Saying goodbye in a LDR: 24 tips to make it easier
Saying goodbye in a long distance relationship. This is the moment that all long distance couples dread. Without exception. After spending (finally!) unforgettable days, weeks, months together, the journey unfortunately comes to an end.
And if you feel tears of happiness on your cheeks when you meet again, they are often replaced by tears of sadness when one of you has to return to his country.
So do you need a magic power to prevent yourself from being sad on D-Day?
In a word, yes.
This magic power is to break the distance.
Break the distance. The one and only goal of your relationship. What motivates you to put up with the thousands of miles that have been between you all this time.
Alas, it’s rarely possible to do this quickly. Your work, your family, and your budget won’t allow it.
And that’s perfectly normal.
You don’t choose to start a long distance relationship, but you still have to take it on.
So are you doomed to always have to endure the full force of these separations, in this airport that you now know by heart?
The answer is no.
You are missing a simple but essential thing.
Preparing for a physical separation is like swallowing some nasty medicine. Armed with your beautiful glass of water, you make the pill easier to swallow.
Preparing for a physical separation is like taking a cold shower. It’s unpleasant, but you need to be clean.
The result is worth it. Those airports that combine moments of happiness and sadness will seem less bland with preparation. And the apprehension of the D-day will disappear like snow in the sun.
Our first separation with Kyomi was a disaster.
I don’t think we could have done any worse. Let me explain:
- I was rushed home a week before my scheduled departure
- 20 minutes: that’s how long it took from the moment I knew I could get on a plane until it took off
- We had time to kiss and hug. Nothing more
(To know the whole story and learn a little more about us, you can read everything here
I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. I really don’t. It was horrible. The feeling of jumping into a 16 degree pool in the middle of winter.
Over 10k in the air, I swore to myself that we would never have a moment like that again.
Here are all the techniques I wrote in my notebook that day. Things to prepare, as well as discussions to have.
For an ever more fulfilling long distance relationship, you can read these articles:
24 ways to say goodbye in a long distance relationship
Note: I wrote this article putting myself in the shoes of an international couple who needs to fly to find each other (because that’s my case). However, all the tips are valid for any physical separation
1. Plan the day to the millimeter and make time for everything
Saying goodbye in a long distance relationship is never easy. I’ll start with the best advice.
The idea is simple: make this last day as easy as possible so that you can have only one thing on your mind: share one last unique and amazing moment with your partner.
And the longer it lasts, the better!
And most importantly, always leave enough time for everything. If you’re in a hurry, you’re going to be stressed out. This is your last day with your partner. Having time is the most important thing to you at this time.
What would happen if you suddenly learned that in 20 minutes you had to go back to your country?
Having experienced it, I can tell you that you would be filled with regret… « If I had done it this way… »; « I should have done that… »
So plan your last day, from A to Z:
- What to pack the night before
- What time you will wake up
- What you will eat, where and who will pay
- How you will get to the airport…
This last day must be entirely dedicated to your partner. So clean up your mind! The next point is directly correlated to the time you have ahead of you. All your efforts can be ruined if you don’t think about this:
2. Choose the right place for your last moment together
This is John and Johanna, an LDR couple who just spent 2 incredible weeks together. It’s time to leave, they are both at the airport for the fateful moment. They arrived early enough to have time to find a quiet place, with not too many people.
They found a café without too much traffic, with seats!
They have 30 minutes to spare.
And then in that same airport, here are Sam and Samantha, an LDR couple who also just spent 2 incredible weeks together. They arrived at the airport for the same reason. They arrived early enough to spend one last dignified moment together. They decide to settle on one of the many rows of seats available.
The announcements are so loud that they can hardly hear each other. Children are playing and shouting a few feet away from them without the parents doing much, and they see that the eyes of passers-by are constantly on them.
Which couple do you think will have the best experience?
Think about it. It can really make a difference. Especially if you have trouble with noise like I do!
Mind you, I’m not talking about the last few seconds before the separation, but about the moment when you have to wait before going through the security checks.
We will talk about these points later. For now, here is the most important element to enjoy this moment like a sunset on the beach:
3. Be alone, one on one
It’s silly, but think about it! If it’s one of your loved ones who takes you both to the airport and stays with you, it can cause several problems:
- You will not be able to talk and exchange freely
- You will feel observed and will act differently
- You will feel bitter and regretful
It should not be a problem if it is one of your friends or your brother or sister. They should easily understand that at times like this, they need to leave you alone.
If you have very conservative parents and you have doubts about whether they will leave you alone, ask them sincerely to have some time for you.
That’s it, you’re in! You can begin to have your final discussion before departure.
Points 4 through 7 talk about what to talk about to have a great time together and make you shiver with pleasure. It will help you to saying goodbye in a long distance relationship easier.
4. Laugh together!
Essential to relax the atmosphere! A little joke to break the possible tension that may be present is always good. Bring some levity if you feel your partner is nervous. And even for you, it will be very helpful.
You can base it on your environment, what you ordered, a private joke… the main thing is that it is spontaneous.
Or you can base your jokes on one of the following three points.
5. Exchange a gift
It would be silly to miss out on one last romantic attention. Gifts are so much more valuable in a long distance relationship… They’re the few physical things you can share! So take advantage of it. You might be surprised at the emotion that will come out of this intimate and complicit moment.
I strongly advise you to agree with your partner beforehand, to avoid the classic « Oh, but I didn’t take anything from you! I feel like an idiot ».
Do it in a subtle way a few days before the D-day by telling her that you have already thought about what you are going to offer her before leaving. She’ll do the same, naturally (I hope for you!)
6. Write a letter in advance and give it to her
While some people prefer gifts, others are more sensitive to written, handwritten letters (tip #15 explains why).
If this is your case, go for it!
Arm yourself with a pen and make it dance on your paper. This is the perfect time to express your feelings, your sentiments, your fears and your love. Writing a letter allows you to extend your presence, so that your partner can imagine being with you for a while longer. It’s like a big dose of adrenaline that you inject directly into your vein.
It doesn’t matter how long it is, what spelling mistakes you make, what you cross out, what your writing style is. What matters is your authenticity.
Don’t be embarrassed! This letter will only be read by the person you love. Know that.
7. Exchange a piece of clothing or a personal item
Third and last thing to offer to saying goodbye in a long distance relationship. Certainly the most important of all.
When I think back to our first separation, this is what I missed the most.
I’m obviously talking about a personal item. Kyomi was lucky enough to have one of my sweaters inadvertently in her suitcase.
Having something in your possession that belonged to your partner is absolutely awesome and so satisfying. Especially if it’s something that is basically dear to him. It will become the witness of his confidence, his love and his benevolence towards you.
A bit like that family jewel that is passed down from generation to generation.
With a piece of clothing, it is even better because it will keep its smell for a few days.
It is also extremely easy and spontaneous for the person who is leaving! And the next time you see each other again, wear this garment to the airport (whenever possible!). The tears of happiness will flow on their own.
All the points seen so far are about living in the moment. Now I suggest a little retrospective!
8. Make a positive assessment of the time spent together
Looking back at the best moments you had together is something you should definitely do! You’ll feel the creases in your faces as you smile at each other!
- Describe how you felt just before seeing each other again, how you felt the first few days.
- Look back on your travel: what you did, where you ate…
- Think about how happy you were to make this trip and why the next one will be even better
Here are some questions you can ask:
- Your best memory?
- The moment you laughed the most?
- What did your friends and family think of me?
Look into each other’s eyes, get physically close and enjoy the moment. Only you matter. Nothing else. Not even the waitress who brings sugar to your table.
9. Take one last photo or video
I bet you spend more time reviewing the last photo you took together on your reunion, than the first.
The symbolism here is extremely powerful. This will be the last photo of your reunion.
The one you will look at more than the others. The one that will mark the end of your trip and that will serve as a reference point in your phone as well as in your daily life. The one you must not forget. The one you will use as wallpaper (if you have not chosen one of the 30 models I propose here!)
And just for fun, here is the last picture we took, a few minutes before I learned that my departure would be in 20 minutes. I can laugh at my disconsolate face now!
Now I’m going to give you some general tips to follow so that your last talk before you temporarily part ways always goes well.
10. Reassure your partner
The last few hours before you part ways are hard to get used to. It’s like the end of a vacation, only more violent. Even if your partner doesn’t show it, he or she will be just as anxious as you are.
So reassure him!
Words can have an impact you can’t imagine.
Even if your love already knows what you are going to say, repeat it. So that his doubts disappear faster than the TVs during Black Friday.
Know his doubts, and destroy them.
- Will he be strong enough to endure the distance again? Yes, with your support
- Will you see each other again soon? Normally, you know the date of your next reunion (I will discuss this point in more detail later in the article)
- Do you love him/her? You know what to say
This is a decisive element that you must take into account when saying goodbye in a long distance relationship.
11. Don't start an unnecessary argument
This is the WORST thing you can do! What could be more terrible than splitting up for several months with the feeling that you’ve had an argument…
Some people (including me, I admit) can sometimes take out their internal frustration on someone else, when they are stressed.
When I play chess on my phone for example and I am losing, I am the only one responsible. However, sometimes I become more aggressive or considerably less patient when someone talks to me.
Make blunders of your words.
Just as I said in the previous point, your words are of immeasurable power.
And it can happen to you: you are facing the moment you have been waiting for and dreading. You feel bad, you don’t want it to happen. You are on edge.
So take a breath, avoid sensitive subjects, don’t wait until the last minute to blame your partner for something that happened hours or days before. And your « goodbyes » will only be better.
12. Don't say "goodbye" but "see you soon".
A small linguistic feat, but one that is extremely reassuring. It does two things:
- Remind you that distance is ephemeral
- The time spent away from each other is not so long
I have used this expression several times in this article. Oops, it won’t happen again!
13. Don't hold back your feelings in front of your partner
While reading LDR stories on Reddit or watching videos on Youtube, I consistently notice the same thing. One person in the couple (if not both) is holding back tears.
You both know this is a difficult moment to get through. Why make it even more extreme by fighting your feelings?
Crying is a relief. It’s a way to vent and release, while getting a huge hug from your partner that you’ll remember for the rest of your life.
14. Don't have regrets
The reason I wrote this list is basically for this reason. So that you don’t have any regrets, thinking about all the things you can do and avoiding silly mistakes.
So if you feel like saying something, say it.
If you feel like doing something, do it.
Keep in mind not to cause unnecessary arguments!
Don’t be like Kyomi and me the first time, as I told you. It was the worst way to saying goodbye in a long distance relationship
I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. Even though time was against us, we did it wrong. The guilt destroyed me. I felt so guilty for his misfortune.
Just remember one thing: it is better to live with remorse than with regret.
saying goodbye in a long distance relationship: the last 10 tips
15. Not sure if your partner want a gift, a letter, or something else? Read this
Each person is more or less receptive to the different attentions we give them. A proof of love for you may be considered normal for another person, and vice versa.
For example, when I am on my computer writing an article and I see Kyomi bringing me a cup of coffee with cupcakes, I will consider it as a proof of love. It will mean so much more to me than reassuring words like « You’ll do it » or « I believe in you »!
Maybe it’s the complete opposite for you.
This is called love languages. There are 5 different ones.
If you want to make sure you please your partner and they think « He knows me so well…I don’t know how he does it », I recommend you to know which language your partner have
Now let’s move forward in time. The security gates are in front of you. The tinted door is a few meters away, with the big sign « Passengers only ».
Here are my recommendations for this final moment together (before the next one!) The triple must-do combo.
16. Give each other hugs, kisses, physical attention
You’re there. The last moments are here. This will be the last time for a while that you can touch your partner. Hug them, feel the warmth of their hands, comb back that stray lock of hair, hear their heartbeat…
So enjoy it. Make this moment memorable! Close your eyes and think about how happy you are at this moment.
17. Say "I love you"
Saying goodbye in a long distance relationship without saying it, do you think is possible ?
Again, this is a no-brainer in my eyes. But it’s always good to remind yourself. Even if you think it’s obvious, remind yourself and tell your partner.
He needs to hear it. He or she needs to be sure that distance isn’t going to change anything in your relationship. And so do you.
18. Remember the date of your next reunion
It is essential!
I’ve already mentioned this in the classic mistakes that new LDR couples should avoid.
If I talk about this very often on my blog, it’s not for nothing!
Anytime in your relationship, you need to be able to answer the question « When is the next time you’ll see your partner again? »
You don’t need to have a specific date in mind. « At the end of the year, » « In the fall, » « When I have my next vacation, » is plenty of time.
Remind your partner when you will see each other again. This gives you a goal while reassuring both of you.
Don’t let doubt settle comfortably in your minds.
19. Promise yourself something
I stole this tip from the Avengers movies! A lot of times before they split up to go on a mission, they promise each other something.
Why do you think they do it?
Because when you say something, you give confidence. You put your word on the line. And if your partner knows you’re keeping your promises, he or she will feel stronger and more determined to live some time apart again. Saying goodbye in a long distance relationship will be easier with promise.
If you don’t have any spontaneous ideas, just promise him or her that you will see each other again. If you have followed the previous point, be more specific in giving him the date!
20. Set up a "check-in" so you don't go back
You are always tempted to do this. Me too, I assure you. At the same time, it is so difficult! We’re still human first and foremost.
If you have difficulties to separate physically, to always repeat « OK, this is the last hug » without really believing it, I have a solution to propose you.
It’s up to you to create a check, a gesture or a sentence that, once done, forces you to go ahead and pass those security gates.
A bit like a word that you give, this gesture must be done just after the last embrace, the last physical contact.
For example, it can be a kiss on the hand. Once done, you can’t « touch » your partner again. So you have to be psychologically ready to do this, because you know that afterwards it’s your word that’s on the line.
There is nothing to stop you from doing it, of course. But by respecting this, you are conditioning your brain to prepare for the separation.
The last three techniques are to be done once you no longer have your partner in your sights. The first few hours of being alone are the hardest. Here are my tips to help you get better.
21. Leave a note under her pillow before you leave
This idea was given to me by David & Sandra, from @queshiok, a Spanish-Singaporean international couple.
Hiding a note with motivational words is an amazing surprise that slightly prolongs your presence in the mind of the person you love.
Plus, it’s another confirmation to your partner that you’re the one. He or she will appreciate this small romantic gesture.
Just before leaving for the airport, you can discreetly leave a note under your partner’s pillow for him to discover when he goes to bed tonight.
22. Put it in perspective: it's normal to be sad for the next few days
Nobody already said saying goodbye in a long distance relationship was easy! What you are experiencing right now is the Sunday night blues when you get back from your Caribbean vacation but a million times more powerful.
You’ve had some incredible days, weeks or months with your partner. And as you know, all good things must come to an end.
It’s only natural. This feeling of sadness and loneliness will only last for a while.
When you broke up with your ex, you thought you’d never get over him or her. You thought about him or her every minute. But luckily, time is a very good remedy.
So trust him or her and put things in perspective!
23. If you are the one leaving: buy something to keep you busy on the plane so you don't think too much about the separation
When I go back to France, I have a 12h30 flight. I have time to think, believe me. Fortunately, I know that keeping my mind busy allows me to prevent loneliness from happening.
But it’s just a filter. Thanks to this, I think about it maybe 10 times less. But that’s something!
So feel free to plan things to do on the plane. Keeping busy is what will keep the bad feelings away.
24. If your partner is leaving: plan what you're going to do next. Don't leave room for doubt
The circle is complete. The last tip correlates perfectly with the first. From the moment you stop seeing your partner, you need to know what you’re going to do with the rest of your day.
If you don’t plan anything, you’ll just think about your partner leaving, which will lead to bad feelings.
In fact, it’s the same principle as the tip above. Keep your mind busy. It’s very effective, the first few days. And it’s also during this time that you need it the most.
This last tip is valid in the long run. If you want more information and techniques on how to think less about your partner in the long run, you can read this
And don’t forget the letter he gave you if you followed the tip N°6
It is up to you to make these moments magical. You can't escape saying goodbye in a long distance relationship
Saying goodbye in a long distance relationship should be easier now. Your sadness is your illness. Your « see you soon » is your pill. This list is your glass of water.
Do things in order. Don’t leave anything to chance. Be natural. Take your time so you don’t regret anything. Tell your partner you love him or her.
You won’t feel bad because you’ve done it right. No regrets.
You’ll even wonder if it’s okay not to be so sad. And with each new trip, you’ll always come out ahead of the frustration that will creep into your thoughts.
A few days before your departure, plan your last day to the millimeter. Take your time. And let the magic happen.
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We are Léo & Kyomi, a French-Peruvian couple in a long distance relationship since 2019. Welcome to this blog entirely dedicated to this way of life.
We decided to create
My Sweet LDR
to help people who want to live their relationship serenely and who don’t know how to do it.
To read our entire story
you can click just here !