Your social circle, the city you live in, your career: These are the things we all know impact our romantic lives.
But that list doesn’t end with the obvious. The foods you eat, the technology you use, and even the amount of time it takes for you to get to work every day – they all can have a lingering effect on your love life. We found those, plus thirteen other weird things that can impact your relationship.
14. Your smartphone. We’re constantly told that our dependency on technology is wreaking havoc on our in-person relationships – and science say it’s true. A study from the University of Essex found that the simple presence of a phone – even if no one is using it – can hurt a person’s relationships.
13. Your relationship with your in-laws. When a romance gets serious, so does your relationship with your significant other’s family. But contrary to popular belief, having a monster-in-law isn’t a love deal breaker – if you’re female. A study from the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research reported that for women, being close with your partner’s parents raises the risk of divorce by 20 percent. For men, being close with the in-laws lowers divorce risk by the same number.
12. Your shoes. Women know that however painful they may be, high heels really do make you look good. And according to a study from France’s Université de Bretagne-Sud, men think so too. The study observed women asking men to take a survey on the street, and found that men were much more likely to say yes if she was wearing higher heels (82 percent complied when she was wearing 3.5-in. heels, whereas just 42 percent did the same for women in flats).
11. Your weight. Yes, appearance impacts your love life – but not always in the way you might think. After conducting a study of 169 newlywed couples over the course of four years, University of Tennessee researchers reported that both husbands and wives were happier in their relationships when the woman had a lower BMI than her spouse.
10. Your social media habits. We already went over the dangers of being too connected (see No. 15 above), but smartphones aren’t the only culprit: A University of Missouri study found that overactive Twitter users are more likely to be overactive in other aspects of their lives, too, meaning they’re more likely to cheat on their partners.
9. Your pet. You’re either a cat person or a dog person – and if you try to move a stringent cat person over to the dog side, it can get ugly. A furry friend can drive a wedge in a relationship; a U.K. study found that 28 percent of people would be reluctant to enter into a relationship with a dog owner, and 25 percent wouldn’t want to date a cat owner.
8. Eating fried foods. After shoveling a plate of deep-fried grub into your mouth, chances are, you’re feeling pretty sluggish – and most likely, not in the mood for sex. There’s scientific proof to that effect: Most fried foods contain trans fats, which mess with your blood sugar, making you sleepy and not so sexy.
7. Your age. Studies show that the pre-new decade panic is real: The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences said that people are more apt to engage in adultery in the year before taking on a new decade (think ages that end in 9 – 29, 39, 49, etc.). But it doesn’t take a scientist to figure out the reason why: Panic always accompanies aging – and never more so than when that first digit is about to shift.
6. Chocolate. Chocolate is undoubtedly one of the most romantic foods out there – what Valentine’s Day is complete without it? And now you have a scientific reason to indulge in your favorite dessert: The Journal of Sexual Medicine reported that eating chocolate increases a person’s levels of desire and arousal, as well as overall sexual satisfaction – even if they’re just eating a cube of chocolate a day.
5. Your commute. Commuting isn’t just an annoyance, but a detriment to your sex life, too. Researchers at Sweden’s Umea University found that people are 40 percent more likely to breakup if they have a long commute at the start and finish of their day.
4. Avocados. Guacamole is pretty exciting – in more ways than one. The fruit is packed with ingredients that will boost an eater’s mood, making them more inclined for sexy time.
3. Horror movies. Phone calls coming from inside the house, noises you can’t explain and shadows with no origin: Horror movie staples may not seem like a recipe for arousal, but they are. During his studies, Dutch researcher Erick Janssen, PhD., found that the fear and anxious feelings that horror films produce lead to sexy feelings. Why? A mid-thriller cuddle often leads to something more.
2. The time of the year. Summer is a sexy time: Everyone’s out of the house, eager to meet new people and showing a lot more skin. But according to Dr. Justin Lehmiller, it’s the cold weather that’s really making people hot: Men find women more attractive in the winter because they’re showing less skin, leading them to get more aroused when they actually do see it.
1. Grilled cheese. There are plenty of reasons to love grilled cheese: Toasty bread with a crunch, melted cheese oozing between the crusts. But grilled cheese isn’t just good for your taste buds – it’s good for your sex life, too. Seventy-three percent of grilled cheese lovers have sex at least once a month, a study found, whereas only 63 percent of people who don’t eat grilled cheese (yes, apparently they exist) do. As if you needed another reason to indulge!