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Thread: Feeling Empty Nest Syndrome long after kids are out.

  1. #1
    Senior Member CathyA's Avatar
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    Feeling Empty Nest Syndrome long after kids are out.

    I really didn't have any problems that lasted more than a few hours after our kids went to college and/or got their own apartments. I actually enjoyed the freedoms.

    But now that they are older and caught up in their jobs and in relationships, I'm feeling really left out.

    DS is getting married next spring. His girlfriend is very dependent and needy. I think she throws tantrums when she doesn't get her way.
    Which bothers me a lot. And I think he does what she wants to do, to avoid any blow ups. Plus, I think she's chronically depressed and he doesn't want to upset her.

    Anyhow......I'm feeling sad that he hardly ever sees us anymore, yet seems to always find time for her family. He and I have always been very close........
    but I'm really missing that now. And I can't help but feel a little resentful that his girlfriend probably is the reason I don't see him as much. They've lived together for about 4 years.
    But she requires that they do everything together all the time.

    I know it's DS's responsibility to speak out, but unfortunately, I think he avoids any arguments with her at all cost.........which unfortunately ends up short-changing us, his parents.

    Anyone else been in this situation with their children? Maybe it's just hard for me to change routines that used to make us all so happy.

  2. #2
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    This is such a common problem in some form or another. A friend whose daughter is feeling left out of the family dynamics because her siblings live much nearer the parents. The parents who live through their kids are helping make their kids' decisions long after they left the nest rather than including their partners and undermining the relationship of the young couple. Parents who manipulate their kids long after they leave the nest.
    Actually, Cathy, it sounds as though you have a healthy relationship with your son to me. Is there a way that you can befriend the DS's partner by spending some time with her and perhaps building her up to reduce her neediness?
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

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    Not with my son who is single, but with my brother. He has spent literally months over the past year and a half with his wife's family, but only a few days with our side of the family. They were supposed to come out for Christmas, but then my SIL made an appointment 12/27 so it would only be for a few days, then yesterday they cancelled altogether because he had a headache. It is hard because my mother has almost died twice. She is 77 and my dad is 79 and I don't know how many more Christmases they will have.

  4. #4
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    I think that's how it goes. My MIL was very domineering, and it seems we spent most of our time with her, holidays and non-holidays. To be honest, that's one of my big regrets--not putting my foot down and demanding more time with my mother.

    I don't think you can do much about it. Parents give birth, raise their kids, and then entrust them to the Universe. As far as I'm concerned, anything I "get" from them in terms of time and attention is gravy. I tell myself that if I get more than my mother got, I'll be happy, even though that's not saying much.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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    Both my brother and my cousin had wives like this and they rarely saw our family until each of them divorced.

  6. #6
    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    There's an old saying something like "A daughter's a daughter for all of her life; a son is a son 'til he takes him a wife."

    A needy, chronically depressed partner is its own version of hell on earth, IMO--but people need to make their own way in life, however misguided it is.

  7. #7
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    How far away does your son live? Why dont you go to visit him, but stay in a motel so as to not infringe on their privacy.

    I am guessing that you are writing primarily about the holiday season. It might be nice to see him outside of holiday time, it is so overwrought for so many people.

    Here is an idea, just another thing to consider—he may have more fun with the family of his girlfriend, who knows.

    I know that the first few years of being in DH’s family there were small childre, three exactly the same age (three!) and some other kids. Christmas eve and morning was more fun there because of all of the children, than sitting around my parents’ house with my one sibling, no small children, just cats. But then,I lived only 40 minites away from my parents and saw them often. I saw my inlaws less often.

  8. #8
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    Just a little chuckle. DH and I had decided that our daughters would both be free to do whatever worked for them. My parents had demanded so much attention and we swore that we would never do the same to our kids.
    DD1 married a man who had parents who were as laid back as we were. Laughing one day, she told me she and her husband had asked each other rather plaintively, "Doesn't anyone want to see us?".

    Today the kids come when they are able and don't when they cannot. I deal with with it whatever. It is a little more of a challenge since DH has been gone but friends fill in very well. I decided to stay positive and find ways of serving others to prevent any notion of a 'pity party' which I have indulged on occasion. It has got a lot easier with time.
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

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    So far I am very fortunate. I wish my son in law would come more often, but my daughter still comes without him (they live 45 minutes away) as for my son, this is the first Christmas they have been legally married, and when he was giving me the schedule on the phone he said “and leave you on the 27th” and this voice in the background howled “why?” And he said “hang on...(mumbling).... and leave you on the 28th.”

    (Deleted comment about dh relationship with his mother because it’s most likely irrelevant and not helpful.)

    i will say - this is the person your child loves. The closer you are to your child, the more they can tell what you think, and the harder it is for everyone if you can’t find something to love about the new person. I was pretty good at this. The nightmare girlfriend came back for round three before ds noticed I didn’t like her. Fortunately three strikes and she was out!

  10. #10
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    Same problem here. We became grandparents last January and rarely see them. Every holiday is spent with her family. We are told they are busy and yet they go to her folks. DS told me not to get or send Christmas gifts for them. Baby is one in January and we are not invited. Sad does not describe this! They live 4 hours away. When we have visited we definitely were not made to feel welcome but rather an inconvenience. He is our only child and we have no other family. Have been trying not to feel bummed out but .....

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