How to Date Your Partner (Plus 7 Date Ideas!)

Relationship expert Dr. Laura Berman shares 7 ideas for a romantic, sensual and thoughtful night out—and why regular date nights may not be best for your relationship.


Planning for Romance with Your Partner

The first rule of thumb when it comes to dating is this: Don’t make date night a regular night out. To be successful, dates need to be romantic, sensual, and thoughtful occasions where you and your partner can connect as lovers. This doesn’t mean that you have to indulge in an expensive dinner at a five-star French restaurant every time you go out. What you do need to do is get into the spirit of the evening. The following budget date nights are guaranteed to create sparks without denting your wallet.

7 Date Night Ideas for Couples

  1. Go ice skating, and flirt over hot chocolate.
  2. Challenge each other to a game of Scrabble and share a bottle of wine. Set some terms: the loser has to give the winner a massage.
  3. Hit the roller skating rink and jam out to the old-school music.
  4. Keep abreast of online deals. You just might find a bargain on a fancy dinner or discounted tickets to a concert in the park.
  5. Check out the free things your city has to offer: the zoo, art museums or galleries, street fairs and seasonal festivals.
  6. Go to a local high school football game. Sit in the stands, dine on hot dogs, and feel the team spirit. (Really buy into the atmosphere by hooking up behind the gym just like you used to do in your wild youth!)
  7. Snuggle at a drive-in movie. Dress up the occasion by bringing a bottle of champagne to sip while you enjoy your popcorn.


To plan any one of these nights successfully, it’s important to decide well in advance who should have what role, as you would with any other important event. If you leave it to the last minute, miscommunication will occur. Perhaps you’re in charge of making reservations, and your partner is responsible for booking the babysitter.

You can also take turns planning your date night from start to finish, which lends the added element of surprise. What you don’t want to do is put off planning until that night—this causes stress, and is a natural starting point for arguments.

Some of the best date conversations have an element of playfulness. Try asking your partner: “What super power do you wish you could have?”

What Not to Discuss on a Date

Another way to avoid slipping into a dating funk is to change your conversation topics. Talking about the kids and the bills is tempting, especially when it feels like this is the only time that you and your partner have to discuss these things. But don’t forget about romance! Talking about stressful household issues is not going to help you relax and reconnect. And while talking about your children might not be stressful, it will put you back into that Mommy-and-Daddy mode.

Remember: Tonight you are lovers, not parents. So save all that everyday talk for another time. Instead, engage each other with funny stories, interesting news articles, or plans for the future. You can even talk about sex. (Just the good stuff though! Save complaints for another time.)

How to Start the Conversation:

• What country would you most like to visit?
• What quality are you most proud of?
• Who was your childhood hero?
• What was your first kiss like?
• What is your favorite part of our relationship?
• What sexual fantasy do you want to fulfill?

Getting Ready for Your Special Date Night

One way to relax and focus on the evening ahead is to spend some time getting ready for your date, just like you did when you and your partner first met. If possible, you can even get ready in a separate area of the house, and then meet in the living room to be “picked up” for your date.

As you get ready, keep the kids engaged with a board game, or have the babysitter come over an hour before you leave. This serves a double purpose: Not only will your kids have a chance to feel comfortable with the babysitter while you’re still home, but you will also have time to breathe, relax, and get ready for your special night. This should make the transition from Mommy-and-Daddy to lovers a little easier on all of you.

Excerpted From Loving Sex, by Dr. Laura Berman. Copyright 2011 by Dr. Laura Berman. Excerpted with permission from DK. All rights reserved. No Part of the excerpt may be reproduced without permission in writing from the publisher.



This story is part of our Parent’s Guide to Sex & Intimacy. Check it out for loads of advice—on how to manage, recharge and enjoy your sex life.

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