That last child walks into their college dorm, and you stand in the parking lot with your spouse, trying to wrap your head around the fact that you’re now empty-nesters. You have three children. One is married and the other two are in school. No one lives at home anymore.
As you drive back to your house, you don’t know how to feel. For the last 25 years, you’ve been parents. You haven’t thought about what it means to be a couple or how to live outside of that parental identity. With your child gone, you now have to figure it out.
Is divorce coming?
Experts warn that this is one potential event that can lead to a gray divorce. In some cases, couples do not nurture their own relationships. They don’t feel very connected as individuals. They haven’t felt that way in decades, perhaps. They’re not the same people they were on their wedding day.
The problem is that they forgot to be a couple and just focused on being parents. While that may have been best for the kids, it could leave a gulf between you and your spouse now that there are no children in the home. If you can’t adjust back to being a married couple, it may leave both of you craving something else. That feeling can erode your relationship.
Another potential issue is that you or your spouse may have intentionally waited for the kids to go to school to ask for a divorce. It could be that your spouse wanted to split up 10 years ago. However, with kids in high school and grade school, they thought it would be too traumatic. They decided to wait until the children’s lives would not get upset by the divorce. Now that they’re in college, it’s time to move forward with that.
In many cases, parents are not on the same page in this regard. For instance, maybe your spouse kept thinking about divorce. You, on the other hand, focused on being a parent. You had no idea they were unhappy and that they wanted to end the marriage.
If so, the request can blindside you. It’s already an emotional time in your life, with many things changing. This just adds to it.
If you do feel that way, make sure that you still focus on your legal rights in Minnesota. Do not make emotional decisions or refuse to deal with the divorce because it’s too difficult. You need to focus on your future and what steps you can take to protect your rights at this time.