With busy schedules, looming work deadlines, appointments, and in some cases, children to care for, it may be difficult to prioritize time alone with your partner or stick to romantic plans. More extensive dates, outings, and vacations can also be pricy. Here’s where micro-dating enters the group chat. According to Gottman Institute, an organization that analyzes and researches relationship dynamics, micro-dating is the new relationship trend that can help you build intimacy and reconnect with your partner.
A micro-date is at least 10 minutes of uninterrupted time with your partner to strengthen your connection, communication, and love for one another. The perk of it is that it’s usually a light lift. You can schedule a walk around the neighborhood, grab a coffee from your local shop, play a card game, enjoy a nightcap after dinner with your favorite alcoholic beverage, or simply just cuddle.
Why is micro-dating important?
Juggling life schedules can be difficult, often leaving quality time with your partner on the back burner. Kiaundra Jackson, licensed marriage and family therapist, believes micro-dates can be the solution for couples struggling to find meaningful time throughout the week. “We all know this isn’t the healthiest thing to do, but most couples struggle to find meaningful time throughout the week. If regular date nights are planned, one may be too tired to engage and be present fully,” she says to ESSENCE.
“Breaking up the time into micro-dates can be more manageable for couples with a lot on their plates,” she adds. “Giving your partner an uninterrupted 15-20 minutes does not seem like much time but can enhance and take a relationship even deeper–especially if their love language is quality time.”
Since micro-dating is a newer form of dating, it can help spice up relationships and get couples out of their everyday routines and ruts. “Healthy couples try to spend as much quality time together as possible, and micro-dating allows them to do that. Also, it is a fairly new form of dating, and it breaks up the monotony of couples who have been together for a long time doing the same things,” says Jackson.
Additionally, the practice can help keep couples present and in the moment, suggests Ebony Butler, PhD, psychologist and relationship expert. “If you know you have limited time together, you’re more likely to avoid distractions. The couple can focus on each other and dedicate their full attention to that short moment together,” she shares.
How does the practice help couples get closer?
Regularly scheduling micro-dating appointments keeps couples looking forward to more. Having something positive and exciting to look forward to during busy days can help to manage stress and mood. Increased connection fosters more harmony in a relationship, deepening intimacy. “Putting time aside to sit and walk together, or grab a quick meal allows couples to catch up and stay in the loop about what’s going on in their partner’s life,” Butler says. “Also, taking a moment to be together to bond can help slow the nervous system, reducing the stress and tension we often carry throughout the day.”
However, according to Jackson, spending time together isn’t always an issue for some couples. “I often tell the couples I work with that there is a difference between ‘quality time’ and ‘quantity time,'” she says. “I know plenty of couples with each other all the time, but their relationship is surface level. What is the point of spending time with someone if it is not meaningful and memorable?”
Jackson believes that micro-dates help couples with short attention spans spend their time more wisely with their partner. It can strengthen their bond, foster a deeper connection and help repair any ruptures in the relationship.
What are ways that couples can practice mirco-dating?
According to Jackson, there are no right or wrong ways to do micro-dates. First, couples need to discuss their perceptions of micro-dating and if they want to incorporate it into their relationship. If both parties agree, a specific day and time that works best with everyone’s schedule should be decided upon. Then, there need to be suggestions for the activity. It can be as simple as talking for 10 mins without phone interruptions, playing a card game together for 15 mins, or simply embracing without feeling pressure to carry on conversation.