13. Never Let Date Night Get Stale
Along the same lines, be sure that you’re not just phoning it in when it comes to date night. “Mix it up,” Dr. Ramani Durvasula, author of Should I Stay or Should I Go: Surviving a Relationship With A Narcissist , tells Bustle. “Each week, or every other, depending on your schedules, one person has to take full responsibility for a date — but it has to be something new.” You’re not allowed to just plan a date night that involves going to your favorite Thai restaurant, in other words. “It could be tickets to a concert, a poetry reading, a hike,” and the list goes on, she says.
The one catch: Like Martinez, Durvasula says that you and your partner have to agree to do each other’s plans, no matter what. Whatever the plan, “the other person goes, no questions asked,” she says. “It can make you tourists in your own town, and get away from that ‘What do you want to do? I don’t know, what do you want to do?'” Yes, that horrible, horrible phenomenon. This way, “it’s planned and you go,” she says. This “makes it fun and fresh and keeps you on your toes.” Indeed.
14. Look For Adrenaline
“Seek adrenaline and adventure through novelty,” relationship counselor Crystal Bradshaw tells Bustle. “This promotes the release of oxytocin, the bonding hormone often referred to as the ‘love hormone.'” This is so important that I’ll repeat it: When you’re doing new things together, you’re actually releasing a hormone that results in bonding! Oxytocin is essential in attachment, Bradshaw says. “It flows through women after they give birth and when breastfeeding; it also flows through men and women after orgasm.”
Bradshaw has oodles of possibilities for you to feel some adrenaline (and release some oxytocin) together. “Suggestions to facilitate novelty include doing an obstacle race like Warrior Dash, Spartan, Savage Race, or Tough Mudder, [or] taking dance lessons or a cooking class or scheduling a private yoga lesson,” she says. One of her personal faves? Yoga in midair! “I particularly recommend aerial yoga for couples who want to do something different,” she says. Other ideas: “Go bungee jumping, cave exploring, or join a paintball team or an adult sports team, such as softball or dodgeball.”
“Get creative with your activities, and go beyond dinner and a movie,” she says. “Dinner conversations are usually about the same topics (work and family), and when you are watching a movie you’re typically sitting in silence.” If you must have dinner together — and trust me, you must, because this is your partner we’re talking about there — Bradshaw suggests trying a new cuisine or restaurant you’ve never been to. “The challenge here can be to make the normal experience of dinning a novel experience and with that will come a different dinner conversation.” Basically, just do something new, no matter what.