8 Games for Couples That Foster Connection, According to Psychologists

Try these ideas if you're over Netflix and chill.

If we know anything to be true, it’s that communication is the foundation of any relationship. While every relationship can benefit from honest and open dialogue, oftentimes, it can be difficult to open up to your partner due to the fear of shame, rejection, or any number of other unpleasant emotions you may feel. But that doesn’t mean you should keep your mouth shut and hope for the best. Instead, you can use alternative ways to connect with them, such as playing games.

Whether you’re trying to get to know your partner or hoping to keep the spark alive, playing a game—as silly and trivial as it may seem—can help create a sense of connection, especially in a positive and playful manner. But, before you reach for board games, such as Monopoly or Life, keep reading for three psychologist-recommended games geared specifically toward connection. And, if you make it through those, you’ll find five shoppable games to add to your board game collection. Your relationship will thank you (and you can thank us later).

3 Games Couples Can Play Right Now:

Staring contest

“As immature as it sounds, a staring contest is a great way to kick off game night (or any night),” Briony Leo, a licensed psychologist and head coach at Relish, the #1 relationship coaching and self-care app, tells HelloGiggles. “Not only is there a competitive aspect, but eye gazing has been shown to help us ‘sync up’ with our partner—even our heartbeats synchronize with theirs if we eye gaze for long enough.”

As for how to make it a game, whoever lasts the longest without blinking should be treated to a sweet couple-centric prize that’s also geared toward connection. Think: a massage, the choice of where to go to dinner, or, if you’re feeling cheeky, something a bit more X-rated.

Scavenger hunts

If you’re looking to rekindle your flame, Leo says that scavenger hunts can be a great way to commemorate your relationship and test how well your partner knows you. “Putting together a scavenger hunt that is personalized to your relationship—where you first met, your favorite ice cream spot, and so on—and going along as they try to solve it [can boost connection],” she says. “This can be a cheap, fun way to get out of the house and out of your comfort zone—and get you both into a spirit of ‘play.'”

Blind date game

Another option is to repurpose the idea of a blind date. “Have you and your partner write down five possible date night ideas (ranging from movie night or a fancy night out to Netflix and chill) and then select one at random for when you’re feeling spontaneous yet indecisive,” Leo suggests. “The stranger and more unusual, the better for these. Think: monster truck rally, drive-in movies, or a jazz club in the city. The key is to shake up your routine and enjoy the experience of being out of your comfort zones, together.”

5 games for couples you can buy:

If after trying out Leo’s games you crave more playful ways to connect with your partner, consider adding any (or all) of the games below to your collection.

Red Flag or Deal Breaker

red flag card game

Shop it Betches

According to Jordana Abraham, one of the co-founders of Betches (who is thought of as a go-to source of relationship advice thanks to her Betches’ dating podcast, U Up?), games that incorporate questions that expose the way you think about things, like Red Flag or Deal Breaker, is a great entertainment route for couples looking to learn more about each other.

“There is no right or wrong answer but the way you explain your answer to whether the thing listed is a ‘red flag’ or a ‘dealbreaker’ will tell you so much about the way your partner thinks and what the types of qualities they’re looking for in a partner,” she says.

Table Topics: Couples

Table topics card game

Shop it Amazon

If you’re having trouble keeping the conversation flowing, Leo says that implementing a game like Table Topics: Couples can help. “There are extensive lists of questions that prompt conversation, like ‘If we could quit our jobs, what would we like to do?'” she shares. “This game is great for learning more about your partner—even if you’ve been together for a long time. It is also great for sparking reflection and insight into yourself, as the prompts are designed to be thought-provoking.”

Where Should We Begin? By Esther Perel

where should we begin esther perel

Shop it Esther Perel

One of Abraham’s other recommendations is Where Should We Begin? By Esther Perel. According to the website, the Cards Against Humanity-style game is designed to “introduce playfulness and storytelling into your next date, dinner party, or an intimate get-together.”

Love Language: The Card Game

love language card game

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Another game geared to fostering connection is Love Language: The Card Game. “The game comes with 150 questions that open up interesting conversations that might not have otherwise happened,” Leo shares. “These questions are divided into five categories: family, intimacy, couple, individual, and past & future, which allows you to pick an area to focus on, or to mix it up.”

{THE AND} Couples Game

the skin deep card game

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Looking to learn what your partner loves most about you? Leo recommends {THE AND} Couples Game. “The questions within this game are designed to elicit warm and fuzzy emotions (some memorable questions are ‘Why do you love me?’ and ‘When do you feel closest to me?’),” she says. “Even better, 5% of the net proceeds from the profits are donated to different non-profit organizations, chosen by the creators of the game. Warm and fuzzy overload!”

Now, go on, host a game night and fall further in love.