To those of us in LDR’s, visiting the love of your life is something we look forward to with total excitement. We count down the days one at a time, smiling just imagining holding the love of our life once again.What many of us don’t think about is how hard it can be visiting our lovers with the daunting knowledge that soon, we have to leave them again.
These are the stages I went through when my Girlfriend Tamara came from Denmark to visit me in Austin.
Stage One: Complete Denial & Living in the Moment
Watching her walk through the doors of the airport terminal is surreal and causes all other thoughts to be forcefully pushed aside.
You get lost in being next to them, finally holding their hand again and being able to kiss their cheek. Rather than falling asleep next to the Skype screen you’re falling asleep next to their smiling face.
It becomes so easy to forget you’re even in an LDR in the first place. This is the easiest stage and if you’re lucky you might get to feel like a real couple for a bit which is rare so be sure to take advantage of this valuable time getting closer and appreciating one another.
Stage Two: The Looming Truth
It will happen when you least expect it. You’ll be eating a pulled pork taco from a food truck on a beautiful Saturday afternoon laughing about something silly and suddenly your heart sinks to the bottom of your body.
You look at her laughing in the sun and it hits you: this is temporary. All of this, the best days of your life biking in the sun with your best friend and soul mate, was a ticking time bomb all along.
It’s something we all realize at one point or another. When it happens depends on your willpower to overlook the obvious. However no matter how hard we try we all end up realizing the end date is coming soon which leads to…
Stage Three: The Countdown
This is the hardest part of visiting your long distance lover. It usually comes a few days away from your departure date.
You look at the calendar each morning saying to yourself “I can’t believe we only have 4 days left…” and you try to push it to the back of your mind but it’s always there.
Each hour passing is an hour closer to loneliness. To a world composed of Skype and Facebook chat craving her and her touch yet again. It starts slow but as the days begin to fade away and you’re left with only 48 hours it can be absolute torture. Which leads us to…
Stage Four: Soaking Them In
The goodbye doesn’t happen once. It’s a process that begins a couple days before departure. You’re both in the obsessive countdown stage together counting each minute as it passes and feeling that immense fear of being apart.
It starts with reassuring one another that you’ll see each other again soon and that it won’t be hard this time. That you’ll Skype every night and call each morning. As the hours fade you begin to panic and tears are shed. You lay in bed holding each other as close as possible begging the world not to tear you apart yet again.
Each hour is spent trying to soak the other person in, absorb them so that you can save some of them for the next months of loneliness. The hardest part is knowing just how much you’ll miss them which makes you try to appreciate them being there so much. You know very soon you’ll be dreaming of them in your arms it makes life seem surreal in these moments.
Stage Five: Goodbye
After a full night of soaking in one another’s arms and counting down the final 24 hours before departure you begin to come to terms with leaving.
You realize this is the situation you’re in and nothing can be done but you’re going to find a way to make it work not just because you want to but because you have to.
On the drive to the airport you make promises to see them again soon, that you’ll buy a flight ticket as soon as possible. Just knowing that you can miss someone this much is proof that it’s true love and worth fighting for.
Finally you arrive back to the airport. You awkwardly hug way too long and way too tight hoping that if you hold on tight enough they might not leave again. Then they’re gone. Just like that. And suddenly you’re back in the routine of Facebook messages and sleeping alone. But you remember how much you loved her when you were together and it gives you all the motivation you need to buy that next flight ticket.