A new study conducted by the University of Aberdeen has shown that couples who curl up on the sofa together and binge watch a box set can develop a closer emotional bond than those that don’t do this. The study has been written up into a research paper called ‘Let’s stay home and watch TV – The benefits of shared media use for close relationships.’ The paper suggests that couples can enhance interdependence by watching TV shows together and this is especially so if the couple do not have many mutual friends as this means they lack a shared social world. This basically means the couple build up a relationship together with the same TV characters and this compensates for not sharing the same social group.
Interdependence is a process called ‘self – expansion’ in which people incorporate aspects of their partner into their own personality, through common interests and friendships and the paper states:
Self – expansion fosters closeness and feelings of love, and sharing a “fictional social world” can help couples with this process, leading romantic partners to identify as “an interdependent ‘we'”.
For example, when many LBGTQ individuals watched ‘The L Word’ we felt part of their lives and it was almost like Bette, Shane and co were really our friends. ‘Orange is the New Black’ is quoted in the paper when Piper says to her then boyfriend the night before she leaves for her prison sentence:
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 paper continues to state that Piper’s longing to binge watch Mad Men with Larry can stem from a desire to restore this shared social identity when she gets out of prison as her time spent in prison will take her away from her sense of shared identity with her partner.
So girls, what are you waiting for? Get out the popcorn, choose your favourite TV show, snuggle into your boo and binge watch that box set for hours. After all, who are we to argue with the experts when we can improve our relationship with our loved one simply by watching TV together? Enjoy!