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Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Story of Joe and Nancy

An Empty Nest? [i]

"Our twin daughters were the spark plugs that kept our family lively," Nancy told us. "When they left for college, everything changed. It was so quiet. Actually I had looked forward to a little peace and quiet, but it seemed so weird to be just the two of us again like we really didn't know each other any more. I began to realize that our marriage was stagnant. We had little in common, few things to talk about. It's not that either of us had intentionally ignored the other, but with the demands of two very active and social children, over the years, we had drifted apart." Joe added, "I didn't have a clue as to what to do, so I reacted by spending more time at work and more time with my golf buddies." “I felt so alone," Nancy continued. "I was disoriented. My major focus in life was the girls. Now they were gone, and so was my job. No more college applications to help with or track meets to attend. No more impromptu teenage parties. I realized my own personal interests were limited. No wonder Joe didn't want to spend time at home; I was boring. And I was bored. Wasn't the empty nest supposed to be more fun than this?"

Coping with the “Empty Nest”
Among researchers there is debate about the empty nest. (…when children are grown and are no longer living at home) 
Two questions are; how frequent is it and how strong is it?

  1) Empty nest reactions to the end of childrearing are not well understood
  2) First of all it is better to refer to it as the “post parental period”.
  3) Parents, especially mothers, may experience overwhelming, grief                  and sadness. Why is it just about women? 
  4) Overall, relatively few women (about 10%)  experience an overflow of feelings and adjustment difficulties that are diagnosed as the “empty nest syndrome”. Even then strong reactions are short lived” (about 2 years)
  5) In addition “meaningful work” is relative to adjustment to in the“ post             parental” stage and may be seen as an alternative to the “mother  role            “.

[i] Fighting for Your Empty Nest Marriage Reinventing Your Relationship When the Kids Leave Home   David H. Arp, Claudia S. Arp, Scott M. Stanley, Howard J. Markman, Susan L. Blumberg

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