If you're searching for ways to feel closer to your partner, it can help to shed the idea that you need to be do something super exciting or over-the-top in order to truly bond. Because most of the time, all you really need are a few
old-fashioned date ideas, and some quality time spent together.
While big moments can be important — such as vacations, weekends away, and so on — there's something so special about simple things, like movie nights, picnics, and even trips down the block for ice cream. "It’s the simple rituals of our lives that promote bonding and attachment,"
psychotherapist Tom Bruett, MS, LMFT tells Bustle. These things may not seem like they've have too much of an impact, but making them a part of your routine can truly keep the spark alive.
That's not to say, however, that you need to keep everything low-key, or that you should repeat the same rituals week after week. "While it’s great to have a routine of dates nights, an evening walk, or morning coffee, it’s important to switch things up occasionally and find new
ways to connect and bond," Bruett says. That's when an extra special night out might be a good idea, or that aforementioned vacation. But until then, try a few of these old time-y ideas, and see if they don't help you and your partner feel closer than ever. 1 Go Out Dancing
If your local park ever hosts a dance night — especially if there's a band — you pretty much
have to go. "Even if you’re not a great dancer, there’s nothing better than live music on a beautiful night," Bruett says. "Dancing brings you close together, literally." And the fact it has the potential be slightly embarrassing? Even better. 2 Play A Board Game
For the ultimate in bonding activities, try to make it a weekly (or monthly) tradition to pull out a few board games and have yourselves a time. "Sometimes there’s nothing like a little friendly competition to bring you closer together," Bruett says. "As adults, it’s important to incorporate play into our lives. What better way to flirt and connect than a stroll around the boardwalk in Monopoly?"
3 Go Stargazing
Get yourselves to a rooftop, or drive out to the country, and do some good, old-fashioned stargazing. "Make some lemonade or an adult beverage of your choice ... and watch the sky change," Bruett says. "It’s great for your mental health to be outdoors and promotes relaxation and connection." Bonus points if you turn off your phones, and enjoy each other's company tech-free.
4 Set Up A Double Date
When was the last time (if ever) you two went on a double date? If it's been a minute, definitely give this old-school tradition a try. "Sometimes it’s great to go out with a couple that both of you really enjoy being around,"
Patrick Di Vietri, LPC, NCC tells Bustle. "Sharing a romantic, fun evening with them full of laughter and good conversation," can bring you all closer together. For an even more old-school touch, play card games, mix a few drinks, or watch old movies. 5 Catch Up At The End Of The Day
Make it a tradition to sit down together a few nights a week and truly catch up — without any distractions from your phone or TV. "Take thirty minutes ... to
talk with your significant other, over a glass of wine, about stuff going on with life," Di Vietri says. These little moments can add up, become a tradition, and help you feel closer together. 6 Leave Hand-Written Notes
Small gestures add up, too, such as leaving sweet handwritten notes around the house for each other to find.
"Though we tend to text rather than write these days, handwriting is very personal and writing a short love note of just a few lines ... will fuel your bond," Helen Odessky, PsyD, clinical psychologist and author of
, tells Bustle. Stop Anxiety From Stopping You 7 Eat Dinner Together
We're all so busy these days, so it can be tough to find the time to sit down and eat a real meal. And yet it's something you might want to try to do.
"Bonding over food has a long history and it associates your time together with nourishment," Dr. Odessky says. Even if you're just ordering takeout, do it
together as often as possible. 8 Go For An Evening Walk
Want another cheap, easy way to bond the old-fashioned way? Take more walks in the park and strolls around your neighborhood.
As Dr. Odessky says, "This old-fashioned tip is more low-key ... but it gives you time to unwind and even catch up with each other — which will bring you closer."
9 Head Out On An Unplanned Adventure
Get on your bikes or hop in the car, and head out on an adventure with no real destination in mind — just like they did in the olden days.
You might be tempted to look at a map, or plot it out ahead of time. But don't. "Spontaneity and unpredictability are the keys to lasting, passionate relationships,"
Dr. Jess O’Reilly, Astroglide’s resident sexologist, tells Bustle. "The more you create opportunities for impromptu discovery, the more excitement you’ll feel in life and in love."
Because really, when it comes to creating a bond, the
simple moments in your relationship really do add up, which is why old-school traditions can feel like such a great fit. By slowing down, hanging out, and occasionally unplugging, you and your partner will likely feel closer than ever.
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