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Empty Nest and Marriage

If you’re a Zoomer who’s just packed off a child to university, keep this in mind: it can have an unexpected impact on your marriage.

While some couples rejoice at the prospect of spending more time alone, many experience tension or awkwardness when a child leaves home for school. Therapists say it’s because they are forced to confront issues in their relationships that they may have previously avoided or not noticed. Without their children around to act as buffers, couples suddenly find themselves grappling with a host of questions — about their romance, their sex lives, or whether there is anything they enjoy doing together that doesn’t focus on their kids. This can be especially bad if one spouse feels more grief about the child’s departure than the other.

Therapists recommend spending time together. Introduce games nights, go out on dates and if you can afford it, travel. It may sound obvious, but doing activities together gives couples a chance to reconnect and share something. Indulge a little and buy yourself something you want. Look through old photo albums. Remind yourselves of the activities you used to find fun. And turn to your friends.

Remember, you’ve launched your child off into the world. Now you can relax and pat each other on the back.

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