Long distance relationships - the departures lounge
I don't generally put up a lot of about my long distance relationship. I didn't really think it'd be of much interest to people and I don't like being too public with the inner workings of my relationship. But. I feel like what I'm experiencing today is something that every long distance couple have to experience.
The end of a visit. The bittersweet. How can you feel sad when you've just had an amazing time together. How can an airport be one of your favourite and least favourite places to go?
I remember the first goodbye as well as I remember today's and every goodbye in between. For us the hardest part is suddenly one of us is on an 11 hour flight. We go from being inches away to having no communication for 11 hours, daytime hours at that so there's no sleeping an escape.
So what do you do?
The first time I Googled. I Googled for every immigration loophole under the sun - there isn't one. I Googled for a remedy. I asked if it ever gets easier. Some said yes. Some said no.
For me? If you were to ask me? It doesn't get any easier. Nearly 4 years down the line. Long distance doesn't get easier. You get into routines and habits in between visits. You manage. But saying goodbye at the end of a trip doesn't get any better.
Some people recommended saying goodbye at home and setting them off to the airport by themselves. Frankly we pay so much to travel between San Francisco and Ireland that every minute of the trip counts. Right until they go through security.
But why is goodbye so hard? Maybe it’s just a woman thing. But for me it brings up every possible what if.
“What if he changes his mind about this during the flight”
“What if he didnt enjoy the visit like I did”
”What if something happens the plane“
”Do I trust Aer Lingus with such precious cargo”
Honestly those latter too I worry about when he’s on the way here. But the others, they sound pretty insecure and I’m generally not an insecure person -yeah I can have my moments but almost 4 years in I have to trust in this relationship. Unfortunatley I can’t rest and accept everything is ok until he’s landed and I get that first call telling me everything is ok.
Looking around the internet about this I’ve seen people go as far as saying they’ve had post visit depression.
So how is that avoided ?
You can’t avoid your feelings, unfortunately they have to come out. So let them. Give yourself a free pass to be miserable for a day - but only one. Get it all out.
As for the other first 4-5 days ? - I definitely feel like these are the toughest.
Sort out your wardrobe, or that room with all the junk in it. Or the freezer - heavens knows half of it’s out of date. Anything that’s time consuming.
I purposely left the kitchen filthy the night before he went back - purely so that when I got back from the airport I had an immediate task to do.
Go back to work straight away. Dont lull around the house. I have my day on my course today and then I’m working the next 6 days straight and then my course again. I’ll probably feel crap about being in work so long but it’s better than sitting around a house thinking about the what ifs.
Talk as much as possible and make plans - this is a big one. Keep talking to each other, you need to communicate. People might think you’re crazy you’ve just spent every day together for X amount of time... Yes but now you’ve had to go completely the opposite.. so talk as much as possible and make it FaceTime where possible. - this is the first trip where we’re going to be facing a more difficult time post trip as himself is starting a new job- and with both of us working full time on an 8 hour time difference it’s going to send the old routine into flip-flop. It just means finding a new routine. (And me not turning into a crazy person in the process)
Make plans! - it’s so much easier when you know when you’ll see each other again having a definitive countdown. We’re Unusually prepared this time because I spotted cheap Christmas flights back in July.. yes Christmas is actually that close .. but anyway set dates if anyway possible!
Some couples I’ve seen have said maybe a definite plan to close the distance helps. If you can? Do it. Even if it’s 2 years down the line having an end goal in site is amazing when it comes to anything! I feel like it’s something that would really help me. But considering there’s a lot of stuff riding on USA immigration with us it’s a little harder to do. They made a show about it for a reason *shrugs*
Connect with online communities - theres loads of them out there even a quick facebook group search will link you up with people - these people will get what your friends and family don't, that it may not be as simple as just making a decision to be together etc.. these communities are so supportive and helpful. You'd even be surprised how similar some of their situations are.
Overall? Try use the time well. - Be productive, work on yourself - weather it’s losing weight, running a marathon or decluttering. Time is precious! Don’t waste it (:
And remember coping with long distance is better than not having each other at all. A lot of the time the kind of love you experience long distance is the kind some people spend their whole lives searching for.