From Meagan: 

Moving abroad requires sacrifice… and not just from the person moving. That’s really hard early on in a relationship, when it should still be about flirting and dates and silliness and having adventures together.
The last six or so weeks before Jake left, in an attempt to help AND squeeze in as much time with him as possible, our whole life became about preparation. Which meant that it was NOT about cleaning my house, mowing my lawn, eating well, exercising, or really maintaining my life at all.
Add to that the fact that Jake was preoccupied with his own stress and, though he did what he could to comfort me in my emotional moments, I had a hard time feeling seen and acknowledged. At one point I felt like my contribution to this whole experience and process was summarized by simply packing his suitcases, which frankly made me really angry. My energy, my effort, and most of all my overall sacrifice for him to have this experience felt unnoticed and wasn’t met with the level of gratitude I felt like it deserved.
It might have been only a week after he move when he had this big aha moment and told me how much he suddenly saw and understood. He needed time and space to breathe and think and process this ENORMOUS change to really let it sink in and click. And, truthfully, I think he needed to be WITHOUT me for a while for that to happen.
The moment that clicked for him and he expressed his gratitude and just recognized me was one of the defining moments in our relationship. The acknowledgement of not just the little tasks I helped with, but the big-picture role I played was validating more than I can say.
Our time apart continues to let us reflect on what we have together, what we want in the future, what we need from each other, and what our relationship really means to one another. And some really good conversations come from that.
From Stretch:
Don’t worry, this revelation did not take six months to happen! It pretty much happened the first day I was in Alex, coming off of the panic attack and having a chance to really sit and think.  But yes, it was very easy (and a little bit necessary, for both efficiency and sanity’s sake) to get so absorbed in getting ready to leave that the rest of my world got left in the lurch.  And Meagan did this all without complaint, coming straight from work every day to whatever we were doing.  She is a trooper, and she drives me to be the best I can be because of what she does.
Meagan does raise a good point about distance in her commentary.  I think for every relationship, putting some distance every once in a while helps not take the other for granted.  That being said, I think we took this to a little extreme!  It is very important for anyone planning to live abroad to acknowledge the effect on those back home, and that was one of the goals of the Long-Distance Survival Guide this year, especially with last week’s and this one.
One thing that this whole situation did for us is that it pushed us to have those deep conversations fairly early on.  We only started dating a little over seven months before I left.  As a result, we had to decide fairly early on whether we wanted to pursue our relationship with the intent of making it last when most people would still be in the ‘casual relationship’ stage, and I feel it really shows how well we click together that we were able to do so.
Meagan’s bag in panel 3 might be full of trail mix…  This is the last of the Long-Distance Survival Guide comics until next year.  Time to take a break from drawing laptop and phone screens!