Whether you're trying to keep your relationship healthy and intact, or keep each other healthy and intact, there are all sorts of unusual things you should do with your partner to check in and spice things up — at least once a year. This includes fun bonding experiences that will undoubtedly remind you of each other's awesomeness, as well as little ways to keep your relationship going in a healthy direction.
As dating expert Sameera Sullivan says, "It's always good to do new things, but doing new things that are weird and take you out of your comfort zone is even better. You [can] learn something new together and learn something about each other, as well." If you've ever bonded with your partner after enduring a bizarre experience, then you know this is 100 percent true.
So, why not throw yourselves into an odd situation on purpose? With your partner, make a point of stepping outside your comfort zone, throwing caution to the wind, and doing a few strange things together. "Bonding activities keep your relationship fresh and focused," says matchmaker Susan Trombetti. "I hear all the time about getting in a 'rut,' [but] by doing something 'weird' you are [keeping] this from happening ... These ways will help you do so on a deeper level than just going on a dinner date." Read on for a few interesting ideas that'll definitely shake things up.
1. Do Something That Scares You
At least once a year, venture off together and do something scary, whether that's sky diving, prancing around on a nude beach, or simply trying a strange new food. "When you do something you both are scared of, you are taking your trust in each other to a whole new level," says Trombetti. It is amazing what happens when you get over a fear, together."
2. Go Back To Where You First Met
If it's feasible to road trip back to where you first met, heading there once a year can make for a really sweet tradition. "Sometimes we can get so busy in the present to not remember that honeymoon stage, funny stories, etc.," Trombetti says. "Once a year, make sure you are going down memory lane."
3. Really Do It Up On The Holidays
It can be so easy to let holidays and birthdays slip by without much celebration. And yet, there's a pretty great reason to actually observe the occasions. "What these milestones and dates mean is important," psychologist Dr. Nikki Martinez tells Bustle. "They represent another year together, another year each of you is alive, another year you are with the one you love, and a chance to start a fresh slate together for the coming year."
4. Check Each Other For Signs Of Health Issues
Who else on this planet is going to see your butt besides your partner? Not too many people, I'm guessing. So create the habit, at least once a year, of checking each other's crevices for signs of skin cancer. "It's important check your skin for potential irregularities that may be serious, such as cancerous moles," says NYC-based therapist Kimberly Hershenson, LMSW. "Your partner can be used ... look for moles larger than most, that have smudgy or irregular edges, or are uneven in color."
5. Feed Each Other Food
As you've likely noticed in romantic comedies, couples pretty much have to feed each other food to show that they're all sexy and in love. So why not give it a try in real life? "Food is nurturing and feeding a partner can be a bonding experience," Hershenson says. "Add a blindfold and it may lead to spicing up your sex life."
6. Pretend To Be Perfect Strangers
If the passion is flagging in your relationship, it might be fun to go out for a day and act like strangers meeting for the first time. You can also spice things up, Hershenson tells me, by pretending to be somebody new. Change your names, create a back story, and see where the day takes you.
7. Do Each Other's Chores
If you two are set in your ways when it comes to chores, take a weekend and trade places. If you normally walk the dog, let your partner do it. Or if they're the cook in the relationship, see how it feels when you make dinner. "This exercise will give each of them an opportunity to better understand and appreciate what their partner does for the relationship and their life together," says Rhonda Milrad, LCSW, founder of the online relationship community, Relationup.
8. Stay In A Nearby Hotel
While there's certainly nothing "weird" about taking a vacation, it might feel strange to rent a place for the night in your own home town. And yet, that's exactly what you should do at least once a year. "Nowadays with all of our busy schedules and demanding jobs, it's often hard to get away for a week or even long weekend," says Esme Oliver, relationship expert and author of Smoke Drink F*#K. "Book a boutique hotel nearby and take a bubble bath, and get room service, and relax." It'll be a nice couple's getaway, even though it's just down the street.
9. Go On A Fun Tour Of Your City
If you two are in a work/home/TV/bed rut, shake things up by heading out on the town and reminding yourselves of all your city has to offer. And one awesome way to do that? With a guided ghost tour. "You kind of learn history and at the same time get spooked," Sullivan says. "It's a great way to walk hand in hand with your significant other." Cute, right?
10. Spend A Night People-Watching
You can learn a lot about your SO by people-watching together. Who do they think looks interesting? What kind of stories can you come up with together? As Sullivan says, "Get out of your comfort zone and go to a place where you will meet people that you have never seen before."
11. Put Yourselves In A Stressful Situation
If life has been super easy (and kinda boring) lately, it may be a good idea to create a little stress into your lives. As relationship guru Danny Zoucha tells me, this can be done with his "Leave & Cleave" vacation method — meaning heading out into the world without your phones and very little cash. "When you leave yourselves no other option but to lean on one another during self-imposed stressful situations, you build the foundation of a long-lasting, incredibly passionate, rock-solid, able-to-stand-up-to-hurricanes romance that we all actually want, but few of us have the stomach to build," he says. Hey, it just might be worth a try!
12. Have Sex Somewhere New And Exciting
While you'll definitely want to be careful about where you get it on, it can be fun to look for new places to have sex. "This means doing something risky," says Oliver. "Try taking a bathroom break and having sex in a bathroom stall at a restaurant or a bathroom at a party." If your spark is fading, something this exciting and new will definitely help bring it back.
13. Do A Tech Detox
If you and your SO sit side by side, totally ignoring each other as you scroll through your phones, then it may be time for a tech detox. "Whether you are disconnecting for a night, day, week, etc., do one detox at the same time," Trombetti says. "If you take this detox at the same time, you will connect on a new level that you may not have in such a long time."
Mix one or two of these unique bonding experiences into your calendar, and I promise you'll reap all sorts of healthy relationship benefits.
Images: Unsplash, Kaci Baum; Pexels (13)