Your kids are grown, independent adults who are beginning their own lives away from home. This can be an incredibly happy feeling while still being a little scary. After all, you’ve spent so much energy and attention dedicated to raising your children over the last years. So, what happens now?
What do you talk about with your partner now? What will meals and weekends be like when it is just the two of you in the house? New empty nesters can frequently find this transition incredibly difficult, and they may even start to worry about the future of their relationship during this time.
But do not get discouraged. You can make the most of this time and create a smooth and pleasant transition that helps you rekindle and redefine your partnership as you settle into this new stage in your life and your relationship.
How You Can Reconnect with Your Partner After Your Kids Have Left the House
From the time that we begin raising our children to the time that they finally leave the house to begin lives as their independent adults can often make up a large portion of the time we spend with our partners. This is especially true for couples who began raising their children relatively quickly to committing to each other.
But what happens once your child (or children) leaves home? Reconnecting with your partner can feel awkward and even challenging if you feel you may not have anything in common anymore. But, where there is love and mutual support, there can be a happy relationship — even without kids to raise!
Here we’ll look at just a few tips and techniques you can keep in mind as you rekindle your relationship.
Don’t Assume the Worst
The first thing you will want to do is not assume the worst from your situation or partner. In other words, don’t condemn your relationship just because you feel a little uncomfortable or at a loss for conversation topics.
You’ve just spent years having a mutual interest (your kids) to talk about all the time. It is not uncommon for you to feel at a loss when you aren’t sure what your shared interests are anymore. But, that doesn’t mean your relationship is over. All this means is you must work on finding your new interests together!
Redefine Your Roles
You likely spent the last years (or even a few decades) defining yourselves as parents before anything else. Now that your children are grown and living independently, you may need to take time to redefine yourselves and your relationship.
This can be challenging to do alone, and it is a good exercise to do with your partner so you can ensure you are both on the same page in your relationship.
Look for New Adventures
Raising kids is an adventure. Like anything else, it has its highlights and its challenges. This adventure is never finished, and you’ll always be there for your kids in the way only parents can be. But, once your kids have moved out, you are also free to begin new adventures.
So, don’t simply sit back and wait for life to pass you by. Look for the next adventure in your life with your partner and go live it together.
You may want to just relax and take time to enjoy the simple routine of daily life. While this can be a great way to unwind and relax from your years spent raising your children, it is important to not get carried away and simply start going through the motions.
You want to ensure you are doing enough to keep yourself busy and engaged in your life and your relationship with your partner. This could mean spending time looking for new things to do together or picking up new hobbies and interests to share with your partner. It could also mean simply ensuring that you include your partner in your desire to simply enjoy life in a more relaxed and slow manner.
Talk to Your Partner
You’re not going to make much progress in reconnecting with your partner if you don’t talk about where you are and what you are feeling. Whether you are unsure about how to bring up a tricky topic or simply looking for anything to talk about, it can be hard to know where to begin if all you’ve been talking about over the past few decades has been your children.
Many couples may find themselves avoiding the more difficult conversations to spare themselves added pain or rejection. But, the truth is that if you don’t talk about these issues, you may find yourself becoming resentful over time.
You can’t assume that your partner will magically be able to sense what you are thinking and know how to solve your problems. You need to tell your partner what you are experiencing, and then you can both come to a solution together. Broaching sensitive subjects can be hard, and you might feel awkward when doing it, but in the long run, it will lead to a much more open and supportive relationship.
Start a Weekly Date Night
Remember how in love you felt when you first got together with your partner? Lovely evenings sharing dinner, swapping stories, and talking about your interests and hobbies may seem like a pleasant memory of the past, but they do not have to be.
No rule says that date nights are only for young couples who are first starting out their relationship. Date nights also do not have to be expensive or fancy. Simply ensure that you are scheduling a time you are willing to spend with your partner — focused on them and deepening your relationship and bond with them.
Avoid Passive Aggression and the “Blame Game”
Passive aggression and blaming are honestly only ever going to make matters worse. No one likes to feel attacked or blamed, and both types of interactions tend to do just that. Rather than focusing on what your partner is doing wrong, try focusing on how you can improve your own actions and behaviors to create a more positive environment.
Think about it; it is incredibly hard to sustain an argument or disagreement when the other party is not meeting your hostility with their own hostility. So, be that calming and accepting presence. The more you work towards this — rather than finding the faults in your partner — the easier it will be to address any issues and come to conclusions together.
Revisit Your Physical Intimacy Desires
You may have experienced a drop-off in your sex life while raising your kids. This is often one of the more sensitive topics that many couples will not know how to approach with their partners, but talking about your desires for more physical intimacy is a completely natural conversation to have in a relationship.
Consider Talking to a Therapist
Many of these tips and techniques can be done on your own, with your partner, at home. However, if you find it difficult to bring up some of these subjects or simply would like some additional guidance on how to best broach these topics in a safe space, going to relationship or couples therapy can be a great option.
A therapist can give you this safe and unbiased space so that you can focus on redefining your relationship with your partner. So, if you are ready to start this next chapter of your life together with your partner, please do not hesitate to reach out to us today at Love Heal Grow to schedule an appointment with one of our therapists.