Quick: what's the most important thing in your life? Your relationship with Netflix? Or your actual relationship? What used to have a simple answer - relationship, duh - has gotten a bit more complicated of late, now that streaming is something that we do anywhere, everywhere, openly and sneakily. Netflix adultery is an actual thing, and couples fight because one will stream a fave show without the other. Now, we want a world full of love, happiness and lots of TV streaming, which is why we've just launched our latest service, Go Binge. We also want couples to binge-watch joyfully. Here are some tips on how to do it...
We’re officially declaring this the summer of binge.
There’s just so much good TV to watch, we’re not sure we’ll be having time for much else. Just check out the latest on Netflix: GLOW, Orange is the New Black season 5, crime drama Ozark coming later this July… this summer will be spent watching our favourite series anytime, anywhere. Preferably poolside.
And we really do mean anywhere: we recently carried out a massive research project about the UK’s streaming and TV and movie consumption habits, known as the Binge Files, and we discovered people are watching more content on their iPhone and Android devices than ever before.
They’re watching on the go too, streaming on the way to work, while chilling in the park for a picnic, even on the loo (gross but kind of understandable)…
In the spirit of a streaming-filled summer, we’ve launched Go Binge, which allows you to stream your favourite shows and music (and even use Snapchat) without using up your data. If you’re wondering what the heck Go Binge and bingeing is, look no further.
So far, so amazing, right? Only we’ve also learned through our extensive research (cue lots and lots of series bingeing), that we’re developing some TV consumption habits that aren’t necessarily so good for us.
Like forgetting to eat because we’re so wrapped up in a show (thank goodness for the plethora of food delivery apps out there), or creating some relationship rifts because of a (relatively recent) phenomenon that goes by two words: Netflix adultery. Which is when you watch your fave show ahead of your partner and then lie about it.
Binge-watching is amazing. And it definitely tops the list of things we like to spend our time doing. Here’s how to keep doing it without destroying that other important thing in your life: your relationship.
Don’t forget to cuddle your… partner
Picture this: you’re getting into your snuggly spot on the sofa, you can smell the buttery, salty popcorn in the bowl and you’re getting ready to watch your latest obsession, Stranger Things – a show with enough scary moments that you definitely want to cuddle up to someone, or grab onto them, because some of the edge-of-your-seat stuff is pretty terrifying. Luckily, the love of your life is on the sofa next to you, staring at you with unadulterated worship. This is what a perfect moment looks like.
Except, the love of your life is covered in fur and has four legs, and while you’re petting them and nuzzling close, your partner’s been relegated to the armchair, feeling awkward and unloved. So if you’re part of the 2% of those we surveyed across the UK who admit that they binge-watch shows with a pet, be considerate. Wait for your partner to go to bed before telling your pet they’re the most gorgeous creature on the planet and doing a binge-watch themed Instagram photoshoot of them pressing a remote control…
Don’t join the ‘cheating bingers’ club
Now, we don’t need to have psychology degrees to tell you that nothing destroys a relationship faster than lies. As anyone who’s ever co-habited with anyone else can attest, the little lies (pretending you did the dishes when you just stuffed them under the sink in an effort to get your partner to stop nagging you) can do as much damage to your union as the BIG, SERIOUS lies (avoid those please). Honesty and communication are key to making any successful relationship work, which is why in our bingeing era, finding out a person’s TV tastes – and ensuring they work with yours – is essential, first-date stuff.
Once you’ve decided you’re binge-compatible, i.e. you both love watching Orange is the New Black together but are happy to watch 13 Reasons Why and Better Call Saul on your own, then you make a silent vow to not go ahead of the other person when you start a new series together. Because doing so is a breach of trust. And once you start sneaking around, there’s no telling what can happen…
5% of people we spoke to admitted they sneak ahead of shows they started watching with a partner – something we’ve dubbed ‘the cheating binger ‘ – and 13% admitted they found it annoying when someone watched a show without them. Women are one-third more likely to cheat on their partner by watching a show behind their back.
Note: this is particularly galling when one person is at work, earning money to pay for the Netflix subscription and the other is ‘looking for work,’ but really just watching Netflix all day, at home, alone.
Become the ‘staying in is the new going out’ couple
Remember that couples who binge together, stay together. In our research (which led to Go Binge), we uncovered that 38% stream content on mobile or tablets with their partners – which actually might be better for the relationship than your typical ‘date night’.
Here’s the science: according to research from the University of Aberdeen published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships in 2016, the more frequently couples sat down together and cosied up in front of a boxset or movie, the higher they rated their relationship quality and commitment to each other. This was especially true for couples who didn’t have tons of friends in common – shared media compensated for the lack of a real-world shared social network.
“Relationships are a very big contributor to our physical and psychological health so understanding how relationships can be better and how you can improve relationships can also improve our physical and psychological health,” Dr. Sarah Gomillion, who led the study, explained.
“What these results suggest to us is that when people have a hole in their social network that they share with their partners – they might become more motivated to share media as a way to compensate for that deficit.
“Watching TV with a partner or watching a movie you both like is a really easy way to improve relationship quality and anyone can do it at any time so if this is something that is good for relationships, it might help us identify an intervention that can improve relationship quality.”
Binge in bed
Take a note from the residents of Birmingham: 1/5 of them told us they like to cosy up to their partners to stream a show via mobile. Go Binge even lets you stream live TV.
The ease of tablet and mobile streaming means that we’re no longer locked to a room, or a couch, or a TV to stream. Which is good for our relationship: it means we can cosy up before bed and catch up on our fave drama, or sneak in a half hour of telly in the morning together before getting ready for work. Happy couples know that fun isn’t about going to a different country or trying a fancy new restaurant every weekend. It’s about enjoying the downtime and making the most of those moments shared together, just the two of you… and, y’know, all the inmates of Litchfield Penitentiary.
Main pic: Unsplash via Jared Sluyter