Empty Nest: Preparing for Love after the Launch

June 14th, 2017 | Posted in For Parents, For Couples by

Empty NestSending your young adult off into the world can be both exciting and alarming. Many couples fear for the future of their relationship when it retakes center stage after years of distraction and possible neglect. There’s an expectation that the transition to an empty nest can be lonely and detrimental to couples, but there’s also growing research that suggests you and your partner could flourish as “HENS” (Happy Empty Nesters).

We hope the tips below will foster connection with your partner during this exciting life transition to an empty nest.

Build a Love Nest

An empty nest seems much less lonely when you consider that it’s not really empty— it’s just roomier for you and your partner. For years, your home served as an incubator for your children’s health and happiness; now your nest can serve as a space to nurture your partnership. Brainstorm a blueprint with your partner of your ideal “love nest.” How can the two of you create a warm, comforting environment that brings joy in the absence of your children?

Consider a Bird’s Eye View

To foster reconnection with your partner, take a trip down memory lane to reminisce on your relationship. Consider the bird’s eye view of the life you created together. Express gratitude for your partner’s contributions and congratulate yourselves on your collective successes. And while you’re looking at things from a different perspective, take a moment to really look into each other’s eyes. Eye contact is often lost in the demands of caregiving, but is critical to connection.

Go Out On a Limb

To reignite the romance that diminished between diapers and high-school diplomas, you and your partner will need to become reacquainted. Plan date nights and get-aways. Bring back the “little things” like love notes. Steer conversations away from the kids and towards topics that help you become interested in each other again. Going out on a limb to make your partner feel special and desired is like a mating call— it increases opportunities for intimacy and satisfaction.

Enroll in Flight School

As you spread your wings and embark on your journey as “empty-nesters”— don’t be afraid to seek assistance. While some couples adjust well, others find the transition from parenthood back to partnership difficult. Couples counseling can help you and your partner reconnect to feelings of excitement and joy together . More information about the PACT approach to couples counseling can be found here and here.

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