Of course, this all but confirms what many of us have suspected all along. After all, once in a relationship, many people don't feel the same pressure they did while single to keep up appearances and watch their weight, as the researchers themselves posited. "When couples don't need to look attractive and slim to attract a partner, they may feel more comfortable in eating more, or eating more foods high in fat and sugar," the study's lead author Stephanie Schoeppe told New Scientist.
The researchers also considered the fact that people in relationships tend to eat larger portion sizes while dining in a family-style setting, versus when eating alone. "While they may include more healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables and less fast food, people often consume larger portion sizes and more calories in the company of others than they do alone, resulting in increased energy intake," reports the New Scientist. They also suggested that couples, especially those living together, feel encouraged to stay in and chill, often while drinking together -- both of which can quite easily lead to packing on a few pounds.