Empty nest refers to a situation where the children have left home and the parents are left feeling lonely and perhaps unneeded, as there is no one left at home to be cared for. The feeling of loneliness is generally thought to be more common in women.
Empty nest syndrome is a general feeling of loneliness that parents or guardians may feel when one or more of their children leave home; it is more common in women. The marriage of a child can lead to similar feelings, with the role and influence of the parents often becoming less important compared to the new spouse.
A strong maternal or paternal bond between the parent and child can make the condition worse. The role of the parent while the child is still living with them is more hands-on and immediate than is possible when they have moved out, particularly if the distance means that visits are difficult.
Empty nest syndrome has become more prevalent in modern times, as the extended family is becoming less common than in past generations, and the elderly are left living by themselves.