Dating is different for everyone – date nights, included.
And when things become official – whether adopting an exclusive title, becoming engaged, or walking down the aisle – things can change in terms of how to spend quality time with each other (ahem, sometimes those sexy evenings out turn into quiet ones at home).
While some couples pride themselves on adventurous outings, there are those who find themselves more than happy spending a night in with their sweetie.
Regardless of age, location, or relationship status – there’s no right or wrong way to spend time together.
Read on, as eight couples across the U.S. reveal what date night is actually like when they are with a loved one.
“Going out to dinner is nice and all, but it was getting stale. We switched up our date nights to game nights! Once a week – or pending our schedules, every other week – we will sit down and play a game together or work on a puzzle. He recently bought the Nintendo Switch, so playing Tetris against each other has been a lot of healthy competition. We’ll also play Snipperclips on the Switch and Overcooked on the [PlayStation 4] – which are hilarious and adorable, but also take a lot of communication and teamwork. We’ll order food in, grab some wine, and have some fun!“ – Annmarie Mercieri, engaged to Dan Colonna, together 2.5 years, Hoboken NJ
“[We] try and have date-night at least twice a month, and we always try to and go out to dinner. Having three kids running in and out makes it a bit difficult to truly relax without being interrupted. We have three favorite places we like to go: Saint Leo, The Grillhouse, and The Blind Pig – all are pretty different, so it really depends on our mood. We came to the realization we aren’t white tablecloth people a long time ago. Our children are at great ages, and we love them dearly, but they’re all very active. Carpool Mom/Dad is a real thing, so between working full time and running them from practice to practice, getting homework done and trying to sit down together as a family for dinner on school nights, Hassell and I just sort of high five at the end of the day because we’re both so tired!” – Taylor Wilkinson, married to Hassell Wilkinson, together 16 years, Oxford, MS
DJ / Concert
“A typical date involves going back in time and feeling like we’re 22 again – we’re 32 and 33 years old. We promised each other we would always find time to just have fun and live in the moment. We always make sure to do a date night once a week, but once a month, our date night involves hitting a nightclub or a concert. We realized early on in our relationship that we are both huge house music enthusiasts – always trying to chase the hottest DJs around. There is nothing like going out to a club or rave together without knowing anyone around. We always end up making new friends and love guessing the backgrounds of the characters around us. We start the evening by pre-gaming in our apartment together while listening to an awesome curated playlist. We alternate choosing our favorite DJs. The night continues down in an Uber or cab where we continue the pregame – so many great stories have come from our car rides. Upon entry, we hit the dance floor where we dance the night away until the early hours of the morning and make many new friends along the way.” – Jocelyn Levy, dating Jared, together 1.5 years, New York City
Pretend to be Abroad
“Every Friday or Saturday, we walk to a local restaurant right behind our house. When the weather is good, we sit on the patio, which looks out into a brick courtyard with a fountain that usually has a few kids playing around it – which makes it easy to pretend we’re in Europe instead of 100 feet from home! There’s live music, and the performer always seems to know our favorite songs. For an hour and a half, we chat and have drinks, and remember that we’re people, not just parents or employees. We have four kids, so we keep our phones out in case one of them needs to call us; three of them are usually asleep before we head out. One of the biggest reasons we can relax so much and enjoy each other’s company on date nights is that we also have a weekly ‘marital staff meeting’ and a monthly ‘budget meeting’ where we deal with all the stressful parts of marriage, so it’s not hanging over our heads on date night!” – Megan LaFollett, married to Jon LaFollett, together 15+ years, Katy, TX.
Walk To Happy Hour & Home
“[We] work together building our production company, Evening Squire. Our typical date nights always start with a walk home from the office. Working side by side, it is always important for us to take time to put down the phones and close the laptops to focus on our relationship outside of the business. We live about a 30 minute walk away from our office space and love the head-clearing conversation that takes place on our stroll. Our walk often lands us in our local bar for happy hour. Mike will have whatever IPA is on the happy hour, and I tuck into a vodka soda, with extra lime. Once happy hour is over, we meander into a local restaurant depending on our mood. Often, we end up in our favorite Vietnamese restaurant sharing summer rolls and wine. We have our company meetings every other Monday, and we try to work in a date night on the opposite weeks, if possible.” – Allison Hayhurst, married to Mike Hayhurst, together for 7.5 years, New York City
“I am a successful restaurateur and most people think I lead this exciting life, but I happily have the most boring date nights with my wife and our 5-year old pug, Tyson. Our week is so busy; every Friday night we look forward to our ‘slumber party’, which is the three of us spending the night in our media room and watching movies together. We are usually passed out by midnight. I can only say that we ‘Netflix and chill’ every five weeks or so. It’s still nice to be able to lay there with my wife, and my pug, and physically and mentally relax. I can show her affection and kiss her as much as I want to, which is something I don’t always have the time to do during the week.” – Thomas Nguyen, married to Kristine Truong, together for 10 years, Houston, TX
Dancing at a Bar
“We have a date night two to four nights a month. Our far more common date night is dinner and beverage at a great restaurant, then dancing at a hole-in-the-wall bar with a really good house band. Birmingham is an amazing food town by anybody’s standard, with a number of nationally recognized chefs and even more rising stars. Around 10 p.m. to 11 p.m., we’ll have found our way to the hole-in-the-wall. She dances and is okay that I’m a spaz set to music. We both laugh and we are both there to be together, not a mission to find new friends, or old ones. It doesn’t mean we’re anti-social, we just enjoy the focus on each other.” – Glenn Phillips, married to Doris Phillips, together 11+ years, Birmingham, AL
Movie Watching & Baking Cookies
“After having kids, we realized that not only are babysitters costly, but we didn’t want to leave our kids when they were young. However, we still wanted to have bonding time together. We decided to have at home date night every Saturday night. We love movies, so typically we will get the kids to bed, then bake cookies together, and then grab a new movie off of iTunes. We have been doing this every weekend for almost two years now, and it has strengthened our bond together and allowed us to still date each other even though we have young children.” – Larisha Campbell, married to Andrew Campbell, together 8 years, Sicklerville, NJ