Can you remember the good old days when you and your partner first met?
The anticipation of your next date, where you would go, what you would do and counting down the hours until they arrived. It seems such a long time ago for many of us, myself included – Paul and I started dating 18 years ago at the age of 21 and things were so different for us back then.
We both lived at home, both worked full time and had a disposable income. We could go out on a Friday night and all weekend if we wanted to, there were no time limits on when we had to be home for, and if we fancied booking a last minute holiday the only issue was making sure we had enough holiday days left to take it off work.
We would go to the cinema a few times a month, out for dinner in a restaurant every month and out to dinner in a pub/cafe etc. every weekend. There were days out in London, theatre trips and we went clubbing monthly as well as spending every weekend with friends in the pub playing snooker and having a laugh.
Fast forward to having kids and there are so many restrictions in the way now that finding time as a couple is always on the back burner. Work and the kids always come first and time together as a couple just rarely ever happens.
It got to a point around last year sadly where we realised that we were ships that passed in the night, Paul has always been a night owl staying up late, whereas I have to get up early to get the kids ready for school so go to bed hours before he does. Often he would come to bed and the kids would be in with me, all of us fast asleep, or I’d have fallen asleep in one of the kid’s beds resettling them to sleep. Night time cuddles for us adults rarely happen as the kids wake often and come in with me, and I don’t even mean sex just the cuddling up to each other we once did as a couple in the early stages. As I am asleep hours before him it annoys me now to be woken by him cuddling up to me as it wakes me up, and I get woken enough by the kids.
We have since that realisation been trying hard to reconnect as a couple and find more time for each other again, it’s of course very important to maintaining a relationship instead of just feeling like housemates at times.
Research conducted by Legal & General shows that 36% of parents aged 18-44 spend quality time with their partners just once or twice a week. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the most popular date night activities are watching a film together and going out for dinner.
But for many parents, it isn’t the lack of wanting to spend time together which prevents them from doing so. In fact, 67% of couples agree that spending time together is important for their relationship, but it’s other factors, such as cost and tiredness, that can get in the way and I can certainly agree with this. Often we plan to watch a film together and I end up falling asleep instead.
The research also found that 39% of parents also struggle to come up with ideas for things to do on a date, which means that they give up on the idea completely. Let’s face it, most things cost money and when you’ve kids spending money on yourselves isn’t something many of us do now and I rarely have money left at the end of the month to head out to restaurants or visit the cinema.
Microdating could be the way forward
We have actually started doing just this and not only is it easier but it can be cheap too.
So what is microdating?
It is spending short moments throughout the day to reconnect and catch up. It doesn’t have to be all day, just mini parts of a day where it’s just the two of you/
A few things we have started doing include:
- Movie Nights every Friday – this is a lazy parenting evening for us, we set the kids up with their camp beds/ready beds in the front room and put on a movie around 7-7.30pm. They settle down with drinks and snacks, pillows and duvets while in their PJ’s.Harry is usually asleep by the end of the first movie and Emmy by the end of the second. They then sleep downstairs and one of us sleeps on the sofa next to them (I’m a bit funny about them sleeping downstairs alone in case someone breaks in etc.)
While they are watching their movies, Paul and I catch up – we have our dinner together in the kitchen, open a bottle of wine and catch up. Play cards or just chat.
- Lunch dates – As I work from home I, of course, eat my lunch here, so every now and then I’ll call Paul who works locally to see if he wants me to make him some lunch too and we will eat it together.
- Daily telephone calls – Paul will call me when he’s on the way back from a job or stuck in traffic just to see how my day is going and to have a 5-10 minute chat and catch up
- TV time – now both kids are in full-time school, I am trying harder to ensure a few evenings a week I don’t get my laptop out in the evening. We then pop on a film or catch up on the shows we both enjoy together.
These little microdates mean we don’t have to rely on anyone to look after the children and are all free too.
How do you and your partner ensure you find time for each other? What factors stop you from doing it as much as you would like?
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