A new study reveals that it’s been years since the average American parent has had a romantic date—and we’re not all that surprised. While parents said they are happier after having kids, there’s clear room for improvement in their love lives.
The study, conducted by OnePoll in conjunction with Groupon and published Feb. 11, 2020, found that three in 10 parents of school-age children don’t remember the last romantic date they went on. While 81 percent of the 2,000 parents surveyed said they’d like to have more frequent date nights, the decline in romance isn’t all that jarring to most. Seventy-seven percent of respondents said their lives are happier and more fulfilling since having children, but over half (53 percent) long for some of the freedom they had before kids.
In fact, parents are especially nostalgic about their lives before children. What they miss most, according to the study: spending quality time with their partner (45 percent), having more sex (39 percent), sleeping in (36 percent) and getting more time alone (31 percent), among other things that were unequivocally easier before kids.
Obviously, having children changes your life in a plethora of ways, and you didn’t need a study to confirm it. What this survey does tell us, however, is that whatever’s standing in the way of a good old-fashioned date-night—be it the price of a sitter, the effort that goes into planning a date, the fear of the hangover at work the next day—parents ought to get more creative in finding ways to revisit what got them excited pre-kids.
“A relationship is a living thing that needs to be nurtured and fed or it doesn’t make it,” suggests Ojai, CA-based psychotherapist and couples specialist Adaya Walsh. “Things can start to feel depleted, tense and distant. That’s when work, parenting, everything gets harder.”
Though it seems like a century ago, the romance that led to the little ones is something all parents deserve. Married couples who engage in one-on-one time together at least once a week are 3.5 times more likely to express being “very happy” in their relationship than their counterparts who don’t have weekly couple time, according to the national Survey of Marital Generosity, funded by the Science of Generosity initiative at the University of Notre Dame.
If out-of-the box childcare is what’s needed, here are some ideas that can help. If you don’t know what date will energize you enough to make it work, try one of these creative options. For you, your partner, and your kiddos, it’s time for you to make the time—don’t go another three years before reigniting that spark.