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For one happy couple married 36 years, typical date means burger and dog at DQ

Happy couples know the importance of dating.

“Consistently dating our partners and spouses is key to a healthy intimate relationship,” Joanna O. Cirigliano, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Norwich, said in an email. “As individuals we are always growing and changing as our experiences impact us on many levels. It is important in an intimate relationship to consistently be getting to know our significant other as they grow in their own lives and so the couple can grow together.”

Norwich Mayor Peter Albert Nystrom, 68, said during a telephone interview that one Sunday morning “date” with his wife, Linda, involved caring for the community garden at the bottom of Rockwell Street in Norwich by Sheltering Arms Residential Care, because it was her turn to do it.

“I did all the watering so she could do all the weeding,” he said, admitting he got the better end of the job because of his sore knee.

Linda said in a separate telephone conversation that he made up for it by buying coffee and muffins afterwards.

Married for 36 years as of August, Nystrom said, “I couldn’t ask for a better friend: My wife and mother of my kids. I’m blessed.”

His idea for dating on a limited budget would be to go to DQ (Dairy Queen). He would get a cheeseburger and, “She’d probably get a hotdog,” and they’d share a milkshake, which they sometimes do anyway.

Crowded Acres Farm Co-Owner Macy Cronkite said during a telephone interview that she and her partner, Adam Lambert, enjoy “dates” that involve walking the boardwalk in Mystic and going to garage/tag sales, flea markets and libraries, as well as touring vineyards, which sometimes offers free music.

Just like watering a flower for it to grow, she said you need to nurture your relationship.

Sometimes on rainy days, Cronkite said she and Lambert used to put the back seat of their car down, make it cozy and go to Mansfield Hollow State Park or somewhere with a good view and “just have a picnic and watch the storm go by.”

Cirigliano suggested: “Use date nights as time to unplug and step away from current stressors. Each individual and the couple deserve to just play and enjoy their partner’s company.”

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