As parents, most of your life has been defined exactly as that… parents. Yes, you had your own individual lives but once you became parents, your life changed forever. So, once you’ve done your duty as parents and raised your kids to be decent human beings in the eyes of society, the time will come for them to leave home and make it out there on their own.
Your kids leaving your home, one by one can be a difficult time for parents and a major life change. Feelings of sadness and loss can really hit a parent hard when the last child leaves the family home. There hasn’t been an official term for these feelings but the term used to describe these feelings is “empty nest syndrome.”
Psychology Today states that loss of purpose plays a big role in these feelings parents experience when their children start their college careers, or even when going away to the military. It’s pretty common for parents to experience “empty nest syndrome” but these feelings won’t last forever. It helps if you try to prepare yourself before sending your kids to college and also take a new outlook on how life can be for you and your spouse once they leave.
Just the Two of Us…
Now that the kids are gone, it’s just you and your spouse. Some parents are afraid of this day because they’ve spent their entire marriage dedicated to their children. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the marriage is in trouble, it just means that now that the kids are gone, the marriage has a new chapter. It can almost feel like getting to know each other again… but that’s not necessarily a bad thing! Take a look at how you and your spouse can embrace this new chapter in your lives since the kids have left home.
Reconnect With Your Partner
Think back to the time before you and your spouse had kids… what was that like? Now that the kids are all grown up and living their own lives, this is the time for you and your spouse to put the focus back on each other. Just because time has passed, that doesn’t mean that you can’t get back to the time when you couldn’t keep your hands off of each other.
Plan Date Nights
Treat each other to a few dates in or out. If you decide to have a date night in, maybe you two cook a meal together and set up a candlelight dinner for two. If you decide to go out, get dressed up nice for each
other… you can even be flirtatious with each other during the meal!
Plan Little Surprises for Each Other
If you have kids that are all grown up and the last one just left the family home, that means you two have been together for quite some time. During that time, things probably got a little “routine.” So now that a new chapter has turned in your marriage, switch things up. Surprise your spouse with lunch or a little gift you know they’d like.
Go On Grown Up Trips
As parents, you make all kinds of sacrifices and you don’t even realize how big those sacrifices were until you do those same things now that they’re grown and living their own lives. These sacrifices include all kinds of things too. Take traveling, for example.
Whenever you would go on trips when the kids were little, you always had to plan for kid-friendly destinations, right? Well, now that they’re out of the house, you can plan your trips with your spouse and go wherever you want to go!
Maybe a trip to Vegas is in order. You can explore all the casinos and get put on the guestlist for a real VIP experience at one of Vegas’ hottest day parties! To really just embrace being an empty nester, you and your spouse could go all in and go to a nude beach! It might feel a bit weird at first but being an empty nester isn’t as bad as you might think!
Try New Challenges
So, the fact that it’s just you and your spouse now means that you both have the freedom and availability to try the things you never got to do with the busy schedules of your kids. In this new found freedom, both of you can try these new challenges together! Whether it be running a 5K or joining a gym and working out together, it can be challenging but when you’re taking on these challenges together, it makes the challenge worth the work to accomplish the end goal.
It’s completely natural to experience feelings of sadness and loss when your children grow up and move out of the family home. It’s important that you grieve during that time so that you can fully move forward with your life. The good news is that these feelings don’t last forever and you will slowly adjust to your new normal as a couple so embrace having an empty nest and explore what this new chapter in your marriage can do for you both!