After I returned from a week-long vacation with my family in Maine last August, I felt relaxed, refreshed, and completely stuffed with roasted marshmallows. But as blissful as the trip had been, I spent most of it terribly missing my boyfriend, Saul. We had stayed in touch with texts and calls, but it wasn't the same — we were used to seeing each other a few days a week, and I really craved the opportunity to connect IRL again. So, I came up with a solution: We planned what I called a date-cation, aka, a set period of time packed with back-to-back dates. My hope was that by the end of the weekend, we'd feel closer than ever.
It turns out that my instinct was on point: "Quality time together that's uninterrupted and focused will normally jumpstart the reconnection," relationship expert and love coach Susan Winter told Elite Daily. In order to maximize our quality time, we set two ground rules: Our dates would be just the two of us — in other words, hanging out a friend's apartment wouldn't really count. And in order to really connect, we'd do our best to avoid silently eating takeout in front of Netflix (though, as a Taurus-Taurus couple, that part would be tricky).
I won't lie — the date-cation got off to a rocky start. Although we'd been texting all day, we had a total miscommunication about when and where to meet that left me feeling frustrated. After all, wasn't the point of this to feel more in sync with each other, not less? A quick phone call cleared up the details, and soon, we were kicking off the weekend with a round of fancy cocktails at a gorgeous bar inside the Hyatt in New York City's Union Square.
Over drinks, we bought tickets to a burlesque show at The Slipper Room later that evening. Since we had a few hours to kill until the performance began, we wandered through thrift shops and got sashimi at Sushi Dojo.
After dinner, we walked to the show. While we'd both seen burlesque before, we'd never seen it together — and to be honest, it was a pretty sexy way to spend date night.
The next two days were packed with adventures. Saturday began with breakfast sandwiches at the dog-friendly café Hutch & Waldo on the Upper East Side (so many four-legged fluffs to pet, so little time), and then we visited the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.
Next, we walked across the street to Central Park and did a lap around the reservoir. (We also tried to row boats in the park's pond, but the boat rentals were cash-only, and we had spent all our dollar bills on tips for the burlesque performers the night before — oh, well.) Seriously in need of food, we hit up the sports bar Bar-Coastal for chicken wings, where Saul taught me a little bit about the college football game playing on TV. To cap off the night, we stumbled into a bar called The Stumble Inn for a game of beer pong.
On Sunday, we got Israeli brunch at Reunion in Williamsburg, then walked the High Line, an elevated park stretching across more than a mile of Manhattan. We stopped into Swedish candy store Sockerbit, where Saul suggested a competitive twist. Instead of us each getting a bag of candy for ourselves, he challenged us to pick out treats for each other. Our eyes were bigger than our stomachs, which explains how we accidentally wound up dropping $40 on sour peach gummies and white chocolate toffee. It was such a goofy, spontaneous activity that had us cracking up — and it reminded me exactly why I love him. No matter what's going on, he can always make me laugh. We finished the evening at nearby Fat Cat, a live jazz lounge with games like ping-pong and pool.
By the end of the weekend, I felt really close to Saul. We had big conversations, silly moments, comfortable stretches of silence, and a million fun new memories all across the city. The date-cation was a healthy reminder that even the happiest relationships aren't completely effortless — when life gets busy, you might need to dedicate a little extra time and energy to nourishing your connection. That's totally normal.
I'm going on a week of vacation again this summer with my family, and this time, I feel more confident knowing that there's a plan in place if I ever get lonely. My date-cation was a blast — and I'm already looking forward to planning the next one.