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Romance Can Sour When Only One Partner Slims Down

Study of couples probes the 'dark side' of weight loss

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"We fall into these patterns with people we have relationships with," she said. "When these patterns shift, it can be unsettling."

Advice for couples in which one partner is about to lose weight? "It's important to talk to your partner ahead of time," Romo said. The goal is to get the other person on board -- if not to lose weight, to support the partner who is trying to do so, she said.

Markey agreed that communication is key. "Talk about it before and keep talking about it," she said. For example, if a husband is losing weight while the wife also needs to but isn't, and the woman feels inadequate, she should simply tell him so, Markey said. "Hopefully the partner will say 'Well, you shouldn't.'''

"Make it a team effort," Markey said. "Almost everyone can afford to eat healthier and exercise more."

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