Chelsea and I were very lucky recently, we had the opportunity to spend two whole weeks together. This might not seem particularly special to many people. But to those in a long distance relationship, it means the world. To be able to see in person, touch, hold and feel your partner adds another dimension to your relationship. Something most people don’t appreciate until they cannot. But for two weeks, we were lucky to be together. And we had an amazing time together. Chelsea came to visit me in Lancaster (where I attend university). It was the first time she had visited (all of her previous trips to the UK were based in Plymouth). I was able to show her around the town, university, and we took a fair few day trips around the Lake District and Scotland.
But, no matter how amazing time with your long distance partner is, there is always one problem. One that will be a constant in any long distance relationship. The post trip blues. They start on your last day, when you realise you only have a few short, fleeting hours left together. Then it all comes to a crescendo at the airport, train station, or coach station (wherever you may say goodbye). Afterwards, as you walk away, you are left with a numb feeling. Knowing that the best thing that has ever happened to you is leaving. And you will have to return to “normal”. Return to the time difference, the distance, and the lack of physical contact.
The next few days are probably the hardest. After two weeks together, Chelsea and I had almost forgotten what it was like to deal with the time difference, and the changes we make to our daily routines for each other. And then, of course, there is the attempt to readjust to internet messaging as a form of communication. Do not be surprised if you feel particularly sad during this period. It is (in my opinion) the most difficult part of any long distance relationship. In a few weeks, it will feel normal, and you will be excited to see each other again. But for now, the stark difference between being together, and then suddenly not can be crushing.
Below are some of the ways in which I deal with these post trip blues. Not the same works for everyone, and even Chelsea and I have our differences when it comes to these coping strategies. But, no matter what yours is, don’t forget to be supportive of your partner as well. And remember that no matter how bad you feel, the chances are they feel the same. It is important, and helpful, to support each other. To talk about how you are both feeling, and how you can help each other. So, without any further ado, here are my tips for dealing with the post trip blues.
1. Focus on something productive
Whether this is writing a blog (like this very one), or working on something for your partner, focusing your mind on productivity really takes your mind off the difficulty of the distance. Usually, I find that trying to make something for Chelsea, whether it is writing a blog post, email, planning a trip, or even something as mundane as working out when I can afford to visit again both puts my mind at ease and will create something that (hopefully) Chelsea will enjoy.
2. Skype as much as you can
The most difficult part of being apart is the lack of contact. Internet messaging can only go so far. Currently, the best way to interact with your partner, and feel like a normal couples again is to physically be able to see each other. So Skype whenever you get the chance, out and about or at home.
3. Think about your next trip (not the post trip blues)
Whether you have this planned yet or not, one of the best coping strategies is to forget about how much you miss each other, and replace these thoughts with excitement for the next time you will see each other. If you haven’t planned this yet, then do it! If you have, then get a simple app like a countdown timer to place on your phone, as a small reminder everyday that every day is a step closer to your partner.
4. Look back through photos & letters
As well as looking forward to the future, take the time to reminisce as well. Take the time to look at the photos you have together and remind yourself how happy you were. And also read the words that you and your partner have written to each other. It’s a surefire way to lift your spirits.
5. Support your partner
As I said before, remember that you aren’t the only one feeling this way. The chances are your partner will be feeling exactly the same. Talking about it, and helping each other will not only make you feel good about helping your partner, but probably help you too!
So, there they are! My top 5 tips for dealing with the post trip blues. Obviously these are not the only ways to deal with the feeling, but hopefully they will point you in the right direction. Everybody will feel different, and different things will work for each couple. But, so long as you have each other, nothing (not even the distance) should ever come between you.