Millions of couples across the country cannot remember the last time they went on a “date” together and almost one in five people in relationships only manage to do so twice a year.
By neglecting regular date nights, they could be risking their relationships because the majority of couples (78 per cent) believe they are less likely to split up if they make time for each other, according to a new survey by OnePoll.
Yet despite the widespread belief that date nights are good for a relationship, more than one in three (39 per cent) of Britons cannot remember the last time they went out with their partner.
Relationship experts are urging couples to ensure that they have regular date nights to increase the chances of staying together.
Two-thirds of Britons who are in a relationship do not have a regular night out with their partner, and just one in 20 have a designated date night with their other half.
Almost a fifth only manage to coordinate a date night once every six months, and one in 10 admits to never going out with their partner.
When couples do spend quality time together, unsurprisingly, dining out is the most popular option. Most of those who regularly eat out together (69 per cent) report feeling happier and less likely to separate, according to the poll of 1,000 Britons in relationships conducted this month.
Commenting on the findings, Arabella Russell, a Relate counsellor, said: “With the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s all too easy for couples to miss out on those special nights together. But it’s important to acknowledge how restorative and beneficial spending regular quality time together can be.”
Ms Russell, who is also a member of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy, added: “You don’t necessarily need to be regimented to a specific night each week, but having a date night is an essential investment in the well–being of a relationship.
“A date night is about showing your commitment to the relationship and carving out some time to spend together. It’s also about having fun and bringing the romance back – it can be a really enriching experience.”
Love and sex news: in pictures
Love and sex news: in pictures
1/13 Timetable of Love
A new study has revealed that Sunday at 9am is the most popular time of the week for Brits to get busy in the bedroom. Our weekends tend to be a lot sexier than our weekdays, with three of the top five most common times for sex falling on a Saturday, at 11.30am, 10.30pm and 11.30pm
2/13 Singletons judge potential partners on their phones, says new study
A new study has found that women are 92 per cent more likely than men to judge a potential partner negatively for having an older phone model.
3/13 Online dating risk
A new report by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has found that last year, singles were conned out of £39 million by fraudsters they’d met on dating sites and apps. Con artists are increasingly creating fake online profiles and tricking people on dating sites into handing over often large sums of money.
4/13 Sainsbury’s sells same sex valentine’s day cards for first time
For the first time, Sainsbury’s is selling a range of Valentine’s Day cards that represent same-sex couples. The simple designs feature illustrations of a woman and a woman, and a man and a man, with the caption ‘You + Me.’
5/13 Mother's blood pressure before conception could influence sex of child, study suggests
Pregnant woman measures the blood pressure with automatic sphygmomanometer.
6/13 Couples oversharing on social media do so to mask relationship insecurities, expert suggests
Couple sitting on couch with their phones in their hand
7/13 Injection of ‘romantic’ hormone could help treat psychosexual problems
8/13 One in ten British women experience pain during
9/13 Erectile dysfunction 'linked to risk of early death'
Men who suffer from erectile dysfunction (ED) are 70 per cent more likely to die early, a new study has found. US scientists believe that the disorder may be linked to poor cardiovascular health, and suggested that men with ED should be screened for health issues that could cut their lives short
10/13 Watching porn does not cause negative attitudes to women
The average porn user may have more egalitarian views towards women than non-users, a contentious new study has suggested. Researchers at Western University in Canada have even argued that many pornography fans might be “useful allies” in women’s struggles for equality in the workplace and in public office. They reported in the Journal of Sex Research that the 23 per cent of people who said they had watched an “X-rated” film during the previous year were no more or less likely to identify as feminists than those who did not watch porn.
11/13 The characteristics of men who pay for sex
Men who pay for sex share similar traits to rapists and sex offenders, according to new research. A study from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), claims that men who have sex with female sex workers feel less empathy for them than men who do not buy sex. Part of this reason is due to the fact that they view them as "intrinsically different from other women,” according to the authors.
12/13 Heartbreak can actually change the rhythm of your heart
Losing a loved one really can break your heart, research suggests, although not for ever. People who lose a partner are at an increased risk of developing an irregular heartbeat for the next 12 months, scientists found. The risk seems to be greatest among the under 60s and when the loss of the partner was least expected
13/13 'Weird' sexual fetishes are actually very normal
A number of sexual fetishes considered anomalous in psychiatry are actually common in the general population, a study has found. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), sexual interests fall into two categories: normal (normophilic) and anomalous (paraphilic). Researchers asked 1,040 Quebec residents, representative of the general population, about their experiences of sexual behaviour considered abnormal by the DSM-5. The study, published in The Journal of Sex Research, found that of the eight types of anomalous behaviour listed in the DSM-5, four were found to be neither rare or unusual among the experiences and desires reported by men and women
When it comes to what couples most enjoy doing on date nights, eating out together somewhere special is cited by more than half (56 per cent). But around four in 10 couples counted staying in with a takeway meal among their date options.
Going to the cinema is also a popular option, but watching football matches or other sporting events is the least attractive option. Fewer than one in 20 couples opt for this.
Yet couples wanting to spend quality time together have several obstacles to overcome – financial problems, long working hours, and lack of energy are the most commonly cited drawbacks.
The majority of couples (66 per cent) claim that the quality of their relationship improves when they do make time for each other by going on a date night.
And almost half (49 per cent) of those who go out with their partners at least once a week are “very happy” in their relationship and less likely to divorce.
One in seven of new parents feels particularly time poor, according to the research. And long-term married couples are the least likely to make time for a regular night out, with one in four of those married for more than 10 years not seeing the need.
Joe Steele, chief executive of Bookatable , the restaurant booking website that commissioned the research, commented: “It’s amazing how many couples forget to clear their schedule and just treat themselves to a night out with their other half. But it’s clear to see from our research that those couples who do make time for one another regularly really see a difference in the quality of their relationship.”
“Eating out is such a great way to spend quality time together and reconnect.
“I think it is true that the couple that eats together stays together. There are so many fantastic restaurants out there, both old and new, which are just waiting to be discovered.”
‘If it’s a weekend, we make the date last a whole day’
Karolis Jasinskas and Sandra Janulyte, both 28, have been married for a year.
“We like to go on date nights because first and foremost we are each other’s best friend and we like to spend time together,” he says. “We also have busy day jobs. Going out together is our way of regrouping as a couple and treating each other to something special ... If it’s a weekend, we make the “date” last the whole day ... see where [it] takes us – which could be coffee-tasting, an exhibition or a lovely restaurant. As we live in London, good weather and picnics in a park are a luxury. If it’s raining, we grab a board game and a glass of bubbly, or go to the cinema.”
Jonathan OwenReuse content