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Struggling to plan date nights? Here are ways to connect with your partner while stuck at home

Relationship experts say now more than ever, it's important to carve out romantic together time with your partner

FORT WORTH, Texas — Date nights used to be a routine, if not underappreciated, part of life in a relationship.

Now, COVID-19 restrictions have turned things upside down. Most of us are housebound and, in some cases, we are working out of the same home as our partners and children (and seeing them 24/7). 

Let's be honest: finding ways to carve out romantic time with your loved one might be a challenge, to say the least.

But Plano relationship strategist Tré Bradley says now more than ever, making time for date nights is vital.

“It breaks the monotony of the day-to-day,” he said, which is crucial for relationship health.

Fort Worth relationship counselor Penny Haight agrees.

“Stress is up, conflict is up,” she said. Date nights “serve as repairs to the conflict.”

But with restaurants, museums and movie theaters closed to the public, what can you do to keep the spark alive? Plenty, according to our experts.

CREATE A MOVIE THEATER EXPERIENCE:

Pop the popcorn, grab the blankets & watch your favorite movie. Or, you’ll notice that some movies that were supposed to be released in theaters have now been rolled out On Demand or on Amazon. You can even create a sign that’s displayed when you enter the room, naming your personal theater.

“Relax and watch a movie together and then just talk about it,” Bradley said.

HAVE A TAILGATE DATE:

Haight recommends stringing lights outside your home, if you can, to set the mood. She says grab some blankets and snacks and pile into the tailgate of your truck to watch the stars. Same idea would work if you want to do that in your backyard.

If you want to take the energy up a notch, bring your favorite playlist outside or find a musician or DJ who’s giving a live performance and create a concert or dance club environment. Sing, dance, let loose!

SEEK ONLINE COOKING OR PAINTING LESSONS:

Bradley says check with your local painting date spots (like Painting With A Twist) or cooking classes and see if they offer virtual lessons. Those are awesome, interactive dates in real life, and would translate well in your home.

CREATE A RESTAURANT IN YOUR HOME:

With so many restaurants offering pick-up or delivery, you can mimic the restaurant experience in your own home.

He recommends choosing a restaurant and printing out their menu so it feels like a traditional experience.

“Get your candlelight, get your wine and have all that set up with a nice little table,” Bradley said. “Order your food and have it delivered.”

SOME OTHER IDEAS:

Bradley says try to learn a new language together on a date. “Pick a language and try to practice communicating with each other in a different language to stimulate the mind and have some fun with that.”

Check with your local museum to see if they’re offering any virtual experiences. The Perot Museum has an adults-only list of events right now, including one for this Friday evening. Click here for more

Simply taking long walks is a good way to connect.

And Haight says try to plan something specifically for your partner. “Knowing what they like and getting really creative and thinking how can I make this different?”

Bradley adds that game nights can bring out the silly side in you, and connecting with other couples for a “virtual game night” is a great way to spend a night in.

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