Date Night

Spice Up Your Pandemic Love Life

Your relationship might be sorely in need of attention. Why not recreate the special day that sparked it, with an enhancement or three?

For many people, the monotony of the last 160-plus days has depleted just about everything. You aren’t alone if you barely recognize yourself, let alone your partner and the special qualities that attracted you to him or her in the first place. Stress and worries over health or financial hardship might have increased, and romance and excitement in your daily life may have disappeared.

“Newness, curiosity and diversions are things we don’t have right now,” said Kathryn Smerling, a couples therapist in New York City. “During Covid, couples have become lazy. They’re required to do a lot of things but not be creative with each other. Because we are so limited, couples have not made enough time to reconnect.”

Rebooting your romance and reigniting that spark are more important than you think, especially now. One way to reconnect with your partner is to revisit your first date. This may sound silly, but the payoff is surprisingly rewarding. “It gives you the opportunity to bond in a way you haven’t been able to in a long time while re-establishing the excitement of your relationship,” Dr. Smerling said.

Below are several suggestions to help you turn back the relationship clock and relive your first date.

Common first dates typically involve a meet-and-greet morning coffee or evening cocktail, or a get-to-know-you meal and you-liked-me-enough dessert.

“Food is a memory bank,” said David Burke, a chef whose restaurants include David Burke Tavern and Mister French, among others. “It’s a conversational focal point. It’s the first time during a date when you’re sharing something similar and intimate with another person. Usually you’re sitting close to that person and looking into their face.”

Though you may not be able to go back to that fancy eatery for oysters or the intimate cafe for an iced latte, you can remake your original date meal — or a new one, say something you wished you had ordered back then.

If you like the competition, Mr. Burke suggested you each make one course. For a more bonding experience, prepare the entire meal as a team. If you’re sick of cooking — and who wouldn’t be at this point — perhaps making this meal will revitalize your passion for each other, and for your kitchen.

Don’t forget drinks: Make that signature cocktail or mocktail if you have one, or if you shared a special bottle of wine, consider ordering that from your local liquor store.

Upgrade the experience by adding high-end ingredients like truffles or candy rose petals to make the evening feel indulgent, Mr. Burke advised. Or heighten your memory landscape by finding a photo taken during your courtship and place it under your partner’s napkin. If you can’t find one, a handwritten love note is a thoughtful substitution.

“Food is a physical, shareable experience,” Mr. Burke added. “If you set the table like it’s a special night, you’re reminding someone how it all began and how you fell in love while walking yourself through your timeline from the beginning.”

If you still have the outfit you wore during your first encounter, and it still fits, wear that as well.

Click here to read the entire article on The New York Times online.