When you’ve been dating a while, it’s easy to fall into routine. You work, come home, eat, and go to bed together. You spend quality time watching Netflix, while probably staring at your phone. You definitely don’t remember the last date you went on. And you hate to admit it but you’re a little bored.
Routines are comfortable but they can be harmful, especially if you’re not getting what you need out of your relationship. Dating isn’t just what happens during the honeymoon phase. Most of it takes place afterwards.
Here are some ideas that can help reignite that spark.
1. Go back to where it all began.
Go back to where you went on your first date. Recreating the date will help recreate those early feelings. Remember the first time you saw her in the candlelight? Or when he wrapped his coat around you in the cold night air? Going back to the place where it all began can evoke those memories and remind you why you fell for them in the first place.
2. Try a group date.
If it’s been a while since you’re last date, the idea may be a little daunting. Your routine is comfortable. The outside world? Not so much. A group date not only takes some of the pressure off but it also holds you accountable. If it’s only you and your partner on the date, it’s easy to say, “Let’s just stay in.” If you’re meeting other people, you’ll be less likely to cancel. And once you’re out having fun, you’ll be glad you didn’t.
3. Go a little outside the box.
Try something outside your comfort zone. Start with something easy, like a burlesque show or a restaurant whose menu items you can’t pronounce. Push your comfort zone and rely on each other to navigate this (slightly) new world.
4. Go a lot outside the box.
This is the “throwing yourselves to the wolves” method. Try something totally out there that you’ve never even considered doing, or something that you’ve thought of but couldn’t bring yourself to do. If you’re in a rough patch, this is much better than going a little outside the box. In this method, you’re excited and nervous but you’re going through it together. You can rely on each other. The reliance of this experience can help you build a stronger bond.
5. Learn something new together.
This is a great way to start some momentum and keep it going. Most learning activities occur in a series of classes, so you and your partner will get multiple dates out of one commitment. Whether you’re learning French or mastering (ok, maybe not mastering) French cuisine, it’ll take work. But it’ll be work you do together.
6. Have a mini getaway.
If you’re able, take some time off to escape your daily routine. Even one long weekend can make a difference. Getting away from the usual can help you break out of the rut the relationship has fallen into. You don’t even have to go far. One town over is perfect. Seeing a different set of four walls can give you new perspective, but make sure you’re actually taking advantage of the trip. Staying in a hotel bed isn’t all that different from the one at home.
7. Set a goal and plan your dates around it.
When we fall into routine in our relationships, we often fall into routines in the rest of our life as well. Hobbies and goals fall to the wayside. Setting a goal with your partner can really strengthen your bond and make you feel more confident in a future together. Maybe you and your partner want to do a distance run. Have active dates set in place to help. Learn new trails together. Encourage each other and you’ll feel happier in your relationship and life .
Relationships can be hard to maintain if you’re not both putting in the work. It takes effort to make each other feel loved. Dating isn’t just for the “getting to know you” phase. Dating is what makes a relationship, an adventure.