While this date idea article is aimed at the empty nester there are a lot of great ideas in this list for everyone as well, regardless of your age.
When the young adult kids have flown the coop we often find ourselves going through a mix of feelings. Some of us start out joyful to reclaim our territory, while others go through some sadness to see their “little ones” take flight. Eventually though we all land in a space of “now what?” We may not have previously realized how much of our time, and our day to day living was based off the other beings dwelling in our home.
This date idea list is meant to inspire you, and your significant other, to try new things together. Some of the date ideas listed will get you back out into the world of socialization, something we often set aside to have more time with our kids, and to run our household. Other ideas are meant only for the two of you so that you can reengage with one another, and get the spark back into your lives.
I hope you find a few ideas you will use.
1. As mentioned in an article posted last week: 10 Out Of The Box Things Couples Can Do On A Tight Budget, I have to mention again, MeetUp Groups.
This site, which they also have an app for, has been invaluable to my husband and me recently. We have found some great people, activities, and networking through MeetUp Groups.
No matter what your interests are, there are groups that you can get involved in.
One thing I have noticed, and absolutely love about MeetUp Groups in our area is the diversity of people we have met through them.
One group my husband and I are currently members of is a board game MeetUp group. We have had so much fun playing board games you won’t find in your local chain store!
Try it out!
Expense: Little to none depending on group.
2. Want something a little more intimate that you can do at home? This is excellent for those on a tight budget. Spa Night!
Your significant other, and you, will love being pampered with a relaxing foot soak, facial, and massage. Turn the lights down, light a few candles, play music you can both relax to, and take turns giving each other the royal treatment.
You do not need any fancy equipment. Soaking your feet in a plastic tub from the dollar store, and some epsom salts, which are inexpensive anywhere you buy them is not only soothing to tired aching feet, but very good for the soul too.
My husband and I have done this taking turns in the same night, and alternating nights so that the second person to take their turn does not have to work after relaxing. We enjoy it both ways, the two of you can decide which way you like best.
Expense: Very low.
3. To some this idea may sound more like work than a date night, but for those of you who love projects, it is perfect! Redecorate or paint a room. Why not one of the rooms your kid just moved out of?
There is no better way to reclaim your living, or sleeping space, than to give it a make over. A coat of fresh paint, in your favorite color is a great way to help you take back your space. Redecorating is also a great way to turn what was a bedroom into a craft room, reading room, or even a giant closet!
I love working on projects with my husband, although we bicker a little now and then we always end up having a lot of laughs, which is good for your relationship. The couple that laughs together, stays together.
Expense: Low to high depending on project.
4. Cooking together is a great way to spend the evening, especially if you rarely have the chance to do it.
With our busy schedules we often are either eating separately, or one or the other person is doing most of the cooking. Maybe you go out to eat more than cooking at home, or maybe fast food has become your ally.
One spin on the cooking at home idea to make it even more special is to prepare your significant other their favorite meal from their childhood.
Maybe your loved one is always talking about their mother’s amazing lasagna. For me it was my Grandmother’s Goulash. Making homemade pizza together is also a fun thing to do. With each of your favorite ingredients you can prepare each side your own way.
Expense: Low to medium depending on what you prepare.
5. Also mentioned in my previous article, Stargazing.
On a low budget I can not think of any idea more romantic than laying back together on a blanket and watching the stars.
You can make this date as basic or as complex as you wish, but even with complexity the cost is relatively low.
The drive out to the county itself can be enjoyable and adventurous. Some may want to plan ahead to find the prefect location that you won’t get kicked off of but once you find a good spot, away from the lights of the city, it is easy.
If you have a telescope by all means bring it along, but most of the fun is in the cuddling, sipping hot cocoa, or wine if you are so inclined, and being alone together under the night sky.
Expense: Low to High depending on if you like wine, and how expensive your taste in wine is.
6. If you and your partner are fun loving, adventurous, and don’t mind being silly, reenacting the dance from the movie Dirty Dancing is a great way to spend an evening together.
Sometimes we need a little silliness in our lives, or maybe you and your loved one are quite the excellent dancers, but either way, recreating this dance scene is sure to bring you closer together, and give you each a few laughs.
7. Remember cassette tapes? If you are close to my age you may even remember 8 Tracks! The 80’s and 90’s was when making mixed tapes became a big deal. Now days we have streaming, downloads, and apps for that. Why not make each other a mixed tape, or mixed playlist for each other.
Try making a playlist of the songs they loved when they were younger, or a theme playlist. Consider the different types of playlists you can create for your loved one.
You may decide to make this playlist together, or each make one for the other containing songs that are meaningful to you both.
This is a wonderful way to spend an evening at home, especially if you are on a tight budget.
Expense: None to Low.
8. Recreating your first date is so romantic, and a beautiful way to celebrate the two of you. Even if you can not recreate it exactly as it was, which sometimes happens if you have moved far away from where you met, you can always come close.
You may not be able to go back to the exact same mom and pop diner you shared your first date at, but you can find a local mom and pop diner that has a similar ambiance.
The place is not always the most important aspect of that first date however. Try remembering what each of you said, who was more nervous, was there a kiss that night? Reenacting those first moments can bring back your first dialogue as a couple, but also enact a whole new dialogue that will make new memories for the two of you as well.
Expense: Varies depending on your first date experience.
9. I really love this next date night idea. Agree upon a favorite actor or actress and have a movie marathon of all their movies.
Some actresses and actors may have so many movies that you could never watch them all in one night, and watching them all is not necessary.
For me, I would select John Cusack because he is so talented, and there is always humor in his movies regardless of the actual genre. I also love movies from the 80’s because the 80’s were some of my favorite years.
Of course you can incorporate snacks, popcorn, and drinks into the evening as you both wish but the most important thing is to snuggle into each other on the sofa, or bed, depending on where you most like to enjoy movies.
10. Being an empty nester gives us time to refocus on ourselves. For some of us that means exploring our youth again, or simply living life with a youthful spirit in the now. Why not indulge your inner child with a visit to a toy store.
The idea behind this date idea is for each of you to select one toy that you loved dearly in your childhood. While we have a million new toys on the market the best toys of our youth are still available, even if updated a little.
When you each select a toy from your youth it gives you a chance to talk to each other about a time in each of your lives where you may not have known one another.
You can share with your loved one why this toy is meaningful to you, if you played alone or with friends, if the toy was a gift, or if you had to save up for it.
Sharing in this experience can bring forth all sorts of relationship enriching communication for the two of you.
For me, I would probably select Lincoln Logs, a race track, or Hot-Wheels. I did love Barbies back in my youth as well but I have far more wonderful memories playing with the other toys.
Just think how much fun you will have, two mid-life adults, picking out toys, for yourselves, at the toy store!
Expense: Low to High depending on how much prices have inflated on your favorite toy of your youth.
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11. Back in the day going out of ice cream on a date was a “thing” and it still is!
This is an inexpensive way to share some sweet moments with your loved one, holding each other’s hand, taking a walk together, eating ice cream cones. Cones are best because you can always have one free hand for your loved one.
Granted it is a simplistic idea, but a tried and true way to spend time together, and has stood the test of time.
12. Visit a mom and pop shop, a flower market, or famers market.
This is not only a great way to spend a date night, or date day, but it is also a great way to get out into your community and socialize with others.
You may meet some new friends through visiting a local small business that specializes in things you are interested in while supporting local business.
My husband and I love to go to hobby shops, especially one that sells train sets, which I love, and airplanes, which he loves. We have met up with and networked with some really amazing people there.
Expense: Nothing to High depending on how much you decide to splurge.
13. If you and your sweetie love coffee, why not spend an evening learning how to make great coffee drinks?
You can also perfect your artistic skills at Latte art. That is something I personally have wanted to try for a long time so the hubby and I are going to make a date out of it, even though he does not care for coffee, it just means more for me.
If your significant other and you do both enjoy coffee it will give you plenty of energy for more fun later.
14. I know I have some pet lovers out there so why not spend a date day together volunteering at your local human society.
Playing with animals is a great way to give to yourselves, and to the animals. The animals get to experience extra love and attention, while the two of you attempt to resist taking one home. Playing with animals can bring out the best in all of us, and is a wonderful way to spend a date day.
15. This idea takes a little more time, and preparation but for some of you it will be worth all of the effort. Did you go to your high school prom? Maybe like me, some of you never got to go. Others may have great memories to recreate, or bad memories they would like to replace. Whatever your personal story is, make a new story by recreating, or reinventing prom night with your loved one!
Create a prom music playlist. You can use today’s music or go for nostalgic tunes. Pick out what you are going to wear, but don’t let your significant other know, remember, you are supposed to surprise each other. Get a corsage or boutonniere, dim the lights in the largest room of your house, and let the awkward fast dancing and the romantic slow dancing begin.
Expense: Medium to High depending on how all out you go.
16. If you have a dog, why not spend a date day, or night, teaching your dog a new trick?
This is a great way to spend time as a couple, and also great for your pup! Cat people, you can try this too but I know my cats would give me the death stare if I tried to teach them anything.
Even if your attempts are unsuccessful, you will have a few laughs together. I call that a successful date!
17. Do you sometimes feel your marriage vows are out of date, and maybe out of touch with society today? Why not plan a date night when you and your loved one sit down and re-write your vows.
Set a tone before you begin. Agree if humor is to be allowed or if you are both supposed to be serious. If you both agree you could even write unrealistic fun vows based on imagination and fantasy!
Whatever you agree to, enjoy a romantic, and maybe even silly night re-writing your vows together.
18. Since we are on the topic of vows, why not renew them legally by getting married again? This is another that may take more preparation and could be more expensive, but if you make it a priority, and plan for it, you can make it happen on any budget.
Reaffirming your vows legally can be a private affair or a huge event but for a date day or night purpose all you truly need is each other, and a judge or clergy. Truth is you could have a friend or family member become ordained online to do the legal aspect of things, but some of you may want it more official or more religious. The details are all up to the two of you.
Expense: Free to High.
19. Put on a fashion show for each other.
Pick out a few outfits for each other from what is already in your closets. The outfits can be trendy, or very mix matched and silly. Personally I think it would be a hoot to hand my husband a few screwed up, mixed up outfits and have him model to the song “I’m Too Sexy” but hey that’s just me.
20. I saved this one for last because it is one my husband and I have plans to do soon. Do you and your sweetie have a special song? I was surprised to learn that a lot of couples do not! I thought that my husband and I were the odd balls for not having one.
We are going to use YouTube to find songs we feel could possible be “our song”. We will narrow the list by each eliminating songs that do not feel right to us both. Obviously our song has to agree with both of us. While it may not be the same as the song that just happened to magically be playing when you had that first kiss, or whatever romantic notion comes to mind, at least you will have one, and it will be one you both love.
Well that’s it. That is my list. Did you find any new ideas that will work for you and your loved one? Do you have any to add? I would love your ideas in the comments below, or just share with me the ideas on this list that you are going to try.
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