It’s almost fall. Most of the kids have gone off to school. If you’re like thousands of other parents, your youngest or oldest child either just left for college or is about to. So what do you do now? Yes, it’s been years since you and your spouse were alone together, but now it’s time for your second act.
There’s a great article on the New York Times website about this very thing. It’s called “Your Nest Is Empty? Enjoy Each Other!” and it puts such a positive and upbeat spin on being new empty-nesters that we wanted to share some of what it had to say.
First of all, the article starts with some encouragement.
According to new research, published in November in the Psychological Science journal, marital satisfaction actually improves when the children finally leave the nest, contrary to what we’ve been told to expect.
It’s not like their lives were miserable,” said Sara Melissa Gorchoff, of the University of California, Berkeley. “Parents were happy with their kids. It’s just that their marriages got better when they left home.”
The article goes on to point out that raising children, while a joyful experience, adds stressors to even the happiest marriages. Once those stressors are gone, a couple is free to explore the rest of their lives together and they have more time alone to do it.
While having a child clearly makes parents happy, the financial and time constraints can add stress to a relationship. After the birth of a child, couples have only about one-third the time alone together as they had when they were childless, according to researchers from Ohio State.”
Have a dinner date or a glass of wine together and drag out all of those “I wish we coulds” and “One of these days” dreams and see what your new found freedom will now allow you to make possible. Now that you don’t have kids to watch over and take care of, you’re free to schedule your time and budget your money for yourselves as a couple.
Being empty nesters is a big adjustment, but it should be a happy one. Hey, at the very least, you can now make love anywhere in the house you want and as loudly as you like!