Saturday, May 2, 2009
I came across an old New York Times article about Reinventing Date Night. It's dated early 2008, and it's primary focus is on middle aged relationships and not keeping the stale.
The article covers an important point that I've utilized in my own dating relationships since I was a teenager: stop going on "habit" dates. It's such an easy trap to fall into. It's one I try to avoid. You become a couple, you make common friends, find your mutually-acceptable restaurants and then you rinse and repeat. Over and over. Eventually, and maybe quicker than one would think, things get stale. It's hard to recover.
Whether or not I am dating someone, I always make it a plan to take a few days a month to travel on my own. Maybe it's a new store in town, a new restaurant an hour's drive out, or a neighborhood in Chicago I've forgotten about in years. I'll spend time by myself, just doing some basic wandering and inquiring. If it has potential, I'll file it away in the back of my brain, ready to pull out as a destination for my significant other and I. I always try to get that special gal to do the same. When we both adventure a bit on our own, it always offers fresh things to do.
I also try to stay away from falling into personal habits. I don't spend every weekend with the same friends, and I try to find new friends in different circles or cliques. It's amazing how much happier you can be knowing you have a few hardcore friends, but also having a decent group that gets excited because you're there. Again, I focus on keeping things fresh rather than letting them go stale.
One could say that my work life is the same. I rarely accept long term projects, prefering to focus on short term projects and giving some time between them for the same client. The client doesn't forget me, and they're more excited with my work because it's a rarity rather than me falling into a comfortable position with them by showing up for a new job every few weeks.
If I am not dating someone seriously, I'll date a few people not-so-seriously. I've said it before: when I date a few people, it's never sexual. If I date one person seriously, sex is a very important part of that relationship for me. If I am not dating anyone at all, I'll try to fill my sexual needs with a consistent fuck buddy or maybe even a gal to sponsor ("sugar-baby").
I guess the simplest way to explain my view of dating is something I said in the comment section of another blog I follow: date competitively. I shop at a variety of competitive stores before finding one that meets me needs for a longer haul. I work for a variety of clients before selecting one to work with on a longer term project. If I am single, I'll go out on dates, kick the tires, and if someone special floats their way to the top of the list, then I'll be sexual, monogamous and one fucking awesome guy.
Don't reinvent date night later in life. Create a new flow to your own life so you always have something fun or exciting to talk about, visit, or share together. Dating shouldn't get stale; when it does, it's usually due to codependency or laziness on the part of both.