14 Therapist-Approved Date Night Questions for a Stronger Relationship
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Starting or maintaining a healthy romantic relationship can be fun, but also requires work. Here are some therapist-approved date night questions that can spark great conversations and strengthen partnerships, whether it's your first date or your 50th.
Date night fun
A fun date night goes beyond a nice meal and a bit of entertainment. Not only does date night give you a chance to enjoy quality time with your partner (or a potential partner), but it’s an opportunity to connect for an even stronger, healthy relationship.
Sex and relationship therapist Joe Kort, PhD, says that verbal and emotional connection is arguably the most essential part of a strong relationship. So asking fun date night questions is a good idea.
“In my opinion, the number one reason couples struggle is avoiding the issues and not talking to each other about frustrations,” says Kort, founder of The Center for Relationship and Sexual Health in Royal Oak, Michigan. “This leads to an emotional disconnection that is possible to repair, but the couple has to be willing to talk and know effective communication skills.”
(Here are some relationship communication quotes that will inspire you to speak up and listen to your partner.)
Connecting with your partner is important because having a strong bond can give you security and a sense of well-being. “And when they don’t actively nurture the relationship, connections can suffer or even fizzle,” says Jane Greer, PhD, a New York–based marriage and family therapist.
On the other hand, when couples pay attention to their bond and take measures to strengthen it, their intimacy deepens, says Stephanie Newman, PhD, a clinical psychologist in New York City, and author of Barbarians at the PTA.
Why asking questions and having a date night is worthwhile
Going on dates isn’t just for getting to know new people, they can help long-term partners reconnect. In addition to providing a time and place for open relationship communication, dedicating time to chat with your partner and asking date night questions can help you reset.
“Date night is important because it’s a time out,” Kort says. And time-outs are underrated. “We talk about unplugging from social media, our phones, and taking breaks to clear our minds. Our relationships need the same.” (Here are some communication tips you can try.)
You don’t have to put together an elaborate date night to reap the rewards. But you do need to shut out distractions, says Kort, so the focus is on you and your partner. Even if it is just for an hour or two, spend time hanging out, talking, and holding hands to recharge the relationship and keep the connection.
Asking and answering date night questions is a way to comfortably open up topics of your lives. This allows you to talk, share, and get know each other better without worrying that topics are too personal or you’re being too intrusive. “It sets parameters for what is OK to discuss,” says Greer, who is the author of the relationship self-help book What About Me?
But it isn’t just the who, what, when, where, and why of your answers that give a relationship more traction. According to Newman, the acts of asking and showing interest, listening, and building intimacy make a date night Q&A such an important relationship tool.
Date night questions for early daters
Ready to open the lines of communication between you and a potential partner? Get ready to ask (and answer) questions that’ll bring you closer together.
These therapist-approved questions (they’re in no particular order) will help you gather information about someone new and learn more about your compatibility with each other. (Keep reading for questions that work better for long-term partners.)
How have your past relationships been, and why did they end?
According to Kort, this can tell you a lot about the person and how they act in a relationship. (Here’s what a narcissist does at the end of a relationship.)
How long have you been single?
Greer recommends asking this question because it gives you an idea of your partner’s dating history and can tell you how ready and available they are to starting a new serious relationship. (This is how to deal with dating rejection.)
What is your relationship like with your family?
Asking this question can help you get a sense of how they learned to be in a relationship.
“It isn’t always the most accurate, as there could be mental health problems in their family members, but hearing how things were in their childhood and their current relationship with parents and siblings can tell you quite a bit,” Kort says. (Keep an eye out for these relationship red flags.)
Do you have brothers or sisters? Tell me about them.
This question is a good follow-up. According to Greer, it’s a way to gain information—in a nonthreatening or non-probing way—as to their family dynamics.
You may learn how well they get along with family members, if there are existing conflicts that might impact your relationship, as well as who may approve or disapprove of your relationship going forward.
Plus, open-ended date night questions leave room for the conversation to flow naturally.
What kind of work do you do, and how did you get into it?
This question tells you about their professional dreams and ambitions. It also reveals whether their career is something they planned from a young age or if the opportunity came along through a friend or family member.
“It shows how they connect in the world, as well as how ambitious they may be,” Greer says.
Do you have any plans for your next vacation?
Questions like this are valuable ways to gather information and learn about a potential partner. Greer says it opens up the topic of the hobbies they may have.
Consider what it might say about someone if they plan to book a sports vacation versus a sightseeing tour of a city or a relaxing week at the beach. It gives you an idea of what you have in common and may enjoy doing together. (Here are the signs you’re dating a narcissist.)
What are your erotic interests?
Some couples may be more likely to discuss their intimacy interests in the first few months than others, Kort says. Even if you don’t feel comfortable having this conversation on a first date, it is a topic to broach in the first year of a relationship.
Kort says that most couples don’t talk about this early on and end up having sexual and erotic discrepancies throughout the rest of their relationship. This can lead to unhappiness and dissatisfaction.
Date night questions for people in long-term or established relationships
It’s key to keep asking questions and getting to know your partner, even if you’re not in a new relationship. Sitting with curiosity is important, says Kort. You can never know everything about your partner.
“People often get upset when they learn something new [about a long-term partner after] many years, as if they should know everything,” he says. “That is impossible.”
Continue to be curious and learn more about your partner. (Here are some other questions that help people fall in love.)
Greer says that asking questions conveys a continuing genuine interest in knowing who your partner is. It also shows you care about them and want to support them in their lives. Plus, she says, it helps establish trust, safety, and intimacy in your bond.
Here are some date night questions for established couples that will help spark conversation.
If you were a dog, what breed would you be?
Questions that involve a measure of unpredictability, even risk, allow partners to show a lighter, funnier side, and pull us out of day-to-day stress.
“Play comes before foreplay,” Newman says. “Go light. Have fun. Flirt. Ask something silly, even ridiculous.”
Answer for yourself and maybe even playfully comment about a partner’s similarity to a canine friend. This is one example of a silly, potential tension-busting interaction that could help stressed-out significant others dial down tension, transition to a more light-hearted evening, and build intimacy.
How did your day go at work? Did anything interesting happen?
Asking about work shows interest in how their job is going and enables them to share some of the happenings, be it frustration with a colleague or a project going well.
“It establishes trust that you are interested in them and what they are doing,” Greer says.
Sure, it’s an old standby, but that’s for a reason. It’s a simple but effective way to connect. (Here are ways to make your partner feel loved.)
What was your favorite trip, and what about it was memorable?
Date night questions aren’t all about learning new information. In times of conflict, or when the bond feels shaky, communication provides a route to a potential fix, according to Newman.
Asking this question about past trips that you have been on as a couple helps relive shared moments and allows couples to escape from any current tensions.
“They can serve as reminders of the good times, and of why you got together in the first place,” Newman says.
How is your family doing?
Another great question is to ask how a family member is doing. If your partner is concerned about a particular family member, follow up.
“This makes room for being open, honest, and perhaps vulnerable if there is a sticky situation or problem that they are dealing with,” Greer says. “And it lets them know it is safe to tell you about it.”
How do you feel our sexual intimacy is going?
Again, couples often don’t talk openly about their sex and erotic lives—even after being together for an extended period. They also don’t examine their contract or relationship with monogamy if they are not in an open relationship, Kort says.
“I always tell couples: Don’t assume that you both agree about what [monogamous] means,” he says. “Talk about it openly and honestly. Make sure you are on the same page and, if you’re not, this is your chance to be.” (Here’s how to improve your sex life.)
What is one thing that I don’t know about you?
Yes, even couples who are together for over 20 and 30 years still learn from and about each other. “I believe it can be fun to sit with curiosity and not believe you know everything about your partner,” Kort says. “Ask and tell.” This is one of the best date night questions to ask.
Share one appreciation and one brag
Although this isn’t a question, it’s how Kort starts every couple’s appointment. He recommends couples do it on date night, too.
“An appreciation is anything you see in your partner’s behavior, personality traits, or anything that you want them to know you appreciate,” he says. “A brag is a stretch you have done for them that was out of your way or comfort zone.”
The reason to say this to each other is simple: These things are often invisible, unsaid, and taken for granted. It is a great way to bring them into the open.
There’s no such thing as a stupid question
Knowing that these are therapist-approved date night questions will hopefully give you and your partner the confidence and security to make open-ended, exploratory inquiries. At the same time, asking these questions will make your partner feel important. The activity makes clear that who they are and what makes them tick is not only of interest to you but also really matters, Greer says.
Newman agrees, adding that questions can open doors in relationships.
“Date night is the perfect opportunity to show your curiosity and interest in your significant other,” she says. “It isn’t only about the content, of course. The moments spent talking and listening are what matters in a relationship.”
The art of asking and answering can build rapport and strengthen your connection with your partner. Questions that foster communication, empathy, and play are key to healthy partnerships. They help solidify relationships.
Next, read about the quick habit that improves relationships.
- Joe Kort, PhD, LMSW, AASECT Certified Sex Therapist & Supervisor of Sex Therapy, Royal Oak, Michigan
- Jane Greer, PhD, marriage and family therapist, New York City and author of What About Me? Stop Selfishness From Ruining Your Relationship
- Stephanie Newman, PhD, a clinical psychologist in New York City, and author of Barbarians at the PTA