11 Old-Fashioned Ways People Used To Make Their Partner Melt That We Should Bring Back
When you think back to old-fashioned dating ideas, there are certainly some tips and tricks that are better off left in the past — mostly because they're incredibly sexist, or officially outdated and unromantic. But when it comes to being super sweet and making your partner fall head-over-heels in love with you all over again, it can be a fun to look back at decades gone by, steal a few of the best ideas, and make them your own.
Because let's be honest, who doesn't want to be swept off their feet? "While social norms and etiquette have changed and made much about our romantic lives more freeing and casual, we still crave romance and true connection," therapist Debbie McCallum, LMFT tells Bustle. "And some of the old-fashioned ways of expressing affection still hold up." There's nothing wrong, for example, with bringing your partner flowers after the end of a long day, or getting a bit dressed up and whisking each other off on a date — if that's what you'd like to do.
Not only can these things bring you closer together as a couple, but if it's a surprise or an idea that's out of the ordinary, it's a surefire way to melt your partner's heart. If that sounds like something you'd like to do, then try out some of these old-fashioned ways to show the love, that your partner is sure to appreciate.
1. Arrive At Their Place With A Surprise
While you don't have to do this every time you see your partner, it can be super sweet to present them with a little token of your love — like a bottle of wine, a bunch of flowers, a box of their favorite cookies, etc. — when you stop by for a visit.
"If you are invited over for a meal or even just to chill, show up with something that the two of you can enjoy together," relationship therapist Rhonda Milrad, LCSW, founder of Relationup tells Bustle. And if you want to be even more impressive, consider doing the same for bigger events, like family get-togethers. "Whether it is something to eat, drink, or do together (like a board game), it shows that you valued the invitation."
2. Make Time For Real Dates
It's so easy these days to sit at home and watch Netflix. And while that's obviously OK to do sometimes, it can feel extra special to actually leave the house and go on a real, bonafide date.
"Make it a tradition to go on real dates," counselor Sarah E. Clark, LMFT, LMHC, CVRT tells Bustle. "Even if you live together, have one of you plan it and show up at the door at the appointed time; just like you use to do." Then, to make things extra special, consider going somewhere old time-y. Clark suggests a drive-in movie theater, but other ideas like ice skating, picnicking in the park, or flying a kite at the beach have an amazingly old school vibe, too.
3. Write Them A Love Letter
"With technology at the core of our lives, it's sometimes easy to forget that not everything needs to be done online or via text," dating expert Erika Ettin tells Bustle. "One of the sweetest things a partner can do is write a hand-written note expressing [their] feelings. Something like that can be kept forever."
As an extra touch, you might want to leave a little note by the coffee machine in the morning, or tuck a sweet little somethin' in their coat pocket. When they find it, it'll be so much more meaningful than a text.
4. Cook A Special Dinner
While takeout is fine, there's something super sweet about making dinner at home — and occasionally making a big deal about it. "Choose a recipe you can rock, or one that you know they'll love and surprise them with a beautifully decorated table," Kim Leatherdale, LPC, ATR-BC, DCC, NCC tells Bustle. "Put on some great music and let the events progress. Stay at home dinner dates can be very romantic and heart melting." And if you want a little help in the kitchen, plan a date where you both cook together. It can be extra fun.
5. Slow Dance Around Your Apartment
Nothing is as romantic or old time-y as slow dancing around your apartment to beautiful music. So once you put that record on — and you've finished eating your amazing meal, of course — get up and see if your partner would like to dance.
"Back before the age of the internet and Netflix binge watching dates, couples would go out and dance," board-certified art therapist Saba Harouni Lurie, LMFT, ATR-BC tells Bustle. "They even had a song that was 'their song,' and when it came on it was a reminder of the significance of their relationship and would bring the couple even closer together."
That's why dancing, "and being intentional about dancing to slow love songs, can help a couple rekindle feelings and can help with challenges around intimacy," she says. "To be close to a partner, without the expectation of sex and without other distractions, is something that many couples are missing these days."
6. Read To Them
If you find a favorite passage in a book, or come across a particularly great quote online, make a point of reading it aloud to your partner. "People love to be read to," says Leatherdale. Not only is it highly romantic, but it's simply not something that happens that often anymore. By sharing some of your faves, you'll be all at once surprising your partner, melting their heart, and helping them to get to know you better.
7. Try Your Hand At Writing A Poem
Even if you aren't the best with words, attempting to write a poem for your partner is just about as romantic as it gets. "Whether you write a haiku, sonnet, free form poem, or find a poem that strikes you as wonderful, you are showing your partner you took time and creative juice for them," Leatherdale says. Leave it somewhere unexpected for them to find — like you might do for that love letter — and you'll win extra points.
8. Go To Bed At The Same Time
Even if your schedules are packed to the brim, make a point of going to bed at the same time whenever possible, especially if you live together. "When you go to bed together, there is more time for intimacy," Leslie Fischer, founder of Sustainable Slumber, tells Bustle. That might mean snuggling, having sex, or simply talking about your day — all things that can bring you closer as a couple.
Or, you can aim to wake up at the same time and start your day together, which has the same benefits. "These small things can be very meaningful," Fischers says, especially when you have a lot of modern-day worries competing for your attention.
9. Buy Them Tickets To A Show
When was the last time you got tickets to a show? If it's been a minute, "surprise your [partner] with tickets to one of their favorite events and make it an evening or afternoon," author and licensed therapist Darlene Corbett tells Bustle. This could be something super classy, like going to the opera. Or something simpler, like seeing your favorite sports team. It's all about the gesture and the night out, and not so much about what you actually see.
10. Put On Your Favorite Outfit
Find your favorite thing to wear that makes you feel most comfortable and confident, and try putting it on when going out with your partner. "[Putting on your favorite clothes] makes the event more special and unique," Milrad says. "It is fun to break out of the casualness of everyday ... This is especially fun for an important event, such as a birthday, anniversary or a new job or accomplishment." You and your partner will have fun changing things up.
11. Be Extra Polite
Polite gestures — like opening doors for each other — have fallen out of favor. And for good reason, since they can occasionally be a bit sexist. But that doesn't mean they can't be brought back in a totally modern way.
Think along the lines picking them up your partner at their front door for a date, calling to make sure they got home safely, showing them you're taking them into consideration when making plans, etc. As Milrad says, "[...] let it be a two-way street," so that both of you make more of a conscious effort to make more polite gestures for each other.
Sometimes, old-fashioned habits and rituals are "old" for a reason. But when it comes to dating, and showing your partner how much you care, it never hurts to steal a few of the best tips from yesteryear, and make them your own.