Sunday, October 9, 2011

Date Night

I always heard that it was very important for new parents to have "date night", where they reconnected without their children. I read posts like this one on Two Bedrooms and a Baby, and think, "Date night is such a good idea!" So one of my priorities on moving to Singapore was to find a babysitter so that B and I could go out once a week. I succeeded in this, and she's babysat little R on four Friday or Saturday nights now.

Unfortunately B and I haven't been enjoying date night. The first time we went out together I was really anxious the whole time because 1. I was worried about Little R and 2. We had to HAVE FUN pressure pressure. I ended the evening by picking a fight due to my anxiety and disappointment that I wasn't really enjoying myself. On the next date night, we argued because I thought B had the wrong attitude (ie wasn't visibly enjoying himself like I wanted him to). Yesterday we went out again for dinner and a movie (1911, mainland Chinese movie about the Chinese revolution; produced as propaganda and it showed). We didn't quarrel, but it wasn't that fun either. On the way home, B asked me if I liked date night, and I realized the answer was, "No, not really." We would have had more fun if we'd stayed home and watched something on Netflix together.

The problem is, neither of us like going out to fancy dinners, bars, or dancing. Even before little R, we preferred to get cheap Chinese food and then go to a coffeeshop to read. We love hiking and museums, but those are daytime activities and more fun with little R anyway. We also love traveling, but I don't want to leave little R overnight with anyone but my parents (since they live in the US, that means all vacations have to be family ones). So having a traditional date night means spending time doing something neither of us really likes.

And date night is expensive. We spent over $100 last night, when you factor in the babysitter, dinner, the movie and transport.

B suggests that instead of wasting money on date night, we plan a weekend getaway every 4-6 weeks, to Malaysia, Thailand, Java, Borneo, etc (all of which are a short flight away). We could go here or here or here. This would cost about the same, and would presumably be a lot more fun.

I like this idea, but feel really hesitant about it. Aren't we supposed to reconnect regularly? Will I feel upset about never going out anywhere with my husband without little R? I feel like date night is something I am supposed to do for a good marriage (even though so far it's been causing tension instead).

So I still feel unsure about what to do.


  1. It seems like you can reconnect almost every night you guys are together after little R goes to bed. :) I wouldn't worry about not having a set night every week since you both weren't enjoying it anyways! Spend one night a week watching a Netflix movie and doing something easier and at home that you both enjoy! :)

  2. We had the same problem. When T was younger, we would go out and I would stress out, I didn't have any clothes that made me feel good, and I felt like we were wasting money. We did two overnights and THEY were fantastic. Part of this was nursing ( I knew I would be up all night, so I couldn't really let loose). Now that he's a bit older, for some reason, I'm really liking our dates. We did some very expensive dates (which we need to wean ourselves off of), but going to fun restaurants (sometimes sitting at a bar helps kick off conversation) or bars or "activities" helped us get into the groove. Do what makes you happy. An overnight once a month sounds fantastic to me!

  3. For us the first few date nights were really important. Those first few weeks with baby were ridiculously hard and being able to just take a break was pretty much required. We would've gone mad. Now that we have settled into a new schedule and we are comfortable with the new addition to our family... we prefer to have us with her.

    I think the point in having a dedicated "date night" is to make sure you have time to connect, but if you can still connect on day trips to the museum or watching a movie after baby's bed time... that counts too! If you do have scheduled date nights, do what you enjoy - a date doesn't have to be four hours long, dinner and a movie! It can be 45 minutes of cheap take-out and a walk around town.

    I'm super impressed by you though - in the beginning I was willing to leave Ginny all the time, but now I am hard pressed to even leave her with my Mom!

  4. Thanks for your comments everyone! I think you are all right and I should dial date night down a notch (ie at home netflix). And since little R is a good sleeper (for now anyway, I hope saying that doesn't jinx anything), reconnecting at home is actually possible.

    Also, I do really want to see wild orangutans...