Need advice: long-distance love

I had been dreading this decision since April.

And I wasn’t even the one making it!

My boyfriend, Derek, got accepted into the Ph.D. program in history at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. (He’s working on his Ph.D. here, but this program has a stronger focus on U.S. history, which is his concentration.) But for the past few months, he’s been trying to figure out what he’s going to do. Stay and finish his degree here — or go to Madison and get a better education and perhaps increase his chances of getting a job later.

One option has better prospects. The other, well, has better surf.

So last week he officially announced — at least to me and the dogs — that he’s going to Wisconsin.

This leaves me in a weird situation: being 36, engaged and suddenly living alone with two dogs and rent I can barely afford.

I’ve done long-distance relationships before, but those were years ago and, I’ll be honest, those relationships weren’t that serious. But this is different. Now I’m older, serious about this guy and very comfortable living with him. We carpool to work and school, cook dinner together, walk the dogs every morning and evening, surf together, shop together, travel together. Suddenly, he’s going to be gone and I’m not sure what I’m going to do.

I know I’ll revert back to my single ways, where I holed up on Friday nights with Netflix and my dogs. But that was by choice; this time around, it isn’t.

We figure we’ll Skype daily and text even more frequently. I’ll fly up to visit him sometime this semester — imagine the food photos! — and he’ll be back in Hawaii during the winter break.

I’m sure the next two or three years will fly by. Still, any advice for me on surviving the 4,700-mile distance?