Love will be in the air for Owen (Kevin McKidd) when “Grey’s Anatomy” returns for the second half of Season 11 on Thursday, Jan. 29. But according to reports, he may be the only character from Shonda Rhimes’ series basking in romance when episode 9 premieres.

When the hit ABC drama aired its winter finale in November, viewers watched as Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) and Derek (Patrick Dempsey) endured one of their biggest fights to date – and yes, it involved the ever-so-touchy subject of Washington. Derek revealed to Mer during one of their long, drawn out arguments that the offer to work for President Obama was back on the table.

“You should take it,” Meredith said without hesitation. And with her “blessing” Derek dialed his phone and landed himself a new gig – across the country.

“We end them in a fairly dark place,” Rhimes told Entertainment Weekly. “He’s walking away and she’s sort of pushed him out the door. It’s like, you call someone’s bluff and push them out the door. He’s having a hard time, she’s having a hard time with this.”

We can imagine -- and with Cristina (Sandra Oh) in Switzerland and Derek starting a new in Washington, Meredith's struggles will only grow more intense as she's forced to take on the world alone, according to the showrunner. “I love the idea that this could possibly mean that for the first time in her life at the hospital, she has neither Cristina nor Derek, and therefore is essentially alone and how she’s going to cope with that. It’s going to be very interesting for her,” Rhimes dished.

So how will Meredith and Derek’s long-distance relationship play into the second half of Season 11? Well, it looks like MerDer-lovers are going to be very upset because the series will not be taking place in both Seattle and D.C. That means fans might be without Derek for a few episodes in the upcoming installment. “It’s highly possible that we might not see Derek for a while,” Rhimes revealed, adding that viewers shouldn't freak out just yet over Derek being MIA. “There will be a time when you see him again, yes, but it’s probable that you won’t see Derek for a while.”

Rhimes did warn viewers during an interview with TVLine that Season 11 would be very Meredith-centric, which makes sense now that both her main “persons” are gone. “Right now, if you were in the writers’ room, you would probably tell me that the theme is ‘Meredith.’ Because all I keep saying is, ‘The show is just about Meredith Grey!’” the EP revealed in July. “It’s really a Meredith-centric season. She’s lost her ‘person,’ her [half-]sister has shown up, her husband is chafing to go someplace else…”

Perhaps Meredith’s newly found solitude will give her a chance to finally bond with Maggie (Kelly McCreary).

What do you think will happen when “Grey’s Anatomy” returns for its Season 11 winter premiere on Thursday, Jan. 29, at 8 p.m. EST on ABC? Sound off in the comments section below with your predictions for the second half of the season.