Our research on empty nest experience found that this developmental stage can be both happy and sad.  In the same way, the research found conflicting results on the impact of an empty nest on marriages.  In general, the findings were positive!  That is good news.  For instance, back in 2002, researcher Karen Fingerman of Purdue University found that most parents experienced freedom and a “reconnection with spouses” and more time to pursue their own goals and interests.  More recently, Nagy and Theiss (2013) found that in many cases, “couples report greater life satisfaction, more spontaneity and intimacy, increased alone time, greater happiness, more freedom and improved financial conditions after launching the children from home”.  So the kids are launched and we can get on with our happy lives…but our findings (coming soon) found that it is more of mixed bag.  We found that life satisfaction and depression are more common in single parent launches.  We found that parents who were very permissive in their parenting style (meaning they were more like friends with their kids) had a hard time in this phase.  Anecdotally, if the marriage was already bad it only seems to get worse when there no more kids around to take the focus off relationship difficulties.  If one spouse is mourning the loss of their children then logically that would impact the marriage relationship well.   So, like most things in life it’s a mixed bag.  Here’s hoping it’s a happy one for you.  What’s your experience?  Please share your thoughts, comments, or go to the “share your story” section and tell us your empty nest experience.

Posted by:Empty Nest Experience

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