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6 Unconventional Date Ideas to Shake Up Your Routine

By LAURA SCHAEFER

If the words date night make you sigh in boredom, it's time to shake it up a little and plan something fresh with your main squeeze or new crush. "Couples should pay attention to the age-old adage about variety being the spice of life because research consistently shows that enjoying new experiences with each other helps keep relationships running strong," says author and relationship coach Dylan Thrasher.

Couple on a beach date

It's difficult to avoid falling into repetitive patterns as the stresses of everyday life sap our creativity. "Getting out of any rut requires a certain amount of energy," says relationship expert April Masini, founder of AskApril.com. "Think about getting your car out of a mud hole. You can gun your engine, but you'll just end up spinning your wheels. To get out of a dating rut, you can't do more of the same -- you have to strategize."

For a little help in the dating-creatively department, we've got six ideas to get you started. Read on.

1. Do Something Silly
It's time to stop taking yourself so seriously. Just because you know your way around a wine list doesn't mean you can't get messy. "Consider going paintballing," suggests Masini. "Or have a water-balloon fight. Go to a costume store during the off-season and try on silly costumes." Does your city have a children's museum? See if there's an adult-swim night and make a plan to go.

2. Take a Road Trip
"Start early in the morning and make it a day," says Masini. "Be as crazy as to simply toss a dart at a map to plan your itinerary. Don't go to a single place you've ever been before -- and that includes Starbucks!" For other unconventional destinations, look at your state through a tourist's eye and visit the weirdest roadside attraction or amusement park you can find.

3. Involve More People
"Take turns in inviting out other friends -- or even just have them over to your house -- and get to know new people through your significant other's friendships," says Thrasher. "Research shows that when couples complement each other in front of mutual acquaintances, it helps build bonds." There's a reason double dates are a thing -- a group dynamic can really bring out the funny in everyone.

4. Get Active
Michelle Brummel, an account manager in Madison, Wisconsin, suggests standup paddleboarding: "First one to fall off buys the drinks." Other active ideas include biking, hitting a bucket of balls at a driving range, kayaking, canoeing and sailing.

5. Get Competitive
"[My now husband] took me out for pie and cribbage," says Alisha Kirchoff, a university administrator in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. "It was the best first date ever." 

6. See a Live Show
"There's more energy in the room and more to talk about," says Tim Marks of The KC Improv Company in Kansas City, Missouri. "We get a lot of dating couples at our improv shows." Check out an open-mic night at the local comedy club or see a band.

-- Laura

Readers -- Have you ever felt like you and your significant other do the same things all the time? How did you get out of your routine? What are some out-of-the-ordinary dates that you've been on? Leave a comment below and let us know!

Laura Schaefer is the author of Why We Fall Out of Love and the co-founder of WordChum.com. Connect with her on Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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