DEAR ABBY: I am suffering from a depression I think many mothers experience when they become empty nesters. Although my husband is supportive, I miss my 18-year-old so much that sometimes I'm tempted to drive to his college in Florida. My husband and I have always wanted to live in a warmer climate, but he doesn't like the humidity in Florida. We had planned to move to Arizona once my son went away to college, but now I'm having second thoughts because the drive to Arizona from Orlando is twice the distance, and I don't think I can take his being that far away.
I have good job offers in Arizona, and family there as well, so I know it would be a healthier place for me to be. I just cannot reconcile with the fact that my son will be so far away. He will be in college in Orlando for the next five years, as he is in a master's degree engineering program. Am I being overprotective? He's my only son. I have real anxieties about this and have been seeing a counselor as well as my doctor, who prescribed a mild antidepressant. Is this normal? Should I stay put? Should I move? -- INDECISIVE IN ILLINOIS
DEAR INDECISIVE: While some degree of empty-nest syndrome is normal, what you are experiencing is not. Keep the conversation open with your husband about relocating to Arizona. Your son needs a chance to become independent as much as you need the time to allow it to happen.
You say your husband can't tolerate the Florida humidity. Is it your intention to impose it on him for the next five years? It would create unnecessary stress on your marriage. Further, what will happen after your son earns his degrees and is offered a job elsewhere? Do you plan to move again to be close to him?
Continue your counseling and meds. And while you're at it, find a volunteer project so you won't have time to sit and brood. With time, your anxiety will subside, and you will become less emotionally dependent upon your son -- which will be healthier for both of you.