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Why date nights don’t work

It’s date night! Time to get your nails done and your legs waxed. Time to drag out your lace undies, and go out for a night on the town with your sweetie, (although you don’t call each other “sweetie” anymore because you’ve spent the past six days calling each other names and fighting.) It will be at a nice restaurant and you won’t be allowed to discuss children, work, or tasks at home. You won’t be allowed to check your phone, either. Also, you know that sex will be an issue after. Hopefully it will go well and no one will be angry or disappointed about that. Also, your boss needs you to get that thing done tonight so you know you’re going to have to stay up once you get home and finish it. You’re hoping date night doesn’t take too long. There’s more! Your four-year-old will wait for you to order, and then become ill. Your babysitter (who took you forever to find) calls you and says to come home – she’s not getting paid enough to clean this mess up. Now you’ve spent $200 and everybody’s upset.

[Tweet “Date nights don’t work so please stop putting all that pressure on yourselves.”]

Date night has become a kind of magical thinking: if we can just have date night, our relationship will be better. No it won’t. Not unless you develop the skills to have an enjoyable life together during the rest of the week. If you yell at each other all week, date night isn’t going to help at all. Decide to stop yelling and calling each other names (No, that’s not ok, even if you grew up that way.) Learn other ways to communicate with each other. Have a little fun during the week.

How do we do that? you ask. Consider…

  • Watching a movie together and having popcorn at home. Yes, I know you don’t like the same kind of movies. Remember when you were dating and you went to movies you didn’t like just to be together. Yeah, that. You can do that again.
  • Going on a picnic.
  • Going to the zoo.
  • Playing cards or Scrabble.
  • Going to the flea market or thrift store. Find the best item or gift for under $5. Winner gets to pick the takeout food.
  • Visit a museum together.

There are lots of things you can do together besides go spend a lot of money at a restaurant. Start having a little fun that doesn’t cause quite so much stress. Instead of date night, go on a “coke date”.