Fighting With Your Husband Could Be Making You Fat

fighting coupleNeed a reason to stop arguing with your spouse? (Other than, you know, you're on the same team and decided to spend your life together, so, um, should be pretty simpatico.) Here's a bizarre one: Fighting with your husband makes you both fat.


Yep, you read that correctly. According to researchers from University of Delaware and Ohio State University, fighting with your partner makes you hungry AND makes you more prone to emotional eating.

Compared to people in happy marriages, people in a relationship that wasn't going so great ate more crap (our word, not the researchers) and also had higher levels of ghrelin, the horribly-but-appropriately-named hunger hormone.

Scientists recruited 43 couples, saying they were testing immune responses to fast food. (A general word of caution: If you ever participate in an experiment, be forewarned that it's hardly ever for what's advertised.)

The couples, all of whom had been married at least three years, came in for two sessions that lasted over NINE hours each. During that time, they hung out together, ate a meal, had blood taken and other data collected, and also discussed a problem in their relationship -- which was videotaped. And which researchers watched later, looking for signs of hostility and conflict. (We wonder if, "Geez, how long are we going to be here?!" counted.)

More from The Stir: Marriage Therapists Solve the 10 Most Common Fights Couples Have (PHOTOS)

What they found was that people who were of average weight or overweight and in stressful marriages experienced a surge of the hunger hormone after they ate.

Is this fascinating? Yes. Surprising? Eh, probably not so much. Chronic stress is already associated with an increase in hormones like cortisol and adrenaline that lead to weight gain.

But these results ARE a good reminder of the significant effect our relationship has on us. After all, as the researchers point out, people in unhappy marriages are also prone to heart disease, metabolic syndrome, and dying sooner than they'd like.

Life is too short (and will be even shorter) if you're spending it with someone who drives you nuts.

We just hope the researchers eventually informed the couples of what they learned -- and gave some of them the name of a helpful marriage counselor. Or divorce lawyer.


Image via Courtney Keating/iStock

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