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April 23, 2009

Date night? Not!

Filed under: Psychology — posted by Amy @ 10:25 am

So I’m on my second marriage. My third, if you count the eight-year relationship between the two. So I know from divorce, splitups and breakups, and I say basta. So anytime someone has constructive advice about how to make my marriage go the distance, I sit up and take notice. Immediately followed, usually, by slumping back down and putting my head between my legs, because omfg, I just can’t.

The New York Times has trotted out the old “date-night” advice: making time for each other to reconnect sans kids is good for your union. Well, duh. Is the New York Times going to pay Barnard Babysitting? Anyway, the newest research says that even if I manage to find a sitter, find enough energy, and tear myself away from my child — is there an opposite of dayenu? It’s not enough for us. If we do all that and then just sit at our favorite sushi place, staring at each other — we’re still in mortal danger of becoming a statistic. Turns out we have to do more than go on a date — we have to go on an exciting date!

Novelty is the goal — it’s supposed to re-up our supply of dopamine and mimic the headiness of our early love. You know what else would reignite my dopamine? My husband throwing out those heinous maroon sweatpants. But I digress. The studies indicate that we’ll feel more connected and satisfied if we do stuff we don’t usually do, like “attending concerts or plays, skiing, hiking and dancing.” That, my friends, is quite an evening.

Look, I’d love to. I’d love to hike and dance and hang-glide. (That’s not true. I would hate to hang-glide.) But I already feel so much pressure to plan a night out. And at this point, believe me, sitting at a table that someone else is going to clean up counts as a novel experience. I’m going to have to hope that’s enough for now.

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