Post-vacation blues, man. It’s the pits.
I’m back from my three week trip to France and the adjustment to normal routines is going quite well. The jet lag is gradually diminishing and, thanks to an amazing team who really busted their asses while I was gone, going back to work was easy.
Post-vacation blues are such a real thing, though. They hit hard after I got back from Ireland last year, so I was prepared for them to be bad this time, too. Surprisingly, they haven’t been nearly as awful (yet?).
When I got back from Ireland, I missed my traveling buddy terribly. I had loved the routine of seeing him daily and I was horribly lonely and sad coming home to an empty house, returning to my solitary daily routines.
The return from this trip is also hard but in different ways.
I enjoyed my solitude while I was gone, in part because any loneliness I felt was mitigated by the connections maintained with friends back home. At first, I tried to go it completely on my own, without these connections, but I quickly realized it was making me desperately unhappy. Once I acknowledged this and started chatting with people more, the problem ceased.
This included connections with Cookie.
I had written a piece on loneliness (which I will eventually post on this blog) and posted it on Facebook for my friends and family to see. (EDIT: That post is now live. The Loneliness of Solo Travel.)
Cookie and I are not Facebook friends. I sent the piece to him separately. Having done a fair amount of solo travel himself, he understood me completely. And as always, he was terrific. He’s going through a tough time right now and I have been concerned for his well-being. I appreciated maintaining some connection and being able keep tabs on his emotional state while I was away.
Goatee Guy was the opposite. Granted, I’ve never shown Goatee Guy anything I’ve written before, and I didn’t start with the loneliness piece. Plus, I don’t think Goatee Guy has ever done any solo travel.
I expressed to Goatee Guy that it would be nice to still chat a bit while I was away, and he didn’t get it. He expressed thinking it a bit odd. “Any sort of trip like this seems like it would be the total focus.”
He was unusually detached, and remained so throughout my trip.
We had gone out a couple of nights before I left and had a great time, as we always do. And yet there were a few things that had bothered me that night. I learned there had been developments in his life in areas we’d discussed heavily. I had been there for him when he needed to talk about these areas of personal struggle and felt invested in his happiness. When he achieved successes, though, he hadn’t thought to share them with me.
I found out about them after the fact, as an aside, when they were mentioned offhand while chatting about a different topic.
It felt like a pretty clear indication of where I stood with him, and it was confusing and sad.
Then, he was barely in touch at all while I was gone. Previously, we had been in touch every day or every other day. I didn’t hear from him at all for the entire last half of the trip.
Today is Saturday. I got back on Monday.
Cookie and I have communicated but Cookie hasn’t indicated any interest in seeing me. He has, in fact, changed the subject when I make mention of setting up plans. This is, I’m sure, in part because he’s teetering on the edge of a depressive spell and is secluding himself a bit. I’m worried and keeping an eye on him, and at the same time, recognize things between us have evolved.
I care about Cookie deeply, and can see that the relationship we’re meant to have is not a romantic one.
I messaged Goatee Guy on Tuesday morning. He said, “I bet the cats are happy to see you,” and didn’t say anything about wanting to do so himself. I asked how he was and he didn’t respond.
On Wednesday afternoon I went back to work. Shortly after I arrived, while I was still settling in, I received a reply from Goatee Guy.
“We can’t date anymore.”
There was a long, apologetic explanation included. It was very polite and very, “it’s me, not you.”
Post-vacation blues, man. It’s the pits.
And being broken up with by one guy while a relationship with another quite noticeably becomes platonic rather stinks, too.