Date Night while on Lockdown
- Oh man, who is thinking of date night right? Well, I am. I am thinking of date night both as a therapist and as a person in a relationship. I don’t know your personal situation but if you are in a relationship, I know that this has been a trying few weeks. Maybe you are all alone and haven’t seen your special someone in weeks. Could be you live with your partner and this is making you rethink everything because all you can think about is how much they get on your nerves. Or you are a parent and thinking, date night? with the kids? Is she nuts? Whatever your personal situation, I still think date night is important and critical and will help you weather this storm. So if I have peaked your curiosity at all, read through these thoughts and think about how you can modify them to make your situation work. Because if nothing else, at least thinking about date night will get your mind off all the bad news coming in.
Why is date night important right now?
Essentially, date night is important because building time into our relationships where we are focused on each other, prioritizing our partner’s needs and desires, and caring about our own romantic and sexual well being helps create a more thoughtful and caring home environment. And right now, the more we can be kind to each other at home, the happier and easier living, working, and parenting with our partner will be.
It’s also just fun…and I really mean that. I talk about ideas further down in the article and part of the reason I provide a wide variety of ideas is that both the planning and the execution of date night should be fun whether you’re planning now or in a year when you are not in lockdown. Date’s create connection and memories but only when we are present and engaged and the only way that happens is if they are fun for both people. So if thinking about this idea is causing negative feelings, take a moment to really think about what is causing that feeling. It’s okay if you are afraid to be hopeful or you are not sure if this will be fun given everything in the world but that is a different feeling from dread. If the idea of hanging out with your partner invokes feelings of contempt, dread, boredom, or obligation, I would encourage you to reach out to a couples counselor. I know that I am currently seeing couples online and taking new clients and I know most therapists are doing the same thing. Don’t be afraid to use this time to strengthen your relationship. With everything closed, now is a great time to prioritize the two of you together.
Okay, great, I’m sold. But what are we supposed to do, everything is closed.
This is a great time to be creative. And before you throw up your hands and say I am tired of being creative, hear me out. I have listed a few ideas down below to help get the creative juices going.
- Play a game. Not just any game, a sexy romantic game. Most of us have played strip poker at least once in our life but take that concept to any of your favorite games: Scrapple with sexy words, Monopoly with your own hand made sexy Chance cards, etc. And if that doesn’t feel right to you, One Extraordinary Marriage has put together a list of sexy board games explicitly designed for spicing up your sex life.
- Dinner and a movie. Just because you are home doesn’t mean you can’t break out the champagne and candles. Grab some flowers from the neighborhood or from the grocer or from a florist delivery. Break out your nice table cloth and some candles. Make a new recipe that speaks to your senses. And when you settle back into the couch afterwards, change it up. Pick a date movie that is fun and light and sexy. This isn’t a time for the latest documentary or the news, pick something that will make you talk about sex afterwards. Dozens of sites have a list of good movies but I chose Ask Men‘s list because they broke it down by romance on Netflix right now. So go on, choose something.
- Move your body. I almost wrote take a walk but depending on your situation, it will depend. The point is, we feel more alive and more sexy when we are moving our bodies. So go ahead, take a long walk where you hold hands, stop and kiss in a sweet spot, play a little tag. Or if that doesn’t work, put some music on and start dancing in your living room. There is a reason dancing is used in most romantic comedies. Touching someone, flirting, smiling, looking into each other’s eyes? It’s one long slow form of foreplay that is designed to make us sit up and notice our partner and ourselves. I could keep going on but whether you choose a “Sexy yoga” video or some other form of exercise you both love, the point is to be present and with your partner.
But that sounds like almost every night….
Maybe. But here is where it starts to really matter. It’s all in the setup. So before you “go out”, create the scene.
Set the stage
Make sure your apartment, room, house is clean. Like when you were dating and hoping to get lucky clean. So yep, that means washing your sheets, and sweeping, and making sure all the dirty clothes/dishes/stuff is put away where no one can see it. And this applies whether you are doing this date in person or over video call. Your partner might not be able to see the messy corner in your bed through the video but you will know it is there and it will throw you off. So pretend he or she can see through your screen as you prepare. And if you have kids, this is the day that all the clutter that has slowly spread and taken over your house gets put back in their rooms. You might not be able to reclaim your whole house but make sure one room and your bedroom are kid stuff free.
Next, it’s about the mood. Remember the dinner and a movie? Or the dancing? Have everything pre-set. So have your playlist or your movie already picked out. Set the mood with cozy blankets and candles. Have the board game ready to go and dug up from the closet. It’s important that the leg work already be done so it’s about just being present and engaged with your partner. Remember, you are doing this so you feel special and part of feeling special is knowing that someone put care and thought into your happiness.
- Separated? Put the movie on at the same time or put the music on the video chat, or talk with them as you take your walk.
- Kids? Let them know that this is parent night. If they are young, put them to bed a little early with quiet time before bedtime. If they are older, let them know that this night is for you and they need to respect it. This is modeling loving each other and it is good for kids to see their parents loving each other and not just nagging and fighting over the dishes. So don’t worry, the kids might complain that it is boring in their rooms but they will also appreciate that their parents are being close.
- Live together? Get ready separately. Depending on your situation, this might be the hardest of all but it is important.
Remember when you first started dating and all the prep work you would put in before you ever saw her or him? You shaved, you thought about what they would think of your outfit, you put a little extra effort into your hair. Now is the time to bust that out. So if this is a video date, it means you are not wearing sweats on the bottom. And if you are parents, this means one of you might get ready in the kids bathroom or you take turns as one of you puts the kids to bed. But try to have a moment of wow. And to be clear, if you want to go fancy, go fancy. But if you don’t, that’s okay too. Making sure it is a wow moment is part of the dating magic.
Alright, you’re ready! You’ve planned it, set the stage, and made yourself presentable, it’s time to have fun! I hope that this article has inspired you to turn this time with your partner into something special. Because this pandemic is a time of anxiety and uncertainty and having someone by our side can provide more comfort and security than anything else. And having fun with the person you have invited along for the ride will make this journey and time so much more meaningful.
If this speaks to you an you’re looking for help in California, please schedule a consult.