Gay Dad Life

Why Date Night Is So Important

When you're a parent, time alone with your significant other isn't a luxury — it's a necessity.

Even before the morning sunlight — and my eyelids — have lifted, I'm reminded that I'm somebody's father. It's usually around 5:40am when my 8-year old son Maxwell pokes his head into our room shouting "cock-a-doodle-doo" at the top of his lungs. He's usually wearing an adorably comfy onesie, a look he thankfully refuses to retire. His rooster call is followed up with strict demands in quick succession:

"Warm milk!"

"Turn on the lights."

"Where's your phone?"

"Put on Nick Jr."

"Feed me yogurt while I play Fortnite!" (Note: we don't… well… anymore.)

This Groundhog Day routine follows us as we pick out his clothes for the day —"Comfy camouflage t-shirt and sweat pants!" he insists (shoot me now). We then make him breakfast, prepare his packed lunch and then make sure his completed homework is in his schoolbag.


On the way to school we talk about our plans for the day as I educate him on the music that I used to rock to when I was a kid. Classics like Billy, Elton, Prince, Springsteen, Guns N' Roses, and of course, Whitney. Nothing like the schlock kids listen to these days. (Yes, I'm aware that I've officially just turned into my father.)

Then comes work. Deadlines. Briefs. Putting out fires. Pitches. Writing. Clients. Feedback. More writing. And more deadlines.

Then after we're both home from work, it's playtime, review homework time, bath time, milk and cookies time, brushing teeth time (which now includes cleaning his Invisalign… Yay, 4k!), followed by reading-books-in-bed time, and finally tuck-him-in-and-turn-off-the-lights time (which on some nights is my favorite time).

You know what that leaves little of?

Us time.

At this point, it's close to 9pm. After we clean up dinner dishes, put away Max's toys, and finish up our respective workloads left over from our day jobs, we end up in bed around 10pm. We spend thirty minutes scanning Netflix before finally agreeing on something to watch (usually a Netflix documentary). Alex falls asleep before the opening credits have ended. And that only means one thing: reruns of "Picture it, Sicily" for me (if you don't know what I'm referring to, you're dead to me).

And then a few hours later, it starts all over again.

It's great. It's our life. It's everything we signed up for and wanted. And everything we're blessed to have. But it's also a clear indication that the relationship part of our relationship can sometimes feel more like a roommate situation than a marriage.

So what do you do to avoid becoming two BFF ships passing in night?

Two words: Date night.

Yes, I know. The mere thought of it makes you gag, and not in the happy RuPaul Drag Race kind of way. Yes, Date Nights can feel forced. And, yes, they sometimes feels like you're living a suburban cliché. But let me tell you something, folks, it pales in comparison to the alternative. You know… Complacency. Predictability. Redundancy. Routine. Boredom.

And this is why date nights are something we force ourselves to take seriously. Because when you're a parent, time alone with your significant other isn't a luxury — it's a necessity.

Still not convinced? Here are 10 more reasons to make date nights part of your weekly routine:

#1

Did you know that date nights can increase sexual satisfaction? Now that I got your attention, here's my rationale: I read an article online that says couples are 3.5 times more likely to enjoy above-average sex than couples without weekly-scheduled alone time. I mean, if for no other reason…

#2

Having a date night helps you reclaim both your individual identity and your identity as a couple. We're so busy being dads, siblings, friends and professionals; we forget to focus on who we want to be as people and as a couple. Date night reminds us of who we were and who we are: not just Dada and Papa, but us, a couple. It's a chance to look across the table and see the person you originally fell in love with, not the person who left the bed unmade or forgot to take out the trash (I'm looking at you, Al).

#3

Date nights give us a much-needed, be it temporary, break from the demands of being caretakers, and allows us once again to concentrate on each other instead of everyone else in our household. We get to take a step back, if only for a few hours, which is valuable because it's hard to truly appreciate what you have when it oftentimes feels like you're drowning in it.

#4

Date nights can remind you what you love so much about your spouse. Like when I watch my husband's face light up as he gleefully talks about our son, I'm reminded again how much I love him. (Like when he says: "I love Max so fucking much" – I know, what a poet). Sometimes, this type of thing gets overlooked in the midst of the daily chaos, which is sad, because we end up looking at each other without really seeing. In the hustle and bustle, we so easily forget that at one time, there was no one we'd rather look at (well, aside from Stamos).

#5

Date nights help maintain your appearance. We all know how hard it is to stay fit and fly. But when you have someone to impress, you're more likely to maintain your appearance than just letting it all go. You care about whether they still find you attractive, so you're more likely to be the best you can be if you have little reminders like date nights. I'm not saying you've got to go all Trumpian with the orange face, but a little bronzer to warm up those cheeks never hurt no one.

#6

Date nights help you prioritize what's important. Your relationship should be at the top of your priority list, even before work and right up there with children. Every type of relationship needs to be a priority at some point. Ensuring that you have regularly scheduled date nights prove that your relationship is getting the attention it deserves.

#7

Date nights can be the great escape you desperately need — a few hours away from ringing phones, play dates, whiny kids, work emails, laundry, homework, bill-paying and Paw Patrol! It's important to turn it all off and disappear every once in a while. Too much work and no play causes a lot of stress that affects every area of your life. Weekly date nights will relieve you from those stressors and offer special one-on-one time with the one you care about most.

#8

Date nights up your chances of having a long, happy and successful relationship. According to a new study by the Marriage Foundation, couples that have a date night at least once a month are 14% less likely to break up. And couples who spend quality time with their partner at least once a week were three and a half times more likely to describe themselves as 'very happy' in their relationship, compared to those who don't enjoy regular date nights.

#9

Date nights show your kids what a healthy relationship looks like. While a date night is certainly meant to be all about you and your mate, it's also great for your kids to see. Not only is it good for them to learn that it's okay to be separated from you, it's also beneficial as they are growing up to be witnesses to a healthy relationship. These are teachable moments to pass along values and behaviors when it comes to romance.

#10

Date nights can help you get back on track: Having that open communication and closeness allows you to be aware if one of you is growing in a different direction and make adjustments in real time. It's like if you have a car, you want to make sure you are topping off the oil regularly, rather than waiting for it to conk out on the freeway. What, were you expecting a sports analogy?

There you have it… ten convincing reasons to make date nights a regular occurrence.

If you walk away from this article with nothing else, just remember that relationships take work. Look at it like an important project in your life that needs focus and attention. Oh, and don't fret about money — date nights don't have to be fancy or expensive. Our last date night consisted of my in-laws watching Max while we walked around Home Depot looking for inspiration for our next renovation project. Okay, fine, we also stopped for sorbet on the way home. But we didn't get any toppings. Well, one of us didn't. Okay, fine, I didn't. It was me! I can't deprive myself peanut butter cups on top of my chocolate sorbet.

With Valentine's Day around the corner, now's the perfect time to plan a special date night and get back to the fundamental reason why you started your family in the first place. Because I believe that when you strengthen your foundation, the home you've built can withstand just about anything.

Well, anything except The Lego Movie 2. That shit was insufferable.

Show Comments ()
Gay Dad Photo Essays

How Single Dads Are Celebrating Valentine's Day This Year

Valentine's Day is not just for lovers! We caught up with 8 single gay dads to see how they plan to celebrate Valentine's Day with this year.

Valentine's Day is not just for lovers; it's also a day to celebrate our loved ones. And that's exactly what these single dads are doing.

Within our community, GWK has a large group of admirable, active, and awesome (!) single dads and we want to honor them! On Valentine's Day, they and their kids celebrate their family unit in the sweetest possible ways. We asked the dads to share these moments with us, and, where possible, one of the most heartwarming things they've experienced with their kids on Valentine's Day to date.

Hear their stories below.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Photo Essays

11 Gay Couples Share Secrets to Their Long-Term Relationships This Valentine's Day

This Valentine's Day, we spoke with 11 gay dad couples who've been together for almost a decade or longer to learn what's made their relationships last

You're the peanut butter to my jelly, the gin to my tonic, the strawberries to my cream, the Mr. to my Mr.!

Happy Valentine's Day folks! We're excited to celebrate this day of lurrrrvvve by featuring a few dads in our community who've been together for almost a decade or more! And they're ready to share their secrets to a successful relationship and parenting partnership.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

14 Gay Dad Families Show Their Love This Valentine's Day

These pics of gay dads smooching will warm the hearts of even the biggest V-Day skeptics

You might quietly (or loudly) oppose the commercialism and celebration of Valentine's Day, but let's just take a moment and rejoice in these beautiful signs of affection, shared between 14 awesome two-dad families. Cynicism gone? Good.

Happy Valentine's Day, dads! We hope you have a lovely day with your kids, your significant other, and / or friends. Because who doesn't love love!?!

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Family Stories

These Dads Had 'Twins' — Just Four Months Apart

Angel and Dan's wanted twins, without the complications of a twin pregnancy — so they worked with two separate surrogates at once.

If you have ever been out late on a Saturday night, you may have high hopes of meeting a handsome stranger, but you probably wouldn't expect to meet your future husband. Angel Mario Martinez Garcia, 45, surely didn't when, five years ago on a very early Saturday morning in Barcelona, he casually approached Dan's Mouquet, 40, and asked him, over many gin and tonics, what he wanted out of life. The nightlife setting notwithstanding, Dan's told Angel he ultimately wanted a quiet life, with a partner and children.

Keep reading... Show less
Politics

Gestational Surrogacy Legalized in New York State

The Child-Parent Security Act, which legalizes commercial surrogacy in New York State, was included in the 2020 New York State Budget signed by Governor Cuomo

Yesterday, a years-long battle about the state of compensated gestational surrogacy came to an end in New York when the Governor signed into a law the Child-Parent Security Act in the 2020 as part of the state budget.

The effort stalled last year after opponents, including several Democrats, successfully argued that the bill didn't go far enough to protect women who serve as surrogates — even though it included a surrogate "bill of rights," the first of its kind in the country, aimed at ensuring protections.

"Millions of New Yorkers need assistance building their families — people struggling with infertility, cancer survivors impacted by treatment, and members of the LGBTQ+ community," the Family Equality Council said in a statement about the victory. "For many, surrogacy is a critically important option. For others, it is the only option. Passage of the Child-Parent Security Act is a massive step forward in providing paths to parenthood for New Yorkers who use reproductive technology, and creates a 'surrogate's bill of rights' that will set a new standard for protecting surrogates nationwide."

Opponents, led by Senator Liz Krueger, had once again attempted to torpedo legalization efforts this year by introducing a second bill that would legalize surrogacy in New York, but also make it the most restrictive state in the country to do so. "A bill that complicates the legal proceedings for the parents and potentially allows them to lose their genetic child is truly unfortunate," said Sam Hyde, President of Circle Surrogacy, referencing to the bill's 8-day waiting period. He also took issue with the bills underlying assumptions about why women decide to serve as a surrogate. The added restrictions imply that "they're entering into these arrangements without full forethought and consideration of the intended parents that they're partnering with," he said.

The bill was sponsored by State Senator Brad Hoylman, an out gay man who became a father via surrogacy, and Assemblymember Amy Paulin, who has been public with her experiences with infertility.

"My husband and I had our two daughters through surrogacy," Holyman told Gay City News. "But we had to travel 3,000 miles away to California in order to do it. As a gay dad, I'm thrilled parents like us and people struggling with infertility will finally have the chance to create their own families through surrogacy here in New York."

"This law will [give intended parents] the opportunity to have a family in New York and not travel around the country, incurring exorbitant costs simply because they want to be parents," Paulin said for her part. It will "bring New York law in line with the needs of modern families."


Personal Essays by Gay Dads

Just Like Dad: Ways My Kids and I Are Alike

Joseph Sadusky recounts the ways he and his adopted sons are cut from the same cloth.

Editor's Note: This is the third in a series of excerpts from Joseph Sadusky's new book, Magic Lessons: Celebratory and Cautionary Tales about Life as a (Single, Gay, Transracially Adoptive) Dad. The book contains many stories about my life as a dad, as well as lessons learned, and we're excited to share several excerpts from the the book over the course of the next few months. Read previous installments here!

Keep reading... Show less
Expert Advice

4 Tips for Single Gay Dads Raising Daughters

Here are some ways to create a safe space for your daughter to discover who she is, with you by her side.

There's nothing quite like father-daughter relationships, and when it comes to single dads, your little girl likely holds a very special place in your heart. From the moment she's born, it's as if you can see every moment of her life in front of you, from her first steps to walking her down the aisle at her wedding. You'll be the first man she'll know and talk to, and you'll be her biggest example of what a loving man looks like. She'll come to you for advice on how to navigate challenges, be independent, treat others and grow into herself.

Your relationship with your daughter may be shaped by your personal history, whether you've been through a difficult divorce or breakup, you've transitioned out of a straight relationship, or you made the courageous decision to pursue surrogacy on your own. Whatever your situation is, studies have shown that children with involved fathers excel more in school and have fewer behavioral issues in adolescence.

Keep reading... Show less

Fatherhood, the gay way

Get the latest from Gays With Kids delivered to your inbox!

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse