Women Who Are Happily In Love Have One Surprising Thing In Common

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Women Who Are Happily In Love Have One Surprising Thing In Common
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By Elizabeth Nolan Brown

The link between good relationships and good body image is closer than you may think.

If you are having a hard time with your self-esteem, then you may not be in a beneficial relationship. If you are improving your self-esteem, then you may be in a great partnership where you feel comfortable being yourself.

RELATED: Is Your Body Image Hurting Your Love Life? 3 Ways To Change

A 2013 study found that women who were happy with their bodies were more likely to be in happy relationships. And women satisfied with their relationships tended to have a more positive body image.

This study was presented at a meeting of the British Psychological Society. The lead researcher was Sabina Vatter, and she polled 256 women between the ages 20 to 45 years old.

All participants were in a committed relationship at the time of the study. Twenty-nine percent were married and 71 percent were currently living with their significant others.

They answered questions about dieting, body image, self-esteem, relationship satisfaction, and sexual intimacy.

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The women most critical of their bodies and weight were the least happy in their relationships. They also had lower self-esteem and were less satisfied with sex, in general.

Conversely, “when a woman was satisfied with her relationship, she was also satisfied with her body weight," regardless of whether she was at a weight considered to be ideal, said Vatter. “This shows that body and body weight can create general satisfaction, which would be forwarded to feelings for a romantic partner."

In reflection, Vatter added, "We also found that women who had previously been on a diet or being on diet during data collection were less satisfied with their body weight, weighed themselves more often, were more self-conscious and had higher BMI's than women who have not been on a diet."

Therefore, Vatter concluded, "These findings suggest that our satisfaction with body size, shape, and weight has more to do with how happy we are in important areas of our lives, like our romantic relationships, than it does with what the bathroom scales say."

But the results don't necessarily indicate that body positivity drives relationship satisfaction. It's much deeper than that.

Having a generally more positive or less anxious temperament could fuel both body and relationship contentedness. They do not necessarily lead directly to the other.

Similarly, underlying issues — such as insecurity or depression — could propel negative feelings towards both relationships and one's weight. These underlying issues can also propel health and love choices that lead to dissatisfaction in both areas.

It would be interesting for future studies to explore whether women see their own happiness/unhappiness in love and body positivity/negativity as being directly linked.

RELATED: Is Low Self-Esteem Hurting Your Relationship?

Elizabeth is a semi-nomadic writer, lover, feminist, libertarian, and nutritionist. She's been writing professionally since 2005.

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Editor's Note: This article was originally posted in December 2013 and was updated with the latest information.

This article was originally published at Bustle. Reprinted with permission from the author.

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