthy

man eatingYou can catch more than just a cold from your spouse -- Cheeto breath, beer bellies, and an addiction to gaming are now transferable, and worse, they're airborne. Like that damn monkey spreading fatal diseases in Outbreak, our spouses are spreading their bad habits to us, and unless Dustin Hoffman is around to save us, there might be little we can do about it. A new study shows that couples in long-term relationships, like marriages, erode each other's health habits.

The research, which studied interviews given by 122 gay and straight couples, is said to have revealed the "dark side" of marriage. While so many studies purport that marriages are the way to a healthy heart and happy life, this one doesn't. This one says you're gaining a little weight in your mid-section because of spousal pressure.


Sociologist Corinne Reczek is behind the analysis and says that there are three ways partners enable each other's unhealthy ways: 1: Influence ("Oh come on, have some fried pizza balls wrapped in bacon. They're amazing!"); 2: Synchronicity ("Let's be bad together and go to Chili's and eat our faces off for fun."); 3: Personal responsibility ("I can eat this whole bag of Lays and sit on the couch, and if you want to do it too, that's your problem.")

Reczek came up with the terms, I came up with the explanations. I think that's what she means by the labels, though. It makes sense to me, anyway. Personally I can attest to being on the receiving end for each of those moves, but I've also been on punting side, too.

The research shows that in straight couples, it's usually the man that can be blamed for "forcing" his bad habits on the woman, but I'd say one out of every three times, I'll be the one doing the influencing. I guess it's my way of moving from the influence phase to the synchronicity phase, because I probably, subconsciously, don't want to be bad by myself. For one thing, it's lonely, and for another, it's kind of a bonding experience to eat a large bag of popcorn mixed with a family-sized box of Raisinettes and to drink a Coke out of a paper cup you have to hold with two hands while you watch a $19 3-D movie in the sweet, sweet air conditioning. Right?

At some point they're going to run out of ways to research health and relationships. Until then, I say make love, not fat. I mean [sticks finger in peanut butter jar and licks finger] it's really gross how [washes down peanut butter with schwill of beer] we just do [washes down beer with scoop of sour cream] what our spouses do [opens bag of tortilla chips with teeth] just because they're there, you know?

Do you find yourself taking on your spouse's bad habits?

Photo via ewen and donabel/Flickr

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