The time has come, the children have grown up and are now leaving to make their own lives. This is a major life milestone that can bring a mixture of different feelings. And dealing with them is not easy. While there is a perception that only women experience empty nest syndrome, this is not true at all. So how do you deal with children leaving home? And how to face this new phase of life together as a couple?

Symptoms of empty nest syndrome

Empty nest syndrome is not a diagnosis. It is not a disorder that can be determined by clearly by some defined charts . It is a collection of negative feelings that can come up when your (last) adult child moves out of your home. When suddenly you have no one to care for and the one you have given the most love to disappears from your sight.

As a result of empty nest syndrome, you may feel:

  • lonely,
  • unnecessary,
  • depressed,
  • like you’ve lost the meaning of life,
  • some kind of security has left you.

This can then escalate into anxiety, depression, insomnia and other problems. Some people also suddenly realise that they are getting older when their children move out, and this reality weighs on them.


What you’re experiencing is perfectly fine

The term syndrome carries the idea of a pathology. Something outside the norm that we should avoid. But you can’t avoid this stage of life, and it’s natural if it affects you. It’s a major life change.

According to a United Students survey, 98% of parents experience empty nest syndrome to some extent. Nearly one in five parents (17%) also develop physical symptoms such as panic attacks, insomnia or increased heart rate.

It’s perfectly okay to feel the emotions you feel. Don’t forbid them. But also don’t let them completely consume you for any longer than necessary. We’ll help you find a way out.

Solving the empty nest syndrome – a fresh start

The reason why we are so affected by the leaving of our children is that we have become very attached to them. Caring for them has become the meaning of our lives and the role of parent is our whole identity.

So try asking yourself who are you regardless of your children?

  • What do you enjoy, what are you good at?
  • What have you always wanted to do, but because of your children you didn’t have the time, money or for whatever reason you couldn’t do it?
  • What new things could you learn?

Try to change your perspective and look at this milestone as the beginning of a new chapter. You have new possibilities and it’s up to you what the next chapter of your life will look like. Find new hobbies, travel, renew old friendships or seek out new ones.


bonding or a test of a partnership?

When your children leave home, it is a new phase in your relationship. But every couple experiences this change differently.

It can bring you closer together as you deal with the children leaving together. You have time to yourself again after so many years, more privacy too. You can make new plans, go on a holiday just the way you like it, and you don’t have to make two meals for dinner so everyone can have their own.

But living with just the two of you again after so many years can be a big test.

  • Maybe you all deal with the passing of children differently. While one of you sees all the new possibilities, the other keeps looking back.
  • Or you may find that you have completely neglected your role as a partner over the years and are now finding it hard to find your way back to each other. Children were what held you together, and suddenly they’re gone.
  • Maybe you haven’t felt comfortable around each other for a long time, and with the children gone, you have to face it.

There can be many reasons for this, and it is not uncommon for it to lead to divorce. If the children’s leaving has shaken your relationship and you want to find your way back together, couple therapy is definitely worth a try.

Try not to stop children from making plans

Fear of your children leaving may have driven you to try to dissuade them from moving. Unfortunately, this is not the way to go and it can only make the situation worse. It has to happen one day.

Accept the timing your children have chosen and try not to talk them out of it (unless they are not running into trouble, of course). If they find support in you, they will continue to be happy to turn to you and trust you.

Offer help, but let them make their own life. You may remember what it was like when you left home. Try to put yourself in their shoes and share their joy at starting again. Your relationship is far from over, it will just change form.

Support in this life change can always be found in Hedepy. You don’t have to do it alone. Come and see how psychotherapy works and how it can help you too.

Don’t face it alone

Finally, we would like to tell you the last and most important thing. It is completely natural to experience a wave of emotions in a difficult situation. Every crisis has its beginning, but it also has its end. Yours too. Therefore, if you are at least considering it even a tiny bit, ask for the help of a psychologist, psychiatrist, psychotherapist, or coach. Don’t face it alone; you can find help – At, there are more than 30 therapists. You can choose someone who is best suited to your needs, and make an appointment for the next day. You can then connect with the therapist online, from the comfort of your own home.

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