For the last couple of years, you have secretly (and sometimes openly) voiced your concerns that your kids will never leave the home environment. You felt like Hotel Mama or Hotel Papa.
They come when they please, not announcing friends staying over and the fridge is perpetually empty despite being at the grocery store more than you’d like.
They drive your car every now and then, and surely borrow your camera equipment once in a while.
As a result, you’ve felt a bit like a supplier of all sorts of services and gadgets.
Finally, they have announced they are ready to move out. First the older and a few months later the younger one too. It is as if they’ve planned the retreat together. Maybe they did, neither of them wanted to be left alone with Mum and Dad.
So here you have it. The kids are moving out.
What does this mean for you and your relationship?
Sure, the last couple of years the conversation was less and less about the kids and their welfare. But in all plans, they were a fixed part and now there is a void.
A void you and your partner need to fill with something.
Don’t underestimate this. It is a big change and every big change is a rattling at the fortress you and your partner have built over the last twenty years or so.
And herein lies the danger and the opportunity for you and your partner.
If your relationship is happy, solid and shaped by mutual respect and understanding then this transition to a kids-free lifestyle is just another inevitable change in your lives and a great opportunity for growth.
If on the other hand your relationship is merely functioning or worse only surviving, then this new challenge could easily become the last straw for your relationship.
Many of the people who have participated in my online relationship quiz have been together with their partner for longer than 15 years. 25% of those pose questions to me showing that indeed a lot of things in their relationships are not clearly communicated and not effectively discussed.
Don’t get me wrong, there is a chance that this change of your children moving out has a boosting effect on your relationship so you can finally concentrate all your energy on to each other.
In my experience, the chances for this are slim.
More likely is the scenario that your house of cards will tumble because it is being shaken by your kids leaving home.
What you could do?
This is your chance, take it.
Have a clear and open conversation with your partner and together try to answer this question:
How do we want to live in our future together?
It might be the case that you don’t like the answer your partner gives you.
Or you might not like the answer you give yourself.
This is your chance to articulate your true feelings and desires and together work towards them.
No one expects you to have a 100% overlapping view for the rest of your lives. But if one of you wants to live in Greenland and the other one in Kenya, you have a conflict. It’s how you manage that conflict, either with discussion or compromise or understanding, that matters.
If your relationship is a healthy one and shaped by deep connection and love you will find a solution for it, no doubt.
If on the other hand there has been a crack in your relationship for some time now, then this new situation can easily be the end of it. It all depends on how you structure your approach and how you communicate.
The worst thing you could do is not to talk about it and then live together in a half empty house trying to avoid each other every step of the way.
I know what it takes to redefine your relationship. Our move from Hamburg to Sydney with two young boys did put some unexpected tough challenges on us.
If you want more guidance in regards to your new situation you can reach out and book yourself a free call with me using this link.
BTW: chances are – once you’ve sorted it all out – that one of your kids will be knocking at the front door, ready to move back home.