Dear Coleen – ‘I’m so lost and lonely now my twins are at university’

Dear Coleen – ‘I’m so lost and lonely now my twins are at university’

December 9, 2018

Dear Coleen

My husband and I are in our late 40s and have a good marriage. We’ve been together since meeting at university and we have twin girls who went off to university in September.

I’m happy for my girls and very proud of them, and they’re both loving university. But I’ve been really struggling since they left.

My husband works a lot, so with the girls gone I’m feeling lonely and suddenly don’t quite know where I fit in any more.

I feel stupid admitting this, as I’m a grown woman.

I don’t want to burden the girls with how I’m feeling, as they’re having a great time and enjoying their independence.

I suppose having two daughters, we were always a ‘three’ and we did so much together, so it feels as if there’s something missing.

I’ve been counting down the days until Christmas when they’ll both be home.

But at the same time, I’m already worried about how I’m going to feel when they have to go back.

I’d love your advice. Am I just being silly?

Coleen says

No, not at all. It’s called empty nest syndrome and lots of people experience the exact same feelings.

I for one found it really tough when my boys grew up and moved out, and realised my daughter was now a teenager and needed me much less.

I’d been so used to doing things for the boys and it took me a long time to adjust to my new role in their lives – I kind of felt redundant.

In your case, these feelings will be even more heightened because, as you say, you were a threesome and a really tight little unit. But it’s not silly to share these feelings with your husband.

You obviously have a good relationship and he may be feeling it too, but perhaps not as intensely as you as he has work as a distraction.

If I were you, I’d use this chance to think about yourself and what you want because you deserve that after spending so many years dedicated to your girls. What about working again or volunteering?

What about travelling or learning new skills or even just making the effort to see more of your friends? It’s about creating a new life for yourself.

Of course you’ll miss your girls and they’ll miss you too (even if they don’t say it). You’ll get used to it and you’ll find a routine.

You can visit them and arrange holidays or events when you’ll all be together.

Also, they’ll want to come back and spend time at home – even if they do usually bring a huge bag of dirty washing.

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