I get a lot of compliments on how adorable me and my partner Mark are together but being in a relationship with someone with Chronic Pain isn’t always easy. I’m extremely lucky to have someone who is understanding, educated, and supportive and creative when it comes to me and my conditions.
Back when I was first diagnosed, Mark made a real effort with me to keep the romance going, and came up with some simple, cheap, and cute date ideas that we could enjoy together without me having to worry about flaring up the next day.
Here are my top five.
1) Living Room Floor Picnic
This one is as simple as grabbing a blanket and laying it down in the living room, grabbing your favourite sharing snacks, and a nice bottle of wine. (Or a mocktail if you’re on medication that prevents you from drinking.) We’ve even tried lighting some candles, turning on the oil burner, and putting on our favourite music for ambience.
I used to love doing this, because it’s simple but effective and never the same twice. It’s amazing how much intimacy can be cultivated from turning off your electronics, sharing a meal, and really talking. Plus, it means you don’t have to go out or even get dressed up to spend quality time, is relatively cheap, and simple to accomplish. Also, a plus of this is that you won’t have a stranger’s dog running off with your sausages, or an army of ants infiltrating your makeshift outdoor bliss.
2) Couples Pamper Night
If your man is self-assured enough to say yes to this one, it’s tons of fun. Self-care can be exhausting for those of us with chronic pain but with this date night it means you can kill two birds with one stone. Taking a shower or bath together, followed by face masks, and maybe even a gentle massage can not only give relief from your pain, but give your partner a chance at some self-care too. Taking a shower/bath can be a real challenge for those with chronic pain (especially POTS) so having someone there with you to help distract and aid with your pain is a bonus as well.
3) Coffee House Java and Conversation
When I was having a bad pain day on Sundays, Mark used to bring our weekly ritual of Starbucks and conversation to me instead. I loved waking up to the smell of my favourite cup of coffee house java and then being able to sit in bed and wake up while talking with him. It’s something that we did every single week, and during the time we were drinking coffee we would catch up on everything we hadn’t said to each other during the last seven days. It might be simple, but honestly, this one meant the most to me because no matter what Mark would always make it happen.
4) Game Night
A few times I was in so much pain leaving the couch felt like an impossibility, and my eyes weren’t playing ball with screens either because I sometimes suffer with sensory overload. On these occasions Mark and I used to crack out the board games for some giggles and natural pain relief. It seems silly, how often we forget that a simple game of Snap, Monopoly or Scrabble can engage the mind and be a ton of fun, but I remember playing these games with my grandparents when I was a child, and they occupy the brain in a way that watching television just doesn’t. It’s cheap and doesn’t require a ton of energy to play making it a great way to spend the night without spending your spoons, unless of course you’re playing UNO, which incites violence in the best of us. The fact that Mark and I are also super competitive about this kind of thing made it extra funny as well.
My Favourite Games-
5) Cooking Something New Together
This was something I really enjoyed doing, and Mark made it less taxing on me by getting me a chair to sit on while preparing ingredients and some super sharp knives to make chopping easier. We used to pick a recipe from a cook book or Pinterest during the week, and then Friday nights we would set to preparing, cooking, and tasting something brand new to both of us. We used to put on the oldies and drink wine while we were cooking, and honestly its still something we try to do and enjoy even though we live with my parents right now. We had some amazing meals, and also some absolutely terrible messes, but it was all fun (except the scrambled egg bolognaise that ended up going straight in the trash… I still wonder just why we thought that would work.)
Psst… this is my favourite cookbook so check it out if you’re stuck for where to start!
I hope these date night ideas inspire you to make some amazing memories, and that remind you that even on our worst days there are still creative and fun ways to keep the romance alive. The most important thing though, is that you have fun and focus on the things that you can do with your partner, instead of what you can’t do. More importantly, take these ideas and adapt them to what you and your partner enjoy, or maybe come up with your own traditions and ideas. Either way, keep trying new things, keep experimenting, and stay positive.
Kristy Nicolle x