Fun but simple date-night ideas for those of us with PH

Even when I'm low on energy, I can enjoy these activities with my husband

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by Jen Cueva |

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Are you or your partner managing pulmonary hypertension (PH)? Does it make going out on traditional dates difficult? If so, don’t worry; I’ve got you covered.

Date nights are essential to any relationship, but they can be challenging with PH and limited energy. That doesn’t mean we have to give up on romantic evenings with loved ones, however.

As May is Date Your Mate Month, I’m offering a column I’ve been thinking about for a while. My husband, Manny, and I try to do something interesting together every month, depending on how I’m feeling and if my PH and chronic pain are controlled. Last month we went to our first San Diego Padres baseball game. It was exhausting, but worth it! I was grateful our outing was on the weekend so I could rest the following day.

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My favorite low-energy activities to enjoy with loved ones

A couple smiles for a photo from their seats at a San Diego Padres baseball game. The background is overexposed, but we can make out the field and stadium. Both are wearing baseball caps, while the man is making a peace sign with his left hand.

Jen Cueva and her husband, Manny, attend the San Diego Padres game in April 2024. (Courtesy of Jen Cueva)

Before we dive into specific date-night ideas, let’s discuss why they’re essential. Date nights are more than just fun; they can strengthen relationships and improve well-being.

Although Manny and I have been married for 32 years, date nights or adventures remain part of our busy lives. Some days I want to do everything and make up for lost time, which reminds me of the Tim McGraw song “Live Like You Were Dying.” I have these feelings more prominently after hospitalizations. However, it’s unfair to Manny to push myself when my body can’t handle it, even though that’s incredibly frustrating.

Date nights must be organized or adjusted based on accessibility. The unpredictability of PH keeps things interesting, and planning too far ahead is challenging.

Let’s explore some date ideas specifically tailored to those of us with PH and limited energy.

Picnic, anyone?

Since I was a kid, I’ve always enjoyed picnics, no matter how simple. They can take place on the living room floor, at a park, or at my favorite spot, the beach. Occasionally we find a live band playing and select a place nearby.

I’d love to buy a cute, lightweight picnic basket to bring with us, but sometimes we simply grab ready-made deli items or other food on the way and let a plastic bag and cooler serve as our basket.

Another option is to prepare dinner together. I’m a fan of the Food Network and cooking (when I feel up to it), so this can be a cute date night — unless we’re both taking up too much space in our tiny kitchen. We usually make it work, though.

My husband prefers cooking outdoors on the grill or smoker, but he can make a fabulous weekend brunch. One Valentine’s Day, we stayed in and made tasty pizzas with our choice of toppings. We saved time by buying premade pizza dough at Trader Joe’s. It turned out pretty well, and we paired it with a bagged salad and chocolate-covered strawberries for dessert, one of his favorite treats. Simplicity at its best!

Don’t forget Netflix and snacks

Even though we binge-watch TV during the week, we love setting up a Netflix or Amazon Prime movie night. It’s always fun, whether it’s a drama, comedy, or wild, trashy TV show. (I know you’re probably rolling your eyes.) Cuddling up in our pajamas and blankets often makes for some of our best times together.

On these nights, we may whip up popcorn, nachos, or other snacks. It depends on my mood, how chaotic Manny’s workday was, and whether he needs some downtime. Sometimes we want to do something simple and low-maintenance, with few dishes to clean up. Movie nights can be easily tailored to preferences and energy levels.

Adventures don’t need to be fancy or expensive to be fun. A fancy date night can be great on special occasions, but for those, I often need more time to shower, get dressed, and get out the door. And anyone who knows Manny knows that his idea of dressing up is wearing a button-up shirt and jeans; he’s typically a shorts and T-shirt kind of guy.

I hope some of my ideas inspire you to plan a date night with your significant other.

Please share your favorite low-energy date night ideas in the comments below. I can’t wait to hear them!

Note: Pulmonary Hypertension News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Hypertension News or its parent company, Bionews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary hypertension.


Lisa avatar


Thanks for the ideas ! I love snacks and Netflix my husband had mastered charcuterie boards !!

Jen Cueva avatar

Jen Cueva

Hi Lisa,

Thank you for taking the time to read my column. I'm happy to know it offered you some ideas. But oh boy, I LOVE a good charcuterie board. I could eat that for dinner most nights. I may have to work on that or suggest my hubby try some.

Again, it means so much that you not only took the time to read my column, but felt compelled to offer your thoughts and ideas. Take care, my PHriend!


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