Don’t Let Empty Nest Syndrome Affect Your Marriage
Written by Craig Cherney

Don’t Let Empty Nest Syndrome Affect Your Marriage

If your children are about to leave home – or already have – and you are experiencing symptoms of grief or depression, you may be experiencing something known as “Empty Nest Syndrome.”

Learn more about how collaborative divorce can help you avoid the high emotional and financial costs of divorce litigation. If you’re ready to move forward with your divorce now, contact one of the professionals at Best Legal Choices today.

Here we will help you understand what Empty Nest Syndrome is and provide coping tips to help you get through it.

Life gets busy, especially when you have kids. You rarely have time to think about yourself, let alone think about your relationship with your spouse.

What is Empty Nest Syndrome?

Empty nest syndrome is not a clinical condition or diagnosis, but it is a feeling of sadness, loneliness, or grief experienced by parents when their kid(s) grow up and leave home.

How to Cope with Empty Nest Syndrome

Here are 5 tips to help you cope with empty nest syndrome:

  1. Accept the Feelings

It’s ok to feel sad or lonely after your kids move away. Take time to sit with it for a while. Sometimes when people feel uncomfortable, they will distract themselves to try to avoid the negative feelings. Don’t avoid the feelings. Accept them. Stuffing down the emotions will only make them come back even stronger in future. You may be experiencing many different emotions during this time. Take time to sift through the emotions. Which parts are about you? Which parts are about the kids? Which parts are about your marriage?

  1. Rediscover Yourself

We create our identities based on who we are connected with, the type of parents we are, what our career is, etc. So, when things change, such as children leaving the home, it can be tough for some people who based their identity on being parents to know who they are. Sometimes these emotions can hit you like a Mack truck. So, slow down before you make any impulsive decisions. Take time to rediscover yourself. What did you lose? What did you gain? Who are you now after the kids are gone? You’ve gained a lot of experience during your parenting years. What would you like to keep you? What would you like to shift or change? Working on yourself is only the first part of coping with an empty nest.

  1. Rediscover Your Relationship

Many people dealing with an empty nest find that they aren’t sure who they married or why they are still married to them.

Does your spouse know you are going through these emotions? Be honest with your spouse. “I’m having feelings of fear,” “I don’t know who I am,” “I don’t know who you are,” “I don’t know who we are,” etc.

An empty nest is one of the biggest contributors to gray divorce. You need to make sure you are communicating with your spouse if you want the best chance of maintaining or improving your relationship. You must share with your spouse what you are going through and allow them to have space to do so as well.

When kids leave home, couples have a brand-new opportunity to re-establish their bond and improve the quality of their marriage. Who better to help you get through this time than your partner that has been along the entire trip with you?

  1. Talk to Family or Consider Counseling

If you are having a tough time dealing with feelings of sadness or grief, talk to friends or family members for support. Share your thoughts and feelings. If you are feeling depressed, maybe consider counseling. Joining a support group could also be beneficial as it is a safe place to express yourself; you will receive emotional support and build connections that could reduce feelings of loneliness.

  1. Redirect Your Focus

Instead of thinking about how sad you are now that your kids are gone, redirect your focus to new opportunities. Finding a new challenge to tackle can help ease the sense of loss. Whether you’ve always wanted to redesign your bedroom or join a sports league, now is the best time to do it. You might even take on a bigger commitment such as volunteering with a school, which may be a great place to redirect your parenting focus.

However, ty not to make any life-altering in the first couple months, even up to a year, after your child moves out. People normally don’t make their best decisions when their judgment is clouded by sadness or fear.

Considering an Empty Nest Divorce?

Were you only staying in your marriage for the kids and now you want a divorce after they leave home? This isn’t uncommon. However, if you are among the 25% of people divorcing after age 50, you should know that divorce at a later age and/or after many years of marriage can be very complicated. Gray divorce comes with many complications and pitfalls that younger married couples don’t have to worry quite as much about such as setting up assets, creating settlement agreements, estimating expenses before negotiation, etc. Read more about mistakes to avoid when divorcing over 50.

Divorce can be expensive at any age. When a couple decides to divorce later in life, the investments and other financial decisions made during the marriage will often have to be revisited. In most cases, collaborative divorce can help you avoid the high cost of divorce litigation. Contact one of the professionals at Best Legal Choices to learn more about the collaborative divorce process.


  1. “Empty Nest Syndrome Can Affect Your Marriage.” Best Marriages, 8 May 2017,
  2. Beaty, Jon. “How to Rescue Your Marriage from Empty Nest Syndrome.” The Gottman Institute, Https://, 14 Aug. 2018,
  3. “How Parents Can Adjust to an Empty Nest, Avoid ‘Gray Divorce’.” MPR News,
  4. “Tips for Coping with an Empty Nest.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 13 Apr. 2018,

See Also:

Collaborative Divorce is a Peaceful Divorce Option

Divorce litigation can be scary and emotionally draining for you, your spouse, and your children. But it doesn’t have to be that way with collaborative divorce. The collaborative process can result in a less expensive, more efficient, and less harmful outcome for everyone involved. One of the legalfinancial, and communication professionals at Best Legal Choices can help you navigate this difficult time in your life.


The collaborative divorce process is designed to help people who are willing to work together to make an agreement that benefits the family. Resources that help parents communicate effectively during this process can help them model appropriate behavior for their kids. With love and support, children can more effectively deal with their parents’ divorce. Contact one of the professionals at Best Legal Choices if you’re ready to take the first step toward starting your new life.