As the Houston marriage therapist, I’ve seen a lot of couples struggle with the transition that occurs when the kids move out for good, or so-called empty nest syndrome. In fact, some couples are surprised by how much of an adjustment it is and the new relationship problems they experience.

One or both partners may literally feel emotionally empty now that your children are not a part of your daily lives. Additionally, you may find yourself with a lot of free time and nothing to fill it with where previously you were juggling recitals, doctor’s appointments, and sports games. You may have initially been excited by the prospect of this newfound freedom, only to find you don’t know what to do with it!

Some couples are now overwhelmed by the amount of time they spend alone with their spouse. They may not be as close as they were before they had children or even believe that the kids are what was keeping them together.

Communication Is Key, Says the Houston Marriage Therapist

It’s important to share your thoughts and feelings about this transition with your partner. Remember, this is an experience you are going through together, and even though you may have different reactions to the change, it can help you feel connected to your partner to talk about it.

If your partner is reacting differently to the transition, it’s important to be supportive and listen to how they are feeling. Many couples find it helpful to seek help dealing with relationship problems from a Houston marriage therapist. You can learn new communication and relationship skills that will better prepare you to move forward to the next stage together.

Often, couples need to learn how to relate to one another again without their kids around. An important part of the process is talking about the future you want to have together, learning about one another’s needs and dreams.  You will find that your roles in the marriage change, and it’s better to talk through these changes rather than simply letting them unfold. How do you feel about your new roles? How have your expectations of your partner changed?

For many couples, this period of time can be a new beginning for their relationship – allowing them to completely focus on one another and rediscover their connection. Planning date nights, traveling, and finding new interests together can make your relationship exciting again and help to ease some of the conflict that may come from your new life together.

If you are struggling with empty nest syndrome, I encourage you to see this as an opportunity to strengthen your marriage and seek help from the Houston marriage therapist.