11:06 08 April 2009
Jet-setting film stars Rachel Bilson and Hayden Christensen have called off their 18-month engagement, with sources close to the stars citing that their busy schedules ensured that they rarely had chance to see each other.
Relationships can be difficult at the best of times, but add to that a few hundred miles separating you from your loved one, and you suddenly encounter a whole new list of obstacles.
With the growing popularity of love hopefuls searching for romance online, and the credit crunch meaning many people having to relocate to find a job, there are many of us choosing to try out a long distance relationship.
While the separation can mean you savour every last moment when you do see them, it can also cause frustration adding tension to your relationship.
Here are seven simple rules to making your long distance relationship survive:
You both need to set the scene early and discuss each other's expectations. Assuming you both expect the same thing can be dangerous territory. Talk about all aspects of your relationship and the challenges you might face. Those who bury their head in the sand are more likely to find their relationship unravelling than the couple who've set out a plan.
Stay in touch
Nowadays we have many ways to stay in contact. So whether it is by phone, text, email or webcam there's always a way for you to talk to your partner.
It is important to talk about the everyday things in the same way you would if you lived together. But be careful not to moan about your bad day at work every time you talk to them as this can turn them off. Share fun, interesting and flirty information to keep the spark alive.
Keep it real
When you are not sharing the mundane everyday things in life, it can be easy to stay in the honeymoon phase of your relationship by over romanticising it.
While this may seem like a good thing at first, if you want to develop the partnership into a serious bond make sure you know that real couples do lose this honeymoon period as the relationship grows.
It can be a big shock when you suddenly spend longer periods together and experience routine things like putting the rubbish out. This doesn't mean however that the short time at the weekends can't be fun and exciting.
Balance it out
As you, hopefully, miss each other in the time you spend apart, it's natural to want to cram as much into the time you have together as possible. But beware as this can lead to a stressful time together.
Be more selective in the things you choose to do together and the things you talk about - you can't possibly fit in everything so pick the things that matter, remembering to have a balance of the fun things and the everyday stuff.
Analyse your commitments and routines and be realistic about who can travel to see the other. It doesn't always have to be a 50:50 split as this might not be the most sensible option. If it's more practical for you to travel more than your partner, accept this and try not to begrudge the extra time you spend travelling.
Remember the little things
Send little surprises to show you care. It doesn't have to be expensive or wildly extravagant either. A personal gift such as their favourite chocolate bar wrapped up, or a CD with a note saying which track reminds you of them, shows you are thinking about them.
However strong you think your relationship is or however strong it was before they moved away, the feeling of loneliness can be overwhelming when in a long distance relationship.
It's easy for the advances of an attractive stranger at the bar or flirty behaviour of a sexy colleague to be an appealing option - especially if you have had a fight with your partner.
Recognise when you are feeling lonely or have had a row and stay away from these people who might make you succumb to temptation.
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