by Emilie Astolat
People who think they’ve never taken their loved-one for granted, no matter how many years have passed, should think again. I’m sorry, but there are no ifs, ands or buts about it. And if you’re one of those people, I suggest you ask said loved-one for their opinion. You just might be surprised.
As I think about my own relationship, I realize I have a lot to be grateful about. We share a happy home, a child, security, a sense of humor, family (like it lump it), tribulations, joys, decisions, love and the list goes on and on. There isn’t anyone on this planet I’d rather come home to and I know he feels the same.
But as the years tick by, sometimes I think we both get into the habit of the everyday routine: kid, school, work, dinner, sleep, repeat. It can go like that for weeks before one of us says, “Hey, how ‘bout a date night?”
Whoever invented the idea of a date night for long-term couples should be given a Nobel Peace Prize. I really mean that. It’s a simple concept, but it does so much to rejuvenate the romance in a relationship.
For me, it’s a night when you remember your manners, when you take time to actually chew your food and when you ask about your partner’s day ? and really listen. It promotes appreciation for all the simple, often overlooked things that attracted you to your partner in the first place.
It also helps rekindle passion between the sheets. A couple of weeks ago, I lamented feeling as though I failed my partner in some way because of past bouts of sexual drought. I think the biggest culprit was routine.
It took a while, lots of discussion and trial and error to figure that out. I remember going to my OBGYN to change birth control in the hopes that a hormonal shift would put some spice back into my sex life. But in the end what really did it was a conscious decision to change my habits.
It was like a light switch came on, and I chose to make time for the one person who mattered. I forced myself to feel attractive and engage my partner even when I was tired … and eventually created a routine that made us both happier. Having a date night helped.
One of the chief complaints I hear from couples with children is how guilty they feel when they take some time to themselves, whether it’s for one night or a weeklong vacation. I can honestly say I have never felt guilty about needing some alone time. I don’t do my stepdaughter any favors when I feel lonely, irritable or stressed out.
I wish my parents hadn’t been so concerned with whether or not I would break the rules if they left me alone or with friends and had tended to their own needs. If you want to know how you and your partner appear to the world, ask your kids to sum up your relationship.
My parents could have used a team-building exercise or 1,000, and mandatory date nights. In fact, my dad so rarely took my mom out on dates that he once had to remind her to leave the server’s tip on the table.
So here’s to all the long-term couples out there trying to maintain your spark. Routine happens to everyone, but there are solutions. Date night, I know, is just one. Any other suggestions?
Sex in San Diego, a column appearing every Thursday here at The OB Rag, explores topics related to sex in America’s Finest City. To encourage openness while still respecting privacy, most authors will use pseudonyms.