The Empty Love Nest

   By drodriguez  Dec 06, 2008

The day the last child leaves home, whether it be for college or some other endeavor, can be very difficult for many of us to deal with.  But maybe there’s a bright side.  New research shows that the empty nest may not be so bad for a lot of couples. 

A recent USA Today article reported about a University of California study that found marriages often benefit the most during the years after the children have flown the coop.  Lead author of the study, Sara Gorchoff, reported that couples often felt the time they spent together after their grown children were out of the house was more relaxed and fun.

The study, which was published in the journal Psychological Science, focused primarily on the women in marital relationships.  The researchers questioned and interviewed the same 123 women at ages 43, 52 and 61.  What they found was that the majority of the women’s marital satisfaction improved as they got older.  Whether it was their first marriage or a re-marriage did not affect the way they felt.

It is common for many couples to face an awkward period after their children leave.  They have a hard time making the transition to living without a house full of kids.  But after making the necessary adjustments, many couples find the quality time they spend with their spouse to be even more enjoyable. 

A 60-year-old mother of five kids, Rosemary Richie, discussed her and her husband’s empty nest experience and how they have both looked forward to the extra time they would spend together.  She said, “When you have so many kids and are working and very involved in the community, we would only see each other in passing ? that’s how I felt for many years.  He reminded me they would be gone some day and it would be just two of us.”

What do you think of the recent study claiming empty nesters have more satisfying marriages?

Have you experienced your children flying the coop yet?


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lugnut99 by lugnut99 | Palm Beach Gardens, FL
Jul 06, 2009

I pretty much with everything that was said. My husband & I were friends before we dated so we already had a pretty strong relationship. I know that helped a lot. With the kids gone (for the most part) we are able to have a warm and loving relationship -- we both really LIKE each other. We enjoy being with each other and we enjoy being with our kids when they are home.

therills by therills | GARLAND, TX
Mar 15, 2009

My husband and I have been married almost ten years now and have two adult daughters between us. We love our kids but we also love our quiet home.

virginiamother by virginiamother | Glade Hill, VA
Jan 15, 2009

I don't think I will ever see the day all of my kids move out. My oldest is 25 he moved out and came back with his wife, her little girl and one on the way. He moved out the second time he came back with his wife their little girl he adopted her and their 2 sons. They are still here after 1 yr 7 months. My 20 year old moved out, it was too noisy here and too many people. My 14 year old would move out if she could. If they were all gone I would miss them. But I love the quiet when everyone is gone.

MaurChclt by MaurChclt | Cattaraugus, NY
Jan 02, 2009

We love it now that it IS just the 2 of us. We have time to talk, quiet time where we enjoy the silence and time to just enjoy each other. It is imortant that you find hobbies you both enjoy and outside interests and friends. But I wouldn't trade this time in our lives for anything.

RoxanneGreen by RoxanneGreen | CATO, NY
Dec 24, 2008

My children are 16 and 17. My son tells me he's staying until he's 35 but I've got news for him. ;-) My daughter wants to go to college at 17. She's the 16 year old now. They are 11 months apart. I'm not sure how my husband and I will handle it. They both went to their dad's in NY for a couple weeks recently and I thought I would go nuts. It will be interesting to say the least!!

natcoleandliamsmom by natcoleandliamsmom | CANYON LAKE, CA
Dec 17, 2008

I have a long time before this happens to my husband and I, but we had our children when we were young and didn't get much time to ourselves so I'm sure it will be bitter-sweet.

njackso2 by njackso2 | Barnesville, GA
Dec 14, 2008

We became empty nesters last year when our middle daugter got married and the youngest went off to school. At first it was terrible, I felt lost for weeks. Gradually things have improved and my husband and I are enjoying our new freedom. The last time my daughter was home for a visit I was actually excited when she went back to school because it meant things could get back to our new normal!

Dommie by Dommie | Sobieski, WI
Dec 14, 2008

Our only daughter went off to college this year and I cried off and on for the first two weeks. Now, it seems that my husband and myself are spending much more time quality time together. Don't get me wrong, I still miss her very much! In fact I am picking her up tomorrow for her Christmas break.

am_i_lost by am_i_lost | Centralia, IL
Dec 11, 2008

My husband and I have been married for 2 1/2 years now. We have 5 children between us; all grown except his one son that is 12 but he lives in a different state and we only get to see him a few times a year. Anyway, my oldest daughter (23) just had a baby and has had to move back in with us. Which at first, was a strain, but is such a blessing at the same time. My husband keeps to himself anyway. It was like being alone most of the time when it was just me and him unless he needed something. I wanted to get out and enjoy each other; or stay in and enjoy each other but he's just content with falling asleep watching TV or whatever. And no, we're not that old; he's 42 and I'm 43. So, I'm thankful my daughter and grand daughter have moved in with us. I used to think I would never get my girls raised or be rid of Now listen to me!!

sunnyinpa by sunnyinpa | pittsburgh, PA
Dec 10, 2008

My 3rd child moved out 2 years ago. At first I was down and out thinking now what. Even with my career, I would come home to a quiet house. I had many crying sessions with my husband and I realized after awhile that this isn't so bad. Life is good again except for the menopause lol. Matter of fact my 3rd child is asleep in his room (Yes I kept it his room) as I am typing this. He is headed to the office in abit and will leave his baby (his dog) with me. I get to play Grammy to his dog. Ahhh how life changes as we grow older! I love it!

nanasluv by nanasluv | Storm Lake, IA
Dec 08, 2008

My husband and I have been empty nesters for about 41/2 years now. At first we thought someone would be coming back with the family as they have been known to do but its been awhile and no one has returned. It is lonely every once in awhile and we watch alot of tv. We miss the kids and grandkids. We have our 2 dogs and 2 horses. We dont have many friends that we hang out with. We both work and keep busy. We did go on the road with the harley for awhile and he sold it. I guess now we are just boring the gkids and kids say. With hards times now its hard to think of things to do. We just like staying at home and staring at each other I guess. I turn 53 soon and he turns 54 and in Dec we will celabrate our 30th anniversery on the 30th of December. We just love each other I guess. We still miss the kids and they are only 3 hours away and want us to move closer,I think they miss us too.

Normamay by Normamay | Miramar, FL
Dec 08, 2008

This has definitely been the case for my parents. They couldn't wait to get rid of me and my brothers LOL. It is actually great to see them dating and enjoying their time together. My mom was pretty teary eyed when I left for college since I was the last one. But about a year later we all started to see how much more affectionate she and my father had become.