Over 50? Here Are 6 Exciting Date Night Ideas
Relationships experts say these activities can strengthen new and old unions alike.
As you enter your sixth decade, brainstorming new and exciting ways to spend time together can be tough. Movie night? You and your beau have seen every rom-com that's debuted since 1985. Picnic in the park? That feels somewhat juvenile. Dinner date? Yawn. However, creating new date night memories is critical. Whether you're starting a new relationship or want to shake things up with your long-term partner, spending time with your lover boosts your bond and staves off the feeling of having fallen into a rut. Not sure where to start? Fear not. Read on to discover six exciting date night ideas for people over 50.
Create a vision board.
Vision boards aren't only for wedding planning and birthdays—they also make for a fabulous date night activity. "When you're over 50, your children have left the nest or are on their way out in the next few years," says Sarah Rattray, couples psychologist and founder of the Couples Communication Institute. "Your career has likely been established, and maybe you're ready for a change." In other words, it's the perfect time to join your partner in envisioning—or re-envisioning—your future.
So, grab the magazines you have around the house and create a vision board together. "It's time to explore your dreams, goals, and visions for the next part of your life," says Rattray. "To become a team in crafting together what you'd like to give to your family, your community, and your legacy, with each other's support."
Expand your "love map."
According to The Gottman Institute, a love map is the level of familiarity you have with your partner's internal world (the more expansive your love map, the more intimately you know them.) So, how do expand yours? It's simple: you ask each other a ton of questions. Fortunately, this can be incorporated into any date, from going on a bike ride to sitting in your bathtub, says Carrie Krawiec, LMFT, a therapist at the Birmingham Maple Clinic in Troy, Michigan. "Revisit your partner's hopes and dreams, wishes and missed opportunities, embarrassing moments, sources of pride, and favorite or least favorite things," says Krawiec. "Partners with deep love maps can weather storms, reduce annoyance, and have a greater understanding." Try a deck of question cards for an easy way to start.
Go on a "flashback" date.
You don't have to wait for a big anniversary to recreate one of your first dates together. "When you go on a 'flashback date,' wear the same clothing you would have worn when you first got together and go someplace you would have gone," says Brenda Wade, clinical psychologist and founder of the Modern Love and Relationship Training Programs. "Only talk about the things you would have talked about in the early days like what was fun, your friends, and what you were looking toward for the future." Wade also recommends bringing along throwback photos if you have them. "Think of this as a flashback to remind you of what attracted you to each other and what made you fall in love," she adds.
Attend an unconventional book talk or theater experience.
For a date night that blends excitement with intimacy, attend a controversial book reading, play, or movie. Then, share a bottle of wine or a bite to eat and discuss your thoughts about the event. "Learning to discuss controversy and partners' differences regarding difficult material allows strengthening through the ability to know it is okay to have different opinions, to be able to be your true self in a partnership," says Sharon Gilchrest O'Neill, Ed.S., LMFT, a therapist and relationships author. These events don't have to be too "out there," either; a play that's getting mixed reviews in the local newspaper will suffice.
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See a live band or visit a jazz club.
Music can spark joy and conversation, and create lasting memories. "This is a chance for couples to get to know each other's music tastes and how they have changed over the years," says Sam Nabil, LPC, founder and lead therapist at Naya Clinics. "Also, music helps the couples reminisce about fun and positive times together as music is known to release dopamine, which heightens positive emotions." According to Harvard Health, listening to nostalgic tunes can trigger your recollection of previously forgotten memories—so don't be surprised if you and your S.O. are sharing hilarious stories from high school prom after the concert.
Enroll in a gardening class.
Get down and dirty in the garden for your next date activity. "This can be a good exercise for people who are aging as it provides a sustainable amount of exercise, as well as improve the camaraderie between the couple," says Nabil. "A lot of therapists also suggest gardening therapy for some couples as it helps them create new habits and also helps with long-term memory." In fact, one 2019 study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that seniors who performed a 20-minute gardening activity exhibited significantly increased levels of the healthy brain nerve growth factors BDNF and PDGF. Create a cocktail (fresh basil, anyone?) or snack board afterward and admire your work together.