The key to keeping your relationship alive isn’t buying her flowers or showering her with gifts and excessive compliments — apparently, it’s as simple as sitting in front of your laptop and binge-watching The Defenders together.
According to a study, which was initially published online and recently re-published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, staying home and watching Netflix with your girlfriend might actually be good for your relationship.
The study (which is rather blandly titled 'Let's Stay Home and Watch TV') was fairly simple. Researchers gathered 200 couples in long-term, committed relationships and asked them two key questions: How satisfied were they with their partner, and how often did they "consume media" (i.e. read a book, listen to music, or watch a movie or a TV show) together?
Apparently, the more hours couples spent consuming media together, the closer they felt with their loved ones, and therefore, the more satisfied they were with their relationships.
Of course, researchers didn’t specifically examine binge-watching streaming TV shows. The researchers found that sharing any form of entertainment with your partner — whether it was a book, music, or an actual film in theatres — led to a bonding experience that made for closer coupledom.
But because research shows that young people in particular are far more likely to watch movies or TV shows on the internet, rather than in theatres or on old-school TV screens, it’s reasonable to assume that many of these couples are binge-watching on streaming services like Netflix or Hulu, or even watching videos on YouTube.
This takeaway is a little surprising, to say the least: How does staring at your screen for hours on end without talking make for a stronger relationship? Good question.
Apparently, the answer lies in the aftermath of your Netflix and chill sesh, when you turn to your partner and hit them up with the important "So what'd you think of the episode?" question. Whether you’re debating if Littlefinger deserved to get killed on Game of Thrones or why the hell there are so many weird wigs on The Americans, talking about your favorite TV show is the 21st century version of taking a nice stroll around the block and chatting about your day. Setting aside time to watch some good flicks, and chat about it afterwards with your romantic partner is actually time well spent.
Of course, you don’t want to fall into a rut and spend every night glued to the TV screen.
Research says that novelty is key to a successful relationship, so it’s always a good idea to try a new activity with your partner to shake up your routine. But if you want to save a few bucks and you're looking for something to do for date night, call off that massage or restaurant reservation and spend a romantic night scrolling through your Netflix queue instead.
This article originally appeared on Men’s Health US.