It may be that you and your spouse waited until the last child was out of the house before filing for divorce. Or it could be that you both drifted so far apart that an empty nest was the catalyst for going your separate ways.
In my case, it was a few years post-divorce when I had to face being by myself. My married friends have their spouses for company and go dining out or make impromptu trips to the cinema. When alone in a quiet house without another adult companion, time may seem to stand still between their visits home.
4 Ways to Handle an Empty Nest Post-Divorce
1. Look for the Positive
Part of dealing with an empty nest after divorce is reframing negative thoughts and looking for what is positive. I do not have a surly teen at home but have a cuddly feline fellow in a tuxedo who enjoys hanging out together. I have more me time to read mysteries while munching on chocolate, instead of being a chauffeur. Make sure to nurture yourself when feeling morose. One dad said what got him through the early stages of empty nest syndrome was knowing his son was ecstatically happy at his university. He has many friends, activities, clubs, and is engaged in his courses. Some people stay in touch daily with their kids with a short text and catch up with a call on the weekend. They feel connected to them and still part of their lives.
2. Distract Yourself
Distraction helps ward off the empty nest blues. Do something that you have enjoyed in the past, but maybe did not have the time to continue when raising youngsters. Some folks got back into a sport and joined an amateur city league. I started Zumba classes the week my youngest left home. Every year, I plan get-togethers with pals for the first few days after my son goes back to college. I saved a landscaping project for immediately after his departure so I could stay busy.
Loneliness is at its worst when one has lots of time to dwell upon sad thoughts. Consider joining groups, such as hiking, book club, dining, theater, and much more. You will make friends while exploring new interests. Expand your professional networking and become a member in those organizations. These connections can be invaluable for your career and also on a personal level. This can be a great time to update your job skills with classes. Some empty-nesters took computer courses to become more proficient.
3. Accept Change
Accept what you cannot change – the kids are gone – and recognize what is in your power to change. I love to travel, and the best times in my life were having adventures abroad with my boys. This may never happen again. I worked on this situation and my divorced friend was my travel buddy for two European river cruises. It was hard accepting that travel may be over with my sons, but I had to find a new way to deal with this situation. Some people plan a trip that coincides with their child’s leaving for college. They have something to look forward to instead of an empty house. When I started college, I got a postcard from my mother saying, “London is beautiful at this time of year.” Getting away can be invigorating and just what one requires to start life on a different path.
4. Seek Help From Your Support System or a Professional
Gather your support system around you. Share your feelings with them and get emotional support for your new life transition. Do fun things and have some laughs. I enjoyed watching comedies and going to plays. Some parents found that shaking up their daily routines and adding different activities into their agendas helped to stave off melancholy. If you feel depressed, seek professional help. There are homeopathic remedies that can help lift one’s mood. In this new era, offspring sometimes come back to the nest after college.