After eighteen, twenty, twenty five years the house is finally empty. The children are off living their own lives, maybe they've married or are wrapped up in their jobs. All that is left is to ask the question, now what?
For many couples a certain panic sets in when the children are gone because they don't know how to handle all the free time they now have.. Psychologists call this phenomenon empty nest syndrome.which as defined by Psychology Today is the, " feelings of depression, sadness, and/or grief experienced by parents and caregivers after children come of age and leave their childhood homes."
According to Wikopedia there are some other mitigating factors which can contribute to empty nest syndrome such as "an unstable or unsatisfactory marriage, a sense of self based primarily on identity as a parent, or difficulty accepting change in general," and in woman menopause.
Empty nest syndrome may also be a contributing factor in the divorce of some couples because they don't know how to function together as a couple without their children. This is usually do to the fact the couple has not taken the time to nurture their relationship as a couple while they spent time in their roles as parents.
The empty nest however, is not a time to be feared but a time to be cherished. He are five reasons to look forward to not having the children around.
- More privacy and alone time with the spouse and friends - The empty nest is a time to rekindle a sex and love life which may have dwindled over the years. It is also a time to get together with friends outside the home to do some fun activities that couldn't be done.while the children were home.
- Less expenses - Once the children are gone there is a lot of money to be saved on everything from groceries to the water and electric bills.
- More time to explore new opportunities - Use some of the free time to pursue something new like volunteer work or starting a small business.
- More time to rediscover old hobbies - Parenting takes a lot of time and effort. Some once cherished hobbies, like art or writing, may be set off to the side, now is the time to rediscover those hobbies and maybe even tryout a new hobby like playing instrument.
- More money to put away or use on something meaningful - All the extra money saved due to less expenses can be used for all sorts of things from couples only vacations, remodeling a room or any number of things.
These are only five of the many reasons to look forward to the empty nest. The key to being alone as a couple is to use the time wisely and to take every opportunity to grow closer to each other. Growing old together is the goal. Also remember the empty nest doesn't stay empty for long sooner or the children come back, with grandchildren to babysit.