Date night for empty nesters is a newish concept for Big and I. When our daughter was young, we rarely went on a date. As a matter of fact, I can tell you how often it happened in 20 years of being together – 2 times!
When Big and I got together, “the baby” was already 4 years old. I had raised her on my own for almost 3 years and was very protective of her. She never left my side.
Big works for the Federal Prison System and walked side by side with inmates of all varieties for almost 20 years. Needless to say, in her eyes, everyone was a perv. Trying to convince her that leaving our child alone with a teenager was a good idea
When our daughter went to college, we spent a lot of time looking at each other or looking at the television. Not good. We realized we needed to get out of the house and do things that would make us happy and give us a chance to have something to talk about and be excited about again.
After a few months of trying and a few failures, we finally came up with some great date nights. I wanted to share them with you.
- Go to a winery – This is one of my favorites, we have so many in our area. Take a picnic with you and make sure there are no peanut butter sandwiches in sight. Instead pack some cheese, meats and crackers or french bread. (Please make sure one person is the designated driver)
- Go to a museum – One with fine art and not hands on activities. (Although, if you love this kind of stuff, then go hang out there too!) Hold hands and make sure you sit at the benches and discuss what you like and don’t like about the art you are seeing.
- Take a class together – Big and I have taken a couple of cooking classes together. It has been fun to spend time together in the kitchen and then get a chance to eat what we make. Don’t want to cook? How about knitting, sewing, skiing or any other sport.
- Join a group of people with the same interests – Ideas include: book club, card games, gardening clubs, etc. Not only will you meet new friends, but you may find out that you really love backgammon or whatever it is you try.
- Volunteer together – this is not only a great way to strengthen your relationship, but also a great way to help your community. You will find that you have so many things to talk about at the end of a volunteer session and you will feel so good knowing that you are helping.
- Do something risky – learn to rock climb, scuba dive or sky dive. I wanted to learn to sky dive when my daughter was about 2. My Father scolded me and asked, “What would happen to your daughter if something happened to you?” I always had those words in the back of my head when I thought I needed to do something a bit crazy. Now that my daughter is grown, I don’t worry about that so much. Being risky raises the feel good chemical called dopamine. You will feel great about yourself and your partner when you are being a little risky.
- Go to see your favorite sports team play – and I don’t mean one that one of your grandchildren is in. I enjoy doing this because it gives me a chance to yell loudly and no one thinks they are getting into trouble.
- Eat out – I know you can go out to eat whenever you want, but do you try new foods? Go to an Indian restaurant. How about sushi? What types of foods would your children never eat? That is where you want to go.
I realize these dates are pretty much the same as the dates for parents with young children. I think the best part about this list is that you now have the freedom to spend as much time as you want on a date. You can hold hands, talk and even kiss each other without someone telling you how gross you are or worrying that you have to hurry to get home to the sitter.
Big and I now make sure we have a date night every month. We each take turns choosing what we will do and many times we don’t even tell the other person what the date is all about. It really builds up the excitement and, I think, it makes the date that much more fun.
What are your ideas for Date Nights for Empty Nesters? I would love to hear them.