When you first started dating, just about anything you did together seemed exciting. But now that you've been together awhile—decades, maybe—it's easy to feel like everything is old hat. Whether you've already been to every restaurant in town or you just don't have the budget to spring for fancy meals, you might start to feel like planning a date night isn't even worth it. You're wrong.
“If your recent date nights have become stale, or if they’ve been non-existent, opting for something original, distinctive, and creative can put your relationship back on the right track and help you rediscover each other,” says Alex Reddle, an online dating specialist and the chief editor of the Flirt.com blog. “They don’t even need to take place away from your home, as long as you and your partner get the time that you need to simply focus on each other.”
Not feeling super creative? We're here to help. Here are six fun suggestions to explore.
Head to an old school arcade
Whether you used to score big at Skee-Ball or loved racking up major points in Ms. Pac-Man, it's not too late to recapture your youth: Just make your way to a local arcade or dive bar (complete with a pinball machine, pool table, and/or dart board). Playing games with each other is a great way to infuse fun, romance, and even a bit of flirtatious energy back into your date night, says Vikki Ziegler, author of The Premarital Planner and star of Bravo TV’s "Untying the Knot." "It will make you feel like a teenager again!"
Try an open mic night
What better way to add a little excitement to date night than by agreeing to step outside your comfort zone? “Find a local venue that holds an open mic night and sign up," says J. Hope Suis, author of Mid-Life Joyride: Love In The Single Lane. "You can each do a solo act, or join forces for a duo. Maybe you sing, do a dramatic reading, or try a comedy skit. So what if you have no real talent? The goal is to attempt something new together. At the end of the night, if you had fun and a new memory, you can consider it an award-winning performance.”
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Camp out in your own home
Feeling a little cash-strapped? Sometimes a great date doesn't have to cost a lot—or take you farther than your living room. "Set up a romantic indoor tent featuring your favourite comfort food, whether it's popcorn or paté. Set the mood with flameless candles (for safety) or a string of holiday lights and watch your favourite movie or show,” suggests Bonnie Winston, a celebrity matchmaker and relationship expert.
Choose a volunteer project
It might not sound sexy at first, but doing good together can help you and your spouse bond while affirming your shared beliefs. Just pick a local organization or a cause that both of you fully stand behind and inquire about upcoming events and one-off volunteer opportunities. This option also offers flexibility, since your "date" doesn't necessarily have to be at night. “Get closer by serving together, whether that’s helping out at a soup kitchen, shoveling snow for a neighbor, raking leaves for a single mom, babysitting for friends in need of a night out, or reading classics aloud at a nursing home," says Jeannie Assimos, chief of advice at the dating website eHarmony.
Cook with a trained chef
If both of you are foodies and you’ve been to all the best restaurants in town more times than you’d like to admit, why not try your hand at haute cuisine in your own kitchen? Hire a chef to come cook beside you, or, if that's not possible, use The Chef & The Dish service to Skype in a chef from anywhere in the world. “Hang up the keys, open a bottle of wine, get into the kitchen, and Skype a chef from Italy, Spain, Japan, Hungary, or elsewhere," says CEO Jenn Nicken. "After a few hours 'together,' say goodbye to your personal chef and enjoy an awesome meal you cooked.”
Recreate your first date
No matter how long it's been since you first met, it's never too late to turn back the clock and recapture some of those first-date butterflies. Think back to the very start and try to re-live every moment of it, suggests Justin Lavelle, chief communications officer of BeenVerified.com, a public records search platform that hosts a blog on safe online dating. “Whatever your date consisted of, try to replicate it as closely as possible and celebrate the feeling of falling in love: Take pictures in a photo booth, play the same music in the car, get an ice cream cone, or cuddle on the couch and watch the same movie.”
This article originally appeared on Prevention US.