Couple Therapy for Empty Nesters and Couples in Midlife Crises

An empty nest is an idiom used to describe a home that once housed children who have since moved out as a natural consequence of growing older.

Our children grow up, and they leave, just like you did, only now you’re in the driver’s seat, taking your baby to college.

But it’s not just your kids who changed over the years, you think as you look within your marriage.

Now that you have more time to think for yourself, you might be looking back at a relationship before your kids came into the picture where you and your partner did things together that you liked doing.

Now, many of us going through an empty nest transition are left thinking “this relationship isn’t the same as it used to be”.

Your time and attention got pulled towards new responsibilities that came with parenthood. However, even when the children were out, your attention didn’t swing back to each other.

You might have noticed that your conversations always revolved around the kids; sex was infrequent or unsatisfying; the connection that you once had just doesn’t seem the same anymore. Your marriage might be suffering from empty nest syndrome.

Where does Empty Nest Syndrome Come from?

Empty nest syndrome is when a couple realizes, as their children move out, that their relationship has drifted apart during the course of raising those children.

It can happen as a result of an unnurtured relationship and is common to couples whose lives and concerns become centered around their children while other responsibilities or needs are brushed off.

Raising children is a task that no relationship is one hundred percent ready to take on. It is an ongoing responsibility to care for, raise, and love a child.

For this reason, empty nest syndrome can be a prevalent yet scary realization for many couples undergoing an empty nest transition that the love you once shared with your partner has become engulfed under the weight of responsibility.

You Can Begin Again

But tackling this transitional period with a goal to reconnect and learning to create positive change within your relationship can be a saving grace for the health of your relationship. Seeing a couples therapist for many couples facing similar challenges provides tools, guidance, and encouragement for couples looking to reconnect and revive their relationship.

I’m Not Ready To Leave My Children

For those of us whose next freshman move-in day will mean the start of the transition into an empty nest, we may be starting to ask ourselves

  • “I’m scared my marriage was held together by the responsibilities of raising children. What will this mean for my marriage?”
  • “I’m not sure I’m ready to send my child(ren) away. Will our children forget about us?”
  • “The responsibilities my child(ren) brought me kept me busy. What am I going to do all day, every day?”


You’ve survived large transitions in your life before, but this one seems different. The anguish that comes from saying goodbye to your child and parental responsibilities combines with the fear for the security of your marriage without the adhesive responsibilities of having a child.

It seems… tougher? This transition may be hard on your marriage. Conversations with our partner might run dry without having kids to actively prompt new memories and topics to talk about.

Without that extra mouth to feed, that extra human to love, many new empty-nesters start to experience thoughts like “I don’t know what I’m living for anymore” or “I feel alone inside my own home”.

Fight for Relationships that Are Meaningful To You

When faced with these insecurities, don’t turn away. Work for the relationships that you still have in your life and argue against insecure thoughts that come from feelings of loneliness.

Look into your marriage and ask if you want to fight to rekindle the marriage from which you found overwhelming love and joy just 18 years ago.

Talking with one of our therapists experienced in working with couples going through similar empty nest syndrome symptoms can help you feel listened to and understood. We will provide you the necessary guidance and support to help you and your partner turn towards each other in a time where your relationship might seem the most fragile.

You can begin again.

I’m Afraid of Going Through A Midlife Crisis

For many of us, adult-onset depression and the anxieties that torment us are rooted into a decades-long trend of declining life-satisfaction that has only been realized now as ex-caregivers.

Many new empty-nesters look at their new situation and immediately correlate and blame their newfound scary emotions on life after children or midlife itself.

I’m having a midlife crisis, but that’s to be expected, so what really is there to do?

While you should never feel guilty for the emotions that you experience, the problem with this belief system is that it allows us, as new empty-nesters, to accept that midlife or life after children is correlated with a loss of life-satisfaction.

Working with a therapist will challenge you to dispel the fiction that midlife is supposed to be a time of crisis, because simply put, it is not.

Second Adolescence, not a Midlife Crisis

Therapists experienced in working intimately with people in this age range recognize that midlife is not inherently troubling. With a healthy shift in mindset, they can help us to take on our early 50s and 60s as a second adolescence, a preparation for the rebound that is to come.

Schedule a consultation with one of our expert therapists today to see if you would benefit from viewing your life from a different perspective. Many adults in their 50s and 60s experience second, or third mental or emotional awakenings. They benefit from

  • Becoming more aware and sensitive to their emotions
  • An emancipated inclination towards sex
  • A revived lust for life.

You are not subject to what society perceives to be life in your late adulthood. You can begin again today.

What is Emotion Focused Couples Therapy?

older couple kissing on cheek

EFCT is an evidence-based structured approach to marriage counseling. Developed in the 1980s, decades of clinical research have supported this attachment-focused technique.

EFCT focuses on emotional and behavioral patterns of negative interactions between two people in a romantic relationship.

The theory involves that these patterns are established from our individual attachment styles structured from our own complicated histories, and to rebuild this trust means to first initiate an effective mode of communication that accommodates any differences in attachment styles.

These negative patterns become apparent to your therapist and, as an experienced and well-qualified professional, your marriage counselor will work with you and your partner to reduce tension and amplify emotional intimacy.

How Can EFCT Help My Empty Nest Marriage?

Conflicts that arise out of a nest newly emptied most typically sprout out of feelings of a loss of connection, feeling misunderstood or unappreciated, or a damaged system of communication.

Understandably, with children and work at the forefront of your mind, your love and deep-hearted emotions have taken the backseat of the scope of your conversation for so long. Raising children can affect your emotional connection with each other.

But, trying to rekindle that connection can be difficult. Conversations might be muddled with insecurities, emotional imbalances, or personal attacks that have developed over the years.

EFCT focuses on allowing you and your partner to express your needs on the basis of emotion. It concentrates on training effective communication that is ever-so important.

When we are prompted and encouraged to speak on the behalf of our own emotions, our sentences start to sound like “I feel this way” rather than “you made me feel this way”. Patterns can be identified and issues can be solved objectively and bonding can ensure along the way.

If communication and emotional intimacy is something that you hold dearly in your heart, but have seen a troubling lack in your life, EFCT may be an effective solution for your relationship. Schedule a consultation with one of our EFCT trained therapists today by calling us at (757) 704-5558.

Intimacy is fostered in the wake of understanding and intention.

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