No matter how long you've been in a relationship, you still need to date each other. Hence the reason many long-term couples have a designated date night — because they realize how important it is to their relationship. You may think that after a couple years, a few years, or even a decade, the courting and seduction process is over, but it shouldn't be. In fact, to keep things happy and healthy, you need to make more effort in long-term relationships, in regards to dating, than in short-term relationships. Something to definitely keep in mind.
"The one thing that’s routinely lost in long-term relationships is ‘surprise'," bestselling author and relationship expert, Susan Winter, tells Bustle. "We know exactly what our partner will say and do in most every case. We can predict our partner’s response and attitude given any routine situation. But who would they be (and who would we be) in the midst of an adventure? What could this new stimulus add to the palate of our relationship?"
In other words, long-term couples, consider trying adventure dates. From skydiving to white water rafting to getting lost together, here are some activities for long-term couples, so you'll never be bored again.
1. Cross Something Off Those Bucket Lists
Both Winter and Dr. LeslieBethWish, psychotherapist, founder of lovevictory.com, and author of Smart Relationships, suggest turning to those bucket lists — or making one, if you don't have one already — and crossing something off of it.
"If you're a couple, it's easy to get trapped in the 'same-old-same-old' activities, but the years of happy long-term couples can especially put them at risk of, well, not taking any more risks," says Dr. Wish. "And being open to taking risks to try new things is one of the key ingredients of keeping that spark alive. Unfortunately, relationship ruts can start early and last a lifetime."
"The adventure date is designed to break away from predictability, and expand your interests as a couple," says Winter. And, to be honest, nothing throws predictability out the window quite like skydiving. "Thrilling," is actually the word she used to described such a date.
Personally, I call it OMG, I just peed myself. Also, if you're not ready to totally throw yourself out of a plane, Winter also suggests bungee jumping to give you and your partner a very similar "thrill."
3. White Water Rafting
While not quite as terrifying, as Winter puts this one in the "exciting" category, as opposed to "thrilling," white water rafting is definitely an adventure date worth considering. That is, if this seems to be up your partner's alley.
"Choosing the right type of adventure date requires knowing your partner’s interests and disposition," says Winter. So, for this one, your partner's interest might want to be in knowing how to swim or at least look good in a life jacket.
4. Rock Climbing
As we make our way into the "challenging" category of date ideas, we find rock climbing. "Some partners are sporty, and will enjoy the outdoors or a challenging physical activity," says Winter. Rock climbing, in this case, absolutely fits the bill. Dangling from rocks high up in the sky is one way to shake your body to its core.
5. A Balloon Ride
Another "exciting" date, according to Winter? A balloon ride. Not only would this one be exciting, but romantic, also Did you know that some of those luxury balloon rides actually serve dinner up there, too? They do! A friend of mine did one with her husband over Morocco. So amazing.
6. Take A Dance Class Together
Because you need to do something different that stimulates parts of the brain and body that usually don't get stimulation, taking a dance class is the way to go. "Taking a Tango class together is seductive," says Winter, "While ballroom dancing is romantic."
In both cases, you're stepping out of your comfort zone and doing something you may not have even considered before.
7. Get "Lost"
"Take the car out for the day, and explore roads you’ve never traveled," suggests Winter. "Let your curiosity and instincts assist you in discovering new sites and new locations."
There's an art in getting lost, so submerge yourself in that art and go with it.
8. Tickets To The Opera
"Other partners are cerebral and prefer mental expansion through culture and the arts," says Winter. "Tickets to the opera are romantic, artistic, and cultural."
Perhaps, going to the opera isn't an adventure date theme, but it's definitely the type of date that you probably don't indulge in enough. Honestly, most people don't go to the opera enough.
9. Surprise Them
"Research shows that doing something new increases anxiety just a bit and when we feel anxious, we bond with someone who offers comfort," says Dr. Wish. "And who better than your long-term love to strengthen your feelings of closeness. And, closeness can lead to great sex!"
But don't get too carried away, booking a race car driving class or a balloon ride is one thing, but some surprises can be a little much. "DO NOT surprise your partner with a mystery trip," says Winter. "Though creative, your odds of failure are high. Unless this is someplace your partner has repeatedly mentioned as a goal, don’t surprise them. And even in that case, a bucket list date idea is something your partner would want to plan in detail. We all like to feel in control of our environment. Something as simple as your mate bringing the wrong wardrobe can foil your plans. So don’t default to the belief that excitement equals surprise. It doesn’t."
So, long-term couples, here you go! Now you have nine example dates that will either bring the spice back into your relationship or, if it never went anywhere, take it up a few more notches.