“We never do anything together except watch TV,” says your partner.
Science says: good, that's how it should be.
In a new article published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, researchers from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland found that watching TV shows with a partner helps foster a closer relationship. In fact, it does one better: not only does sharing media (including films and books) “enhance interdependence,” it allows people to “compensate for lacking a shared social network in the real-world.”
In other words, if you don’t like each other’s friends, binge watching can compensate for that.
The research was based around a study involving 259 students in close relationships (average of 16.7 months). As Quartz noted, “those with more shared friends, and those with fewer friends but who shared media consumption, reported the highest relationship satisfaction over the period of study.”
“Although TV shows cannot reciprocate our affection, humans’ strong and flexible need to belong leads people to develop psychologically meaningful connections to fictional social worlds,” authors Sarah Gomillion, Shira Gabriel, Kerry Kawakami and Ariana Young write in their research.
Their paper, amusingly, kicks off with a quote from Piper (Orange Is the New Black) to her fiance Larry: “Promise me you’re not watching Mad Men without me ... that when I get out of here, we’re going to binge watch it, together, in bed, with take out.” (The research then jumps into regression coefficients and other data points for which we’ll take them at their word.)
Happy couch surfing, happy life.