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Date Alternatives That Strengthen Your Relationship

As the year nears its end, resolve to try these fun new date ideas with your man in 2012! Start practicing over the Christmas break.

Since you two have gotten together, you've never had a free Friday night. Which is a good thing, right? But, what happens when you're running out of ideas on how to spend the next weekend together? As a couple, you've pretty much done everything, from camping to massaging each other's footsies. You're suffering from date fatigue, and you're tired of hitting the same mall every Sunday. What more now that you have more time to spend over the Christmas break, right?

Our advice: Don't panic. It's just your luck we stumbled upon this new study that tells how the science of product recommendation applies to relationships. Companies usually offer recommendations based on the customer's preferences. Our date recs work the same way: Just locate your favorite things to do, then try an alternative that's similar in a key aspect. Think of these as your "queue" of awesome dates you have to try in 2012.

If you like: Hanging out at a coffee shop
It's because: Chill surroundings and in-depth conversations are your cup of java.
Date alternatives:

  • Browsing a bookstore together
    Linger in the travel section and flip through picture-filled guides to destinations you've both always wanted to visit.
  • Taking a one-day staycation
    Log out of Twitter, Facebook, and whatever else you're plugged into and do a whole lot of nothing. Hop in a hot shower with him (pop towels into the dryer so they are nice and warm when you get out). Later, have dinner in bed. Light candles, order takeout, and sip a cocktail. It's like getting room service at a luxurious hotel.
  • Going to a palm reader
    Even if the predictions are B.S., the experience will spark discussions about your future that otherwise might not have come up.

If you like:
Going for a run or a bike ride around your village
It's because: You feel at home outside and enjoy breaking a sweat.
Date alternatives:

  • Enjoying an ihaw fest with your guy
    Try this sushi-inspired dish from grilling pro Steve Raichlen, author of The Barbecue Bible. Mix up your own wasabi rub (one tbsp. wasabi powder, one tbsp. sesame seeds, one tsp. salt), pat it onto a tuna steak, and grill for two minutes per side. Cut into strips, and serve with soy sauce mixed with a dab more wasabi (chopsticks optional). Set the mood by putting on some music, and then recline in deck chairs and stargaze.
  • Escaping together for a day hike
    Hiking will give you a workout, plus a much-needed Q.T. with your boy. Check out Pinoy Mountaineer and choose among the most picturesque hiking trails in the country. Also, pick a trail that fits your hiking skills and budget. For newbies, you may want to brave the beginners' climbs in Batangas.
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If you like:
Heading to amusement parks
It's because: Taking risks feeds your need for adventure. Plus, you're in touch with your childish side.
Date alternatives:

  • Having friends over for poker night
    Let the guys bring their own booze, and test the latest poker trend: mixed poker games, where you switch it up each hand--one round, try classic five-card draw; next, play Texas Hold 'Em.
  • Going for a road trip
    Pick a scenic route, even within the city limits, and drive along leisurely. Make a stopover from time to time, just to enjoy the view and savor the moment.
  • Challenging each other to games at an arcade
    Get your game on and choose a game that will bring out your competitive streak. Make sure whoever loses gets to treat the other to a free back rub or sumptuous post-game dinner.

If you like:
Dancing at a trendy club
It's because: You are active night owls and appreciate swanky indulgences.
Date alternatives:

  • Bowling after dark
    The retro sport is making a comeback, and bowling alleys are getting prettier, featuring everything from flat-screen TVs to bar chow and dance music. You'll love the energetic vibe, especially now that some bowling alleys also offer more of a club atmosphere.
  • Going out for a late-night date
    Plan to party separately with your individual groups of friends, and then meet up at a 24-hour fast food joint afterward. It's way more fun to swap stories over fries than it is to exchange a couple of drunk text messages.
  • Creating your own luxe wine-and-cheese tasting
    Or, you can also be more adventurous and try gourmet wine tasting.

If you like:
Meeting up with other couples for drinks
It's because: You revel in feeling like a pair and enjoy doing things with groups.
Date alternatives:

  • Inviting people over for a Rock Band tournament
    Play old-school rock hits that will get everyone dancing.
  • Teaming up with your guy for trivia night at a local bar
    Pub quizzes are a fun happy-hour trend. Split a pitcher and put your pop culture knowledge to the test. See? Watching all those E! True Hollywood Story episodes will actually pay off!
  • Getting friends together for a dance lesson
    It'll be like your own version of Dancing With The Stars. Grab dinner afterward, so you can recap who had two left feet.

If you like:
Taking day trips
It's because: Coming across unexpected new places and ideas gives you a rush.
Date alternatives:

  • Comparing notes about the latest best-selling book
    Read the same book. Then, schedule to talk about it on your date the next weekend. This is more interesting than the usual "So, how was your day?" chitchat.
  • Playing hooky
    Call in sick, and go on a "blind" date. Split up the day so you're in charge of one half and he's in charge of the other. Plot out secret activities (for example, going to a restaurant that serves a type of food you've never tried before), so the other person has no clue what they're in for. Just stay away from where you work and resist posting pics on Facebook.

If you like:
Checking out live music
It's because: You like the energy of the crowd and have an artsy streak.
Date alternatives:

  • Hitting up free festivals
    The metro is never running out of these artsy events. Just check for schedules and venues.
  • Having a photo shoot
    Walk around a park or downtown and take pics of things that catch your eye. Upload them to Dumpr, where you can apply all kinds of cool effects to your shots for free.

If you like:
Going to the movies
It's because: You dig a good story and don't have to talk to feel super close.
Date alternatives:

  • Catching a comedy show
    Watching funny clips on YouTube is fun, but nothing beats seeing comedic genius live. A number of comedy bars have improv groups you can check out for cheap--they're how big-time comedians got started.
  • Chillaxing with your fave magazines
    Swap magazines with your boy. Let him read Cosmopolitan and grab his copy of FHM Magazine. Afterwards, exchange relationship insights, sex tips, and funny trivia. This is one way to get to know each other better.
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