Think ‘romance’ and your mind probably conjures up a romantic candlelit dinner for two… but if you really want to spice things up, research indicates you might consider making it a dinner for four! Scientists from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology found that going out with other couples and sharing personal details about ourselves and our partners can enable us to see them in a new light. “Emerging research has suggested that novel, arousing experiences can increase feelings of passionate love,” they stated.

Double Dating and Passionate Love

The researchers noted that they expected that double dating would enhance closeness between couples. What they didn’t expect was that it would enhance passionate love. In one study, the researchers used the ‘Fast Friends’ activity with couples. They were encouraged to answer questions such as ‘What is your idea of a perfect day?’ etc. This task is known to bring people closer together. However, when other people were responsive to a couple’s answers, the degree of passionate love between partners increased. Researchers believe these are the reactions of others to give us a fresh, more positive view of our partner.

What Is Your Idea of the Perfect Date?

In order to boost the romantic effects of double dating, make sure the activity you choose is conducive to personal disclosure. If you opt for a picnic with a big bunch of friends or kids as well as adults, the conversation can tend to be superficial or one-on-one. To get the conversation going, a luxurious dinner cruise or a romantic ferry ride at sunset can give you the solitude you need to ask other couples interesting questions. Meals are particularly conducive to conversation and interesting banter. If you invite friends over for dinner or cocktails, suggest playing the ‘Fast Friends’ game, bringing cards with questions and answering the latter as fast as possible. Just ask interesting questions that will enable both couples to get to know each other a little better.

Partner Appreciation Matters as Well

The researchers also found that happy relationships involve more than positive perceptions of our partner; they also require a sense of being appreciated, cared for, and supported. To enhance these sensations, it is important to let our partner know their feelings matter to us. We can do this by honoring the promises we make (even if they are small – such as cleaning or taking the trash out), using humor to eliminate tension, and always let our partner know you are on the same team.

It is amazing to think that romance doesn’t always involve ‘just the two of you’. Social interaction is good for your mental health but it can also help you see your partner in a fresher light. When you go on a double date, try to ensure the ambiance is conducive to meaningful conversation that will enable both couples to know each other and will surprise you with new perceptions of your own partner.