Couple Things To Do When You're Tired Of Dinner And A Movie

Updated April 25, 2023by Regain Editorial Team

The beginning of a relationship is often exciting, novel, and passionate. Overtime, however, they can become predictable, inattentive, and uninspiring. Occasional boredom in your relationship can often be addressed by changing your routines and putting more effort into your dating life. If you’re finding it challenging to make your relationship more exciting, a couple’s therapist can help.

Need Help Breaking The Routines In Your Relationship?

Why Boredom Enters Relationships

The start of a relationship, sometimes called the “honeymoon phase,” is often characterized by attraction, euphoria, and passion. The honeymoon phase can last for weeks or even years, triggered by the rush of dopamine (the “happy hormone”) that enters your brain every time you look at, or think about, your partner. Over time, dopamine levels drop and are replaced by long-term attachment hormones, called vasopressin and oxytocin, signaling the end of the honeymoon phase. While a sense of connectedness and mutual compassion endures, longer-term relationships may not feel as exciting or passionate. That’s not a bad thing, but it can lead couples to investing less energy into their relationship and fall into routines, which can lead to boredom. 

Strengthening Your Relationship

We aren’t typically taught how to nourish and strengthen our relationships in school. Before exploring how to add excitement to your date nights, you and your partner may benefit from intentionally engaging in your relationship. Try using the following tips to foster a stronger connection: 

  • Speak Their Love Language

Do you know how your partner wants to be loved? If not, you can take the free love language quiz together to find out. The five love languages are words of affirmation, physical touch, quality time, receiving gifts, and acts of service. 

  1. Words Of Affirmation: People whose love language is words of affirmation enjoy praise, encouragement, and appreciation. You can practice this love language by leaving a love note on the front door, noticing and thanking your partner for their contributions, or sending them an uplifting text. 
  2. Physical Touch: If your partner’s love language is physical touch, holding hands, kissing, or giving your partner a massage may be their favorite way to feel loved. They may appreciate a date night that consists of a romantic massage or dance lessons. 
  3. Quality Time: This love language is all about having uninterrupted attention. If this is your partner’s love language, consider booking a babysitter if you have kids, turning off the video game console, and putting your phones away for some one-on-one time. 
  4. Receiving Gifts: People who love receiving gifts appreciate the effort and consideration that goes into picking out a gift. Consider making them a homemade present or buying them their favorite candy. For a date, you could surprise them with a weekend trip or concert tickets. 
  5. Acts Of Service: An act of service can make your partner feel cared for. If this is their love language, they will likely notice and appreciate your efforts. Consider cleaning out the fridge, taking in the car for maintenance, tuning up their bike, or organizing the junk drawer. 

When you know how to love your partner, you can surprise them with the acts of love that they will appreciate the most. 

  • Set Distractions Aside

Studies find that spending high-quality time together, without distractions like technology, can improve relationship satisfaction. On the flip side, using your phone while you’re talking to your partner can harm relationship satisfaction, leading to conflict, jealousy, feelings of exclusion, and reduced intimacy. When you’re having a date night, try putting your phones in a drawer or turning off notification pings. 

  • Spend Some Time Apart 

Laura Doyle, a relationship coach, advises that it’s important not to neglect your individual needs. Spending some time away from your partner can help you take care of your own needs and make the time you do spend together more meaningful and exciting. 

  • Work On Your Communication In Therapy

If you and your partner are both open to it, couples therapy can be a helpful tool to learn more about each other and connect on a deeper level. If the idea of in-person couples therapy sounds daunting, you may prefer online therapy from a site like Regain

A 2019 study on the experiences of participants in online couple’s therapy found that the physical distance from an online therapist can make sessions more comfortable. Additionally, a 2022 peer-reviewed study found that online couples therapy effectively improved relationship satisfaction, mental health, and marital happiness. 

Breaking Up With The Date Night Routine

Can you get back to the honeymoon phase? According to Esther Perel, a well-known couples therapist and host of the podcast, Where Should We Begin?, you can. She says that “[re-sparking] eroticism in the home requires active engagement and willful intent. It is an ongoing resistance to the message that marriage is serious, more work than play; and that passion is for teenagers and the immature.” While the deep connection and dependability forged in long-term relationships is important, you can work to keep things interesting and exciting. Try surprising your partner with some of the following suggestions, none of which include dinner and a movie:  

  • Set Up A Weekend Trip

Research shows that traveling together can improve your self-reflection and creativity. If you’ve been feeling uninspired, you may want to consider booking a hotel or saving for a camping trip. Alternatively, if you don’t have the time or budget, consider planning a staycation

  • Cook An Elaborate Meal

Preparing a meal for your partner (or with them) can be a fun activity. If your partner’s love language is receiving gifts, quality time, or acts of service, they may be particularly appreciative of this activity. 

  • Prepare A Picnic 

Break up the monotony of eating meals at your table by preparing a picnic. You could make sandwiches and cakes, or you could pick something up from the store. Bring a blanket and some cushions along, and have your picnic in your yard, at a nearby park, or on your living room floor. 

  • Find A Fun Event 

If your go-to event is dinner and a movie, try branching out to something new. For example, try going to a concert, standup comedy night, 90’s night at the roller-skating rink, trivia night, bingo, wine tasting, open mic night, a neighborhood gathering, or a musical.  

  • Try A New Activity Together 

Trying something new together can be an opportunity to learn something about yourselves and each other. You might find that you both enjoy something like kickboxing classes, salsa dancing, hiking, cooking classes, gardening, yoga, kayaking, swimming, painting, music classes, intermural sports, or beekeeping. 

  • Take Time For Touch

Not all couples choose to be physically intimate. However, if you do, it can be important to remember that penetrative sex is not the only form of physical intimacy. Foreplay can strengthen emotional intimacy, reduce stress, and release feel-good hormones (dopamine, oxytocin, and serotonin). A date night can be as simple as setting aside distractions, putting on music, lighting candles, and making time for intimacy.

  • Volunteer Together

Volunteering can reduce stress, depression, and anxiety while boosting life satisfaction, sense of belonging, and well-being. When you volunteer with your partner, you can both reap these benefits, and you may feel more connected with them, especially if you’re volunteering for a cause that’s important to you. You can start by volunteering with your local food pantry, fostering animals from shelters, or helping clean up your neighborhood park.

When Boredom Is A Problem

Oftentimes, boredom develops slowly as you transition out of the honeymoon phase and into long-term, compassionate love. However, the end of the honeymoon period is also the time you may start noticing flaws, red flags, or incompatibilities with your partner. If you’re bored for one of the following reasons, it might be time to make more substantial changes in your relationship: 

  • You Don’t Share The Same Interests: Though you do not need to share all of the same interests, passions, and goals, it can be a sign of incompatibility if you don’t have much of anything in common, especially when it comes to your values
  • Your Conversations Are Surface-Level: Long-term relationships rely on healthy boundaries, communication strategies, trust, and vulnerability. If you and your partner don’t engage in deep conversations about your future, goals, emotions, and opinions, you may find yourselves becoming more distant. 
  • The Relationship Has Become Neglected: Relationships require continued investment and attention. If you’re not making the effort to keep things interesting, you might start to grow apart.  
  • You’ve Lost Individuality: To quote Esther Perel, LMFT, again:

“Today, we turn to one person to provide what an entire village once did: a sense of grounding, meaning, and continuity. At the same time, we expect our committed relationships to be romantic as well as emotionally and sexually fulfilling. Is it any wonder that so many relationships crumble under the weight of it all?”

Our partners cannot fulfill all our needs. It may be a good idea to maintain some of your own friends, interests, hobbies, and goals outside of your relationship. Otherwise, you may begin to lose your sense of self and/or resent your partner.

These reasons do not necessarily mean that your relationship should end. If you’re both open to it, you may want to reach out to a couples therapist. They can work with you to develop stronger communication skills, and assign “homework” intended to help you overcome your challenges. 

Need Help Breaking The Routines In Your Relationship?


Most relationships experience boredom from time to time, especially after the honeymoon phase has ended. By strengthening communication, investing adequate time and energy, and mixing up routines, many couples can add excitement back into their relationship. 

If your boredom stems from something larger than a shift out of the honeymoon phase, it may be a good idea to talk with a professional. A licensed online couple’s therapy therapist can help you and your partner address the root cause of your boredom, and studies find that online therapy can improve long-term relationship satisfaction and mental health. 

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