Your Man vs. Skinny Jeans: When Weight Loss Ruins Love

Losing weight is usually a good thing. You feel lighter, healthier, and can gleefully ditch those Spanx. But scientists say there’s a dark side to dieting: an unhappy relationship.

Researchers at North Carolina State University and the University of Texas called on 21 couples in which one partner had lost 30 or more pounds, and asked everyone how weight-loss had impacted their relationships. Many couples were happier — the newly fit people inspired their partners to shape up, and the couple felt closer, both emotionally and sexually.

For others, the effects of the weight loss on their relationships was more complicated. The thinner partners began nagging their significant others to hit the gym. People whose weight hadn’t budged became critical, disinterested in sex, and even tried to tempt their partners with fatty foods in order to derail their progress.

The difference between happy and not-so-happy couples boiled down to the amount of support in the relationship. When both partners were on board with a weight-loss plan, they felt closer. But if one person resisted, their bond suffered.

“Weight loss causes relationship stress because it triggers people’s fundamental insecurities,” Bethany Marshall, PhD, a Los Angeles-based psychotherapist, tells Yahoo Shine. Some people interpret their partner’s healthy lifestyle as a sign he or she is focused on their own life, which can feel exclusive. It’s also possible that one person appreciates the other’s new, leaner body, but not the attention it brings from the opposite sex, says Marshall. And finally, evolutionarily-speaking, food is associated with love — if one person adopts a stricter diet, they may shun sharing gooey platters of nachos or cuddling up with take-out, leaving the other party feeling slighted.

You can still lose weight without losing your spark. One strategy is exercising together: Not only do tandem workouts motivate both parties to keep their fitness goals on track, sweating triggers the release of endorphins, those lovey-dovey chemicals that induce a sense of euphoria. Another idea: Cooking together: You’ll have control over the meal’s nutritional content and learning new recipes will be a bonding experience. Or, better yet, hop in bed. Sex burns calories and it beats spin class!