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Empty nest syndrome: how to deal with it?

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Preventing empty nest syndrome

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About 35% of parents, mostly mothers, suffer from what is known as “empty nest syndrome.” This is a form of depression that results in a feeling of abandonment and emptiness when children leave the family home. Their departure is indeed a mixture of joy, happiness and pride, but also sadness. It is also a form of heartbreak and renunciation. How to deal with this delicate period? Clinical psychologist Béatrice Copper-Royer, author of the book The day the children leave (Albin Michel).

Why is the departure of children from the family home a key stage in our life as parents?

It is a page turned, and a new chapter opened. This is not a feat. It is a powerful moment because the parental role, especially the maternal role, is being undermined. The mission to protect children is coming to an end. This is a resignation that should not be minimized. The feeling of emptiness we feel after they have left the nest has probably never been stronger because children are the center of the family in our contemporary societies. This moment is also a source of stress and anxiety because we have to learn to let them go for good, to no longer control their lives. And this can be anticipated.

How?

We have to remember from the beginning that our children will one day have a life without us. They do not belong to us. Our mission is to build them up so that they can live away from us. Anticipating their departure means maintaining a life away from them while they are at home, not putting one’s own life on hold. It means having a satisfying emotional and/or professional life or personal activities because, at some point, the children will no longer fill the daily routine.

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Doesn’t anticipation also mean giving your children the responsibility of preparing for your departure?

Yes, but not too early. At the end of high school, when your child becomes a student while still living at home, you can, for example, start letting them manage their medical appointments or administrative procedures. It is also a good idea to show them the importance of having a driver’s license, by not acting as a chauffeur as soon as they express a desire to do so…. This way, they will become more independent.

Is children’s guilt about leaving their parents common?

Children often feel guilty about leaving when their parent is single. The guilt is also stronger for the youngest child in the family or for the only child in whom much has been invested by the parents.

Do we live the departure of our children in the light of our own childhood?

How we react and how we cope with this heartbreak depends largely on how we ourselves have lived our own history with our parents. When our departure was painful or conflicted, this will inevitably resonate with us and reactivate our memories when our children leave home. We must then work on ourselves to understand what is at stake.

Is this output more difficult for mothers?

Their departure often also means a return to the parents’ married life….

Yes, and that changes the whole picture in everyday life. The problem is that once the children are gone, the parent couple is no longer relevant. Their departure forces them to ask questions about themselves, to take stock of their own lives in order to know where they stand. There are many things at stake: fear of loneliness, anxiety about growing old, etc. We have to get to know ourselves again, because we have often lost touch with ourselves. We have to look at ourselves and others, listen to ourselves in the deafening silence left by the departure of the children. And this is not easy.

Doesn’t it also have good things?

Yes, of course, the departure of children is not just a loss. First of all, parents gain freedom and time. No more time for classes, no more appointments arranged for them, no more meals planned and prepared for them…. It would be a pity not to take advantage of this new freedom of movement! Parents only have to take care of themselves, it is a forgotten feeling. In addition, a new relationship will develop with the children who have become young adults. And that is very rewarding.

Some parents, like those in the famous film “Tanguy”, are relieved to see their children leave. Are there more and more of them?

With the economic crisis, some children who have become independent are returning to live with their parents. How to deal with this return?

It is a difficult situation for everyone, both for the children and for the parents, who can no longer live together. This cohabitation no longer makes sense, but sometimes there is no other choice. You have to give young adults as much autonomy as possible, not push them back by taking on your role as a parent of a teenager. We only provide them with a roof over their heads and a little comfort if they need it.

With cell phones and the internet, it’s tempting for parents to maintain a close bond with their children after they’re gone. What do you think about this?

It is not something to be abused. Some mothers have gotten into the habit of calling their children every day from the office to find out how their day at school went, and this habit is sometimes hard to break. This habit is no longer necessary when the child has left home, even if he or she is at the end of the world. We should not deprive ourselves of these new technologies, but we must know how to be reasonable and resist the temptation to send text messages or make daily calls. How else can we ask them to take a real psychological distance and become independent as young adults? If we are not careful, our messages can quickly become invasive as we maintain close contact with children.

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Family / Couple

Breath play or erotic suffocation, a dangerous sexual practice

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It is sexual behavior that is controversial. the breathing game which literally means “breath play”, is a form of erotic asphyxiation practiced during sexual intercourse. But its dangerousness is often overlooked.

What is the breathing game?

ends sexual arousal”, defines the English version of Wikipedia. In practice, “erotic asphyxia” consists ofchoking your partner in the middle of a sexual act. However, playing with your breath can be very dangerous, even deadly. “May result in accidental death by suffocation,” the definition says.

However, despite the risk of injury or fainting, this practice has many adherents. A study conducted in 2021 among 4,000 American students indicates that 26.5% of those surveyed had drowned during their last sexual encounter. Another study carried out the same year on other students reveals more worrying figures: 58% of them have already been suffocated by a partner.

L’suffocation erotic it is also very popular in BSDM circles. A french website dedicated to this type of sexual practices, explains that this restriction of breathing is “practiced in different ways: hanging, suffocation, placing the head in a plastic bag or strangulation,” reports an article in female earth.

A sexual practice that can be deadly

Very risky, the breathing game was popularized by the porn industry, making it an act in its own right, especially in sexual relations marked by domination. But in reality, the consequences of this sexual practice can be fatal. Too much pressure on the larynx can cause death.

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Although there are no official figures on the number of deaths caused by this practice, Grace Millane, a 22-year-old woman, died from it in 2018. Police found traces of strangulation that could correspond to a “four to five minute” suffocation. His partner, Jesse Kempton, was convicted of femicide and sentenced to life in prison. The defense had confided “that the young woman had accidentally died at the end of a sexual game that had gone wrong, a version that had been categorically rejected by the jury,” he recalls. paris party.

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Couple: what your position on the sofa says about your relationship

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the posture adopted by couples when they sit on a sofait’s a window into your relationship status. This is the conclusion of a study conducted by Georgina Barnett, a British psychologist, on 2,000 cohabiting couples. “Tell me how you’re sitting, I’ll tell you if everything is fine in your relationship,” says the specialist in an interview with Stylish Maternity.

Sitting next to each other: a sign of imbalance?

While most couples tend to sit on the couch together, there are some pretty subtle signs that it can be signs of relationship problems. When the partners occupy only one corner of the bench and are too close together, this is synonymous with imbalance in your relationship. “The comfortable person in the corner takes up the space, is confident, and has power in the relationship. The other, on the other hand, seems less confident. He is looking for contact and reassurance, ”explains Georgina Barnett.

However, there is a nuance when they sit more in the center of the sofa, maintaining physical contact, such as a hand on the thigh or another. “Couples established in this way have trust your relationship and therefore can afford personal space. It is a mixture of intimacy and freedom”, analyzes the psychologist. But although in love, the latter no longer experience the passion of the first days, according to the expert.

When the position on the sofa heralds a crisis

According to the psychologist, time is serious in the event that the two partners are sitting at two different ends. “It’s even worse if her legs are crossed in opposite directions,” she says. This posture is generally a sign of a Tension in the couple. It can also be a sign that something was left unsaid or resentment, according to Georgina Barnett.

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And contrary to what one might think, if the partners are based on different bases, distanced from each other, it does not necessarily mean that they are in crisis. can only be couples comfortable enough with each other to have their own space. Although this study is based on a fairly large sample, its conclusions must be taken with caution.

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The Relationship Escalator: Are You Following This Conventional Love Pattern?

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Dating, formalizing your relationship, living together, getting married and having children. Many people perceive this life path map as the ultimate blueprint. This diagram has a name: the relationship escalator. The goal of those who take it is to peak by aging together, after checking a certain number of boxes.

What is a “relationship escalator”?

This expression designates a love pattern widespread, but increasingly questioned within society. The Urban DictionaryThe bible of slang and popular expressions defines the relationship ladder as “the societal expectation that a romantic relationship should automatically follow a set of stages and lead to marriage, parenthood, and home ownership.”

Amy Gahran, author of Off the Relationship Escalator, Uncommon Love and Life, was the first to mention this concept. She explains that this notion is “a standard by which most people assess whether an intimate relationship that develops is meaningful, serious, good, healthy, committed, or worth pursuing or maintaining.” In other words, the escalator of the relationship denotes ME’set of beliefs that perceive the most conventional pattern of love as the most rewarding and valued. This concept is made up of several steps that can vary depending on the culture. But they generally follow this timeline:

• Flirt for a few weeks/months

• Becoming sexually and emotionally exclusive

• Introduce your partner to loved ones

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• Live together

• Get married or settle down

• Acquire real estate

• Have children

• Get old together

A satisfactory relational schema if it is not imposed

There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking this kind of path of love if it makes us happy. Instead, what can be problematic is imposing it on others as an absolute norm and the only valid model. Pointing fingers at this practice is also a way of denouncing the constant pressure on singles and couples who do not formalize their civil unions.

Gabrielle Smith, an author and poet who is very sensitive to issues related to sexuality and romantic relationships, analyzes this practice in an article by granist “The relationship escalator is designed for heterosexual relationships between singles and preferably for relationships within a two-income middle-class household. Many people are not part of this demographic, and those who are still feel the pressure it brings. »

If this mandate can affect all genders, it is particularly intense when it comes to heterosexual women. “Society makes you think it’s easy to get married, have children, or combine finances. But the reality for many is that it is neither possible nor smart”, concludes Gabrielle Smith.

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