Which couples are facing a huge risk of divorce these days? It’s empty nesters.
Statistics show a surge in couples age 50 and up divorcing and experts say the trigger is often when their adult children leave home. It’s surprising, considering the wisdom has been that when the kids finally move out the couple can get back to all the fun things they used to do together before parenting took over their lives. But the reality is that years spent raising kids often turns parents into very different people than they were when they first got married. Couples discover they have nothing in common, and their children were the glue holding them together. They can only relate to each other in their roles as mom and dad and not as romantic partners.
Another reason a lot of empty nesters divorce? Once they no longer have their kids to focus on, the problems or issues they brushed aside to keep the peace for the kids’ sake, come to the surface. So empty nesters, how can you tell if your relationship is headed toward divorce? Experts say that the biggest warning sign is withdrawal. Like one spouse withdraws from the relationship and devotes all of their time to hobbies, work, or friends. If that’s the case, experts say schedule activities every week that each of you like. If your partner’s passion is fishing, go with them. Or if you like yoga, bring your partner. Experts say sharing hobbies and interests with our partner gives us a chance to connect about something other than kids.
Another way to prevent divorce during your empty nest years? Create a long-term strategic plan, just like you’d do for finances. Talk with your partner about everything from what you want your marriage to be like once the children are gone to where you want to retire. Experts suggest talking about these things early when the oldest child is a freshman in high school. That way you’ll have time to connect years before your kids move out.