Is Your Relationship Netflix Serious?

Study Reveals How the Popular Video Service Affects Your Love Life

Would you initiate a relationship with someone based on what they’ve saved to their Netflix lists? Do you base the strength of your bond on being “Netflix official?” Do you feel like you’re in a legitimate relationship when you eagerly hand over your Netflix login info?

The popular video streaming service entered into our lives and became more than just a place to binge watch The Walking Dead. It’s now a full-fledged lifestyle brand – a verb even!

The popular global streaming service now boasts 75 million subscribers and $7 billion in assets. From its humble 1998-beginings in shipping DVDs by mail to the video streaming powerhouse it is today, Netflix has always had a hand in our lives and relationships. Its grip has become tighter, and we all seem to be okay with that.

Recently (October 26th-28th, 2015), the company took notice and conducted a study to determine just how serious we all are about our Netflix accounts.

Are we “Netflix serious” about Netflix?

Netflix probed into the inner workings of relationships to determine how relevant the company is in people’s lives. The study surveyed a sample of 1,008 Americans 18-39 years old. They found that a third-or-so (27%) said compatibility (liking the same shows as their mate) was important. Furthermore, 13% of those surveyed claimed they’d initiate a relationship with someone based on the shows they had in common – men were more likely to make the first move (34%).

Where once being “Facebook official” was the cornerstone of a serious relationship, now Netflix has replaced the term. In fact, being “Netflix official” has booted Facebook off the top of the proverbial totem pole. Half of all polled said they wouldn’t share their account password with anyone who wasn’t worth it. Some even said they’d wait until they were engaged (17%) to share their login and password details. It seems Netflix is the virginity of the new millennium.

If you can call your relationship Netflix serious, you’re probably one of the 25% who found their partner more attractive based on their show and film preferences. Or, you could be a part of the 58% of people who added programs to their lists in an attempt to attract a potential suitor. Married users claimed spending a night in with their partner (72%), watching shows off their lists was a favorite thing to do.

The Fickle Heart of Netflix

As the calendar page flips back revealing a new month, so does Netflix’s list of shows and films available for streaming. Some (like the Terminator movies) get removed for months and months only to return for a short time before going away again. It’s the entertainment equivalent of a revolving door. If one calls their relationship Netflix serious when the shows are good, does that go away when the entertainment does?

Your show choices could sway someone into loving you more or loving you less according to the study. Some people believe love is always enough. Netflix seems to think a couch (and broadband) is all you need.


A relationship Netflix built, Netflix can take away.


Everything that has a beginning has an end. When serious relationships end, the keys inevitably go back to the home from where the came. In a breakup situation where the couple has shared one account, is the relationship Netflix over when the account’s owner changes the password? Lists of titles the couple once watched and enjoyed together don’t change overnight. In a sense, Netflix blurs the lines between what’s over and what gets left behind post-breakup.

I used to believe that if a couple could survive money problems, they could survive anything. Instead, it seems it’s the relationship that weathers Netflix’s schedule changes and rolling show offerings that thrives in the end.

Netflix Helps Couples Learn to Communicate

It could be that Netflix’s monthly changes in offerings create a unity within relationships. Roughly half of all individuals polled said they take turns. They let their partner choose the first show. When it ends, the other chooses the next. There aren’t many other places in which this happens. Humans are very ego-centric, and taking turns isn’t something we’re hardwired with.

A lack of effective communication in a relationship is the leading cause of breakups. In this sense, the streaming service keeps couples talking about what they want, think, and feel about basic programming options. Couples who build on that could – in theory – expand on those conversations and apply these tactics to other instances. People who consider their relationships Netflix serious share their innermost needs in an effort to negotiate and talk out their differences. They’ve learned to debate and disagree without being disagreeable.

Couples’ counseling only works when both parties want it to. Without a reinforcing reward, any progress made in the initial phases will likely fade. With Netflix, however, the reward is clear. It acts as a digital counselor, helping people grow in their relationships by reinforcing favorable behavior with entertainment. It creates a bonding experience (says 58% of participants) that brings two people together on common ground.

Having Good Netflix Game

With Netflix playing a pivotal role in every aspect of the human mating process, it behooves singles to spend the $7.99 monthly fee for the service. What may begin as an innuendo-laden “Netflix and chill,” could become one’s ticket to finding a suitable paramour.

Keeping tabs on the fad shows like Making a Murderer and marathoning Breaking Bad will only get you so far. Popular shows make for good chit-chat around the office and not much else.

Nicole LaPorte of Co.Create thinks you should spend your watching-for-research time on shows likely to advance your agenda. “While Jessica Jones might get you to second base,” she says, “Hemlock Grove could prove a perilous move.” To improve your odds of landing someone you’d find interesting, spend real time going through Netflix’s offerings. Start with LaPorte’s Jessica Jones suggestion. Afterward, you’ll be given a list of recommendations based on the show. Watch a few of those. Give them a chance. You might end up striking up the right conversation with the right gal about the right show.

Avoid Getting Hung up on Status Labels

Not everyone can call their relationship Netflix serious. It’s a label that transcends casual dating. Now that Netflix is a lifestyle brand, it’s a part of the way men and women court one another. It’s ingrained into our social fabric.

For all the trumpeting that comes with calling your relationship Netflix serious, when it all ends, it ends. The status label goes too. People rarely sit on the porch, sipping an iced tea, thinking about that gal they once dated who they shared everything (even their Netflix password)  with. As time forgets, so do we.

In Closing

Netflix is far more than a fad at this point. This year it will celebrate its eighth birthday. It’ll only grow and become a bigger part of our lives. From its Los Gatos, California headquarters, the company controls televisions, computer screens, cell phones, and now relationships the world over.

But maybe they have something here. E-Harmony commercials claim compatibility is the secret to a long-lasting relationship. Perhaps it’s the couple who binge-watches Orange is the New Black together that truly stays together.

Despite the data, being a part of a relationship based on TV shows and movies seems artificial. Like Netflix’s programming, the list of things I like to spend my time watching has been through a few changes. It’s even changed on the fly based on my mood at any given time. Few titles have endured (Last Holiday and Sons of Anarchy are still there) the test of time without being booted off my list of favorites in favor of what my short attention span finds new and exciting.

Photo Credit: Gangs Rapping via photopin (license)

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