While the concept of long-distance relationships may once have equaled doom and gloom, this is no longer the case, thanks to a wealth of technological communication options. How you and your girlfriend proceed after she announces she'll be living in another country for nearly half a year will depend largely on how serious your relationship is and how serious you intend it to be by the time she returns home. You can survive the time apart with your relationship and your sanity intact by employing some careful preparation and determination.
Keep the Relationship on Track
Your partnership doesn't have to stop progressing just because you won't be able to kiss her goodnight. Before she leaves, determine together how you want your relationship to have grown when she comes back. Perhaps you would like to find out 100 new things about each other or develop an improved way of resolving minor disagreements. As a couple, you could also learn a new skill, such as money management, by signing up for the same online course. Setting “By the time she gets back ...” goals, you can give your time of separation an added sense of purpose.
Keep in Touch
Before she goes, help your girlfriend find a cell phone calling plan that will allow international calling and texting at reasonable rates. In addition to keeping up with her via these methods, you can equip both of your laptops with video chatting software. While she is stationed in her temporary foreign home, the two of you should discuss the everyday goings on of people in your lives. Doing this can help each of you maintain a clear mental image of the other's world, according to psychologist Susan Krauss Whitborne in her "Psychology Today" article, "Love From Afar: Staying Close While You Live Far Apart."
Five months may seem long when you view it as the time you'll spend away from your girlfriend. However, you can make the time go by more quickly by keeping yourself busy with new activities you've been wanting to try. A semester-long class in cooking, auto repair or a foreign language at your local community college can entertain you while introducing you to potential friends and giving you fresh fodder for conversations with your girlfriend.
Keep the Romance Alive
Five months is too long to go without dating your girlfriend, so don't stop. In addition to your regular talking sessions, plan date nights during which the two of you can, for instance, watch the same movie at the same time while connected to each other via phone or video chat. Keep up the romantic gestures you engaged in when she was stateside by sending roses or writing old-fashioned romantic letters. Make a plaster mold of your hand and mail it to her with a note asking her to put her hand in yours if she begins feeling lonely.