Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Dating Isn't Just for Singles

You've probably read articles where long-time couples are asked their secrets of success. One tip they usually give is "Don't stop dating!" Carve out together time just for the 2 of you at least once a week--to focus only on each other and so to keep your connection strong.

I couldn't agree more. That's why I make it my business (literally) to support people in learning the keys to dating success--both before they find the right match and after they're in a serious relationship.

            Relationship success starts with--and depends on--dating success.

After more than 2 years as part of a committed 60-something couple, I consciously model this behavior with my partner. He and I make sure we don't let a week go by without having a special "date"--doing something different, special, or new with each other. We do everything we can to build some fun into our schedule, even though we've been living together for months and have, of course, gotten into a "routine" in our daily lives.

Many couples who forget this success formula wind up getting into a rut, taking each other for granted, and/or falling unconsciously into a pattern of separate activities--which makes it tough to reconnect and feel close again.

I know. That happened in several of my past relationships, including my 2 marriages. And I'm determined to prevent that from happening again.

"Dating" of course takes effort. Both people must promise not to let fun slip through the being on the lookout for and then suggesting cool things to do together (beyond the usual dinner and a movie).

For example, my guy and I have a "wish list" for future dates that includes:
- A visit to the "Stoogeum"--a museum all about the 3 Stooges--which promises to get us laughing for sure, as we share some nostalgia about movies/TV we watched as kids
- A trip to a local distillery for a tasting & food truck evening
- A night out with another couple for a play at a regional theater
- A Sunday afternoon picnic and bike ride at a nearby state park
- Running a 5K together on a Saturday morning, followed by lunch at a restaurant we've been wanting to try
- Taking a couples yoga class

The possibilities, of course, are endless. You just have to commit to planning regular outings (or even "at home" dates, like a picnic in front of the fireplace or a mutual massage night).

Local newspapers and websites always have listings of interesting and unique things to do. One 50-something couple we know has a standing date to go dancing at a favorite local venue every Friday night. Another has fun taking their dog to the dog park every weekend. It doesn't matter what it is...just so you're together enjoying yourselves.

Dating at any age and at any stage of a relationship enhances the getting-to-know-you process. By doing something you've never done before, you learn new things about each other...which keeps your relationship fresh, alive, and thriving.

Don't be the one who says "Remember how we used to do __________ when we were dating? Why don't we do that anymore?" The only reason you don't is that you aren't making dating a priority--and a lifelong adventure together!

If you need some tips on how to "date to mate" or how to "date after you mate", let me know. I'd love to assist!