Help me come up with “exciting” and “pleasant” experiences for us to do together as a couple.
December 14, 2012 11:58 AM   Subscribe

Help me come up with “exciting” and “pleasant” experiences for us to do together as a couple.

A few weeks ago, I asked this question about building closeness when feeling distant in a long-term relationship. A few of you responded along the lines of we need to do more exciting activities together. Then, I read this article about research that suggests couples that do “exciting” activities (e.g. skiing, dancing) report greater satisfaction than couples who do merely “pleasant” activities (e.g. movie, cooking) together.

We talked about this article, and decided that we should each come up with a list of exciting and pleasant activities, and start working through our lists in 2013! Fun! He was actually very enthusiastic about this – I have a feeling he’s going to put things on the list he’s always wanted to push me to do (e.g. mountain biking) that I’ve always said no to, but I’m ok with this because I want to this to be an unbounded, unconstrained exercise for us, like “in my wildest dreams, I would like to…” or “It seems really scary, but I wouldn’t mind trying…” We might not do every activity, but it will be a fun list to talk about anyway.

I want to do a great job with this list, and come up with some unexpected ideas, which is where I need your help again. Everything that has come to my mind so far as “exciting” seems a bit clichéd to me (e.g. sky-diving, sailing). What “exciting” things can we do as a couple in Los Angeles (or a short drive / flight away)? What activities have been unexpectedly exciting for you?

I’m less worried about the “pleasant” activities list (wine-tasting, hiking, dinner / movie night, making dinner together; maybe TMI but sometimes, we have “spa” night where we lay out towels and spa-y things happen; highly recommended and really, the only time he moisturizes), but any suggestions you have for pleasant activities, especially more low-key things to do around Los Angeles that I may not be thinking of (e.g. highly recommend Thurs evening wine tastings at Silverlake Wine) definitely welcome!
posted by booksandwine to Human Relations (22 answers total) 62 users marked this as a favorite
hot-air ballooning — both exciting and pleasant!
posted by ubiquity at 12:06 PM on December 14, 2012 [3 favorites]

To me the word "exciting" in this context doesn't mean, like, skydiving vs. kayaking on a calm lake, but just getting outside of your normal routine and trying and experiencing things that are new to you.

If I were in LA and had not been, first on my list would be a trip to The Madonna Inn. I always meant to get there when we lived in Southern California and we never made it. If you like hiking, Vasquez Rocks in north LA county is also really cool. You will instantly recognize it from tons of TV shows and movies.
posted by something something at 12:07 PM on December 14, 2012 [3 favorites]

Race car driving school.
posted by 26.2 at 12:22 PM on December 14, 2012 [5 favorites]

"Exciting" things I've done with my boyfriend in the past year or so: camping, ziplining, indoor rock climbing, jumping on giant indoor trampolines, climbing through a ropes/obstacle course, running races (include a couple of overnight relay races with friends), jumping off a really high dock into the freezing ocean, riding bikes in Cape Cod, going to Bikram yoga classes, taking fairly meandering/unplanned road trips (we have an ultimate destination but don't care how we get there, which usually leads to seeing cool things), and probably a couple of other things I'm not remembering right now.

Obviously these differ in levels of adventure, and YMMV based on interest, but perhaps something in the list will appeal? Worth noting: many of these were prompted by Groupons/similar coupons (which reminds me: we're sitting on a trapeze class, another indoor obstacle course, and a stilt jumping deal right now that all expire soon), so that might be a good place to look for inspiration.
posted by rebekah at 12:24 PM on December 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

A fun game - works walking/biking in a city or driving in the country. Each of you secretly picks a destination. At the first intersection one of you gets to say right, left, or straight ahead. At the next intersection it is the other person's turn. If you arrive at somebody's destination they win.
posted by aunt_winnifred at 12:28 PM on December 14, 2012 [15 favorites]

I would take a day trip to the Channel Islands.
posted by purpleclover at 12:33 PM on December 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

Indoor sky diving sounds fun and not scary.

(I'd be a little wary of this project, honestly, especially if you already know he has an agenda re things like mountain biking. One person's wildest dream can be someone else's terrified, resentful ordeal. Don't ignore your own boundaries in pursuit of indulging a fantasy. Yes, it's important to make memories together; but it's also best not to make bad ones.)

Learning stuff can be a not-scary shared experience. I like to listen to history tapes in the car with my husband - gives us new stuff to think and talk about.
posted by fingersandtoes at 12:35 PM on December 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

Really fun day trips to obscure places? Atlas Obscura has some terrific ideas in the LA area.
posted by mamabear at 12:41 PM on December 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

I did make it to the Madonna Inn when I lived in LA and yes! Totally worth it. Highly recommend weekend road trips up the coast and lots of exploring of relatively uncharted territory there. Don't go nuts with the planning; there are towns, restaurants, and motels/hotels all over the place; pack and leave.
posted by kmennie at 12:46 PM on December 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Fly down to Costa Rica for a couple of weeks. Go ziplining in the jungle with the sloths and monkeys, climb a volcano, etc..
posted by empath at 12:47 PM on December 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

I am not you, but: watch a couple documentaries about the Salton Sea, then go there and to Salvation Mountain and Slab City for the weekend. Maybe for new year's eve. Bring camping equipment, and do enough research to know what you're getting into (it's not for everyone, but there are hotsprings!).
posted by tapir-whorf at 12:50 PM on December 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

Murder mystery dinner theater?
posted by ceribus peribus at 1:02 PM on December 14, 2012

Love Madonna Inn. You can pair it with going to Hearst Castle for a lovely weekend get away.

Go to a sex club as voyeurs.
Disneyland at night.
Camping in Yosemite (we did this in a VW van when I was a kid and I remember it fondly)
Body Surfing
Horseback Trail Ride
Being Seat Fillers at an awards show
Trying out for a game show

Exciting doesn't have to be thrill, daredevil stuff.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:15 PM on December 14, 2012

Stand-up paddleboarding
posted by doctord at 1:19 PM on December 14, 2012

"Exciting" to me often coincides with "things I think I won't like" and/or "things I think I'll be bad at." You might be able to get some good ideas by brainstorming for those categories instead.

Some ideas:
see an opera
take an art class together (painting, pottery, photography, whatever)
dancing lessons
build a piece of furniture together (lots of free plans for beginners here)
order a pizza with toppings neither of you would normally get, and while you eat it watch a movie in a genre you both think you don't like
posted by vytae at 1:32 PM on December 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Go hiking and backpacking. It's easy, even the most risk adverse can walk around, and it really forces you to act as a team. Plus climbing up to the top of even a tiny hill is endlessly satisfying. If you're in So Cal you've got tons of places to go.

And don't be terrified of mountain biking, it's not all downhill racing, beginner trails are basically dirt paths and as you get better you can try more hills and single track. Just don't fall in the cactus!!
posted by fshgrl at 2:25 PM on December 14, 2012

Learn how to ride a motorcycle.
posted by scratch at 2:41 PM on December 14, 2012

Urban exploration. (Try not to get arrested, but the fear of it might help with the excitement factor).
Have sex outside.
posted by lollusc at 3:09 PM on December 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Trapeze school
posted by willem at 8:37 PM on December 14, 2012

It's been at least a decade since I lived in that neck of the woods, and longer since I did this, but snorkeling at Catalina could fit the bill.
posted by Terriniski at 9:02 AM on December 15, 2012

Roller coasters? Every time I go on a roller coaster I fall in love with whoever is sitting next to me.

The most exciting date I ever went on was to a political rally. It was the early days of the Obama campaign, we were in Chicago, and it was just completely thrilling and special and something I never really expected to do. I spent the whole time thinking "I'll be able to tell my children that I was here." I won't be telling our children, since that guy turned out to be a total herb, but it still stands out as one of those WOW kinds of afternoons.
posted by Charity Garfein at 5:15 PM on December 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Try a bunch of super cheap non-English speaking ethnic restaurants and order stuff you've never tried, and especially the stuff you can't identify! One easy way is to point to a neighboring table and order whatever they're eating.

Scuba diving! Improv classes. Kettle bell classes. Host some couchsurfers!
posted by barnone at 7:13 PM on December 19, 2012

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