It is a scenario that can happen so often, especially today in our global economy. We often hope it only happens to other people. But how do you cope when your loved one is forced to work overseas? What can you do to make it easier for you both? How can you manage? Hopefully some of the answers are provided here.
If they really are your true love and you are confident that the job overseas is only going to be of benefit to the two of you in the long run (hard though that may appear right at the moment you both find out), your loved one would not be taking such an outrageous step if there was not a long term good side to it. Take your time after they have told you it is a potential and try and see the good side too.
Once you have over come the shock that they are going to be moving far, far away, think of the positives.
All the time you can share together before they depart will be precious.
Any time you can grab with them, while they are away will also be highly prized.
Any experience of working overseas looks good on a CV for future reference.
There will hopefully be an opportunity for you both to experience a foreign country1 together without worrying about accommodation.
As with all jobs this is bound to be a step up, either in responsibilities or skills, so it will stand them in good stead when they return.
If you are lucky there will be at least some time before your lover has to disappear to this strange and foreign land so there will be time to help them prepare.
To Do List
No matter how good you insist your memory is, make a list; you can go over and over it to ensure that nothing is forgotten. Include all the things you have to sort out, supplies you need to purchase, when you need to be at the airport, when you need to leave home to be on time and other journey times. In other words - anything that is going to make the departure of your loved one as smooth as possible without having to think to much about it at the end (when you will without doubt be unable to think creatively of anything you haven't already planned in advance).
Are your passports up-to-date? It is, of course, essential that your partner's is, so check this out and go with them to get it renewed (any excuse for time together). If you are intending to visit them, you'll also need a current passport. Also check if they need any visas for the country they have to travel to. Remember these will be working visas and if the company is not sorting these out, it may be necessary to go through the local embassy of the country in question yourselves. After all, you don't want them to be deported for travelling illegally overseas - and you won't want to be deported simply for travelling there.
It's vitally important that your loved one has insurance, as if they become ill overseas they may not be covered by any national scheme of health cover, and if they are it may be the lowest form imaginable. Your partner's employers might even arrange insurance for all their employees working abroad, but if not, check out what is required and ensure they are fully covered including getting them home in an emergency if necessary .
Packing to Leave
Prepare a list of essentials well in advance. Leaving packing like this until the last minute is not a good idea, as the nearer the point of departure you get the more emotional you will both become. So start to get the essentials together early. You may have to buy duplicates of certain things, especially if you have been living together. Toothpaste, hairbrush, bed linen, mobile phone chargers and more, depending on what you had been sharing in the meantime.
If you can, help with the packing, especially as it allows you to add little mementos into their luggage. This may include:
A picture of yourself or of the two of you.
A personal memento; soft toy, locket, or some other reminder - so long as it's not illegal in their country of destination.
A letter - personal and warm.
A sample bottle of your favourite fragrance.
Basically, anything that is going to help them remember you while they are away can be placed in their luggage. Also, if you are helping them pack, there is some chance that nothing will be forgotten if two highly-emotional people are doing the packing rather than just the one.
This is probably going to be one of the last things you get to do together (apart from whatever you plan on doing on your final night/day together), especially if they are on an early morning flight, so take your time and allow plenty for it as some tough decisions may have to be made.
Allowing plenty of time to get the packing done is essential as, unlike a holiday, you are packing to live somewhere else for a period of time not relax on one of their beaches. Don't forget you have to stay within the weight limits of the carrier. Remember to pack a good mixture of work and relaxing clothes and if you have to cut down, to meet weight restrictions, remove items from both piles (unless you are willing to pay for excess baggage on all your flights).
So the time has finally come for the two of you to be parted. Stay with each other as long as you can, take them to their point of departure, make the most of the few moments you have left.
Be prepared for tears. Take plenty of tissues. It may be only a short time you will be apart but it is bound to be tough. The departing member of the couple at least is going to be driven away either on the plane, boat, train or bus and so has plenty of time to cry their heart out if they so desire. The remaining partner most likely has to go straight back to everyday life, and is possibly driving themselves away from the point of departure.
If you have to drive away and feel yourself welling up to the point of tears, take some time out. If you are not composed within yourself you are not going to be composed enough to control a vehicle. Go to a café or bar and order a (non-alcoholic) drink. Sip it slowly until you are ready to move on. Don't drive if you are an emotional wreck. If you have to move on somewhere else and the car is parked in a non-paying bay - you can always pick up the car later.
While They are Away
Depending on what means are available, we have a lot more options today than our predecessors would have had. You can always send emails if they have Internet access, or pick up the phone if you want to hear their voice. If all else fails you can always revert to good old pen and paper, though this may necessitate a trip to the post office to purchase stamps.
Plan to Visit
Save up (if you have to) for a flight to go out and spend some time with your loved one. See if they can book any holidays or arrange it around periods when they can get time off (a public holiday, for example) so that you spend as much time as possible together. If they haven't already done so, get a guide book (in your own language) for the area so that you can find out some of the interesting things to do or visit. You never know - there may well be an h2g2 entry out there that the two of you can research together.
Look After Yourself
While they are away there is absolutely no point in you moping around and getting yourself into a terrible state mentally, physically or emotionally. They will be expecting to see the same old you whenever they return and will not be able to concentrate on what they are supposed to be doing if you are slowly disintegrating away without them. So for the sake of the sanity of both of you get off your backside and do something constructive rather than vegetating around the empty house waiting for your loved one to return.