There’s nothing worse than finding out your partner has cheated on you… with the TV show you two had sworn you’d always watch together. If you’ve ever been in a relationship for longer than a few weeks (aka long enough to get hooked on that new, awesome Netflix series), you know what I’m talking about.
One of you gets home early from work and remembers there’s a new episode of The Americans you both missed the other day just waiting in your Amazon queue. The temptation is palpable, and the opportunity is there. You say to yourself, “there’s no harm in watching the first ten minutes to get a sense of the episode, right? I’ll just act like I’ve never seen it when we watch it together.” Cut to an hour later when you’re at the episode’s last five minutes, and you hear your beau’s key in the door. You panic, and try to get rid of the evidence, but it’s too late. Soon you’re in a blow-out fight because you violated the most sacred commandment of your relationship: thou shalt not watch new episodes of shows without the other present.
But what if there was a way to prevent such betrayal from happening? Well, thanks to the brilliant minds over at the British ice cream brand Cornetto (weird, right?), there soon will be. Cornetto is developing commitment rings, which are designed to protect the most sacred of couple time activities — binge watching. They look like fitness tracker bands, but are designed to communicate wirelessly with streaming services like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. You program them by designating which shows you want to be sure you only watch together by using an app on your cellphone. Once you choose your shows, they will only be accessible when both commitment bands are together, so no one will be in danger of letting their need to know what happens next get the better of them.
While this is certainly a great idea considering how often binge watching infidelity happens in your average relationship, the first step towards recovery is admitting you have a problem. I am Ally Hirschlag, and I’m a binge-watching cheater. I have cheated on my fiancé with a shockingly large number of amazing TV shows including Game of Thrones, The Americans, Mad Men, Jessica Jones, Penny Dreadful, and Orange is the New Black. I have no excuse except my weak morals and susceptibility to enticing trailers. However, recently, I hit my bottom and have since done everything I can to fight against the temptation.
Several months ago, my fiancé and I started watching an amazing show on Netflix called The Man in the High Tower (if you haven’t checked it out yet, you must). However, after only two episodes in, he booked a job that made it difficult for us to find any down time together. After weeks of this, I began to feel the burning temptation to watch the rest of the season. The unwatched episodes just sat there, taunting me, begging me to press ‘play.’ One fateful Saturday, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I had nothing to do, and he was supposed to be on a job all day into the late evening, so I gave in to the temptation and watched not one, but two entire seasons of the show. It felt so wrong but so right all at the same time.
Once I realized what I had done, I frantically went back and started the very beginning of each episode again, so it would look like I hadn’t watch them. However, while I was in the middle of this cover-up, my man came home, exhausted but eager to embark on some late night watching with me. He walked in right in the middle of the “clean up.” I was mortified and immediately launched into a flood of excuses. At the end of it all, he said nothing, but his face said everything. I had disappointed him, and what’s worse is I knew he’d never dream of doing the same thing to me.
So, that was it. I had no choice but to get on the road to recovery. Now, if I feel that familiar new show temptation, I go for a walk, read a book or watch a show about which I know he could care less. Commitment rings would definitely help keep me in line, and once they come out we may end up going that route. However, for now, I’m trying to quit naturally, and my fiancé is trying to believe me when I say, “I didn’t watch that episode — my parents sometimes use our account, so it must’ve been them.”