The drastic front page financial news is certainly a downer. As layoffs sweep the nation and more homes are foreclosed, tensions are running higher than CEO bonuses. But it’s not all gloom and doom out there — lots of Americans are saying that the recent economic downturn is affecting their romantic relationships in a positive way.
Take it from them — after the jump are 10 reasons why the recession is actually good for your love life…1. Because there’s less pressure to show off on dates.
Pinching pennies is easy on the wallet and on the ego. By giving up fancy dinners out on the town, Justin, 33, in New York City, says he and his boyfriend find “solace” in their more low-key plans. He said he views their money saving ways as a “staycation” — a vacation where you stay at home — so there is “much less pressure on going out and being fabulous.”
2. Because a laid-off love has more time to spoil you.
You still come home tired after a long day’s work; your significant other has been job searching in his pajamas all day. Who do you think has more energy to dole out the TLC?
Alana, 25, from California, says that after her boyfriend lost his job, he made pampering his sweetheart his new job. “One day, I arrived home to find a hundred tea lights already lit in my bedroom, music playing, lotions out, and the bed turned down,” she says. “Everything was in place so that I could slip out of my clothes and enjoy a nice, long massage from my honey.”
Now doesn’t that sound nice?
3. Because you’ll finally take the plunge and move in together.
Deciding to cohabitate is such a big step for a relationship that it’s easy to stress over it. Wendy, 27, from Los Angeles, is dating an actor and they used to live separately — until they realized how much more they could save by sharing a bed and a lease. The recession “pushed us to move in together because sharing one bedroom is lighter on our wallets,” she says, adding, “It has also been amazing for our relationship.”
4. Because you can watch whole seasons of serial TV together.
Now is the best time ever to perfect the ideal spooning position — so make like a couch potato and rent TV series you can watch from start to finish together.
Michael, 24, and his girlfriend both work in entry-level jobs in financial services in New York City and he says there is a good chance that both of them might be laid off in the months ahead. So they’re preemptively saving money by going out on the town less and Netflix-ing old TV shows instead.
“We’re trying to build emergency cash, just in case, and as a result we tend to make our evenings together around just being with each other,” he says. “There’s been some take-out Chinese and “West Wing” evenings that have been totally fantastic.”
5. Because more free time means more time for getting to know each other.
Nine-to-five is a long time to be away from your new infatuation. Kate, 28, a journalist in New York City, lost her job earlier this year — exactly when she started dating a guy who had just returned to the U.S. from a year abroad and was also looking for a job.
“It was a great way to spend the first couple of weeks of a new relationship,” Kate says, bragging about eight-hour smooching sessions. “That’s when you just want to be around someone all the time—and we actually could be.”
6. Because you’ll find unique ways to entertain yourself.
Vacations, theater, sushi dinners, bottles of wine — who needs them? Alana from California and her laid-off boyfriend spend no money at all enjoying the printed word with each other by reading aloud. “A few chapters at a time, I am reading him Pride and Prejudice and he is reading me Moby Dick,” she said. “The only problem I foresee is that I’ll always associate Moby Dick with naked skin and flannel sheets.” Small price to pay for all that money they are saving on movie tickets.
7. Because you’ll realize cooking dinner brings you closer together.
From shopping for ingredients, to washing the dishes, to sharing a spaghetti a la The Lady And The Tramp, cooking a meal together can be a sexy and romantic date.
Amanda, 33, and her girlfriend, have cooked everything from quinoa to pasta. She says that until they cooked more at home to save money, “We did not realize how cooking engenders a lovely intimacy that going to restaurants just doesn’t.”
If one of you is a feistier chef, time together in the kitchen might even spark a competitive element in your relationship that you didn’t know you had! “We have a lot of jokes about she likes to be completely in charge whenever I am in her kitchen,” jokes Amanda.
8. Because you can motivate each other to get more exercise.
Fancy gym memberships are often the first to go when hard times strike. But that means you and your beloved can tone your glutes by taking hikes through the woods or just downtown to window shop.
“We’ve been spending a lot more time exercising together — walks outdoors,” says Vincent, 27, of Connecticut. “It’s been much easier for us to talk about more long-term things when we’re not constantly bombarded with phone calls and TV.” Hey, maybe therapy appointments are another cost-cutter, too.
9. Because you might be happier breaking up with someone who you don’t want to spend money on.
It’s sad, but true: long distance relationships can be expensive. With that in mind, Jonathan, 25, of Massachusetts, recently ended his engagement to his college girlfriend — and then met someone new. Nathan’s ex is in med school and he is in law school in a different state, so he spent lots of money struggling to keep their relationship alive.
“Every time we saw each other, it was like I had to re-wow her — fancy meals, drinks, not to mention the cost of travel,” Nathan says. “I felt like if I didn’t continue to woo her, someone else would, so I felt obligated.” Although he is bummed about calling off his engagement, his new girlfriend lives in the same city and is “way cute — almost too cute for me!”
10. Because sex is free AND it relieves stress.
Why bother leaving your own bedroom? Cosmo Radio host Sara Benincasa says couples are rediscovering how one of the best parts about sex is the tension release. “Based on my experience with our callers, it seems that many folks are using sex as a stress reliever — a free, healthy outlet for stress,” she says. Dare you to find something more fun to do that doesn’t cost any money!