At Bowes-Lyon Partnership we work with ladies and gentlemen from the late 20s to the late 60s, but this time of year often sees an influx of members from the age of 45 to 55 years. Why is this? Well, now is the time of year when many 18 year olds are making their final preparations to flee the nest and embark on the next chapter of their life – university!
Exam results are in, university places are rapidly filling up and parents are out buying one pot cookbooks and various kitchen accoutrements to see their soon to be Fresher comfortably through their first year of uni. Whatever the family situation, it’s a time of change and often that includes a re-evaluation of what’s next for the parents who will have spent most of the past 18 years planning their lives around the needs of a child. And for those that are single, that might mean starting dating for the first time or seeking a partner with renewed vigour.
If you’re in the situation of waving goodbye to an only or last child in the family, then it’s worth considering the impact it may have on your search for a partner. The empty nest syndrome, a term coined by psychologists to describe the feelings that many parents feel when their children first leave home. Common symptoms include anxiety, confusion, craving, loneliness, rejection and a feeling of purposelessness. Fortunately these feelings don’t have to last, as long as you acknowledge them and allow yourself to go through the natural grieving process and begin to focus on the many opportunities a childfree life can offer. But during this time it’s worth being aware that your feelings towards dating may be different. You may find yourself inadvertently ‘parenting’ your date as your natural inclination to care for someone no longer has any outlet. You may also experience rejection more acutely and/or find yourself in greater need of stability. Conversely you may be relishing your newfound freedom and find yourself resenting any date that comes across as too needy or wanting commitment prematurely.
Whatever you’re feeling, what’s important is that you recognise that the empty nest may be temporarily influencing or even clouding your judgement. Therefore it’s important that you take extra time to consider your feelings, perhaps by talking them through with someone you trust or who knows you well, and try not to make snap decisions. Being single and free again can be a wonderful time and a great opportunity to start focusing on who it is you would like to be with. This is a life-changing time, not just for your children, but for you as well. Enjoy it!
Thanks to Parship for their contribution to this article