Filling Your Empty Nest
Rekindle Your Romance
Now that you have an empty nest, you may feel you hardly know the man or woman sleeping next to you. After years of discussing your children’s schedules and school experiences, you may have little to talk about with your partner or spouse.
For Netta Dickerson, a neonatal nurse practitioner in Philadelphia, sitting down to dinner one night made her realize that life with her husband, Brian, was about to change forever. “For so many, many years, four of us for dinner was the typical event,” she says. “Suddenly, I realized that four for dinner would never be typical again. Without the kids as a buffer, I wondered how we would get along.”
With many Americans living until 80 or beyond, an empty nest at 50 or even older probably means spending as much time as a couple as within a family unit. Spend the first 30 days of your empty nest improving this relationship. Imagine you’re dating again—talk, joke, go on dates and spend more time being intimate. Rediscover the spark that got you two together in the first place.
“At first,” Brian admits, “there were long periods of silence.”
“As we settled into our daily routine, we began reconnecting and making meals together without worrying whether our daughter, Sarah, would eat it or not,” Netta recalls. “We remade the house to be our own.”
Patty and her husband experienced this same reconnection. “It’s like turning back the clock,” she says. “Bill and I are back to the dating part of our relationship again.”
Single parents have a tougher challenge when their kids leave home. “The hardest thing for me was there was nobody to share the experience and the sadness with,” says Mary McNamara, an artist and single mother of two sons in Schenectady, NY. Single parents should strive to pull themselves out of isolation by reconnecting with family and friends or seeking out support groups to share their feelings.