Written for Cosmopolitan
The Secret Happy Couples Know
Been together, like, forever?
Reclaim that falling-in-love rush with fun date ideas he’ll be into.
When you first fall in love, everything you share produces an adrenaline rush because it’s all brand-new. But, as you’ve no doubt figured out, that mind-blowing novelty factor does inevitably start to dissipate, and you settle into more of a routine. That’s when the love buzz is in danger of being replaced by, well, boredom.
But it doesn’t have to turn out that way. Ongoing research shows couples can regain that new-relationship thrill by trying novel activities together. “Experiencing new things triggers the release of two brain chemicals, dopamine and norepinephrine – the same ones released when you’re newly in love,” explains Arthur Aron, PhD, social psychologist at Stony Brook University. So get the punch-drunk love high back with these ideas.
If you live near a body of water, you’re probably able to rent a kayak for a few hours. It’s a thrilling tandem activity that’ll guarantee some laughs over your attempts at dipping the paddles simultaneously.
Hang with a Different Crew
Instead of always meeting up with the same friends, invite a few acquaintances out for appetizers or brunch. Ask lots of questions about their lives and share details of yours, so you feel like you get to know them better.
Become Margarita Connoisseurs
Challenge yourselves to discover the most absolutely perfect margarita. Once a week, head to a different bar or restaurant in your town, and rate its margaritas together. When you find the yummiest one, invite a big group of pals to join you there and order a couple of pitchers.
Throw Some Punches
Jogging or biking together is okay, but nothing pumps your energy level and gets you two all sweaty-sexy like boxing. Sign up for a session at your gym; you won’t be fighting each other – just the trainer. Plus, it’s arousing to watch all that aggression be unleashed.
Go Shopping at a Secondhand Store
Give each other a $20 limit, and try to score some cool clothing finds for the other person, like vintage tee shirts or funky hats.
Hit the Open Road
Log on to Google Maps, and scout out towns you’ve never seen before within an hour’s drive of where you live. Pick one with the most intriguing name, and drive there. Since you have no idea what to expect in Ditchdigger Springs or Devil’s Horns Lake, you’ll feel like you’re on an adventure.
Spend some time hunting around for the most hilarious clips together. Then, if you’re really inspired by what you’ve seen, make one yourselves.
See a Fortune-Teller
You don’t have to believe in it, but having your palms, Tarot cards, or astrological charts read may reveal different sides of yourselves to each other and spark a dialogue about what you want – or don’t want – in the future. Or you can bond over how totally off the astrologer was and the ridiculous things she predicted.
Embark on a Beer-Tasting Tour
Many microbreweries feature tours showing visitors how beer is made and offering samples of their products. Beer plus machinery? Now that’s one combination guys really dig. Go online to find one near you. Bottoms up!
…Or Vietnamese or Russian or whatever is the most exotic cuisine you can find in your area that you’ve never tried. You’ll either love it or hate it, but you’ll definitely have plenty to discuss.
Learn Something Together
Take a class in a subject two people can enjoy on their own time, such as golf, Italian, or Ultimate Frisbee. It’s fun building a new skill from scratch, and if you stick with it, you’ll end up having a new way to enjoy your downtime together.
Create Your Own Booty-Locale Lists
Exchange “to do” wish lists, and stash them in your wallets for later. When you are out together and realize you’re near one, go there, get naughty, and ahem, check it off.
Eat Like Big Kids
Stop in to your favorite fast-food restaurant, and order the kids’ meals you used to love when you were growing up. Get them to go or eat them in an outdoor park – with a bottle of wine as the perfect adult contrast.
Hear New Sounds
Visit local clubs and bars to check out bands or deejays you haven’t heard. Open yourselves up to music you don’t normally listen to; you might end up liking it and downloading lots of new tunes on your iPods.
Sketch Naked People
Many colleges and local art centers offer drawing classes with nude models. To make it fair, take one class with a male model and one with a female model. Who knows – it may inspire your own Titanic moment.
Sources: Marriage and family therapist Sheri Meyers Gantman, PsyD; Liz Kelly, dating coach in L.A.; David Wygant, dating coach in L.A.