What do you and your spouse do?
July 10, 2017 5:44 PM   Subscribe

How do you and your spouse spend the evening after work? I'm especially interested in what people without children do. Do you eat together? Do you talk while eating? Do you do activities or hobbies together? Do you watch TV together? How connected do you feel to one another in the evening? Do you enjoy this time together? Or is it a bore?

I'm looking for some perspective on my relationship. Any stories you could spend about your normal evening routine, and your feelings about it, would help me. Details are desired and appreciated.
posted by OrangeDisk to Human Relations (47 answers total) 76 users marked this as a favorite
We often cook together, watch a TV show that we're both following, play cards and, armed with wine and food, go over our days, complain about our working lives and advise each other about how to deal with the problems that working life entails. That kind of thing. But some nights we just keep to ourselves, read books, and go to bed.
posted by dis_integration at 5:55 PM on July 10, 2017 [9 favorites]

We do a little meal planning and grocery shopping together on the weekends so that the week is not so chaotic. Most days, after work, we make dinner together, listen to music and chat about our day, then clean up together and go off and do our different things, but together. Usually we play different video games in the same room or watch TV shows in different rooms, or read/play in separate rooms, etc. It varies a lot.

Sometimes we decide we don't feel like making dinner and instead we go out and come back to the same routine. Sometimes one or the other of us has plans elsewhere, someone working late, or has plans for drinks with a friend, or a yoga class or something. Sometimes we have plans to go do something more exciting, like see a show, or have dinner with friends together. But I would say the 1st paragraph (make dinner together and talk about our days, then sort of hang out with free "together" time) is about 3x a week at a minimum.
posted by pazazygeek at 5:58 PM on July 10, 2017 [3 favorites]

Mr Fig and I have quite different schedules, and generally get to bed early, so in the evenings we only get a few hours together.

On an average weeknight where both of us work:. The first person home does the chores (animal feeding, litter boxes and dog walking). If we get home at the same time, we split those up. Then, Mr. Fig dinks around on his corner of the internet while I dink around on mine (here!) while I play/cuddle with the animal pack (like what I'm doing right now). We have nightly cuddle time (generally in my bed (we have separate bedrooms)) for anywhere for 15-30 min, where we talk about things and/or have sexytimes depending. Then, we generally go to bed or to read / etc.

If only one of us is working, the other generally plans or makes dinner and we eat together. Thursday nights, we do yoga together.
posted by Fig at 6:05 PM on July 10, 2017

Depends on the day, but some common things are:
--Chat while cooking dinner/cleaning up (we have a tiny kitchen but it's open concept-style, so usually one person is working on kitchen-related things while the other one is hanging out on the couch, and we switch off rather than both trying to squeeze in the kitchen space at once)
--Go for a walk around the neighborhood/nearby park
--Watch TV together
--Read/surf the internet/listen to podcasts, sometimes in the same room or sometimes in different rooms
--Sip a cocktail/wine and talk (or a mocktail for me now that I am pregnant)
--Go out to dinner or other random evening activities -- not every week but from time to time (i.e. a lecture, art show, hang out with friends, etc.) -- often together, but sometimes separately depending on the event/schedules/etc.
--I will often do a yoga or other workout video either in the same or another room (depending what my spouse is doing and if it will be annoying to be in the same room)
--Have sex/snuggle time
--Chores (but this is often saved for weekends)

We usually eat dinner together, unless one person has other specific plans or has to work late or something like that. While we eat, sometimes we talk, sometimes we watch TV. Mostly it is enjoyable, although honestly rarely exciting...but we are both sort of homebodies who don't need a TON of excitement in our lives so that's okay with us. We tend toward doing more activities-type things on the weekend because we both have sort of intensive jobs and want to just relax in the evenings for the most part.

Sometimes one of us has had a shitty day at work or, ahem, is pregnant and has insane hormones and so is just in a terrible mood for no reason (this is me, so I feel comfortable saying that!), so the other person will just give the bad mood person some space, but mostly we are both pretty easy going just kind of comfortably hang out, chat or do our own thing, etc. I would say I like our routine and generally find it pleasant. If one person is feeling a little stir crazy they'll often suggest going out for dinner or on a walk or something like that and our preferences on how often to do this stuff match up well enough that it seems to work out.
posted by rainbowbrite at 6:12 PM on July 10, 2017 [4 favorites]

Our kids are 20 (away at college 9 months or more out of the year) and 17 (super social, always busy, has a boyfriend) so we might as well be child free at this point.

On weeknights the kids aren't here:

I come home from work, he's here because he works from home. I greet the animals, he asks about my day, I ask about his. I cook dinner while he finishes up with work. While eating we'll watch John Oliver, or baseball, or something else. After dinner, we clean up the kitchen together. Depending on the time, we'll run errands or walk the dog or do laundry or yard work or catch up on paperwork, etc. Sometimes we'll watch a movie. Sometimes we have plans outside the house, with friends. When it's time for bed, we put the animals "away" (cats in the basement, dog in his crate), he does his nightly putting the house to bed routine, we both get ready for bed, read, and go to sleep (or do other things *ahem*). If there's something going on in our lives (upcoming vacation, kid issues, whatever), we talk about it or plan stuff or whatever.

We feel very connected during our time together. We talk, sing, joke, listen to podcasts, etc. We're both introverts so we try to keep our going out limited to weekends because work is interaction enough. We both like the life we have together.
posted by cooker girl at 6:19 PM on July 10, 2017 [3 favorites]

I get home first, so I feed/walk our dog, before making dinner. We eat together, talking about our day. He washes the dishes, then we spend some time together, often doing separate things (reading, interneting, drawing, riding exercise bike) but in the same room with some conversation. If the weather's good, we take an evening walk together. Sometimes we watch a tv show before bed, but not normally. This is probably 4-5 days a week - since I take an art class and he works late 1 night. Sometimes we do social things on a weeknight, but normally not.

I like this schedule - I feel connected to my partner, but I get some time to chill and do my own thing after work.
posted by ceramicblue at 6:19 PM on July 10, 2017

My experience is based off me going to school while my partner worked (right now I'm preparing for next semester and they're not working, so I can't rightly say this is our current routine). We usually had dinner together, but sometimes if one person ate an earlier/later lunch we'd just scrounge for food at different times. We would talk about our days and any interesting things that happened while we were eating.

After that it really depended on the day and how we felt. Sometimes we would watch TV, sometimes one of us would play a video game while the other person watched. A lot of the time we would both get on our computers (in the same room), but still talk to each other and send interesting internet stuff to each other over a chat system. This allowed me to work on homework and stuff but still keep up a conversation, because I could take time to respond and wouldn't be interrupted right when I was super focused (this did cause some minor frustration with my partner, though, because sometimes I would get super focused on a task and forget about the conversation). Sometimes we would do chores together, other times one person would do chores while the other person did something else.

I don't think I had strong feelings towards this either way. I enjoyed being around my partner, but I don't think my connectedness to my partner varied much depending on what we were doing. I guess I felt a little more connected when we watched each other play games, because that involved a lot of commentary and suggesting actions and such. I don't think I ever found it boring, but I'm a) a multitasker and therefore always doing something interesting, and b) a bit of a loner, so I can go long periods doing things by myself and not be bothered. If my partner and I didn't interact a lot some nights, that didn't really bother me? If it happened for extended periods of times, I would get lonely and mention it and we would put more effort into doing things together. But in general it was enough to just kind of exist in the same space and touch base on and off throughout the night.

I'm also possibly aromantic and autistic though, so my experience may be a bit unusual.
posted by brook horse at 6:20 PM on July 10, 2017

Generally, the first thing we do when we both get home is sort out what we'll do for dinner. One of us cooks (we take turns), typically my husband will clean up afterwards because I hate that chore. Often we have the TV on while cooking or eating dinner, usually something dumb to help me relax like cat videos on youtube, or a show like Family Guy.

After dinner, we typically do one of the following: watch Netflix together (a show we're watching together); one of us plays a video game on the PS4 and the other watches/hangs out with; we play together video games on our computers via Steam, sometimes together on the PS4; play board games; read/surf the internet together; and have sex/snuggles. Sometimes we do chores and housecleaning together. And, vent to each other about our days (we've worked in the same field in the past, so we know what each other struggles with). Lately we've actually been talking more about fashion...we always seem to find interesting things to discuss.

Overall, I think we both feel pretty happy spending so much time together. We really love to do things together and spend our evenings with each other. Sometimes one or both of us will have outside hobbies or events to go to, but more often than not, we're happy to just be at home together. We're pretty introverted.

Recently, we've been going to local professional associations too since we are in similar lines of work. These are usually after work shindigs. I've been thinking of us as a "power couple" and it's been fun!
posted by FireFountain at 6:21 PM on July 10, 2017 [2 favorites]

Things I do with my partner: Hang out, listen to music, plan dinner, make dinner, exercise, play video games, watchTV/ youtube, discuss and comment on (day, music, game, TV, dinner, etc) hang out with local friend, grab a drink or sandwich at local spot, walk the dog/ go for hikes, play board games, sexy times, throw a frisbee, read on couch or bed together, sing songs to the cat, make projects or art together or separate in the same room, snuggle, garden, make music, skype distant friends, do chores, go for walks, go to the park.

I don't know what kind of detail you want but my pre-kid life was full of doing stuff with and having fun with my partner, up until this last year. Various mixes of the above got us through almost 20 years of coupledom, YMMV.
posted by SaltySalticid at 6:44 PM on July 10, 2017

Meet up at home around 5, either go for a nice walk starting from home, or drive to a cool nature spot a bit further away when the days are longer. Maybe pick up some ingredients for dinner on our way home. He tidies the kitchen a bit, then I start making dinner while he hangs out in the kitchen and we talk/listen to music while I cook. Sometimes, the roles are reversed.

While we eat, or while dinner is cooking as the case may be, we listen to tunes, try and discover new music and take turns playing old faves for one another, hanging out in the same room messing around on our computers.. I work on photography stuff, browse around on flickr and read Metafilter, he likes to draw, follow current events, read around on different subreddits etc.

Later, maybe play a board or card game, or spend a bit of time outside in the yard, then we'll head back in and decide on some shows to watch together, (usually a reality competition show, game show, sketch comedy show or a sitcom... lighter fare), eat snacks, chill out, and eventually head to bed.

I cherish every moment.

posted by wats at 6:47 PM on July 10, 2017 [5 favorites]

When I get home, I wander through the house and bestow greetings on partner and all cats, and then retire to the couch for some decompression time while my partner looks for a good break point in whatever he's doing. As soon as he hits a good resting spot, he comes out to see me and we catch each other up on our days or talk about whatever house/family business needs taking about. We usually hang out together for a while, maybe watching TV or talking or sharing random internet crap.

Eventually we form a dinner plan, order or cook the dinner, and eat the dinner together, sometimes while watching TV, sometimes while talking.

After dinner we often each go do our things in separate rooms, but we frequently touch base throughout the evening to share thoughts, jokes, come-see-how-cute-the-cat-is-being, etc. We're usually doing separate hobbies or separate or shared chores during these times. Sometimes we'll go out to a play or run errands or something but usually we're home on weekday evenings, as I get pretty burned out after a day of work. Once a week or so he meets some friends for dinner and I revel in the alone time.

I like this balance of togetherness and separate time, feel sufficiently connected, and am not bored. A couple of times through the years , my partner has felt the balance tipped too far toward separate time so we've recalibrated to a place we're both pretty happy with. Similarly, the post-work "how was your day" check-in is my thing; it wouldn't be something he'd make such a ritual of left to his own devices, but it's meaningful to me to have even just a few minutes set aside for that, so he makes that time.
posted by Stacey at 6:47 PM on July 10, 2017

My wife works from home, and I know she often takes the time to tidy up and make things homey before I would get home around 5- I always felt really loved and special that she cared to do that, even though she was working too. We've always had tiny kitchens and so we've always adopted "one cooks, one cleans" as our best strategy.

Usually I will come home and flop onto the couch or bed for a few minutes, having just gotten off a loud crowded bus. Often she will come flop with me and we will talk about our days. Somewhat frequently, this will sort of veer off into about 30 mins of just lying around chit chatting, sometimes about really inane but funny stuff because we're both tired but happy to be back together. I love those times. Honestly, we spend much of our weeknight evening time sort of mindlessly net-surfing, but we love being "together" in the same room. We usually put on a familiar TV show during dinner so that we can talk during it. Sometimes we'll read, usually after dinner. We usually head to bed pretty early, around 9pm, and spend about an hour reading in bed or still net-surfing and idly chatting.

It sounds kinda boring as I type, but it's lovely time spent unwinding and being comfortable with each other. We are always in the same room, even if we're reading different things, and usually our dog is curled up with one of us. When we feel like we ought to spend less time online, we have found TV shows to actually pay attention to, or do puzzles.

Monday nights were always grocery shopping, so we'd meet up right after work at the store and do it together. Fairly frequently, we'd also meet up at Target after work for what we called "Target dates" - both to pick up stuff we needed and just to stroll together. I was in a local choir and would do practices Tues from 7-9, and I don't like to drive very much, so Mrs Molerats would drop me off and then often find a coffee shop to hang out in for an hour or two. Those were busy weeknights, but also cozy in their own way.
posted by nakedmolerats at 6:51 PM on July 10, 2017 [2 favorites]

My boyfriend has a kid, but when it's just him and me at my house or his a typical evening is:

- make dinner, eat together without the TV on, hang out on the couch, sexy-time if we're up for it.
- Things we talk about include - work, planning activities for the weekend, talking about the actvisim we're both involved in, articles we've read online, local politics.
- If it's nice out we'll do all of this on my back deck and enjoy the evening.
- If there's still time after dinner we might watch some Netflix or he'll show me some You Tube clips he's saved and wants to show me.
- Sometimes we're working on a project together like making jam or help each other with chores like laundry or fixing the plumbing.

If one of us has had a particularly hard day we might just order a pizza and then draw the other a hot bath so they can relax.

I like these evenings together a lot and so does he. They are times for us to just relax and be with each other. Occasionally we'll talk about bigger relationship stuff, but mostly it's just the intimacy of everyday life together. It's a specific type of closeness that I think we both enjoy. We talk about this kind of time as an opportunity to connect.

We are both pretty busy together and apart on many other days. We see a lot of theater and the symphony, we go on bike rides, we go to talks or community meetings, some of those things are "dates" and some are just shared activities. Those evenings are more about a shared experience and we like them too, but they are less about intimacy and connection. Those activities provide a lot of fodder for conversation on our "at home" nights.

We are together 4-5 nights out of 7 and maybe 1 of those is an at-home night just the 2 of us, 1 is an out-about-town night for the 2 of us and the other 2 involve kid (dinner, make school lunch, bath time, bed-time, etc). So that also makes our at-home just the 2 of us nights a little special too.
posted by brookeb at 6:58 PM on July 10, 2017

I work from home and his current gig means he doesn't get home until about 7:30, and we try to get in bed around 10ish, so we don't have a ton of weeknight time together, but usually I handle meal construction a little before he gets home. We have a drink, eat while watching TV, maybe watch another hour of TV (this is also surfing time, or he may have to do a little work stuff, or I may write while he watches something, but we're in the same room). Maybe 2-3 nights a week we get in the hot tub and listen to a podcast (we have a couple specific ones we listen to together).

On weekends we usually do breakfast/brunch together one morning and lunch together the other, but during the day we mostly do errands or work or writing or cleaning, usually not in the same room. We tend to reconvene around 5-6pm for dinner, tv, hot tub time. Once a monthish we have a lunch date together with friends, and I tend to go out one or two afternoons a month for my book/art club. Once a month or so we might go out to the movies, which I like to do midmorning so we can get on with our days after.

On the worst summer weekends, we often hole up in the master bedroom with the dogs and the good window A/C, and we might actually sit still and watch a movie or binge-watch something outside our normal routine. But also we set up little workspaces and put on our headsets and work independently.

I struggle with evenings because it's my writing time, and I feel bad about going away so I end up telling him to watch something I don't care about while I try to not get distracted by it, and it doesn't work all that great. But I look forward to dinner and hangout time, definitely.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:00 PM on July 10, 2017

During the workweek, I get home earlier than him so I deal with the dogs, mail, other house surprises and then hit the gym. By the time he gets home I'm back so we usually take the dogs for a 30-45 minute walk and catch up on the day.

During the week we eat our own whatever for dinner but eat around the same time. He does our grocery shopping, I email him a list of what I want for my stuff (he is paleo, I'm a vegetarian on a good day and keep fish/meat to 1-2 days a week).

We will then catch up on our DVR shows and then I retreat somewhere to read/internet and he will catch up on sports crap. We are sometimes in bed at the same time (at which we fully take advantage of that for sexy time) or I will drift off to sleep and he will come to bed at whatever God foresaken hour he wakes up on the couch.

In the mornings he is up slightly early and makes coffee, but we are out of the house at the same time each morning.

We have been married for 3 years, no kids, not planning on having kids.

Weekends are a totally different ball of wax, but this is our typical weekday schedule. It's laid back and totally works for us.
posted by floweredfish at 7:14 PM on July 10, 2017

No kids, both work, together for 20 years.

Mrs. Intermod likes to cook and does so three nights a week -- Sun/Mon/Tue, with fresh ingredients from weekend grocery shopping. We eat dinner while watching favorite TV shows (Tivo, Roku, Netflix, etc.), and for the first 30-60 minutes pause during commercial breaks and talk about our day. Lots of talking during those periods, but also taking breaks from talking (work stories can be draining) and returning to stupid teevee. We watch about two hours of various shows and then have another 30-60 minutes of quiet time together, often with laptops or books or magazines. We are completely comfortable with that routine.

But I think a key ingredient of that is the other four nights of the week. Wed night, we're apart doing our own things. Thu night, nice dinner out and maybe a movie. Fri and Sat night, probably going out and doing stuff, but also possibly staying in and having leftovers or food delivered.

Also, we have offset sleep schedules. She's in bed early and out to work early, so my "me time" is late at night and in the morning. Her time is the two hours between when she gets home and when I get home.

I do the dishes every morning :)
posted by intermod at 7:24 PM on July 10, 2017 [2 favorites]

I get home much earlier than my partner, and so I open the windows, fluff the couch, put stuff away, etc. I get 30-60 minutes of my own quiet time, which I use to do chores like bills, read, or play phone games until partner arrives.

Once partner is home, I go to the bedroom to chat about our days while partner unwinds and changes into comfortable clothes.

Next, partner has their own quiet time which is used for short video games, work wrap-up emails, or TV/phone time.

I make dinner while partner relaxes. We chat more about our days/upcoming plans during dinner. Partner does all dishes and I pack lunches made of leftovers.

After dinner it's either errands together, date-like strolls somewhere cooler/warmer than our apartment depending on the weather, or TV together time if we're really tired from the day.

Partner sleeps with their head in my lap invariably 30-60 minutes before me on the couch. Then we get up and go to bed.

I think the repetitive nature of this after work formula is what makes me feel connected to my partner. It is essentially a ritual where we both perform self-care and then together-care on each other daily. Holding each other on the couch is nice. I think my favorite is following my partner to the bedroom while they change clothes because... well... It makes my heart feel full and warm and soft.
posted by Temeraria at 7:28 PM on July 10, 2017 [3 favorites]

Married 25 yrs, childfree, broke. Home from work, evening cup of coffee, one of us cooks, we usually eat in front of Netflix, the other does the washing-up, showers are taken, tomorrow's lunches assembled, maybe a bit of reading or internet, bed. This reads as deadly dull, and it is, because we're broke. If we weren't broke, there would be more dinners out, meeting friends for happy hour, yoga classes, and so forth. On the other hand, routine is comforting, and we're still better off than 99% of the people in the world.
posted by scratch at 7:33 PM on July 10, 2017

I'm looking for some perspective on my relationship. Any stories you could spend about your normal evening routine, and your feelings about it, would help me. Details are desired and appreciated.

Why ? What you're doing is either working or it isn't. I wouldn't want to be in other people's relationships and some others look at they way my wife and I interact like we have three eyes and gills.

Thing I'm trying to say is - what works for you is what works for you, and while maybe we can help with some specifics, knowing what others do isn't terribly useful - for example, none of the evening routines of the other posters here matches ours, and... either they are really wrong, or the specifics don't actually matter as long as you're both happy.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:43 PM on July 10, 2017 [4 favorites]

We had gym twice a week, so usually a quick easy dinner and shower and a little bit of together time then bed. Otherwise, like everybody else, chores, tv, individual pursuits while close by, talk, occasional dates. It's not a exciting life, per se, but it's a life most people live, I suspect.

Fights and drama were generally rare, till the end when we were hashing out if the relationship could or should be saved, then things got more lively
posted by Jacen at 7:53 PM on July 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

We both work from home, so we essentially spend all day together (although not, like, staring at each other).

In the evening, I make dinner as he finishes up work. Then we eat dinner and watch Netflix (most often at the same time). After 30 to 60 minutes of Netflix, we either watch the news or use our iPads or both. I tend to use my iPad a little more during that time because I've been following the news all day.

We do this so often that it is almost jarring if we happen to go out for dinner somewhere. (We're much more likely to go out for breakfast.) It is so boring when I lay it out here like this haha. But it makes me happy to see others who take comfort in routine.
posted by veggieboy at 7:55 PM on July 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

I work from home a lot less hours than he works so I'll cook tea while he unwinds.

We do any jobs around the house that need doing and then we tend to parallel play as it were. He'll relax on his computer usually playing games & watching videos & I might do the same on mine, I also like to paint so will do that in the same room or journal or something at my desk. We have a room set up specifically for this with our computers & craft spaces next to each other, and we'll chat back & forth all night while doing our own thing. We usually don't talk until later in the evening, he is an introvert with a job that requires him to be an extrovert so it tires him out mentally and he needs a few hours to regroup. Chatting usually comes after we go to bed. We go to bed about a hour earlier than we plan to go to sleep & well just snuggle & chat in a big pile on the bed with our dogs.

It's rather reassuring to read how many other people have similarly quiet lives they like.

We do have 2 regular nights a week we go out. One to a D&D game I run (he runs a pathfinder game at the next table) and we usually have a date night on the weekend, though the date may just be taking the dogs for a nice walk somewhere pretty.
posted by wwax at 8:41 PM on July 10, 2017 [2 favorites]

We've started going to the gym together after work three times a week. This helps us both get there as I know if I flake he will too and vice-versa - so I look at it as getting two workouts for the price of one (his and mine) if I just have enough willpower to go. I swim and he runs so we don't see each other while there, and I find after my swim I'm in a much better mood. As an introvert it gives me a little me-time plus a boost that I exercised.

Then we cook dinner but we have very separate tastes (he's a supertaster and can't stand the strong flavours I love) so we each make something different. Our kitchen is just big enough that we can work around each other. Then TV as we eat (lately Brooklyn 99). Then we'll mess about on the Internet (separately but together) and chat until I go upstairs to read a book and fall asleep. He goes to bed later so stays up and works on writing projects or watches stuff I'm not interested in on TV.
posted by hazyjane at 9:13 PM on July 10, 2017

I suppose our evening routine is 'normal' (it has many of the same basic ingredients as described by others above), but I sense that your main question is 'how SHOULD we feel about it?"

Well...sometimes I feel like I want more enjoyment from our evenings together. I get frustrated with my partner for not bringing much conversation to the table: I feel like I am the one to initiate, like, 85% (or more) of the conversational topics. So whilst we figure out what to make for dinner, eat, wash up, watch a bit of TV, play with the cat, etc., I experience (not ALL the time, but often enough) some resentment and boredom, to be honest.

But when I think about what my partner was like when when met...well....I shouldn't be surprised. My partner has never been a huge 'talker'. :/

So my point (if I have one?) is that it doesn't really matter what your (or anyone's) routine is, so long as it fulfills the needs of the two people involved (as individuals and as a couple). And maybe if you are feeling boredom, or resentment, or something else, some need of yours is not being met.

How to get that need met is, of course, an entirely separate kettle of worms. *

*I like mixing metaphors. :)
posted by Halo in reverse at 9:20 PM on July 10, 2017 [7 favorites]

We eat dinner together (i usually cook, sometimes we cook together). We may or may not watch TV during dinner, but we generally talk too.

Both of us are introverts so we usually have our alone time after this. I'll plan meals or play a video game, he'll play a game or browse YouTube. I spend a lot of time browsing for recipes and meal ideas because cooking is one of my favorite hobbies. Sometimes I crochet, especially if there's a project I'm excited about.

After this, we might hang out together again, go for a walk or cuddle or something.

I think we're both pretty satisfied with this arrangement. We always spend some time with each other, but still have alone time too. We hang out quite a bit more on weekends as well.
posted by cp311 at 10:58 PM on July 10, 2017

My husband and I are childless 50% of the time (split custody) so I am speaking only to our weeks when we don't have our kid. Obv. when we have our kid our life is different.

When it is just the two of us we usually split our evenings between "alone" time and "together" time.

I'm usually home first. Husband gets home around 5/5:30pm. We hug and kiss and greet each other and have a quick "how was your day" thing. If one of us had a particularly good or bad day this may be a more drawn out thing, but usually it is pretty quick.

From that point on we usually split our evenings between together time and alone time. Sometimes we chill out together talking about our days or just about whatever. If the weather is cooperative we do this on the deck outside sometimes with a beer/cider/wine. However, more often than not one or both of us have alone things we each want to do (hobbies or chores) so we part ways and do our own things, including making our own suppers separately. He will periodically pop his head in whatever room I am in to tell me he loves me, as will I.

On the days where we have separate evenings "planned" we also establish when we will be free to be together (usually around 8/9pm) at which point we do a together activity, like watch a movie or play 20 questions in bed or have sex.

We always go to bed at the same time. ALWAYS. And we always do "What did you like today" before falling asleep.

Our weekends look pretty similar, except on a larger scale.

I think we like this arrangement a lot. It gives him the time he needs/wants for his various hobbies (beer/wine making, audio editing, lawncare, etc) and it gives me the alone time my poor poor introverted heart needs.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 4:26 AM on July 11, 2017

Lately it's been a little dinner, a little tv and a lot of fucking.

Previously it was going out and little catching up with people.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:41 AM on July 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

I generally get home at least two hours before my wife, so I take care of the animals, do personal stuff for a while, and cook dinner (if we have leftovers I'll just wait and reheat them when she gets home). "Personal stuff" for me could be computer games, gardening, cleaning, anything I can do alone. When wife gets home, we eat dinner and talk about the day.

After dinner we might clean the kitchen together or hang out on the couch. Once we're couch-bound, though, we'll either watch TV or read. Lately, we've started doing the crossword together after dinner (I think we're getting old).

Towards bed time we'll take the dog for a walk and then get the animals ready for bed. I go to sleep earlier, wife will usually come to bed and read for a while.
posted by backseatpilot at 5:24 AM on July 11, 2017

Because of work, we are often apart, but assuming we are both in the same place, our usual routine is that first there is some decompression time right after work, sometimes with a beer or a glass of wine. Then one of us makes dinner (we don't do well cooking together, so this is always one person or the other), we eat together at the table but often with both of us reading, then there is the after dinner clean up which takes a few minutes.

After dinner we sometimes play board games (something my partner loves and I do because it makes her happy); otherwise we read or watch movies/shows. Right now we only have small screens in the place (eg, iPads, laptops), but not a TV, so we can't really watch something together. I'd like to change this so we can watch things together, but it obviously hasn't bothered us enough to actually go shopping yet. About once a week, sometimes twice, we will go out for drinks/dinner, usually somewhere within walking distance; we don't go out more often because not only does it get expensive, but it also stops feeling like a treat when it is too frequent.

There are also a lot of nights where one of us has a work event or is out with friends, and the other person does their own thing at home. And sometimes we just want some independent time; on those days the usual pattern is that she has a quiet evening at home reading and I'll swing by a brewpub for a burger and a couple of beers.

So overall, very little excitement and drama, which is how we like things, and since both of our jobs are fairly social we tend to make our evenings more introverted to help balance things out. Like others have said above, the routine is comforting and pleasant, and we both try hard to express gratitude for all the things the other person does (like cook dinner or take care of the cleanup).
posted by Dip Flash at 5:31 AM on July 11, 2017

I'm a crazy cyclist person, so we have two evening templates.

In both of them we end up in the kitchen together for at least some of the dinner prep; that's when we share about our days. We usually eat watching some show we enjoy together, and then shift to reading. Both of us have talky jobs, so we probably don't have lots more words left by that point.

Mrs Uberchet does most of the cooking, but not all of it. She has taken over meal planning and shopping, but I'm usually in the kitchen helping with prep, and I usually clean up after.

Since we caught the Old, we find we go out during the week a LOT less. We like our simple evenings.
posted by uberchet at 6:29 AM on July 11, 2017

We both get home around the same time and we do a mix of dinner, chores, and some play, and we do it all in unison. We really enjoy this time and I wish I had more of it. We spend basically 100% of our time in the evenings together engaging in some kind of activity together even if it's chores, and we spend maybe 80% of that time also talking about something or another. Generally the schedule looks like this:

6 pm - get home, unpack bags. "How was your day? What happened?" and we tell stories about the random people we met or the shit our coworkers did that day.

6:15 - start prepping dinner together. Extended discussion of workplace issues/current events in the news/gossip about family/things we read on MetaFilter today. (Yes, that is an actual topic of conversation. Almost every day.)

6:30-6:45ish - sit down to dinner. Actual sit-down dinner, sometimes with a glass of wine and candles. More talking on whatever topics the previous conversation turned up.

7:15 - clean up dinner. One of us does dishes and the other cleans the litter box, takes out the trash, files papers or whatever. We have a small apartment so generally we can keep talking while doing this.

7:30 - some leisure time. Most of the time we read books but we actually spend some of that time telling each other about the books we're reading (so, more talking). Sometimes we play board games. Years ago we used to watch TV but we don't do that anymore--very rarely we watch a movie. Some nights we do crafts e.g. one knitting and one sketching.

8 pm - get ready for bed. We do this simultaneously too, switching off who uses the bathroom. Talking in between of course.

8:30 pm - snuggle and read a book aloud to each other. I know this sounds cheesy and it really is. But we do it every night and I absolutely love it.

9 pm - meditation/prayers/yoga time - we do this together but we don't talk.

9:30 - lights out, more cuddles. We go to bed together and are usually asleep by 10pm. Wake up is at 5:30 am but mornings are a little bit crazier with schedules.

It's interesting to me how many people seem to lead separate lives in the evening. We have alone time at other points in the week and on weekday evenings we are tight together. In general I think we're closer than many couples (we do literally almost everything together--recently my sister complained about how she never gets to see me alone) but we like it that way. I enjoy every evening except of course the ones when someone is cranky, but that's pretty rare.

I think the important thing is that you enjoy the time. It doesn't matter what your schedule is, but if you're unhappy together or unhappy with the situation maybe try one of our schedules and see how it works?
posted by epanalepsis at 6:38 AM on July 11, 2017

Many evenings, we go to a yoga class together. Then we come back and I cook dinner, because he is going through a time at work right now and has to go into the den and do more work for a lot of the evening. After dinner, he continues to do work and I read or make art while listening to a podcast, or dick around on the internet.

When he has less of a time at work, we're more likely to watch a movie or a show together.

Also we go out to dinner once or twice a week, or walk to his parents' apartment.

I think we tend to be "alone together" people moreso than many couples because we are both only children who need a lot of inner head time. But, next to each other. Like cats.
posted by millipede at 7:11 AM on July 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'm with my son 50% of the time but when I'm not I'm at my boyfriend's house, we work fairly similar hours but different industries, I sit most of the day while he's on his feet.

We have a routine like most commenters above (chats, dinner, tv, cuddles/sex, sleep). If I want to go for a walk or shopping or out for dinner we do that. We help each other out as much as possible like if I have a headache he'll pester me to take advil and do more dinner prep or we'll go out, if he's exhausted I'll take care of dinner and give him more time to veg out with his smartphone game. He participates in extracurricular sports 1-2 times a week so I have that time to myself. I might go do errands or a yoga class or just relax depending on my energy level, then we get together after that and do much of the above but in less time, dinner is takeout or like a frozen pizza or sandwiches. We have aspirations to start running together and will talk about events we have coming up, like concerts we're going to, trips we want to take, what our schedules are like for the days coming up.

He likes to tell me his whole day right away so I make a point of stopping and listening to him whereas I'm normally more go-go-go with dinner and chores if I was alone. Before and after dinner (which we usually do together, right now he bbq's and I do the side dishes) we cuddle on the couch in various configurations while talking and playing with our phones, watch funny shows, he checks in with various family members, we play with his cat, I read him things I find interesting. One thing I really appreciate is he keeps track of when it's bedtime for me and supports me in getting the sleep I need (he likes to fall asleep with the tv on but he's adjusted this for the nights I'm with him), I also like to eat earlier than him so if he's not hungry I will have something light so I'm not hangry and he's willing to cook earlier for me.

Our time together feels really good, we're still in the "new relationship energy" phase but I've been with people the same amount of time and not felt as satisfied with our time together. With people where it hasn't been as satisfying it's been because the other person always brought work home or was exhausted/stressed all the time and had no energy to really spend time connecting. One ex would spend most of the night on facebook chatting with his friends while I was more motivated to talk to him and do things together, I mostly did the cooking if we didn't go out, another was just exhausted at the end of the day and we'd end up watching tv together but not really talking, when tv watching is passive like that I find it depressing and boring. In this relationship we both feel lucky to spend time with each other and the energy is just different, but this is the first relationship I've had where we just get each other and communication is really easy.
posted by lafemma at 7:55 AM on July 11, 2017

We have taken turns being super busy for the past few years and so the non-busy person usually makes dinner, while the busy person does their busy things.

Some nights one of us is less busy than other and we inevitably spend more time together those nights, but we've made it a rule/goal to:

1. go on a walk everyday together
2. eat dinner together (sometimes this involves watching a tv show we both enjoy)
posted by czytm at 8:21 AM on July 11, 2017

Over 95% of the time, I get home before Mr. Moonlight. He comes home from work and we usually spend a while talking about work while he heats up his food. We may also discuss any pressing issues (such as non-working appliances, bills, birthdays, other things), I let him eat, then he listens to a podcast for a while.

Around 7, he comes in to play video games and I'm usually either reading beside him, playing a video game myself, or watching (depending on the game). I clean up, do various short chores (such as making iced tea or iced coffee for the next day, putting cold water in the fridge). Later on, we listen to a podcast together and spend some time discussing the podcast or further discussing our day. We sleep around 10:00 or 10:30.

I wouldn't say we spend an intense amount of one on one time together, but I feel pleased with this amount of time.

Bonus: Someone I work with has a similar schedule, but her and her husband spend a lot of time in different rooms and they are both very happy.
posted by Ms. Moonlight at 8:29 AM on July 11, 2017

Two 30-somethings, no children. We both mostly work from home, in different rooms but we still end up spending a lot of productive time together (chores, errands, sex) during the day. We know the evening has started when I leave my office (bedroom) to join him in his (living room). He'll put music on and we'll have a cocktail and/or a toke to celebrate the end of work, then transition into cooking dinner.
That's usually a shared task or split between cook/cleaner. We both love to cook and have a lot of free time, so the meals can get pretty elaborate. Dinner table is in a part of the living room, but we don't usually have TV on while we eat, more music and non-stop exclaiming over how delicious the food is.
We live downtown in a big city, so we like to go walk about in the evening just to see what's happening in our neighbourhood. We don't do much socializing on our own, but we have dinner/drinks/board games with friends or go to the movies. If we're staying in, we'll hang out on the couch. I like to do easy/tedious work stuff in the evening when I'm stoned, or we might put in some work on projects we're doing together like his website. We also acquired a bunch of two-player cooperative board games to play together, and we play Hearthstone on our phones. Traditionally, after 10pm is scary movie time, and we like to make up little challenges to make it less routine (right now it's Watch All Hitchcocks).
Routine is boring, sometimes I worry we're too comfortable, but the rituals, games and little challenges make things interesting and keep us connected in our boredom. Other times of the year are less routine-bound, as we travel a lot and do field work. Then our evenings are either full of activities to experience the places we visit, or condensed and over by 9 pm as we have to get up super early.
posted by Freyja at 9:36 AM on July 11, 2017

We clean house right before dinner, usually for ten minutes or so. Whoever is cooking cooks, and the other hangs out and sometimes sous chefs. We eat dinner early, sometimes play a couple games (cribbage, gin rummy, bananagrams), or read together on the couch. We go to bed early, almost always asleep by 10. We get up early and have coffee together.
posted by dbrunton at 9:45 AM on July 11, 2017

We arrive home together (since we work at the same campus) around 5:30pm. It's a very short commute by bicycle or car -- just a few minutes. I usually do a quick round of tidying -- putting away our shoes, hanging up our bags and coats, and a lightning round of cleaning if needed (putting away a cup that was left out or hanging up a towel). Then I light candles (usually). My husband typically turns on music (we like a lot of old jazz and experimental music) and does the dishes in our very small sink that were from that morning's breakfast. We talk about anything and everything together in the kitchen. If the evening is lovely outside, either one of us might suggest a walk out to the lake. Then he cooks dinner and I make us each a cocktail (usually). We eat. Sometimes, we might watch one Netflix episode (approx. 20-30 minutes) while eating together, but it's not something we like to make a habit out of. I grew up without a TV and it's just not something we're that into. Usually, it's more like we say a word of gratitude for our meal and our day and then focus on conversation with one another. After dinner, my husband does the dishes and I might tackle things from our "to do" list (check on this bill, call customer service about such and such, etc). Or, I do the dishes and encourage him to go relax. We have a small place so we're never far apart from one another. We try to avoid spending time in front of a screen in the evenings, so after dinner, we usually read library books until it's time to go to bed. Obviously, sometimes our evenings look quite different: we hurry off to a concert or we dance in our living room to a song or get all romantic. Sometimes my husband reads to me. There are also evenings where we decide to go to gym directly after work. Then we're heading there at 5:30pm straight from the office and coming home to shower and cook dinner afterwards. Either way, we go to sleep by about 10pm.

We do enjoy this time together immensely. We both openly talk about how grateful we feel for one another, our small and safe home, and the little things we get to enjoy like the natural beauty where we live or the library books we're reading. We're affectionate and typically tell stories that make each other laugh through the evening. I think avoiding screens helps us cultivate this kind of environment, but I'm sure it's different for everyone. Our home feels like a haven and I really treasure our evenings on most days.

I will say that I love it when we have company over, which isn't often enough because we're still building community in this new place. We love hosting dinner parties or cocktails and that's always a fun "disruption" to our routine. That being said, I have noticed that we tend to do a lot of the same things whether or not company is coming over: lighting candles, interesting music, clean peaceful space, delicious food, cocktails. I guess I feel like we deserve to enjoy our home as much as we want guests to enjoy it.
posted by pinetree at 10:01 AM on July 11, 2017

We're 40, child-free and pet-free. We do stuff together and with others on weekends, but during the week we're usually wiped after work. I cook or else we order delivery, and we watch TV or play video games all evening, always in the living room. If we feel squirrelly we may work on personal projects in front of the TV too. Some days we talk a lot, but sometimes we're quiet. We're normally very content just to be together and to have the home that we have. Occasionally friends come over for food and relaxation on a weeknight. That's nice too.
posted by heatvision at 10:19 AM on July 11, 2017

We eat dinner together and watch an episode of whatever show we are working our way through.

We try to go out with friends for dinner once a week, out to dinner by ourselves once a week, and go out for a drink once a week.

Sometimes we do errands like food shopping together.
posted by tippy at 12:23 PM on July 11, 2017

Since you're looking for barometers for your own relationship, I'll add a data point: We have had to learn to let go of some of our preconceived notions of "coupled evening time" in order to get to an actually satisfying routine going.

I think ideally we both love the idea of "pour a drink, cook together, eat dinner, spend time doing [something], buy fresh delicious groceries at the farmers' market together, go out for a walk, bedtime." But like...my partner doesn't enjoy drinking when he has hobby work to do later (which is almost always), we SUCK at cooking together because our styles are completely different, currently it's hot out which means I'd rather die than go walking in the humid mosquito-filled armpit of our city, grocery shopping makes me SO CRANKY, and just a lot of actual facts on the ground that meant we actually haaaaaaated our "perfect" routine.

So instead partner gets home, lies down for a while, and I either order dinner or start putting stuff together to cook. Sometimes he still cooks dinner, after I have done the chopping and such. No matter what we never ever cook together, lol, beyond one person maybe stirring while the other is occupied. After that we might go our separate ways. Or maybe we just cuddle on the couch with TV, or one of us will compute and the other will read, what have you. When we have energy and cash to spare, we might go out for drinks or dinner or a concert, but we're much more likely to do stuff like that on a weekend.

It doesn't look like the most fun, connected, glamorous couple-life but it is how we mesh two very different people with little conflict.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 2:20 PM on July 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

I work 1 - 2 evenings per week, and have a class 1 evening a week, so we are apart some of the time until 9 PM. On my late work days we sometimes will spend the morning together, as husband works from home.

I also work 5 minutes from home, so will sometimes come home for lunch or meet husband out.

When we are together, husband usually cooks dinner. I will do other chores, clean up the kitchen, call my family or space out on the couch if it's been a bad day. If I'm in the kitchen we'll listen to an audiobook or podcast or music together. On the occasional night that I cook dinner, I like to do it alone while listening to/watching something.

We most often have a sit-down dinner together. We also go out for dinner, maybe once a week. If it's been a hard day, we'll do a TV dinner. We only have one or two shows that we watch together, so it's that or a movie. Husband has good self-control so we rarely binge watch anything.

Sometimes we keep talking in the kitchen for hours. Sometimes we go to our attic which has a record player and a table for us to draw (me) or write (both) at. The attic also has instruments, so husband will play guitar. Sometimes one of us has work or another project to do, and the other will keep them company while reading/looking at phone. Sometimes (all the time in the summer) we go out for a walk, often meeting friends in town. We very rarely play games together. Sometimes we'll just keep listening to the audiobook, or music. Sometimes we'll go to a music show or a party. Sometimes we'll do chores. Sometimes we'll have sex. Occasionally we'll meditate.

We almost always go to bed at the same time, and like to read aloud to each other before sleep!
posted by Isingthebodyelectric at 2:39 PM on July 11, 2017

I was married without children for 18 years, to a fellow introverted geek. He was ill enough to be unable to work about 6 of those years.

We spent most of our mutually free time doing our own things in the same room or within sight of one another. We had only small overlaps in taste for TV, books, games, etc. But we were able to talk about our separate passions and loved listening to each other get excited about a thing.

I'm an early bird, he was a night owl. Weekday mornings I would get up first, read, eat something, feed the animals, and wake him up before heading off to work. There were a couple of years when we had one car and both worked and that was a terrible thing to deal with some mornings.

We'd usually cuddle and talk for a while after work, maybe with the TV on but not really invested in it, and then start negotiating dinner. His meds dictated a very regular eating schedule, my ADD resists pre-planning meals. It could get tense. He hated cooking but wasn't so bad about dishes, and was less likely to mind running out to get takeout or emergency groceries. (We were living in the suburbs in the dark ages so the only delivery was pizza). Unless one of us was out alone (different RPGs, occasional classes, etc), we ate dinner together every night either in front of the TV or at our computers. We would keep on doing our own things in the same place with lots of commentary to one another until bedtime.

Usually I would be sleepy before him but when I would go to kiss him goodnight he'd often shut down and follow me before I fell asleep. We read in bed together a lot, since I absolutely could not deal with TV in the bedroom. He also kept notebooks by the bed and worked on game campaigns while I read. We didn't have handheld screen devices back in our day but if we had it probably would have been us in bed with phones/tablets instead.

Weekends I might spend most of a day working on a craft project in my own space, and he would more often than me go out to a tabletop RPG game on his own. Other than games we almost never socialized separately, and when we were at a thing we would either remain in physical contact or go looking for each other at least once an hour to get a cuddle.

Some errands were easier for him to do while I was at work, some were easier for me to do on my way home, and some things we would do together. That was a combo of personal preference and him being unemployed so often. He hated taking pets to the vet but could deal with all sorts of homeowner type nonsense when he was out of work, I hate dealing with car stuff but didn't mind stopping on my way home to pick up his meds so he could avoid a one-goal trip. Groceries needed to be together or one of us would end up unhappy with the results; I was the dinner cook but he had a lot more meals at home than me.

Even when we had two cars we often drove the other to a thing only one of us was attending, because we really liked spending time in the car together. He'd drive me to and from work if he had a doctor's appt, I'd drop him at a game and go to the library until he was done, etc. Weird I know, but our relationship originally grew up out of him being my ride for everything in college.

We had a lot of long talks, things I'd read or he'd watched, what was happening in our separate RPGs, crazy silly weird tangents that turned into inside jokes we'd never be able explain to anyone else. We had very similar senses of humor: sarcastic, frequently dark, occasionally mean, but also whimsical and ridiculous at times. We talked in the car, in bed, walking the dog when he still could, etc. Always while touching but not looking at one another face-on. Snuggled up on the couch or spooned in bed were the favorites.

We also had a lot of serious talks about the inside of our own heads, our past traumas and our mental illnesses and our messed up families. But we were terrible about talking about our relationship, really horrible to one another when we felt threatened. So we talked around it mostly. We could make jokes about theoretical future relationships after whatever unspecified thing broke us up, but we could not discuss retirement, end of life plans, etc without triggering total meltdowns in one or both of us. That was because we knew he had a relatively short life expectancy so probably very different for other couples.
posted by buildmyworld at 2:55 PM on July 11, 2017 [2 favorites]

We are in our 50's, our kids are grown, and the demands on our evening time are relatively simple. For at least 10 years we have made the habit of going for a walk together in the evening. It is a leisurely walk though our nice neighborhood, with her arm on mine. The electronics get left at home, so all we have to do is look at the houses and the gardens, and talk to each other. We discuss what we are looking at, what our days were like, plans for the near future, and things like that. We will exercise our intellects by identifying plants, remembering facts, and pondering imponderables, all without a handy device to consult and tell us the answers.

This walk of about half an hour or more takes place at least 5 times a week, and if it is nasty outside we will go stroll though a nearby store. I believe that the two of us have become a neighborhood fixture, based on the number of people we do not know who smile and say hello to us as we pass.
posted by Midnight Skulker at 8:34 AM on July 12, 2017

DINKs here, cishet late 30's / early 40's, urban jobs, borderline suburban rental home.

We commute together, since we work near one another and work similar hours. We are both in bands (one together, several separately), so practicing music together & apart at home & at rehearsal space is normal several times a week. We have different hobbies we occasionally involve each other in (attending baseball games, hosting community radio shows, playing video games). We both have family relatively nearby who we visit roughly biweekly, sometimes together and sometimes separately (often on weekends but not always). When we haven't had the time to go to the gym (usually separately) during our respective work days and are feeling like we need it, we sometimes go to the suburban gym with the hot tub for cardio & a soak. But honestly, that happens maybe once a month.

A very typical weekday evening:
* we commute home together, during which we chat about our respective days and make plans for the week
* one of us preps a meal while the other decompresses a bit - the roles depend on who had the more stressful day, and we are fortunate in that usually the one who did not have a stressful day is generally excited to use solo cooking as a decompression
* we eat together, watching a film we've decided on together or a program we're both following
* we do some tidying up (often while chatting about politics/society/media, and if not, then listening to separate podcasts while we work in separate spots)
* we get back together for either playing music or watching another film or program before bed

I guess most folks would say it isn't especially exciting, but we are introverts who enjoy deep discussions with one another and get our social interaction through music/performance and attending friends' shows when they occur (often together but sometimes separately), so speaking for myself, I love our evening routine. Comfortable, fun, and entertaining.
posted by pammeke at 10:06 AM on July 12, 2017

I should probably add that we are newlyweds (living together for almost 3 years, married for 8 months) so who knows what this routine will look like in 10/20/30/40 years.
posted by pammeke at 11:41 AM on July 12, 2017

Many nights one or both of us do some sort of time consuming exercise thing (gym, bike ride, run) and then one of us makes dinner and we eat together and clean up and then take the dog for a walk and go to bed. Sometimes one of us has work to do so we don't walk the dog together. Sometimes one of us has an event or whatever and so we don't eat together. We moved recently and don't have a lot of friends so we both try to encourage the other to go do social things.

So for instance this week ...

Monday: we were both home by 6:30 or 7. I went to the gym and came back around 8:15. We made dinner together and then I proofread something he's working on while he watched ski videos on YouTube. Our house guests came back from wherever they'd been and we all walked the dog together.

Tuesday: I got a drink with some friends after work and got home around 9:30 or 10. He had saved me some leftovers and I ate them standing in the kitchen while we chatted. We walked the dog together and went to bed.

Wednesday: we were both home on the early side so we walked the dog to the copy shop where I printed some stuff on the plotter and then we walked home and made dinner. He did some work, I did some work, we went to bed.

We do foster care so sometimes we do have kids for a few weeks or months and then everything gets a lot more structured. We are both pretty committed to sitting down to meals together, and we try to do that most nights. No phones, no magazines. When we're both done one of us clears up or we clear up together.
posted by amandabee at 4:26 PM on July 27, 2017

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