A Beginner’s Guide to Double Dates
Going out with other couples can strengthen your relationship. Here’s how to make sure it does.
When I tied the knot in 2017, I received an abundance of well-meaning platitudes from friends about how to maintain a happy marriage. Never go to bed angry. Don’t take each other for granted. Say you love each other every day. No one, though, suggested the thing that’s made the biggest difference to my relationship: Go on double dates.
After a few hundred dates with my husband, we’ve both come to know what to expect from a night out together. We eat at the same few restaurants and talk about the same few subjects — work anecdotes, family updates. But spending time with other couples gives us something that we don’t always have the bandwidth or wherewithal to give to each other: surprise.
Dating coach Harris O’Malley, blogger at Dr. NerdLove, says one of the most common issues couples face is falling into predictable ruts. “It’s not unusual for couples to start withdrawing inward and becoming a society of two,” he says. Over time, you may find yourself relying on your partner to fulfill more of your social needs, and vice versa. Socializing with other couples gives you both a break from that pressure.
Research supports the idea that double dates can energize your union.
Laurel House, dating coach and host of the Man Whisperer podcast, agrees that incorporating another couple into your love life adds much-needed dimension. “It can add opportunities for conversation and perspective that you might not have had while existing in your little bubble of just the two of you,” she says. I can vouch for this: When my husband and I go out with another couple, I’m always amazed at the stories he shares that I’ve never heard before. Each time, I appreciate him in a new way.
Research supports the idea that double dates can energize your union. One study, which appeared in the journal Personal Relationships, found that revealing intimate details about yourself — the kinds of stories that organically pop-up when you’re in new company — can encourage closeness within a couple and increase relationship satisfaction. Another found that doing novel…