People sometimes refer to the period in life after your children move out of the house as becoming an empty nester. For the last 18+ years, you’ve been a parent, focused on working with your spouse to raise your child – or your family. But now the last person has left, it’s just you and your spouse still in the family home.
This is a time in life in which some couples choose to get divorced. What is it about empty-nesting that can cause the end of a marriage?
They want something new
One potential reason is just that people at this stage in their life are looking for something new. They’ve been doing the same thing for a long time, they knew that they were responsible for their children and they’re happy to have provided them with a good upbringing. But they are still ready to move forward with their own life and try out new things, and both people could have a very different idea of what that means.
They already drifted apart
Another potential reason is that the couple has actually been drifting apart for years. They just didn’t know it. Being a parent takes up a lot of time and couples may lose the connection that they had when they first got married. This is hidden by the complications of raising children, but it becomes clear once the kids move out.
They wanted to get divorced before
There are also couples who likely wanted to get divorced long before they were empty-nesters. They just decided not to do it because it was much more complicated if the kids were involved. They may also have felt that it was best for the young children to have two parents who were married. As a result, these couples will be much more likely to get divorced after the children leave, and they may even have discussed doing so in advance.
If you and your spouse do decide to get divorced for any reason, it can be complex at this age. Make sure you understand your legal options.