It’s an age old story, you and your partner have invested your life into your children and from their first breath they have dominated almost every conversation you have had together.
You discuss everything about your child. Their first words, steps, celebrating their first win at sports, how they are settling in at school, how many friends they have.
As they grow older you discuss when they should be given access to technology, which adds another layer of stress as you obsess about what they are viewing, who is contacting them and are they being bullied.
Now let’s throw in when they can date, who they should date and we may even ask for divine help should they get into trouble.
Add to this the endless hours of the Mum and Dad taxi service, sleepovers and seemingly endless birthday parties they must attend, and is it little wonder that we can struggle to find time for each other.
Then one day, the whirlwind comes to an end as your last child elects to leave the nest and you are suddenly back to where it began with your partner, feeling like two strangers in your now empty home.
The ‘empty nest’ syndrome has seen the divorce rate for couples double across the past 25 years and for many couples this is the acid test for the relationship. If you cannot rediscover what drew you together in the first place, then it is likely your relationship will end.
So if you have disconnected from your partner and the kids have left or are preparing to leave the nest, what can you do to make your relationship as special as it was the day you first met?
- Check in with your partner. We change over the years, so ask questions about what you are both planning for the future and how together you can make this happen.
- Use your eyes, they are literally the windows to your partners feelings and emotions, our eyes tell so much and yours can tell your partner how much you love them.
- The power of touch. Reach out and touch partner, hold their hand, stroke a cheek, and kiss them. As humans we crave contact and a simple touch will say how much you care.
- Normalise the change. Yes it’s tough when the kids leave and can be quite emotional. So remember you are stronger together and by supporting each other you can get through.
- Talk to each other. All relationships have issues, so do not ignore the issues between you. Talk, talk, talk, and when you do talk, remember tips two and three.
- Pay attention to each other again, and be on the lookout for any bids for connection you partner may be making towards you.
- Do new things together. The brain loves novelty, so by finding fun and new things to do will create a shared excitement for both and your partner, helping you to reconnect with those feelings of the past.
Relationships can be challenging, but they can also be incredibly rewarding and having someone we love and care for in our life is important. So do not give up on your true love without a fight.
If you and are struggling to breakthrough on your own, then remember you do not have to do this alone and by seeking help from a qualified counsellor can help you turn your relationship around.
If you’re interested in attending the couples retreat I am presenting on 18-20 May 2018, one space is still available. For more information or to reserve your spot click here.
For more tips, daily quotes and information about love, dating, relationships and happiness visit my Facebook page Melissa Ferrari - Psychotherapist & Relationship Expert. Also available is information about couple therapy and how it can help your relationships.