Written by: Imogen Sewell
We all know that dating in the early stages of a relationship is a lot of fun. There’s nothing quite like getting to know someone new, visiting fancy restaurants and feeling your legs touching *accidentally* under the table.
But what about dating in the later stages of your relationship? What about when you’ve been living together for years, perhaps been married for decades, have kids, a house, a dog – the whole shabang!?
There’s a trend amongst married couples and those in long-term relationships: date nights are taking a back seat. In fact, a report found that a whopping 45% of married couples said they “rarely” went on dates, and a mere 18% said they only managed to get out once a month.
Life can get in the way of spending quality time with your partner. But carving out time to see each other one on one is incredibly important for maintaining a healthy relationship. This isn’t just a hunch – there’s science behind this (clarifying this because, let’s be honest, if anyone would have a hunch that dates are necessary…it’s us).
#1 Dates are important for communication.
Can you remember the last time you had a proper conversation with your partner? Not about your kids, or family finances, or when the green bins go out? Date nights provide an opportunity to switch off from the distractions of domestic life and catch up with your partner. As psychologist Jeffrey Dew says: “individuals continue to develop and change over time”, and it’s easy to forget that you need to be there for your partner.
#2 The novelty factor…
If you’ve been together for years, then it’s important to find ways to keep your relationship fresh. It’s simple: researchers have concluded that couples who frequently do new activities together have a higher quality of relationship. And, explain psychologists, it’s most beneficial to choose an activity that reflects your interests equally.
#3 Dates are great for your sex life…
Reconnecting with your partner on a romantic level (aka date nights) is a sure-fire way to reignite that spark in the bedroom. The theory goes that date nights prevent you seeing your partner as just your kids’ parent, your housemate or your domestic partner and you’ll revert back to seeing them as an I-can’t-keep-my-hands-off-you love interest.
#4 Dates demonstrate commitment.
You might think kids, a house and a life together shows you’re pretty damn committed! And while this is true, scheduling time – maybe even rearranging another activity or event – to see your partner alone reaffirms your commitment to them, acting as a clear signal of priority.
#5 Dates provide stress relief…
Date nights are also a brilliant way to move away from the stresses of everyday life. You don’t have to worry about being a parent, a carer, a homeowner, a taxpayer or a colleague. You can just be you! Chatting about adult stuff (like, you know, which of the waiting staff you think are secretly sleeping together… adult stuff).
Like anything worthwhile, relationships require work and care. Plan dates and put them in your calendar in ink (no excuses, rearrangements or can’t-be-bothereds!). Dates don’t have to be costly, either: long walks, cooking a meal just the two of you or visiting a free exhibition all count.
If you’ve been together for years and want to get back in the dating game (only with each other, of course), but don’t know where to start then let us know!
We can recommend heaps of good date ideas if you are interested…
Five quick-fire affordable dates to get you away from Netflix, and onto a memorable date!
If you’re a keen Bristol foodie, you’ll have heard of Cargo at Wapping Wharf, a bustling hub of tiny takeaways, quirky clothes shops and dinky dining options.