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Dating & Keeping the Spark Alive

Camille W.
CAMILLE W.
Mom & Dating Expert
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Camille Whiting from Friday We're in Love, is joining us to talk about the importance of finding time to spend with your significant other. Camille and her husband have committed to weekly dates for the past six years. She is here to answer questions about making time for dates, fun out-of-the-box date ideas and more.

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CAMILLE ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Quality time
IVELINA

Hi,
We have 2 kids 6 years old and 8m old baby.We used to get on dates and spend some "quality time" with my husband but the past 2 years have been a mess-we were separate for an year deployment,than he came home and we had to move to a different state,buy a house,deliver a baby and manage kindergartener so it's really not much time for "us".I still feel like if we put some more effort it's not impossible to have quality time but it's seems that my hubby is happy with us just cuddle,watch a movie,eat out and have sex.I am seeking more like attention,surprise date night or even just something small but spontaneous which I don't have to plan myself.Am I asking for to much and how to encourage him to be more involved without complaining and being upset?TIA!🌺

Camille
CAMILLE

Hi there!

I don't think you're asking too much for sure! Men are creatures or habit, and many enjoy a calm peace that comes from being home more than going out. However, there are lots of studies that show your brain releases more dopamine to help you feel more love when you share new experiences together. This is one of my favorite articles about it: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/12/health/12well.html

I'd find a time where you aren't upset and you're both at peace where you can calmly let him know you're struggling a bit and need a little more novelty in your marriage. That you love the comfort of home dates, but you're ready for just a little romance and to feel the fun you had before kids again. I think you can offer to alternate between movies at home and finding some new things to do- even if it's just a new restaurant. Volunteer to take the first week planning a fun date, and let him know you want to feel surprised and planned too. We have a rule, you have to do what the other person plans and at least pretend to like it. This how he gets me to car shows and how I get him to the ballet. We're both open minded enough to say hey I know you want to do fun things, and I do too. Maybe take the pressure off and just tell him to plan something he thinks would be fun and surprise you, but he has to go along with what you plan too.

I think baby steps get couples out of the rut and back into the habit of being more intentional about date night. And just remember, any effort made should definitely be applauded and thanked, even if it takes a few dates to get what you're hoping for out of him!

IVELINA

Aww thank you!Sounds great!I will do that!👍🏼

IVELINA

Also is it going to be mistake if I show my husband my question here and the answer?TIa!

Camille
CAMILLE

Ha! I hope not! I'm sure he loves you and cares about your marriage and when you two chat about each other's needs good things will happen!

CAMILLE ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Our Q&A is now over.
TINYHOOD, PARENT OF 4 YEAR OLD

Thank you, Camille! Camille blogs about parenthood, style, relationships and more on her blog, Friday We’re In Love. Check it out here: http://fridaywereinlove.com/

Camille
CAMILLE

It was a pleasure! Thank you for having me!

CAMILLE ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Date nights/talking
KATRINA, PARENT OF 5 YEAR OLD, 3 YEAR OLD

I ama sahm to 2 girls 20 months apart. Keeps mevery busy and tired!
My hubby gets home from work and its dinner time, bath and bed. By the time the girls are in bed, I just want to vege and watch tv. My hubby and I rarely talk unless it is about the girls/things we need to do or family events. I Am just tired and want to relax. Tips on how to carve out time to talk about more than kids, like marriage etc?
And how do you do date night weekly? Give tips on that!
We just had our first date night in a year 😳

Camille
CAMILLE

Hi Katrina!

I'm sure every moment is busy and tired, I can barely keep up with one!

We're in a similar situation with work, my husband works late hours and travels often for work, and often it's the to-do of parenting that takes over our lives. We've found a couple things pull us out of the rut.

#1 caffeine! Just kidding, kind of. But taking care of ourselves and finding time during the day on the weekends has been a big success for us! I think the idea that dates have to happen on Friday or Saturday night only is something that gets in new parents way. Go to brunch on the weekend, find a time you can meet for lunch, and if you can afford it, do a weekend getaway just the two of you. Sometimes it's just finding the right time.

I've also found if we buy tickets in advance, we make it happen! We won't let them go to waste so we suddenly make a babysitter happen, we find more energy, and we actually go and do things.

I wrote a post about how we make dating happen with a baby that may help too! http://fridaywereinlove.com/2016/01/making-date-night-happen-with-a-baby.html

Basically a lot of planning, a lot of intentional sacrifices, and setting rules that we're only allowed to talk about our kid for 20 minutes and then it's time to move on has been a game changer for us! I know it takes effort and often money and it's harder with kids, but we've found making our marriage a long-term focus has made it so worthwhile for us!

CAMILLE ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Making time with a baby
JAMIE

My husband never wants to do date nights because we always have our baby. We don't really have anyone we trust to watch her, so she always goes with us. Is there a way we can connect with each other even though she is with us? Also time is always an issue. We have 4 kids and he works full time and has side work. How do we make time?

Camille
CAMILLE

Hi Jamie,

This is such a common problem for many tired parents with a baby and with older children, so I totally get it! I think a lot of parents don't feel comfortable leaving a baby with a sitter until they are 6-9 months old, so I think you're normal!

I would say do your best to find a sitter, it sounds like the leg work may be worth your long term relationship! Plus, you guys sound like you deserve a break and some quality time! Care.com has some good options if you have a friend you could talk about kid swapping, or you can always crowdsource this on Facebook to friends and family you trust, you may be shocked how someone surfaces.

With that said, our little guy tags along on our dinner dates or a family date at least once a month, and we've found choosing the right location can make all the difference. If we eat downtown he'll sit and watch the trains and we'll get more conversation time in. I'd see if you can find a place baby and maybe other kids will enjoy while you can supervise but still get some time together.

Isn't time always the issue? It's crazy how it evaporates, particularly with a husband gone so often! Mine travels frequently and works late hours, so I feel you on this! We have a calendar and we do some serious planning to make dates happen! When we schedule in advance my husband and I both know it's not the time to work, it's our precious time we prioritize. Without our Google Calendar and our calls to sitters will in advance we just wouldn't date! I know it's a hassle, I know it's money, I know it's time to prep for fun time, but I'm a firm believer that it makes all the difference in your marriage! If you can I'd try to be more proactive about finding someone you trust and making plans well in advance. It helps us to buy tickets, we're then invested and have no choice but to find that sitter and get out!

CAMILLE ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Low libido
MARIA, PARENT OF 3 YEAR OLD

Hi Camille,
Ever since I had my daughter who is now almost 1.5 years old, I just haven't been super into sex. First the issue was physical pain after childbirth tears but now all that is resolved and it doesn't hurt, I'm just not interested in doing it. First I blamed it on the pain, then on nursing (I stopped), then on lack of sleep (she's sleeping fine now). I just keep coming up with excuses and I realize I'm doing this and I feel bad for my husband. Recently I have just said to myself, you can't not ever have sex, just do it. So I have been. And it's fine, there's nothing wrong with it, but I'm just not into it anymore. I don't know, is this normal? I have a wonderful caring husband who has been very loving and supportive so I always feel guilty that he has to be the one to pester me about it because otherwise I won't initiate. Sigh...Any ideas to spice up our love life somehow? We also live in a small apartment, and my daughter sleeps in the next room so I'm always nervous about making any noise that could wake her up. Sorry this got so long! 🙃 Thanks

Camille
CAMILLE

Hi Maria,

I'm sorry to hear that's impacting your marriage, but I do think it's normal! However, that doesn't mean it's ideal for you or your husband. Hormone levels often fluctuate and there's no shame in going to see your OB to discuss it. Often one tweak in birth control or over the counter, or even herbal supplements can help! I know Macca root helped me quite a bit get back in the groove after feeling the same way. I'd see a Dr or an herbologist.

Also, it sounds like a weekend getaway may be in order for you two if you can swing it! We just did one for our anniversary and left the baby for the first time. I can't believe how amazing it was for our relationship, our sex life, and our reconnecting!

Don't be afraid to invest back in your marriage with some quality time, some more foreplay, some Dr. consultations, or a trip if you can afford it!

CAMILLE ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
what is normal?
EMILY, PARENT OF 3 YEAR OLD

I am very concerned with my relationship with my husband. our daughter is now 6m and we have not had sex since i had her. i blame my husband but honestly i don't feel like it either. we do cuddle every night, but i am so exhausted from working all day and then coming home and taking care of our daughter that i am usually asleep by 830 ( i get up at 445 every morning). my question is, is it normal for us not to have sex yet? i have talked to my husband and he states that he is exhausted too. we do have a great relationship we love eachother and talk and cuddle but i keep worrying bc we have not had sex yet. part of the guilt is bc i point the finger at my husband but deep down i don't want to it feels like a chore. i would appreciate any advice thank you!

Camille
CAMILLE

Hi Emily!

Sex after a baby is such a tough thing, and you're definitely not alone in this being a common problem for couples! I think being completely exhausted and sex being less frequent after a baby is very normal, particularly those first 9 months when your body is healing, your hormones are still all over the place, and you're both just exhausted. However, I do think most couples make it happen even if it's only a few times a month, and most don't wait more than a few months after baby to dive back in!

I've heard several couples do schedule sex, as unromantic as that sounds, sometimes making time during a nap time is the only time! Maybe you need to get out of your environment and take a small getaway somewhere just to rethink your relationship instead of all your home responsibilities! If you can afford it, I'd do a mini stay-cation with a babysitter watching your daughter for a few hours while you try to reconnect. You can always go get her or just go home after you book a hotel, but the change or a night away is what a lot of couples do to totally reconnect, and to save their sex life and sometimes even their marriage!

I think many sensitive husbands are a little afraid to have sex after a baby because they know your body is different, they don't want to hurt you, and they don't want to push you before you're ready. Opening up and navigating the first time after baby together is so crucial to both parties overcoming that mental hurdle.

I'd do my best to make this a priority, make it happen on a weekend when you don't have to get up for work, or during an afternoon nap when you're both around and not exhausted. Sometimes you do just have to make into a scheduled task that feels like a chore the first few times to get yourselves back in the habit and physically reconnected again! That first few awkward times when it's scheduled typically turns into an exciting time when you can look forward to an appointment on your calendar!

EMILY

thank you so much! what you said really makes sense thank you!

CAMILLE ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Date nights
ANDREA, PARENT OF 17 YEAR OLD, 13 YEAR OLD, 5 YEAR OLD

I'm a single mom with a boyfriend, we have been together for a year. He has a child but they live far away. I get limited time out. Any good ideas for date nights at home, besides tv/movie? Also should I take it personally if I'm the one to schedule /recommend a date night and do most of the planning ? Thanks!

Camille
CAMILLE

Hi Andrea,

First of all, props being a single mom who is doing it all and still making some quality time for yourself and your relationship!

Let me start with your last question, I think every relationship has its own cadence and some people have one partner do all the planning, but if you're resentful or really want your significant other to start planning that's very normal! I would try to mention that in a calm moment when you can let them know you love your time with them and would love more dating in your life, but sometimes feel like it's fallen on your shoulders. I think we just get in habits as couples and sometimes just talking through sharing a responsibility goes a long way! It's so normal to feel personally loaded down by planning every date. As unromantic as it sounds, my husband and I keep a shared Google calendar and we add our dates there. If we don't have something we alternate who plans and just give it as a task, it's your week. Maybe it's time to just make sure you each plan a date every month and go from there!

At home dates are our most common request to blog about, so I'm going to shameless give my website a plug with our date category with at-home dates. If you go to this tag, you'll see several of our favorites and very few involve a movie of any kind!

http://fridaywereinlove.com/category/date-ideas/dates-by-location/at-home

Best of luck, and happy dating!

CAMILLE ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Priorities
JEWELYN

With work and a toddler (18 months), hubby and I often feel like ships passing in the night. We work odd schedules, the baby is exhausting, and I feel like by the time we reach the end of the day, all I want to do is be quiet and still after hours of work and parenting. Hubby usually sleeps later and works later, so he's usually chatty in the evenings and I find myself resentful. How in the world do we find time to just talk where one or both of us actually has the energy?

Camille
CAMILLE

Hi Jewelyn,

This is such a common problem, and exhaustion is real! I know we went through a phase where even if we tried to go to the movies I would have just fallen asleep. We learned to try to adjust our date schedule a bit and try to go at a time when we were both more available. I would see if you can try doing brunch dates on the weekends or a lunch date. If you work nearby, maybe scheduling a longer lunch one day. If you don't, find a sitter on the weekend and try a weekend date during the date to connect before you're exhausted.

My husband and I have also tried adjusting one day a week just to be there for each other. We're the opposite of you and your husband, but he'll stay up late one night a week to chat and hear me out. I'll get up early once a week just to chat with him while he gets ready for the day. I'm a big believer a little give by both parties go a long way!

And one last thought, everything is just a phase, this too shall pass, and adjusting expectations to enjoy a quality hour or two during the busiest of phases goes a long way! Hang in there and count the wins and the time you do see during a really busy phase.

Our Q&A starts now!
TINYHOOD, PARENT OF 4 YEAR OLD

Welcome, Camille! Camille and her husband made a pact to go on weekly dates, making her an expert in all things date nights, making relationships a priority, and more. She is joining us to share her expertise and ideas to help our parents keep the spark alive!