My Hubby and I went on a date the other day. It was really just a short drive and lunch at one of our favorite places, but it was a time that we set aside just for one another; time for us to enjoy each other’s company and reconnect.
When we think of “dates” we usually think of going somewhere romantic and doing something “special.” There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, but when you live with fibromyalgia or another chronic illness, sometimes that kind of date can be too much.
Although my Hubby and I do go out on those dinner dates occasionally, I’ve found daytime dates to be much more manageable. Since my energy levels are much better during the day (which makes me more fun to be around) we’re both able to enjoy ourselves more.
It’s important to take the time to nurture our relationships. “Dating” our spouse or significant other is one thing that can help us.
If we live with a chronic condition, it can become even more important. Why? Because we can have some pressures on our relationships that other couples may not have.
What are some of those pressures?
- It’s easy to become self centered when we feel horrible all the time. Almost all our energy and concentration can go toward trying to feel less awful. Dating our spouse or significant other reminds us that there’s another equally-important person in the relationship.
- We can start to lose our feeling of autonomy – our independence. Dating allows us to spend time together as equal partners. In an effort to help us, our spouses may start to make decisions for us and that can make us feel like children again. Dating guards against that, as it helps both people see the other as an equal partner on this life journey.
- If we’re not careful, our relationships can become more of a caregiver/patient – type relationship. Our spouses or significant others may have to do a lot of things for us that they never used to, but we don’t want them to feel they’re only our caregiver instead of the person we love and want to spend our lives with.
Setting aside that time to connect and spend quality time with our partner can keep our relationships strong in spite of the additional pressures we face.
Although we call it “dating” it certainly doesn’t have to look like traditional dating. We just need to set aside some time to spend on our relationships. As I mentioned earlier, although my Hubby and I do go on some traditional dinner dates, more often we do daytime activities that we enjoy doing. Making those fun memories together strengthens our bond and helps us remember why we fell in love in the first place.
Some more relaxed “date” ideas:
- Lunch at a favorite restaurant. Because energy levels can wane in the evening, lunch is a great alternative to dinner for many of us.
- Watch a sporting event together. I know, I know….. this is probably not an attractive option for many of us, but for those of us who enjoy sports, it can be a great time of bonding while cheering for our favorite teams. As I mentioned in Football, Food, and Fibromyalgia, my Hubby and I love to fix snacks and watch the game together.
- Watch a favorite movie. Are there certain movies you watched while you were dating that bring back good memories? Or maybe those movies that really make you laugh and feel good? Watching them together can bring back all those great feelings you first had when watching them.
- Pack a picnic and take it to the local park. The picnic doesn’t have to be anything fancy. You could even just pick up a couple of sandwiches somewhere and take them to the park to eat outside. The food isn’t what’s important; the time to connect with your loved one is.
- Have a nice cheese plate on the back porch. A cheese plate and your drink of choice on the porch or patio is a fantastic way to refresh and reconnect. I know this might not work for everyone, as so many of us don’t eat dairy, but it’s one of our favorite things to do in nicer weather. It gives us a chance to just sit and talk, and enjoy one another’s company, with no interruptions.
- Take a walk together. Walking together can be a great way to spend some time together and talk about the things that matter. It’s even better if you can do it out in nature. We’re extremely fortunate, as we have lots of well-maintained trails in our area that make “nature walks” easily accessible.
The bottom line is, it doesn’t really matter what we do as much as it does that we do it. Taking the time to nurture our relationships is important for everyone, but when we have extra pressures on them, it becomes even more vital.
Do you agree that dating your spouse or significant other is important? What are some of your favorite “date” activities? Please share!