Now I can’t comment too much on my own personal experience in this department as I’ve only held one main relationship throughout my years but I definitely heard about this phenomenon through couples, articles and the media. I’ve seen it first hand with friends of mine and it is quite the fascinating experience.
When you’re single and on the prowl, it’s pretty evident that you always try to put your best foot forward, not just special nights out but even during your Saturday afternoon shopping. Why is that? Because you never know when that perfect person is going to come your way. Exercise, eating right, staying in those skinny jeans are top priorities for the single folk of the world as the dating world relies heavily on first impressions. Maybe mr. right is in line with you at the grocery store or you bump into him on your morning run. A girl’s gotta be prepared at a moment’s notice.
Once you finally get into a relationship, things can often change. I find one of the best bonding activities couples go through is activities involving eating, whether making a meal at home together or going to a fancy dinner in town. It’s common knowledge after all that food is the one thing that can bring people together and act as a conversation piece if need be. There’s less need to impress because you’ve already got that awesome person by your side who loves you for exactly who you are, weight aside. You sink into that comfortable zone and suddenly you’re replacing those skinny jeans with those good ol’ comfortable sweats you love. Of course there are always exceptions to the rules and those who don’t suffer from this, I commend you but for the rest of us, whether we realize it or not, we fall into this side affect to love.
I think in most part, this ‘letting-go’ mentality isn’t based so much on a sudden lack of interest in appearance but rather, a replacement of priorities. That hour at the gym gets replaced with an extra hour in bed with your loved one, that ‘no sweets’ diet is blown when your lover decides to buy you some chocolates. It seems you’re filling up on love and your calendar is more about ‘us’ than just ‘me’.
An article I previously read mentioned that maybe it goes beyond that. Maybe the person you’re with doesn’t exemplify good, healthy habits to begin with and through time, you take on those bad habits as well. It’s hard to resist junk food when your partner is a junk food fanatic. Maybe he or she hates exercising and dares not to get out of bed. With time and slow deterioration of your will, I’d be willing to bet that you’d end up with similar habits because of course you want to spend more time with your partner, however inactive your activities may be. Bad habits are hard to break and easy to adapt. Hence why a lot of super active individuals look for like-minded people to be in relationships with. It’s not really the ideal match to have the triathlon runner dating the video game junkie.
I’ll admit, at the beginning of my relationship, I was at a healthier weight. But I don’t think my relationship is to blame for the added pounds over the years. It hasn’t helped but certainly hasn’t made it worse. Life changes, habits change and people change. It’s an evolution of life. I never threw health out the window, I just didn’t dedicate my life to it because I had something just as good to dedicate it to; love. My partner wasn’t the best nutritious or balanced eater and our time spent together reflected my adaptation to his eating habits to please him since that was easier than trying to get him to eat the veggies I was usually eating. However he was definitely much more of an active person than I originally was and brought that element into our relationship. Our poor eating habits were often balanced with walks/runs around town.
When we split up, I did what many girls do and I lost some of my relationship weight (a successful 15 pounds), entered the dating world and met some new men. I definitely felt the need/pressure to look good and impress at a moment’s notice and acknowledged my shift in mentality.
I don’t think being on either side of the coin is better or worse than the other. I suppose as long as your weight gain still leaves you in the ‘healthy’ zone, you’re not worse off than before. And whether you’re skinny or have a little more to love, being single isn’t the worse thing in the world either.
But between skinny and alone vs a little extra to love while in love? I think I’d go with the latter, but hey! that’s just me.