Empty Nest Syndrome is Real
Just picture this. You are 50 years old, the baby in the family is off to college, you and your spouse are now the only ones in the house… every day…. And you look at this human on the other side of the table. The guy with beard stubble, scratching his body parts, and of course, lifting a cheek to relieve…. And you have nothing to talk about. Exciting. Yes?
A little secret: most women I talk with have no idea what they will do with themselves once the kids leave the house. Their entire being is wrapped around homework, carpool, PTA, cooking, working, cleaning and shlepping…. for everyone else. They have no idea if they will like the man they married so many years later. They don’t know if they ultimately will be “forced” to spend the rest of their lives together because they could never afford to leave.
In defense, many say they take grown up vacations, out of the house, away from the kids every year. Love it! Love vacations. I have a major bucket list and have systematically attacked the list. Everyone is on their best behavior, engaged in the event of the vaca, often times with other people who are great at distracting you from reality.
But vacations are not experiencing an empty nest.
After your spouse scratches, you scratch your own….. head…. and say, how did we get here? You have reached mid-life crisis and I promise, there are ways to prepare and minimize the probability of this happening to you.
Years ago, the Wall Street Journal asked me what parents do when they send their children to sleepaway camp. And although there were a long list of wild adventures people went on, the most common activity was to practice being an empty nesters. They would spend 4 – 8 weeks getting reacquainted in their own home, with their own lives and remembering what it was like to be an individual and a childless couple. They remembered what it was like to wake up in the morning and have NOISY sex, what it was like to care about your spouse more than you care about your children. And they remember what it is like to make a last minute plan, just with each other, just because….
Certainly not a guarantee that mid-life crisis and divorce won’t occur, but…
You will learn what to expect when you have an empty nest and either embrace it, improve upon it, or leave the nest right away!!