Same old Saturday: Americans are running out of date night ideas during COVID

NEW YORK — A new survey finds more than half of Americans say they’ve had a relationship pushed to the brink because of the pandemic. The poll of 2,000 Americans reveals 54 percent of couples have had their relationships jeopardized by COVID-related stressors. One of those stressors is simply not having enough date nights during quarantine.

The OnePoll survey also finds 53 percent of single-and-ready-to-mingle Americans have had a first date via virtual platforms within the past year. These daters average two virtual dates per month. For 54 percent of those in the dating scene, the first virtual date went so well they had a second one.

While virtual dating is on the rise, it still can’t quite compete with regular in-person date nights once a connection is made. For more than six in 10 American couples (61%), not having a regular date night is a stressor on a relationship.

Commissioned by Bogle Vineyards, the survey looked into the date night habits of singles and couples alike to determine how date nights have changed since the pandemic began.

Date night goes low-key in quarantine

Before the pandemic, top date nights include obvious outings such as going out to dinner (80%), shopping together (64%), and going to see a movie (61%). Since the pandemic began however, couples have had to take a more subtle approach to romance.

Couples are now more likely to have date nights at home which include ordering takeout (59%), cooking dinner together (58%), or having a movie night on the couch (49%). Seven in 10 couples agree that this year’s Valentine’s Day will look a lot different because of COVID-19.

Fifty-five percent of American couples say they’ve run out of date night ideas since the pandemic began. For 69 percent of couples, having regular date nights is an important part of a healthy relationship. Not having regular date nights can also make intimacy more difficult, according to 52 percent of respondents. Keeping that fire alive is a priority for nearly two-thirds of couples (65%), who have begun planning dates ahead of time so they can keep their relationship fresh and active.

Finding time away from the kids

Kids also play a factor in how date nights unfold for some couples. Among respondents with children, nearly nine in 10 (89%) parents can’t get alone time with their spouse or partner because their kids are now around all the time.

Parents will even go out of their way to get time without the kids being present. Respondents will put their kids to bed early (53%), let them play video games (47%), distract them with TV shows or movies (46%), and let them play in the yard unattended (42%) — all to get some alone time with their significant other.

“Stress used to mean finding a babysitter on Friday night,” explains Jody Bogle of Bogle Vineyards in a statement. “But during the pandemic parents uncovered a newfound stress of attempting to keep their children entertained while they tried to salvage some semblance of a normal date night. This survey reveals that couples found creative ways to keep the fire burning even when they weren’t able to leave their home.”

Is wine the key to romance?

Alcohol has played a larger role in relationships this past year. Eighteen percent of respondents said they’ve bought higher quality and larger quantities of alcohol in 2021. To add to that, 79 percent of people believe a person’s choice of alcoholic beverage is important on a first date.

When asked to identify the most romantic alcoholic beverages, a “bottle of red” captures the most hearts. Red wine holds the top spot, with 41 percent of Americans choosing it as the most romantic beverage. It is closely followed by champagne (38%), white wine (37%), rosé (29%), and wine cocktails (26%).

Overall, people are more inclined to incorporate drinking into their dates these days. Forty percent of people will rope drinking in with going out to dinner. Other date night ideas most likely to involve alcohol include cooking dinner together at home (35%), ordering takeout at home (32%), staying in for a movie night (31%), and going to a concert (28%).

“Four out of five people revealed that what you drink is important on that first date. This may be a lesson for singles out there to pay attention to not only what your date is telling you about themselves, but also take note of what drink they have in front of them,” says Jody. “From experience, I can say that if my husband didn’t drink wine on our first date, who knows, maybe we would not be together today.”