How to Cope with an Empty Nest Together

relationship therapist in DelawareThe kids are finally out of the house. And even though you may have dreamed of this day while they were in their teenage years, being an empty nester may not be what you thought. It’s a weird transition. The house is quiet. You aren’t seeing your kids every day. And for the first time in years, it’s just you and your spouse.

As a couple, you are in this together. Use each other for support as you enter this new phase in your life. If you do not know where to start, try these tips and suggestions so that you can make this transition with love and growth.


Any transition can be uncomfortable. But don’t let these new feelings distance you from your partner. You have more time than ever to communicate and understand each other’s feelings at this time. Use it.

Just because you have been with your partner for a long time, does not mean you can completely predict their feelings in each new phase of your life. And if you are feeling lonely, confused, or anxious about the future, tell them. Use your partner as support. Find ways that the two of you can make this time about your relationship and starting a new phase together.

Make the Empty Nest Your Nest.

We’ve all heard the cliché about parents turning their kids’ rooms into home gyms and office spaces after they’ve moved out. But it’s a cliché for a reason. The reality is, remodeling and redoing the spaces in your house gives you and your spouse a project to work on while you are sitting at home and missing your busy family life. Plus, you get to create something together that both of you can use and enjoy.

Your kids may be a little confused when they come home to visit. But they’ll be glad to know that their room is now dedicated to something that makes you happy. And it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to lose out on the sleeping space so they can stay over from time-to-time. Simply get something like a futon or air mattress that can be easily put away or has a secondary use that fits your new room.

Have More Date Nights.

With kids in the house, planning date nights is often a huge endeavor that may involve planning weeks ahead, getting sitters, and more. But now you’re not held back from each other any longer.

You don’t have to plan food around your children, so make mealtime with your partner special. Plan empty nest date nights. Rent a movie. Cook each other a special meal. Set up a “spa treatment” in your living room. Your nest is now a place solely dedicated to you, your partner, and your relationship. And, of course, you now have more freedom to actually leave your nest together for a bit of romance as well. Take advantage of it!

Get Out and Get Moving.

Finding a hobby, exercise routine, or class that will get you and your partner moving is a great way to learn something new, improve your health, or simply have a nice time out of the house.

Whether you and your spouse find a project, hobby, or a new focus on falling in love, encourage each other. These are your golden years; make them shine!

Need help? Talk to a relationship therapist in Delaware.

Walt Ciecko, Ph. D., BCB
605 Wynyard Rd
Wilmington, DE 19803