When was the last time you and your partner had a romantic night out? Got dressed up (or not), went out to dinner or dancing, just the two of you? According to a survey of 2,000 parents of school-aged children conducted by OnePoll and Groupon, it's probably been quite a while.
Turns out, the average parent hasn't had a romantic date night in three years and, even worse, 30 percent of the respondents said it's been so long since they had a romantic night out with their partner that they don't even remember when the last one was. And they're not happy about it—81 percent of those surveyed said they feel like they need to step it up in the date night department.
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It's not a shock that the majority of folks surveyed said they felt like romance had suffered since they had kids. It's hard to be romantic when you're shuffling kids back and forth to extracurricular activities, spending extra time in the kitchen to cook enough to feed hungry tweens and teens, or putting away the never-ending family laundry.
But it's so important! Studies have shown that parents who commit to date night communicate with one another more effectively, a stronger sense of commitment, and experience an improved sense of romantic and intimate love for their partners. Plus, it's good for the kids, too!
"It's so important that children see healthy modeling of their parents upholding date night," explains San Diego-based family and children therapist, Lauren Cook. "This demonstrates for children that their parents can keep a commitment--both in the short term of date night and in the long term of a dedicated partnership. It also gives parents something to look forward to where they can tap into identities other than being a parent. It's important to foster your identity as a spouse, just as much as it is to connect with being a parent. This means that you dedicate intentional time for dating, just as you would give intentional time for parenting."
More than half of parents (53 percent) said they miss their pre-kid freedom, and 2 out of 5 said they just wish they had fewer responsibilities. But it's not all bad news! An overwhelming majority (77 percent) said their lives are better now that they're parents, so much that many of them (66 percent) would rather snuggle up with their kids on Valentine's Day than their partners.
In fact, 79 percent said they prefer to spend V-Day with their family instead of one-on-one with their partner. The survey might just be the motivation some of us need to get out and do something special with our loved ones, whether that means as a family or going out on a long-overdue date.