You already knew that you and your S.O. enjoyed ignoring your friends’ texts about going out on a Friday night in favor of staying in and binging on “Stranger Things” (or at least, I knew that). But now science has provided an official blessing for your hermit tendencies—and good timing for fall and winter, too. In a study of 200 young people in LTRs (about 16 months long on average), couples who watched a lot of TV and movies together had better relationships than those who didn’t, and that effect was even stronger for couples who said they didn’t have a lot of friends in common.
The study, which was published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, found that binge-watching wasn’t just about spending more time with your S.O., but rather, a way of creating inside jokes and memories (which might otherwise be created with a group of shared friends). Lead researcher Sarah Gomillion told BBC News that “when people have a hole in their social network that they share with their partners, they might become more motivated to share media as a way to compensate for that deficit.”
And while it might sound a little sad when phrased as a way to compensate for actual, real-time memory-making with, you know, people, it’s worth noting that the media-watching effect still applied to some couples with shared friends, as well—just not as significantly. “Watching TV with a partner or watching a movie you both like is a really easy way to improve relationship quality and anyone can do it at any time, so if this is something that is good for relationships, it might help us identify an intervention that can improve relationship quality,” says Gomillion.
Hey, whatever works—just make sure you actually remember to leave the house sometimes, too.