Binge watching has become an endemic part of the serious relationship dynamic. New TV shows are the bread and butter of further bonding in a comfortable partnership. However, after three season of Thrones, it can feel a little like you’ve become set in your ways and the relationship is based on a faulty foundation….

But that’s just not the truth! Because, firstly, there are almost always some great shows to catch up on or dig into. For example, at the time of writing, The Get Down isn’t get nearly as much attention as it should be getting. Secondly, a study has found that couples who stay in and watch TV together on a regular basis have record high levels of commitment to one another.

Who needs couples counselling when you have Stranger Things, eh?

The research published in the Journal Of Social And Personal Relationships looked into the benefits of having a shared social identity, part of which is constructed by a mutual love of pop culture and bailing on dinner plans.

259 people in long term relationships (long-term being defined as an average of 16 months and minimum four months) participated in the study. They were questioned on how many hours a day they spent together, the quality of their relationships and their number of mutual friends.

The process of sharing a “sense of self” is called “self-expansion” and is an important part of any developing relationship. Investing in a fictional and dynamic world like a television series creates a bridge and expands of the boundaries of the self increasing the depth of your intimacy in the process.

In relationships where the mutual friend count is lower: “sharing media with a partner may allow people to compensate for lacking a shared group of friends with their partners”. As weird as it sounds, binge watching TV can replace the need for shared friends because, well, the fictional characters on your screen fulfil that need!

Who needs to meet the parents and friends when you can enjoy the company of Frank Underwood, Daenerys Targaryen and Jesse Pinkman together?