The spring has some incredible things to offer. Like, better dates, for starters. I'm not knocking dates where you're forced to be cooped up inside because of 10-degree weather, but being able to venture outside without cursing mother nature just makes for great dating scenarios. The season of spring is the season of new birth. The snow has melted, flowers are budding, and not to be cliche, but love is in the air. Spring is ideal for dates, especially dates that can bring you closer together.
"Making a concerted effort to go on dates that you bring you closer to your partner is an investment in the future well-being of your relationship," Behavioral Scientist and Relationship Coach, Clarissa Silva, tells Bustle. "Some of the key factors that create relationship failure, in the long run, is feelings of estrangement, neglect, and resentment. By nurturing the relationship to strengthen and maintain a healthy level of intimacy throughout the relationship can prevent growing estrangement and resentment."
So ditch the down coat, toss the cashmere in the closet, and get ready for seven spring dates that will bring you closer.
1A Phone-less Walk In the Park
What's a better way to celebrate spring than by taking a nice stroll and admiring the flowers, fresh air, and sun? Even better — leave your phones at home.
"Our highly connected world has now become much more digitally dependent," says Silva. "One of the best ways to achieve connectedness, is to put away your phone for the duration of the date so that you are giving your undivided attention to your significant other." I mean, you really don't have to Instagram everything you do anyway. It might be nice to be present and live in the moment for a change.
2Take A Trip Down Memory Lane
Silva suggests recreating that first date, as well as asking the questions you asked early on when you first started dating. And, the best part about spring is that if your first date was inside, you can do an outside version.
"When you are on your date revisit the questions you asked in the beginning of your relationship about the direction of the relationship and how you felt about one another at that point," says Silva. "This helps recreate the lust phase of the relationship and restore your current state."
"Giving back is a great way to keep perspective of how great your relationship is, and how fortunate it is to have found each other," explains Silva. "It also lets you see your partner as a team player, empathetic, and altruistic which can strengthen your bond."
Now just think about all the beaches that need to be cleaned up, all the trees that need to be planted, and all the shelter dogs that need walks and cuddles and praise simply because they're all good dogs. All are outdoor, taking advantage of the weather, and will absolutely make you closer.
4Take An Outdoor Class
While we tend to think of classes as being an indoor activity, when the weather is great, many classes will take to the outdoors. Painting or poetry writing classes, for example, are so much more fun outdoors and a perfect spring date.
"Research demonstrates that couples who learn a new skill together connect deeper," says Silva. "You can chose something you both have never done, always wanted to do, or planned on but never did. Either way, the shared learning experience demonstrates that you both can work through circumstances and tasks together."
5Go On A Picnic With Handwritten Notes For Each Other
"In today’s highly digital world, a handwritten note is rare," says Silva. "But, still powerfully special. Rather than texting your significant other, write them a note about what they mean to you and how grateful you for them."
It may seem like something out of a Jane Austen novel to go on a picnic with a handwritten note or even a love letter for your partner but, let's be honest, Austen knew a thing or two about romance.
6Create Mini Traditions
"Creating small rituals can help couples define and solidify themselves as a couple," says Silva. "This can be you designating a day that you both celebrate a major holiday together without family or having a show you both enjoy every week; these are things that’ll bring you closer together."
Basically, put on your thinking cap, get creative, and come up with a tradition that's unique to you and your partner alone. For example, I have one friend whose tradition with her partner is to do a scavenger hut all over Brooklyn on their birthdays — they share the same birthday — every June. Rain or shine they do it every single year; it's adorable.
7Pack Your Bags And Hit The Road
"While it’s nice to have a vacay together, a road trip is a more stressful way to travel together," says Silva. "Having the drive together, planning excursions, and not getting frustrated with it all brings you closer to your partner when the trip is done." If anything is going to test your tolerance for each other and bring you closer, it's a road trip. And spring is definitely road trip season.
More than anything, spring dates that will bring you closer are dates in which you not just enjoy the fact that the winter is gone, but that put you and your partner in situations in which both communication and openness are sort of the stars of the show.