Letting them go!(11 Posts)
This is my first post on here. I have 2 boys of 19 and 21, both away at uni, and am suffering from empty nest syndrome. I managed well when eldest son went off on gap year travels, and also when they both initially went off to uni, as I knew they would come back.
But it has really hit me now DS1 has a girlfriend - his first girlfriend and they are living together and have got very serious very quickly. The thing that has changed is he doesn't seem want to come home now - his life is centered around her and what she/they want. He has pulled away from me and I miss him dreadfully. DS2 still needs me, although also away at uni, so I don't have that awful sadness about 'losing' him.
I know it's a natural progression and the next phase ..I'm just not loving these new phases and can't shake off the sadness, though trying hard!
Any advice much appreciated!
Didn't want to leave you unanswered.
I'm in a similar situation, but not feeling too sad yet.
I think you should give yourself a pat on the back for raising two independent boys who are happy to go off into the world and make their own way. The alternative is far worse.
Have you got any hobbies or interests that you haven't had time to pursue?
Try and think of it as a new exciting chapter where you get a bit of yourself back, hard I know.
Another pat on the back and hand hold from me. I'm pretty much in the same situation though do have DD2 still at home ( some of the time LOL) .
There is nothing you could/should do to stop it - you have raised fab boys that are now taking their places in the world.
Try to find something of you that's been neglected and grow it now- work /hobbies/fitness etc??
Sympathy. Mine are teenagers but I can see this all coming.
I guess it's change. Time for a new stage of life? I'm trying to be positive but I can see it's tough when so much of your life has been about caring for your DCs.
Lots of posters will follow with practical suggestions of new hobbies I imagine but it's not quite the same is it?
I actually rejoice in the fact that my university going DDs have learnt to express themselves, make friends, be self-reliant and take their place as young adults. I think I have done quite a good job and I am happy that other interests and people are filling their lives. They hardly ever come home from university and I would not expected them to! They have friends and things to do at university. It is what they should be doing. Your children will not forget you. They love you. They just don't need you all the time. Be happy that they are happy. I would rather children were happily busy at university than unhappy and trailing home all the time with their problems. Go and visit in reading week. It will be something to look forward to.
This is quite a thought provoking documentary.
There are some remarkable people featured in it with some of the symptoms that you are experiencing. Its interesting to watch as they describe their feelings so accurately and the solution seems to be to increase your social connections but not by using social media.
Im going to be in the same position next year and am thinking on the same lines as you OP.
Try having a regular exercise regime every day, doing a course, joining a reading group, voluntary work, developing interests to a more specialised level.
Do you have a partner OP?
What made your life fun and interesting before you had DS's? Could you rediscover whatever it was that occupied your time then?
I enjoyed travel and this is what I intend to pursue when the time comes (whilst we await grandchildren ). I also want to progress further in my career which has been on a bit of a slow burner.
The girlfriend will never replace you and you have not 'lost' DS1.
Thanks so much, it really does help to hear others' thoughts. It's certainly the end of an era and a big and important stage in life, and I expect many feel it at some point when their children move on.
Unfortunately I work from home which is a bit solitary and that doesn't help. I've got DH though, so not completely lonely, but he works long hours Mon-Fri. Perhaps it's time to sell my business, pursue new interests, see friends more, travel. Maybe 2016 will have to be a time of personal change/growth.
I must find a better way to stay connected with DS1 too as that's the bit that hurts. It's a bit of a paradox isn't it that we love and nurture them, try and prepare them for the wide world so that they can go off and be independent ..but then it's so sad when they do. xx
To stay connected? This is him tasting the outside world. He'll be back, not forever, but more often - if you keep quiet now about your hurt, hide the disappointment of him being with his girlfriend all the time, not to mention visits to her parents, and swallow the retorts when you're told how wonderful they all are. [You can let them out on here] Always be nice about her, and them, make approving sounds when he tells you plans that don't include you... and generally never let him feel tied or hemmed in.
When he's got those wings well and truly flapping and he's airborne, he'll come back because he wants to and he feels easy with you. Hope it doesn't take too long
Thank you rightkindofsun, that's my mother's advice too! I guess by 'stay connected' I meant what form of contact we have. It's currently an occasional chat on skype at the weekend, but I find skype a bit stilted as there is often a time delay, you don't know who else is there out of sight listening and I find it a bit offputting to see a middle aged couple in the bottom right of the screen and realise it's me and DH!!! I will try to phone instead ..a bit old fashioned now but may be a more relaxed chat.
Thanks to everyone who replied, it does help to put things in perspective.
I understand totally how you feel. Ds is in his second year and we live overseas so time difference is a problem, also no popping up for the weekend or coming home.
Last year DH was in town on business, so took Ds out where they meet a number of friends for a surprise party for a friend from here. He also took Ds and his friends out, all student love free food and alcohol and the DH sent them on their way. We also had a quick weekend using airmiles to do Christmas shopping, Ds was very happy to come along and join in the food drink shopping theatre 😄 Etc. Next time we see him will be Easter and then September for his 21st. We are there for him and tell him he is welcome but we don't push him to join us. As for communicating we have a whatsapp group for the three of us and I frequently send a message or a link to something I've read. He sent me the Adele carpool karaoke today. It's not chatting as we know it but it keeps us all connected. And he's always asking advice about stuff, unblocking the sink, stain removing, you name it.
As for me and my loneliness, well I started a new different book club, DH and I both joined a wine tasting class,
so I can sound posh when I swig my plonk, also we go casually to quiz night and now belong to a team, in turn this has led to making a few new friends. We have also upped our level of travel. Sometimes Ds wants to come and sometimes not. He is very jealous he missed Zanzibar. He still leads his own life but is happy to hear about ours as we are about his. It does get easier with time but you must help yourself and know you have done a great job. Pat yourself on the back, have a glass of wine and think back on all you wanted to accomplish and then work out how you are going to make it happen. Good luck and remember you are most certainly not alone in this.
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