If Your Significant Other’s a Hot Mess, You Will Be, Too

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Photo: Suzanne Hanover/Universal Studios

So you’re a money-saving, exercising, healthy-eating, generally “together” type. Your significant other is … not. 

It would be nice if your good habits rubbed off on your partner, but a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research suggests the opposite is more likely: the person with low self-control will drag the couple down to his or her level. 

More on the research here:

Through a series of studies involving both real-world couples and pairs of students in a laboratory setting, the authors observed that when both people in a relationship have high levels of self-control, they are better able to save more money, buy healthier foods, and stick to tasks longer than in a relationship where both partners have low levels of self-control.

Interestingly, when one person in a relationship has high self-control and the other has low self-control, the couple generally makes joint decisions similar to those where both partners have low self-control.

The researchers, Hristina Dzhogleva of Boston College and Cait Poynor Lamberton of the University of Pittsburgh, believe that this happens because people with naturally high levels of self-control also know how to keep a relationship together, which usually means compromising for the sake of avoiding conflict. So if you find yourself skipping the gym for another Seamless-and-Netflix night with your significant other, at least you can now rest assured that you’re doing it for love.