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7 Signs Your Partner’s Making You Gain Weight

And how to make it stop.

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You’re eating faster

If you used to linger over your meal but now you find you’re shoveling it in, your partner may be to blame. “We match our eating pace with the people we’re eating with,” says Tamara Melton, RDN, an Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Spokesperson. Problem is, men take bigger bites and eat faster compared to women, according to a 2015 study in Physiology & Behavior. If you notice you’re doing the same, make a conscious effort to slow down—it’s not a competition. (Though it can seem that way sometimes…) Eating quickly is one of many reasons you’re eating more than you realize.

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You’re drinking more

When you start a relationship you’re constantly going on dates that revolve around food—and drinks. So you may be imbibing more, says Melton. Not only does that add cals but booze lowers inhibitions, squelching your healthy eating intentions. And that’s not just when you’re dating. Research from the University of Cincinnati discovered that when women get married, they tend to drink three more drinks per month on average. Rather than turning to this stand-by every time, think about other creative dates you can set up. Melton and her husband, for example, tried glass blowing—something that definitely couldn’t involve food or booze.

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They’re leaving food out on the counter

What you see is what you eat, say Cornell researchers. They discovered that when snacks (like cereal) were left out in the open, people were 20 pounds heavier because they were more likely to mindlessly munch. (Kindly!) ask your partner to put away the snacks when they’re done with them. Out of sight means out of mind. Here’s how to organize your kitchen so you eat healthier.

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They love Oreos. Or Doritos. Or gelato.

There are some things you’d never keep in your home if you were single, like certain junk foods, because they’re too darn tempting. “You might have a partner who can eat just one cookie—but you want five,” says Melton. The solution: communicate. Let them know that xyz is a trouble food for you and it’s hard not to eat them when they’re around. “They probably didn’t know it was bothering you in the first place,” she says. Compromise by asking your partner to keep those cookies or candy at work instead of at home. Try one of these healthy snacks for adults instead.

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They eat while they watch

Snacking and TV may go hand in hand, and if you two are spending your evenings on your duff flipping the channels just trying to find something to watch, you may really be adding on the calories. Research shows that viewing boring programs prompts you to overeat more so than exciting ones. Finding other ways to spend the evening—something as simple as taking a walk—can serve as a fun way to be together. Because that’s what you really want: time together to connect.

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They’re uncomfortable with how you look

If you recently lost weight, your partner may not be exactly thrilled. In fact, one study in the journal Health Communication found that while weight loss was typically a good thing in a relationship, it can cause friction between a pair. If you are on your weight loss journey, it can be helpful to tackle your get-healthy goals together so you can both bond in this new lifestyle. This weekend hit the tennis court together or bring him to your next yoga class.

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They’re being critical

On the other hand, maybe you have gained weight recently. If your partner has been criticizing you or not accepting of you at your current body size, you’re more likely to gain even more weight, per research in the journal Personal Relationships. The study found that women who were told that they looked okay were better able to maintain their weight or even lose some because they took better care of themselves through diet and exercise and maintained lower stress levels. Make sure you are open with your partner about how their comments may be hurting you. And get some perspective from these 28 marriage tips from Grandmas.

Jessica Migala
Jessica Migala is a freelance health and fitness writer with more than a decade experience reporting on wellness trends and research. She's contributed to Health, Men's Health, Family Circle, Woman's Day, and O, The Oprah Magazine, among other publications. Jessica lives with her husband and two young sons in the Chicago suburbs.