Seeing your kids head off to college or leave the house to start their own lives is exciting. It’s what you’ve been raising them for all these years. 

But, no matter how proud of them you are, empty nest syndrome is a very real thing. 

It’s not uncommon to feel lonely, isolated, or like you’ve lost a sense of purpose when your last child leaves home. 

Most importantly, it can have a negative impact on your relationship if you don’t prepare for it the right way. 

Now is the time to lean on your partner more than ever. You’re both going through the same thing, and no one else “gets it”. So, don’t fall into the empty nest traps that can damage your relationship. Instead, use some of the following tips to prepare. 

Address Any Underlying Issuesman and woman petting two black labs

No relationship is perfect. But, it’s easy for couples to use their children (even older children) as distractions when there are underlying problems that need to be addressed. 

If you don’t focus on those problems before your kids leave the house, you’ll be forced to face them at some point. Unfortunately, bottling up your emotions for that long can make the issues worse than they were to start with. 

Tend to the problems you’ve been ignoring or trying to avoid. Whether it’s money issues, job struggles, or just uncertainties about life, don’t be afraid to have an open discussion with your partner so there is no contention when your kids leave. 

Talk About Your Fears

You’ve built a life around your child for at least 18 years. If you have multiple kids, you’ve given everything you have for an even longer period of time. 

Needless to say, it can be scary and overwhelming for all of that to change the minute your child pulls out of the driveway. 

Because you and your partner are in a unique situation, talk to them about your concerns. Tell them if you have any fears about empty nest syndrome, and why you’re worried. 

It’s also important to share what you’re looking forward to. Try to strike a healthy balance between the two, and remember that you have a built-in support system. 

Try New Things Together

One of the best ways to beat the empty nest blues is to break out of your traditional routine. You probably did things a certain way for years to keep your kids on a specific schedule. 

Now, you don’t have those limitations.  

So, don’t be afraid to go beyond a typical “date night” or do the things you always do. 

Learn something new together. Take a cooking class or a dance class. Go for a long hike, or take a camping trip. Plan adventures together than you never would have dreamed of when you had kids at home. 

By trying different things, you can actually rekindle some of the “spark” in your relationship, and it can start to feel like you’re dating again. Some couples use the opportunity to renew their wedding vows because it can feel like a brand new relationship. How wonderful would it be to fall in love with your partner again as though it was the first time? 

Seek Help if Needed

It’s not easy for some couples to deal with their children leaving home, especially if there are issues within the relationship. 

If you feel like you can’t prepare your relationship properly for the empty nest, feel free to contact me. Together, we’ll get to the bottom of your concerns and why they might have been lingering for so long. We’ll also utilize some important and effective skills to reconnect with your partner, even when things are stressful. 

Click here to learn more about Couples Counseling.