Bad Behavior is Contagious

Being in love is wonderful and being a couple is even better.

Well maybe not.

In a recent study of married people in relationships of 14-25 years it seems that any bad habits brought into the relationship seem to prevail.

In other words, who ever brings in the bad habit brings the other partner down with him.

And we do mean him.

Among straight couples, guys were almost always the ones who brought the other partner’s health down, a new study found.

Reczek interviewed 122 heterosexual, lesbian, and gay couples with an average age of older than 40 and an average relationship duration of between 14 and 25 years. Then she teased out subtle and direct clues as to how the couple interacted in health-related behaviors. What did she find? Three ways that partners can erode each other’s health habits: “influence,” “synchronicity” and “personal responsibility.”
The examples of each will sound familiar to any long-married person. “Yeah, I drink a Dr. Pepper every morning,” Jason, a man in the study, is quoted as saying. “It’s like a ritual.” Maria, who never drank sodas before marrying Jason, now indulges. She has also picked up his junk food habit. “I can definitely bring her health down, if she ever let herself get on the bandwagon, so to speak,” he told Reczek.
Jason is influencing his wife to drink soda and eat junk food and he’s dismissing any responsibility he may have for not changing his own habits by using the words “if she ever let herself,” an argument that his wife has personal responsibility for her own health. It’s not his job.

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