One thing I learned from my first long-term relationship is that not every Friday night is going to be date night.
In fact, you learn quickly that what qualifies as a "date" is actually a pretty loose definition.
Some girls have it in their head that the perfect relationship involves the weekly ritual of getting dressed up and going to the most expensive restaurant in the area or walking around a snow-covered small town with hot chocolate and glowing streetlights.
When you're dating long enough, you learn that rarely happens. You do go on a lot of dates, but they start to look a little different.
1. The "Let's Mess Around In Target" Date
Admit it, you've done this at least once. There is no other person you would rather spend five hours sipping on some Starbucks, trying on tacky sweaters and petting all the extra soft throw blankets when you're bored and happened to pass by a Target. We've all been there.
2. The "Driving Around With No Destination" Date
No GPS, no map, no set destination, and probably no daylight. Just a long drive with an AUX cord and each other's company. Bonus points if you two are close enough where you give each other AUX cord privileges, no questions asked.
3. The "I Need Cough Medicine and Other Random Stuff" Date
You're on death's doorstep and need to run and pick up a few things, or you just have a bunch of errands to run and things to pick up. Either way, you are their go-to co-pilot.
4. The "It's Late But I Want Food" Date
5. The "Coffee" Date
No coffee house within fifty miles has been untouched by you two at this point. It's an even bigger excuse to hang out with each other if a new one opens up.
6. The "Animal Shelter" Date
All long-term couples have wandered into an animal shelter at one point, giggled at the ones with funny names, played with all the furry creatures, and had an hour debate on the pros and cons of bringing one home.
7. The "Let's Be Outside" Date
When the weather's warm and the sun is just begging you to be under it, you two cannot resist. Hiking, swimming, and cloud watching all are options on the table.
8. The "Yes, You Need New Clothes, and Yes You're Going Shopping" Date
And then proceed to pick out their entire new wardrobe with zero tolerance for their input.
9. The "Valentine's Day" Date
It is, after all, the holiday of love, but...
10. Also, the "It's Valentine's Day But It's Snowing And Cold So Let's Stay In Our PJs All Day" Date
You know you love each other, if you two don't feel like going out it's not the end of the world.
11. And yeah, the "Let's Stay In Our PJs All Day" Date
This has happened at least 100 times and still never gets old. Festivities include pigging out on pizza rolls, watching Netflix, and showing each other vines on Twitter.
12. The "Let's Go See What This Town Looks Like" Date
Their your adventure buddy so when an interesting exit sign on the highway catches your eye or a friend raves about a new brewery in a small town, their your go-to invite.
13. The "Study Date"
Even studying and doing homework together turns into the time of your life, complete with an epic studying playlist and an endless supply of motivation from them.
14. The "Festive" Date
Pumpkin picking, Christmas tree shopping, easter egg painting, the works. You've been together so long you've got a corny festive pick for every holiday.
15. The "Wedding Date"
People know to put "plus one" on your wedding invitations now because you two are basically a package deal at this point. Complete with the sickest dress/tie coordination anyone has ever seen.
16. The "Touristy" Date
Whether you're in a new place together or just decided to do some cliche activity around home, you have to do all the tourist attractions you know at least once. Even if it is only ironically.
17. The "Family Time" Date
You've had this one so many times, whose ever family it is, it doesn't even seem like a date anymore. Their family is basically your family.
18. The "Laundry" Date
Whether it's at the laundromat, your own washing machine, their's, or anywhere, even the most mundane chore becomes a fun activity for the two of you. Light bickering about folding style differences and all.
19. The "Breakfast" Date
Breakfast food + PJs = the best date EVER.
20. The "Anniversary" Date
You've lost count of how many it is by now, but you'll take any opportunity to celebrate the two of you.
21. Literally Everything Is A Date
Who are you kidding, when you've been with your partner this long everything turns into a date. They are just your favorite person to be around.