Bingeing on Netflix — an activity which seems to have garnered a bad rep, despite the fact that we’re all guilty of doing it. Instead of boasting about the quality time we spend digesting new (and old) media, we’re always ashamed of how many hours we spend laying on the couch so that we can catch up on Luke Cage.
However, new research has concluded that lounging around and watching Netflix with your significant other can actually have some beneficial effects on your relationship.
Because if we can’t use science to justify our lazy behavior, then what the hell is it good for??
According to a study in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, couples who share TV shows are more likely to feel a shared bond, particularly if they don’t share many mutual friends in their daily lives.
“Having a shared circle of friends can make couples feel closer and can even protect them from breaking up,”one of the study authors, Sarah Gomillion, PhD, told Health. “Having a shared connection to the characters in a TV series or film might make couples feel like they share a social identity even if they lack mutual friends in the real world.”
In other words: being able to talk and relate about the kids on Stranger Things brings you closer together by allowing you to expand your circle of mutual friends — even if those “friends” are just characters on TV shows.
The study found that sharing media in general (such as reading books together) also had a positive effect on relationships, but that the bond was strongest when couples who lacked mutual friends were sharing TV shows together.
“People often say that activities like watching Netflix isolate us,”Gomillion continues. “But our research suggests that it can actually have important social benefits.”
So stop feeling so guilty about watching Netflix together! For all you know, you’re just strengthening your romantic bonds!
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