Get fit, don’t split

Want to get fit without ripping apart your relationships? Stephanie Ayre reports.

You’d never think that getting fit would cause your partner to break up with you. But as strange as it may sound, losing weight and getting into shape are known to have been the cause of many relationship breakdowns.

Relationship problems can arise when one half of a couple loses weight and the other carries on with their unhealthy habits. It’s actually far more common than you might think. Sure, there are couples who remain tight in the face of change, but a growing body of evidence suggests that many rock-solid bonds crumble when one partner loses a lot of weight and changes their routine to a healthier one.

One study reported that while some spouses were inspired to lose weight when their partner slimmed down, others weren’t so lucky. Newly-fit partners were seen to be nagging about diet and pushing their partner to lose weight, while jealousy and insecurities abound in those who didn’t lose weight. Some partners even went so far as to sabotage their fit partner’s efforts with junk food offerings.

Research also suggests that people who lose a considerable amount of weight have a slightly higher chance of separating or getting divorced from their partner when compared to married people who didn’t lose weight. The new lifestyle habits caused stress on couples (time spent on food prep and working out instead of together) and new-found confidence was enough to help end already damaged relationships.

Change in a relationship isn’t always easy. Nobody expects the smooth flow of daily routine to be disrupted. But when elements drastically change to include food restrictions, macro counting, progress pics and cosy evening rituals being ditched for the gym, it can cause conflict. It could leave your partner wondering if their “better” better half even shares the same likes and interests anymore.

If you’re not ready to give up your new healthy lifestyle or relationship, here are some tips to help maintain the happily ever after in your life.

Know the signs

If your partner has made a few unnecessary negative comments about you changing or is making you feel guilty for wanting to spend time at the gym and not with them, it’s probably a good indicator your healthier habits are causing strain on your relationship and it’s time for a chat.

Tell it like it is

If you feel jealousy brewing due to your new look, your relationship might need some communication help. The foundation of any good relationship is to be able to talk openly and honestly, and respect each other’s feelings. Make sure they know why you want to lose weight — for health and happiness, and not for dissatisfaction with your relationship.

If they’re worried you’re attracting too much attention from the opposite sex, reaffirm you only have eyes for them! Try to be understanding and give them time to talk it out and overcome their negative feelings. Remember, you’re both in this together.

They’re not out to get you

If your partner has turned up with some of your favourite cheat foods, keep your cool and don’t jump to the conclusion they’re trying to sabotage your diet. They most likely haven’t thought twice about it.

Not everyone is as focused on your diet as you are. Politely remind them you’re trying to be healthy and the temptation is making it real hard.

Couples who sweat together, stay together

Sweat might not be the first word that comes to mind when you think romance, but couples who work out together are more likely to be content in their relationship. Research shows that sharing the same fitness goal or taking date night to the gym can ignite romantic attraction and keep those butterflies hanging around longer.

Relationships are a two-way street, so learn to compromise

Not every relationship is as strong as the muscular bond between deadlifts and squats. If your partner is feeling that you’re not spending enough time together, it’s worth listening to them, talking about it and coming to a compromise. Make a deal for an allocated date night each week.

Being healthy doesn’t need to be boring. You can both still enjoy the indulgence of dinner and a movie, just with healthier alternatives. Try to include your partner in your new lifestyle as much as possible, reassuring them that what you have together won’t be affected by your change in routine.

Being supportive is the key to a happy and healthy relationship, and it works both ways. It’s so important for the partner of someone trying to lose weight to encourage their decision without feeling threatened by their want to be healthier. Having this mindset will help you lose weight without damaging your relationship, allowing you to have your cake and eat it, too.