How much do we all hate saying goodbyes?? If you’re in a good relationship and you’re leaving the person you love at the gate (or in the driveway), a lot. Farewells are one of the worst parts about being in a long distance relationship, for sure. However, there are things we can do to make them easier. Here are four of my strategies.
1. Consider the practical implications for the person left behind
If you are lucky enough to live together normally, the person traveling can find it easier to deal with the separation due to busyness and being stimulated by new surroundings. The person left behind, on the other hand, is in the same old place and with the same old routine, but with a big hole left by the traveler. It can be a big help if you do some advance planning about how to help ease their load.
If you’re living together, what extra work is the partner left behind going to have to cope with (especially if you have kids)? Is there anything you can do to help with that or limit the load? What about finances? Does the person remaining behind have access to bank accounts, know which bills need paying, and everything else required to keep life ticking over while you’re gone?
There can be literally dozens of practical implications for the person left behind. Leave a comment and let us know what practical strategies you’ve found it helpful to think through in advance.
2. Don’t leave stuff unsaid before you go away, but try not to bring up big issues the night before you go away
If there are any major issues in your relationship, distance is a sure way to make sure they bubble to the surface. Talk early and talk deep, and get things into as healthy a place as you can before you leave so you can part from a peaceful place, knowing that the relationship is as strong as you can make it.
(Pro-tip for those in dangerous professions: If you happened to have been involved in an extremely serious security incident on a previous field posting, the time to tell this to your new girlfriend is not the night before you deploy to another emergency response).
3. Try and make the last day/night together special
Do something romantic – get away, go out together, do something nice that will create a memory you can both hang on to while you’re apart and give you something to look forward to when you come back. Involve kids in this process too if applicable, but try to make sure the couple gets time alone together somewhere in there.
4. Manage your goodbyes in ways that work for you
Every couple is different, but try not to make goodbyes a traumatic, dramatic, emotional thing. This may seem like a grand romantic gesture but it doesn’t actually help anybody. It can create a certain dread around departures well ahead of time, and leave both parties carrying grief after the parting.
If you’re the sort of people who can hang out at the airport, have a meal together, say a gentle goodbye and leave it at that, then great. But if goodbyes invariably lead to floods of tears and great heartbreak, think about keeping it short and sweet. Catch a cab and say a quick goodbye at the front door instead, or get dropped off on the curb of the departure terminal.