It is common knowledge that becoming a parent can change someone’s life, but it can also change the relationship that parents have with each other. Suddenly, children can become the center focus of both parents’ lives. This is natural.
However, what happens when the children move out of the house? Some reports say that parents who experience empty nest syndrome could face a higher chance of divorce.
What is empty nest syndrome?
While Virginia parents might be proud to see their children move on and succeed in life, they might also feel a complex combination of anxiety and sadness as well when there are no more children left in the house. This experience is commonly called “empty nest syndrome.”
It may not be a scientific diagnosis, but empty nest syndrome can have a significant effect on parents. Common signs of this syndrome include:
- Feeling a loss of purpose or control in life;
- Experiencing significant emotional distress; and
- Excessively worrying about one’s children.
Feeling grief when the last child moves out of the house is common when parents invest many years of their life raising their children. However, when this grief takes over one’s life, it can take a considerable toll on their emotional and mental health.
Another sign of empty nest syndrome? Stress on the marriage.
Experiencing empty nest syndrome can also create significant tension in the parents’ marriage. In fact, this stress is why empty nest syndrome has been cited as one of the reasons that divorce among couples over 50 has increased over the years.
This tension can happen for several reasons, including:
- Children have been the center of the relationship for a long period;
- Both parents face challenges rediscovering their identity outside of being a parent again; and
- Their goals and values may have diverged in the years they concentrated on raising their children.
If individuals are grappling with a severe case of empty nest syndrome that is taking a toll on their marriage, it may be beneficial to determine whether the stress is coming from the children moving out or the marriage itself. Spouses should carefully evaluate their relationship before pursuing a divorce.
Regardless of what parents decide, the attorneys at Bowen Ten Long & Bal, PC, can help guide families through complex legal situations and help them find the solutions that best meet their family’s needs.