What helpful advice would you give a couple who is not dealing well with "Empty Nest Syndrome?"
I haven't gotten there yet; my nest has been full for 23 years and counting!
However, I'd advise the couple to run around the house naked and enjoy their freedom. Get to know each other again. Do things together as a couple that they couldn't do when they were raising kids. Our lives get put on hold - dreams take a back seat - when we become parents. Try to pick up where you left off. Be adventurous. Think of a project you'd like to tackle together. Rekindle the flame that brought you together in the first place. Nurture each other as you did your kids.
If all else fails, fill the house with pets! :-)
Find a way to be glad that they are grown and gone. Get creative. Travel more often. Prepare, get or wait for the grand kids to arrive.
I have an empty nest too . but mine is empty because I am childless .. I have learned to enjoy life as it is. I enjoy my freedom. I enjoy my time spent with my husband. We started going for movies again after long time. We enjoy driving out at nights or going out for suppers.
I did try having pets but then it becomes troublesome when we need to go away somewhere. In this year itself within the first 6 month, we have gone for 1 overseas trip and 4 local trips. I even left my job to be full time home maker so that I can accompany my husband in his out of office activities.
Our next plan is to take up gym or yoga lessons as a couple. We plan to purchase a fully serviced condominium so that we can enjoy swimming activities too.
We are only of middle class income group, so we do not have much cash for expensive activities. Just sit and plan your activities. No point being sad.
I would recommend they take the time to become more involved with their community, philanthropy, traveling, learning, truly dating one another again, etc. There are many, many things that can take their mind off of having an empty nest in a positive way
After our daughter moved out, it was a big adjustment for me and my wife. It became a time of us rediscovering each other. We talked more and communicated better. We now do a lot of things together. I'd say give it time. It's a change and a loss. Focus on the future together because that's where you and your spouse are heading.
Simply learn to do things together (once again) as much as possible. Develop an interest in a mutual hobby/pass-time (i. e. Dog training, firearms competition/marksmanship, no I am not kidding, tennis, etc.). Perhaps becoming involved in some cause, either a charity foundation or perhaps a wildlife cause or a church ministry. Begin to date again and more frequently; I mean Incorporate a weekly romantic date night (minimizing attachment to cell phones and other technologies). Include in your date night, romantic dining out followed by a performance of some kind; a play, movie, dancing, hockey (just kidding).
Travel or most profoundly evolve your relationship by a bold move to another place and location; one you plan together from the beginning and see it through together. Our marriage began like this and my memories/associations are so special and it significantly bonded us together. Upon our eventual retirements (note I am only 11 for the 5th time and love teaching, researching and only profess for 2 semesters/yearly at the college level, so like Dr. Albert Bandura I "see" no retirement in my future) we plan to spend part of our year at another place and country. Time will tell...
John...Thanks so much for your wonderful contribution. I see you're in the right frame of mind!
No, actually I am the "Lucky Man."
"Oh What a Lucky Man he" is...
You must realize that this can be the best time in your lives. You do have to get used to it, but after a short time you will be happy that you have time to do things for yourselves.
Our son moved back in after being away at college for four years, and I'll tell you it was quite the imposition. Now he's living on his own with his little family and they come over once a week and that's just fine.
Enjoy your exclusive time together,
I love all of your answers. They're very thoughtful and you're all so sweet to share so generously.
I'm afraid I need to explain that I didn't ask this question for "myself." My sons have flown the nest quite a long time ago. They're (all 4) married with precious children.....and I've been widowed for a couple of years.
I actually asked this question after spending some time with a couple of old friends of mine who haven't adjusted to the empty nest.
I'll be happy to send them this thread filled with what you have shared here. Thank you so much!!
My nest is anything but EMPTY! I have 12 grandchildren and even one great grand daughter!! LOL.....There are times that "Gramdawg" needs to hide from them!! LOL
If they miss kids then there are plenty of ways to be around them if they don't have grand kids. Also there are many foster kids who can fill that nest and any age you want. If they are really desperate they could adopt or if they are unsure about all this then get a kitten and puppy and raise them up together. Hours of fun with minimum responsibility!
I imagine this is fairly common for couples who make their children their sole priority to the extent of possibly allowing romance and intimacy to fade over the years.
Some people if given a choice between being parents or spouses they'd choose parents in a heartbeat.
They loved helping with homework, being the resident chauffer, attending events the kids participated in, and generally always having something on the calendar to keep an eye on. Even those who oftentimes complained about how busy they are between work, home maintenance, and raising the children seemed lost when they have an empty nest.
In fact these days it's not uncommon to hear of couples filing for divorce. The only thing that held them together was having children.
The best advice I can think of is for them to go back to the time of "falling in love" with one another when there were no children. Rekindle dreams and goals that may have been sacrificed in order to raise a family. Take up some new hobbies or attend classes.
Do some traveling and enjoy life. Eventually most parents become grandparents and things change. Consider this to be a "time out" or vacation period. Also beware of the "boomerang kids"!
dashing....Thanx! U mention divorce. I bet U've heard this OLD joke. A couple @ 95 yrs old, married 75yrs..wanted a divorce. Horrified attorney asked WHY???!! They said....they were waiting for the kids to die.....LMAO!! That's bad!
*Recognize that this part of life is going to hurt.
*Remember that their parenting job is now finished, and their children will still be a part of 'family' - with likely additions - and their new job will not entail being just parents, but grandparents.
*Resolve to remain faithful as spouses, and begin to fill those empty spaces with new kinds of togetherness.
*Use additional free time/finances/energies in a charitable fashion that the couple can enjoy together as they purpose to make positive changes for others - or themselves.
*Recognize that empty-nesting is still going to hurt --but that it gets better, easier, and can be fulfilling in new companionable ways.
My advice is to allow your kid to live at home with their spouse and your grandchildren. One big happy, chaotic, yet never lonely or bored family! In addition have an extra room for your other daughter for when she visits on weekends or for the entire week along with her spouse. My advice might not work for everyone, but it works for me. On most days
I agree with Shauna Bowling's comment. In fact, I'd refer them to an old episode of the former TV show, "Doogie Howser, M.D." in which the parents are bemoaning 'empty nest,' and their gardener asks why so sad? He tells them, "Now every room in house is bedroom!" LOL
You do have to go back to what drew you together in the first place. My current hubby and I are not in our first marriages; we got together after our kids from our respective prior marriages were grown up.
I think one important step that a couple could take is focus on their own relationship. It is possible that they gave a great deal of nurturing attention into raising their children and not a lot to their relationship. It is time to build their relationship, plan date nights and vacations together and so on.
Each person might also need to start pursuing new interests, this might mean focusing on career goals that he or she might has put aside while raising kids. Or, it could be that they might want pursue some hobbies - new ones or re-visiting old ones.
This is a new season in a couple's life and is a time of exploring new and fresh possibilities. Go for it!
It's not all bad. My amazing son left me high and dry for a good seven years shortly after his high school graduation. (He chose to live in NYC to pursue his ballet career.) I did the only thing one must do as a single woman. I got a life----in my case, it just happened to be in the form of a sexy Frenchman who was 13 years my junior. I don't regret it a bit. That being said, I was prepared. I had always encouraged my sweet son to explore the world. He took my advice....and it all worked out nicely for both of us.
Concentrate on trying new experiences together and make the most of that time . I have 3 daughters in different states , Miss them like crazy but making the most of life with my new husband .
They will want to visit more if you are positive & fun rather than coming across miserable all the time .
There are so many opportunities waiting for you out there !
Ps.. I do miss my daughters very much and loved the years with them and keep in contact but enjoy hearing about their lives.
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