BY NATASIA LANGFELDER
I love my girlfriend more than anything. We’ve been together for two years and long-distance that whole time, but we’re only a day’s drive apart, and we visit each other as often as we can. Last fall she applied for a one-year position abroad and I figured I would move there with her. But she’s just heard that she’s been assigned to work in a remote town rather than the city she thought she would be sent to. The country she’s going to is pretty homophobic and she believes it wouldn’t be safe for us to be there together without the anonymity of a city.
Needless to say, I’m devastated. I don’t know how I’m going to make it through a year without her. It’s already so painful being apart for just a few weeks at a time. The worst part is that she’s so excited about this opportunity, and I feel incredibly guilty that I can’t just be happy for her. How can I learn to cope with this and focus on all the good times we’ll have in the future rather than the terrible time I’m having now?
– Left Behind
Ahh, what a problem! A year is both a long time and no time at all. I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t be upset about the prospect of their girlfriend leaving for an entire year, no matter how happy she was about the opportunity. It’s possible to be excited about a great job opportunity but also sad at the prospect of leaving you for so long.
I know you don’t want to dampen your girlfriends spirits and that’s totally a testament to your love for her, but you two have to talk about it. Isn’t she a little sad at the prospect of leaving you for a whole year? She must be, and if she’s not, there might be something deeper in the relationship you need to address. Assuming that she is excited but sad about being apart for a whole year, maybe plan for time when you can go visit her. Surely she gets some holidays off from her position and you two can meet in the nearby city. Seeing each other twice for 5-7 days seems like a reasonable compromise while she’s gone.
Also let her know that you expect some communication from her while she’s gone. You don’t want to ruin her experience abroad by making her sit in front of a screen FaceTiming with you, but she should try to call you and email you when it’s accessible and convenient. And she shouldn’t neglect you while she’s gone. Support is a two way street. You need to make sure you don’t ruin this experience for her but she also can’t leave you high and dry for a year and expect everything to resume the way it has been when she gets back.
Okay, so let’s assume you two have worked out a schedule of visits and communication so you don’t go crazy. I know this sounds nuts, but try to think of this year alone as an opportunity. You love your girlfriend more than anything, you two are probably going to be together for a long time. So use this time to work on yourself. Do things that you haven’t had time to do because you spend time traveling to see your girlfriend. See your friends more! Make new friends! Visit your grandparents, they aren’t going to live forever! Take that language class you always wanted to take. Learn to cook. Write a novel. Binge watch that TV show your girlfriend hates. Or travel abroad to places that are gay friendly. Take a girls trip with your friends. There’s so much to do, so much that can be done in life. Your girlfriend is out there living her dream. What is your dream? Figure it out and live it. The year will go by faster than you know.
Best of luck, sweetie. Let us know how it goes!
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About the Artist: Lee Ely is a Brooklyn based illustrator. For more about Lee visit http://www.latewerks.com, follow on Instagram @latewerks, like on Facebook and purchase their work at https://society6.com/latewerks.