After years in a long-term relationship, it’s easy to slip into a complacent routine that’s a little too comfortable. After all, sharing a toothbrush isn’t so sexy, and the silence you experience while the two of you are reading in bed might linger a little too long because you’ve maintained a casual text conversation all day.
It’s inevitable that the surprises aren’t always present when you realize that your significant other has also become your best friend after spending so much time together over weeks and months and years.
Grace Cassidy suggests that people should be willing to “date themselves” — that is, treat themselves and be comfortable in solitude before committing to sharing time and even a life with someone else. While this lesson is clearly valuable, it can also be extended to those individuals already in a relationship.
Whether you think you and your significant other are in a rut, or whether you simply know the importance of there always being so much more to learn about each other, dating your significant other is equally important in maintaining a healthy and lasting relationship.
Making time for weekly (or even simply bi-monthly) “date nights” may seem like an added stressor when two people are already pressed for time, but allotting a meal, an activity or simply an hour for a couple to reconnect can have some seriously therapeutic effects, not just on the relationship, but on yourself.
As Lauren Conrad (who’s rarely wrong about things, I’m learning) said in an interview about her engagement to law school student William Tell, “It’s important to have that time as a couple to connect, relax and just enjoy each other’s company.”
Read on for all the reasons why two people should keep dating long after they’re considered boyfriend-and-girlfriend, or even husband-and-wife.
It’ll Remind You Why You Like Your Partner
It may sound overly-simple, but “dating,” even while in a relationship, will remind you why you kept seeing this individual in the first place.
Getting out of the comfort zone of your apartments and dressing up in something other than PJs will serve as a reminder of the perhaps slightly-more-exciting people you guys were before becoming mutually exclusive.
When you get super comfortable with another human being, that’s something to be celebrated — so why not make it a habit to take your love out for nights on the town? Showing the other person off will make you truly grateful to be in each other’s company.
It’ll Give You Two a Chance to Talk About Real-Time Topics
Sit in front of Netflix all day with your SO, chances are the conversation won’t vary much further than “pass the Apple TV remote.” But out in public, you two might be encouraged to veer into the more interesting and sincere topics of debate.
Being across a table from each other can help sustain a back-and-forth that’s not only interesting and intellectually stimulating, but can help you learn an additional something about your partner’s political and social opinions.
Don’t know where he/she stands on Ferguson, or the United States’ drone policy? The next time you’re out to dinner, ask.
It’ll Give You Two Something To Talk About Later
Your pillow talk doesn’t have to be limited to the requisite: “How was your day?” “Fine.” Going on dates will give you two more to reflect on, more to talk about, more inside jokes to serve as fodder that further alienates your friends.
It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day, or perhaps even more technical aspects of your relationship, like looking after a shared space. But going out of your typical routine and experiencing new things together will shake all that up, by ensuring that the two of you continue to make memories that don’t simply involve cuddling solo on the couch.
Scheduled dates can sustain a long-term relationship, because they can serve as a reminder that you can still have fun with one another and share in how much the two of you enjoy occasionally getting out of the house.
It’ll Be Good For the Both Of You
Cassidy has a point in her post about the self-dating single person: You do have to like and appreciate who you are before you can fully share that with someone else.
While date nights might be a joint activity, going out and doing something different will remind you of the things you deserve and the person you are, outside your relationship.
Although you might be only one-half of the equation, you should never dismiss the things you want, or forget all the things you know you deserve.
Your contentedness with yourself — how you treat yourself and how your partner treats you — obviously has an impact on how you thrive in a relationship.
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