Friday, December 02, 2005

Double Your Romance with One-Way Dates

By David Steele

Over time, couples can easily develop routines that become ruts and it seems like romance goes out the window.

Does this sound familiar?

Partner #1: “What do you want to do?”

Partner #2: “I don’t know, what do YOU want to do?”

Then they end up doing pretty much the same thing they have done before.

Couples can also fall into “compromise ruts,” where each gives up what they really want to do in order to find something they can both agree upon. For example, in choosing movies, he might love action-adventure, she might love drama, and they might routinely compromise on comedies. After awhile, this might get old! (True story- happened to me!)

What’s the alternative? How can couples keep their romance fresh and exciting?

Try rotating the following four ONE-WAY DATES:

TYPE 1: Partner #1 creates a romantic experience for partner #2

The purpose of this date is to give a gift and please partner #2 one hundred percent. This doesn’t have to cost anything, and doesn’t even require going anywhere, as long as the time and activities are creatively focused on what would please partner #2.

TYPE 2: Switch; partner #2 creates a romantic experience for partner #1

TYPE 3: Partner #1 creates a self-centered romantic experience

The purpose of this date is for partner #1 to please themselves 100%, to have romance exactly the way they want, sharing the experience with partner #2 in the way they wish, but not worrying about partner #2’s experience at all.

TYPE 4: Switch; partner #2 creates a self-centered romantic experience

To work, this requires planning and coordination. I suggest couples plan their dates and one-way types on a calendar a year in advance. This may sacrifice the spontaneity that some prefer but often can’t sustain, for intentionality that can continue to create romantic closeness and excitement for decades to come.

I have found that trying to reach agreement on everything can hinder creativity and dilute the possibilities. Using these One-Way Dates allows for each partner to freely and creatively choose activities that would truly please themselves or their partner, without eliminating exciting choices trying to please both.

David Steele, MA, LMFT is founder of Relationship Coaching Institute, author of Conscious Dating: Finding the Love of Your Life in Today's World. http://www.consciousdating.com/