Couch Therapy: British Couples Bonding Over Boxsets

Research by Relish Broadband has today unveiled that modern day couples are swapping the therapist’s couch for the living room sofa as bingeing on a TV drama is shown to help lovebirds bond, destress, and empathise with their other half.

Though it is often seen as a bad habit for couples who no longer have anything to say to each other, studies show watching TV is actually just as beneficial for couples as dining out or visiting an art gallery together.

Relish’s research took a look at TV viewing habits for love-struck Brits and found that, on average, we watch or stream 13 hours of TV, boxsets and movies with our other half a week – the equivalent of a whole month every year. According to the research, two thirds of Brits said they enjoy watching TV as a couple as it gives them things to talk about together and 9 in 10 of those surveyed said watching TV together brings them closer as a couple.

According to academics, this closeness results from the benefits of discussing mutually recognisable characters as if they were part of a couple’s shared social circle. In the real world, sharing a social network of friends and family members with your other half has been shown to enhance the quality of the relationship, but having a network of mutual friends is not always possible. Luckily, studies have shown that watching TV as a couple can mimic the benefits of a shared social network, with heated discussions about the inhabitants of Westeros replacing the village gossip of former generations.

Leading London Psychologist, Dr. Becky Spelman says, “In Victorian times, we would gather around the fire together while someone read from a book. Nowadays, we are spoilt for choice with movies and TV dramas and, just like our ancestors, we prefer to engage with them in company. It’s a way of having fun and feeling close to one another, so it is no surprise that spending time together snuggled up watching our favourite shows is a way to bring couples together.”

Nearly half of Brits surveyed by Relish said sitting in front of the television gives them a chance to cuddle up and spend quality time with their partner. A third even said they much prefer staying in to going out on date nights in general.

Couples struggling to empathise with each other will be further pleased to learn about research which suggests that watching fictional TV dramas improves people’s ability to read the thoughts and feelings of other people, a skill known as emotional intelligence.

Relish commissioned the research to gain some insight into its new customers, as the London broadband provider expands its landline free, plug and play service into Wandsworth, Southwark and Lambeth.

Bridget Lorimer, Head of Brand and Consumer Marketing at Relish, comments: “It’s great to see that British couples are rewriting the rules of romance. As a provider of broadband in the capital, we hope our plug and play hub and superfast broadband speeds will provide the perfect partnership for those London couples staying in to bond over a TV drama. And our same day delivery service means Londoners can order in the morning and be streaming their favourite shows by the evening!”  

Amy Smith

With a degree in English Literature from the University of Cambridge, Amy is a freelance writer and columnist. At YCB Magazine, she writes about all things lifestyle, travel & wellness.