First Time Alone In A Long Time? 3 Tips For Empty Nesters

empty nesters

A married couple goes through an important (and sometimes difficult) transition when all their kids leave the house for good.  Many couples face a rather large fear that they won’t have enough in common to really enjoy their time together without any of their children. We know that maintaining a marriage is not just about parenting, and there are ways that a man and a woman can successfully navigate this change in a way that actually strengthens their relationship. Here are Three Tips for empty nesters:

Embrace the Roller Coaster of Emotions

It’s natural to feel unsettled in the beginning of this new stage. You may experience grief, sadness, excitement, fear, relief, joy, or even dread. If you need to mourn this loss, give yourself permission to do so.  It is natural to experience feelings of grief during times of transitions, and knowing that you are closing a chapter in your life as a parent is a big deal!  It’s important to also accept the reality that things will be permanently different in your family life. You can find ways to connect with your adult children even though they may not be around as much. Be honest with yourself and honor all the emotions you may feel as a result of this change.

Start Finding Unique Hobbies To Do Together

For many parents, life has been busy and full in raising their kids (taking them to lessons, classes, play dates, etc.), but now that you have much more time to yourselves, it’s time to get back to focusing on just the two of you. Some statistics show that divorces spike at this time, as some individuals struggle to find their identities, other than Mom and Dad, and in turn feel lost in their connection to one another outside of these roles. All couples must reassess and figure out who they are, as a person, as a partner and spouse, as a human, and as a parent of adult children by trying new things (ideally, they’ll start exploring hobbies together before they become empty nesters, but if that didn’t happen for you, now’s the perfect opportunity). Maybe it’s bike riding, cooking, traveling, dancing, or hiking. It’s okay to grieve that your children won’t be around as much, but try to take advantage of this new stage of life by discovering new fun adventures you two can do on your own.

Forgive Each Other

When two people have been married a long time, they have seen and experienced each other’s flaws and may even begin to harbor some resentment toward each other. We can sometimes ignore these quirks when the kids are around, but when it’s just the two of us, it’s harder to look past them, and we may become increasingly irritated by the other’s “strange” habits or hurtful words and past experiences.   Being willing to allow for healing and forgiveness is a crucial part of a healthy relationship.  All of us do things that drive our spouses crazy, but it’s better to value the relationship than to fixate on insignificant problems or weaknesses the other person may have. Choose to focus on the reasons to love him/her, not the things you wish he/she would change.  If there are old (and current) hurts that need repair work, now is a great time to see out counseling together and work through past wounds together.

My hope is that you can take this new time together to reconnect and remember why you fell in love in the first place. Becoming an empty nestor isn’t always easy, but you and your spouse can work to make it a celebration of your love and your relationship.

 

 

1 Comments

  1. Jesusa on November 29, 2018 at 7:34 pm

    I am a single mum that been alone 2 weeks my daughter moved out we are not in good standing communication. I am sad because not with a good person so I feel like I worry more I want to stay my house at times I do at times I cant we were together 22 years ,and I am hurt I ,want too be able to enjoy life again and be alone my house its ,My house will I ever move on word off advice thank you…..

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