Spending time with the person you love is essential to keep any relationship going in the long term.
But when you don’t count the non-quality time you spend together (and no, folding the laundry together doesn’t count), how much time do you truly spend with your partner?
Why it’s important to schedule dates – even in long-term relationships
I’ve been with the same individual since early 2000. We’ve lived together since 2005, and we also run our own company & work from home.
For any long-term couple, it becomes easy to mistake the hours we spend together for quality time.
Yes, we are in each other’s presence. Yes, we talk. But when we’re wearing our business-hats or running-the-household-hats, that’s not the same as having a chat or a laugh with someone you genuinely like.
So even if you’re great work colleagues and pro household managers, cutting down on relationship time – fun, active rest, shared adventures (even tiny ones), being together as human beings – chips away at the foundations that everything else in your relationship is built on.
So, in order to keep our foundations strong, we regularly schedule dates with each other with three simple rules:
No business talk, no money talk, no housework talk.
That’s it. Apart from that, what the ‘date’ actually is can be whetever we decide it to be. It can be just us at home watching something, walking on the beach, going to a gig, or laughing about some silly thing. The main idea is to listen to each other, to communicate, to have new experiences together and build the relationship we already have. As a welcome side-effect, we might fall in love over and over again with each other. :)
And it really doesn’t matter if you’ve been together for 2 years or 20. Dates are a great way to connect in any relationship, however well it’s established, and however long it’s been going on.
25 fun date ideas to deepen your human connection
With that in mind, here are 25 date ideas that are great for funny dates, summery weekends, or just spending quality time with the person you love, on any budget. The goal is to have fun, explore, talk, get to know each other (& yourselves) better.
Every relationship is different, and everyone’s schedule is different. So the list includes 30-minute mini-dates during the day or before bedtime, things you can do in small increments over a longer period of time, and slightly bigger adventures that help you explore your relationship more deeply.
Tip: You can also do these activities with your best friend, roommate or family member — they’re not limited to love interests! Modify them to your needs.
- Play chess in a park. Bring your own kit and outsmart each other. Aren’t Queens just the best? ;) You could also play table tennis or badminton.
- Read each other a bedtime story. You can pick your own childhood faves or try something recent that none of you’ve read before. There’s no age limit to stories! (Also, do the voices for bonus points.)
- If there’s a lake nearby, rent a boat and go on a (romantic) dinghy ride! (One of you being a cursed mermaid is optional. But definitely kiss if you feel like it.)
- Home spa for two! Bring out all the masks, light a scented candle and give each other foot rubs or back massages.
- Call each other up during the day, even if you work separately, just to talk a bit. Or send e-mails about your day, even if you’ve just talked and will see each other in a few hours. Add love notes and kissy faces to your heart’s content.
- If you can, visit each others’ childhood summer locations or hometowns together. If you’re too far away, try to do things you did when you were kids, to conjure the spirit of your long-gone summers. Visit the zoo, paddle in a pool, buy doughnuts on a pier…
- Learn the dance routine of a popular song – pick something you both really like. Next time you’re at a party or a wedding, you can be that couple. Just imagine your friends’ faces when you two start doing the whole Thriller or Single Ladies routine in perfect sync! :)
- If you both have a bus or train pass, travel on a line you never use normally. Go to the last stop together and see what’s there! Take pictures as if you’re on a fancy holiday.
- Learn something new together — use the wonder that is YouTube, or join a course. Do you want to learn to knit, make sushi, know more about wine or do pottery? Anything goes.
- Gather up your old Legos and build something together. You can also give each other challenges, for example, build something in 2 minutes, or do Lego charades, where the other one has to guess what you’re building.
- Take a picture of the other person and show them how you see them and what you love about them. Then they have to take a picture of you and do the same.
- Look around on Tripadvisor or Wikipedia, and add 5 destinations to your Wanderlust Wishlisht! Even if they’re out of reach (for now), daydreaming is fun, and planning these trips together can bring you closer together.
- Create theme nights based around the destinations you picked for your Wishlist! Even if you can’t pack and go immediately, you can create the vibes at home. Think The Godfather with spaghetti for Italy, Annie Hall and hot dogs for New York, or Godzilla and ramen for Japan.
- Feed the birds — preferably ducks or pigeons. The seagulls can fend for themselves, believe me. Look for seeds specifically birds, some tolerate bread badly. If it’s really cold when you’re reading this, you two might want to build a bird feeder and watch the little chirpers (or squirrels) come from inside. :)
- Is it raining? Nevermind, have a picnic on the carpet or set up a small tent on your balcony or back garden! Prepare snacks, flashlights, books, card games…
- Wander in the woods, take a long walk in nature. Bring a blanket. Sit down and watch the clouds. Or birds.
- Plug in the oldest video game console you have, and reminisce on the good old days of platformers or PC games you last played ages ago. Try to remember the cheat codes.
- Visit a charity shop and buy old ‘choose your own adventure’ books or comic books to read together.
- Go and watch the stars at night. (If you live in a big city, you might have to travel a bit to a place where there’s less light pollution.) Try to recognise constellations (you can use an app or a map if you don’t know them by heart. Make a wish if you see a shooting star!
- Find an empty playground and play on the swings or slides or monkey bars. Be careful not to break anything.
- Want to watch a movie, but you have no idea what to watch? Check out Suggest Me Movie which uses the IMDB database to randomly generate something to your taste.
- Create your own superfood salad — add seeds, leaves, spices and a special dressing. When you’re done with your masterpiece, invite your friends over for dinner. You can also organise your own Come Dine With Me experience if there are more foodies in your circle!
- Buy a magazine or newspaper or grab a local free one you wouldn’t read otherwise. Find the weirdest headline and read them out loud.
- Look at old pictures of you two. Even if they are from last year, you might not remember everything. Reminisce and share stories that are your history now!
- Dance in the rain. Under the lawn sprinkler. At a festival. On the street. In the kitchen. To the radio. To a band playing live. To your own voices. To nothing in particular.
I hope these ideas will inspire you to go on a date with that special person — even if it’s just you two drinking tea together while the dog sleeps between you. :)
Do you know someone in a long-term relationship? Send them the link to this blog post! They’ll thank you for it. :)
Pin for later: