My husband and I rarely get a chance to go out. We moved to a new town five years ago, now, and in that time, we've made friends, but having little kids puts a cramp in the social calendar. It is extremely rare that our schedule coincides with that of our friends, given everyone has babies of different ages, or are working on dissertations, or are travelling, etc. So, when we do get a chance to go out, it's usually solo. Which is great, as we happen to really like each other's company, however, when you take a couple dynamic that has existed in a bubble for five years, and will resume existing in that bubble for the foreseeable future directly after venturing out into society for 3-5 hours, you end up with a very lackluster evening.
Couples with children are usually not usuals at any one establishment. As such, they cannot wander into a restaurant, bar or coffee shop and run into acquaintances or even people they've ever seen before and possibly have reason to converse. Unlike people traveling in larger groups, or oppositely out on their own, engaging socially with people who already have a pattern in place looks out of place. The cadence of conversation is slightly off. If already social couples, groups and singles are like ropes swinging toward and away from each other as they go from place to place, meet new people, and say hello to old friends and acquaintances they at least know a bit about, an isolated couple is like a ring: any attempt to engage with others bounces off the boundaries of the dynamic already present within the couple alone.
And without having any set plan, conversation is limited to what is going on directly around you, which runs out quickly, no matter how many observations you make. As a solid couple, you already know about the other person, and any other conversations could just as easily be made at home, in a more natural way.
It's not that couples don't want to be social. It's more that it's incredibly difficult to do so naturally. I know a lot of people will disagree and think about how easy it is for them to go out with their partner, and easily float from situation to situation, finding ways to be invited and inviting wherever they go. But I equally know that that doesn't happen for everyone and a lot of couples look at themselves and wonder why. I'm putting forward that it's not you, the couple, but the way in which modern life has secluded families. Extended families no longer live in the same location. Neighborhood communities are getting increasingly rare. Friendships are complicated, and people just aren't free at the same times.
The next time we organize a date night out, I'll do more planning beforehand. If we went to see a show or an exhibit or play or something, then we could do dinner and drinks and talk about the experience we just shared. We still most likely won't be branching out into social revelry, but even that is more likely, as we could talk to others about a shared experience for all of us. We wouldn't be rooting around in the dark, trying to strike a conversation out of nowhere about nothing simply because we remember how we used to do it all those years ago, and how easy and fluid it was.
It's good to get out of the house. It's better to do so with a plan.