Empty Nesters: How to Save Your Marriage After the Kids Go Off to College by 30Seconds Mom
The kids just left for college – now what? One in four empty nesters gets divorced once their kids have flown the coop. Laura Doyle, author of "The Empowered Wife: Six Surprising Secrets for Attracting Your Husband's Time, Attention and Affection," says there are several reasons why divorce is so high for empty nesters, which include:
- loss of sense of purpose and source of joy
- tremendous grief
- problems that have been brushed under the rug
Doyle says marriage really can get terrific when your time and energy are freed up from kids. Here, she shares what to do – and not to do – to save your marriage once the kids go off to college:
- DON’T talk about your relationship. When you say, “We need to talk,” that means, “I want to complain about you.” DO think long and hard about what you want and express it as a desire, as in “I’d love to go dancing,” not, “You never take me dancing.”
- DON’T blame your unhappiness and lonely nest on your significant other. If you’re not having fun, it’s not your husband’s fault. It’s yours. DO start thinking about how you want to fill that time and energy void. Maybe you’ve always wanted to paint, or play volleyball, or act.
- DON’T buy husband’s underwear. You were the kids’ mom – not your husband’s mom. You don’t need to make his doctor’s appointments. DO make a list of things you do for him that he could do for himself and STOP.
- DO focus on changing YOU: If you change yourself, your partner will respond to you differently and then you’ll feel like you have a new partner. DON’T go to marriage counseling. According to a UCLA study by the professors of psychology, 75 percent of couples who received traditional behavioral marriage counseling were separated a year later.
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