Dear Sex Counselor,
I am at a loss for new dating ideas! My girlfriend and I have been dating for 15 months now. We do not live together, but we go out faithfully every Friday and Saturday night. It seems as if we have run out of places to go and things to do. We have done movies, dinner at a zillion places, coffee, concerts, sporting events and staying at home (my personal favorite!). Any new ideas?
Being a rather boring person in the social realm, I don’t think I have much to offer you in the way of ideas. However, your question raised some questions in my mind, which I shall pose to you in the hopes that they will help you in your quest.
The fact that you are asking this question tells me that you may be finding yourselves stuck in a rut, albeit a different sort of rut than most of us discover in our relationships. So I want to encourage you to answer the following questions for yourself: What am I hoping to get from this relationship? Am I looking for an activity partner, an intimate friend, a life partner, or something other than any of those? I am wondering if you feel stuck because you are doing, doing, doing, and not necessarily having any meaningful connection because you have the activity to focus on rather than each other.
If I am wrong about that, then I suggest you ask yourself what the next step in your relationship is for you, then ask that of her as well. One possibility for the future is to start working on some projects together that require an ongoing commitment to focus on each other and what you share. This could be a hands-on project, like building or writing or painting something together. You might want to stay home, listen to music, and do a puzzle together. There are many possibilities for connecting more deeply with each other and still doing something. You might want to try some of the couples’ games that are available, to have an activity that allows you to focus on each other and encourages connection and communication.
While I don’t think you need to necessarily deepen your relationship, live together, or change your pattern, I do think it would be good for you to explore why you are in such a pattern, and think of ways to break it so that you aren’t bored. Even changing nights, time of day, or length of time could rejuvenate you. I don’t want to sound like I think that long-term relationships all have to result in living together, nesting together, or somehow becoming more entwined, but there is something missing that made you aware that you’re bored with what you are doing and want to try something different. If staying at home is your favorite activity, then why not do more of it, and share activities that allow you to stay in and have fun?
The Sex Counselor