As you enter your sixth decade, it can be hard to think of new and exciting ways to spend time together. Movie night? You and your boyfriend have seen all the romantic comedies released since 1985. Picnic in the park? It seems a little juvenile. Are you meeting at the restaurant? Yawn. However, creating new memories of date nights is essential. Whether you’re starting a new relationship or want to shake things up with your longtime partner, spending time with your lover strengthens your bond and avoids feeling like you’ve fallen into a rut. You do not know where to start ? Fear nothing. Read on for six exciting party ideas for people over 50.
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Vision boards aren’t just for planning weddings and birthdays, they’re also a fabulous date night activity. “When you are over 50, your children have left the nest or are about to leave it in the next few years,” explains Sarah Rattray, couple psychologist and founder of the Couples Communication Institute. “Your career is probably established and you may be ready for a change.” In other words, now is the perfect time to join your partner in imagining or re-imagining your future.
So grab whatever magazines you have around the house and create a vision board together. “It’s time to explore your dreams, goals, and visions for the next part of your life,” Rattray says. “To become a team by creating together what you would like to give to your family, your community and your legacy, with everyone’s support.”
According to the Gottman Institute, a love card is the level of familiarity you have with your partner’s internal world (the larger your love map, the more intimately you know them.) So how do you develop yours? It’s simple: you ask yourself a ton of questions. Luckily, it can be incorporated into any date, whether it’s riding your bike or sitting in your tub, says Carrie KrawiecLMFT, a therapist at the Birmingham Maple Clinic in Troy, Michigan. “Revisit your partner’s hopes and dreams, wishes and missed opportunities, embarrassing moments, sources of pride, and favorite or least favorite things,” says Krawiec. “Partners with deep love maps can weather storms, reduce annoyance, and have better understanding.” Try a question card game to get started easily.
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You don’t have to wait for a big anniversary to recreate one of your first dates together. “When you go on a ‘flashback date,’ wear the same clothes you would have worn when you first met and go somewhere you would have been,” says Brenda Wade, clinical psychologist and founder of modern love and relationship training programs. “Only talk about the things you would have talked about in the beginning, like what was fun, your friends, and what you plan for the future.” Wade also recommends bringing back photos if you have them. “Think of it as a flashback to remember what drew you to each other and what made you fall in love,” she adds.
For a date that mixes excitement and intimacy, attend a controversial book reading, play or movie. Afterwards, share a bottle of wine or a bite to eat and discuss your thoughts on the event. “Learning to discuss controversy and differences between partners over difficult material builds strength through the ability to know that it’s okay to have different opinions, to be able to be yourself in a partnership,” declared Sharon Gilchrest O’NeillEd.S., LMFT, therapist and author relations. These events don’t need to be too “out there” either; a piece that receives mixed reviews in the local newspaper will suffice.
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Music can spark joy and conversation, and create lasting memories. “It’s a chance for couples to get to know each other’s musical tastes and how they’ve changed over the years,” says Sam NabilPLC, Founder and Principal Therapist in Naya clinics. “Plus, music helps couples reminisce about fun and positive times together, as music is known to release dopamine, which increases positive emotions.” According to Harvard HealthListening to nostalgic tunes can trigger your recall of previously forgotten memories, so don’t be surprised if you and your SO share hilarious stories from the prom after the concert.
Get down and dirty in the garden for your next date activity. “It can be good exercise for people who are getting older, as it provides a lasting amount of exercise, while improving the camaraderie between the couple,” says Nabil. “Many therapists also suggest gardening therapy for some couples because it helps them form new habits and also helps with long-term memory.” In reality, a 2019 study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that older adults who performed a 20-minute gardening activity had significantly increased levels of the healthy brain nerve growth factors BDNF and PDGF. Then create a cocktail (fresh basil, anyone?) or snack board and admire your handiwork together.
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