A MARRIED couple have regular monthly date nights as a painful reminder they once loved each other enough to enjoy them.
Helen and Martin Archer, who have three children, find that spending four long hours alone together listlessly re-enacting the rituals of romance really brings into focus what their relationship has become.
Helen said: “It’s like a punishment from Greek myth. All eternity staring at the same sagging jowls.
“As if it wasn’t hard enough being stuck with the same person until death, especially as it’s Martin, we have to go out for meals or cocktails or the theatre as if we had time or wanted to.
“I gaze at his thinning hairline and bushy eyebrows in the candlelight, knowing I’m two stone heavier with my mother’s eyebags, and we pretend we’re not knackered and want to shag later. It’s sadistic.
“Sometimes I make an effort and throw in a reference to the wine or anything other than work or the kids, to make it all the more obvious we’ve nothing in common anymore.
“We can’t believe we used to have conversations on the original dates. We laugh about that when we’re not sullenly staring at couples on real dates thinking ‘You f**king wait.’ Then he’ll say something about the langoustines and I’ll nod.”
Luigi di Matteo, owner of the Casa Mia restaurant, said: “Date night is the hardest night of our week. The misery just crushes you.”