Study: The Couple That Binge-Watches Together Stays Together

By Andrew Daniels

To this day, the most satisfying binge watch of my life is still when I powered through all six seasons of Lost on DVD—pre-Netflix!—in two months. For starters, watching Lost in a vacuum a year after the series concluded, divorced of all the backlash that surrounded it while it was on the air, made the show purely enjoyable. Had I been forced to follow it in real time for six years, surely I would’ve grown frustrated with the time jumps and plot holes and that entire episode devoted to Jack’s dumbass tattoos. But it’s easy to overlook the show’s occasional flaws when you immediately move on to the next episode.

The real reason I have such a fond recollection of my time with Lost, however, is because it was the first show my wife and I ever binge-watched together. We lapped up the series in our first apartment, a few years before we were married, mainlining multiple episodes every night and rabidly discussing our theories the next morning before work. While bingeing shows is the national pastime now, back in 2011, it was a downright novelty. We bonded over our shared experience of loving Locke, hating Kate, and choking up every damn time at Michael Giacchino’s tear-swelling score. Lostundoubtedly drew us closer that summer.

So I wasn’t surprised to see a study in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationshipsthat found that when you share enjoyment of a TV show with your partner, it can strengthen your relationship.

In the study, researchers asked more than 200 students in long-term, exclusive romantic relationships how many mutual friends they shared, as well as how often they took in entertainment (including TV, movies, and books) together.

The results: Couples who spent more time consuming media together gave their relationship a better grade than those who enjoyed their stories apart. In an interesting wrinkle, the pairs who didn’t share the same social network, but did watch shows together, rated their relationship more positively, and reported feeling closer to each other and more confident in their connection.

It’s important to stress that this was only a correlation, and more research is needed to definitely prove the power of bingeing with your boo. But it worked for me, and besides, what the hell else are you going to talk about over breakfast?