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How far should you go for love?

With a year of marriage under their belts, Amy Huberman and Brian O'Driscoll are still very much the picture of relaxed contentment. And if, as the adage goes, absence makes the heart grow fonder, Huberbod are set to go from strength to strength.

Amy has long been one of BOD's most vocal cheerleaders, but this week it was revealed that work commitments may conspire to keep her off the sidelines during the World Cup. With only a month to go before the Irish team get their campaign under way, Amy's hoping that her work commitments will allow her to join Brian in New Zealand. But, with Amy working in London on new comedy series Threesome, it looks like the pair will have to get used to some bi-coastal bonding.

They're certainly not the only high- profile couple who've had to contend with a long-distance romance. Take Katy Perry and Russell Brand; they've been married for less than a year, but have spent much of their marriage on opposite sides of the world. Adding insult to injury, Russ's criminal record means that he was unable to join her in many countries on her recent world tour. Undeterred, the pair make their long-distance marriage work, with a little help from Twitter.

Despite the fact that reformed sex addict Russell was snapped holding hands with a crew member on the set of his latest film, the Perry-Brand union is still going strong. Well, as we go to press at any rate.

Elsewhere, Brian McFadden and Delta Goodrem found that their four-year engagement couldn't withstand the harsh conditions of a long-distance romance. With Delta recording in Los Angeles and Brian working (and partying) in Sydney, the distance proved too great an obstacle, and the two eventually split in April.

What's more, Brian's new love interest Vogue Williams appears to be taking no chances, electing to move down under indefinitely later this year and so sidestep the idea of a long-distance romance.

Earlier this year, TV star Jennifer Maguire marked her fifth anniversary with boyfriend Lau Zamparelli, although the pair have only been living in the same country together for a few months. "We're settling in really well and we've just been spending a lot of time at home," Jennifer said recently.



BICKER

"We're starting to bicker about who left the immersion on and that kind of thing, It's nothing serious, just your average disagreements that anyone will have."

Away from the topsy-turvy world of celebrity, mere civilians have found that the vagaries of the recession have impacted on their romances. Some venture further afield in a bid to secure any kind of work, while the lure of Australia and Canada proves too great for others. Of the 65,300 people who reportedly left Ireland in 2010, you can rest assured that not all of them were footloose singles. In a word, it's not just actresses and sportsmen who are forced to conduct romances across time zones.

Paula Hall, relationship adviser to Parship.ie, has noticed an increase in these bi-location romances: "Once upon a time, people would work away during the week and come home during the weekends or do a long commute, but now the way things are, there isn't the money to do that."

The upsides of these relationships are plentiful. Long-distance love is ideal, in fact, for the person who needs the emotional salve of a romantic interest, without wanting to do too much

legwork. And, in the case of a couple divided by work, having a partner living elsewhere allows people to devote plenty of time and energy to their career.

What's more, long-distance romances are constantly ablaze with anticipation, with no greying undies or housework arguments on the menu, for a start.

It's no small irony that, in a union where time quality trumps quantity, people are prone to make more of an effort during actual face time.



STRAIN

"When you've had to change [from a more 'traditional' relationship] to this new style, it can be like another honeymoon period in the beginning," says Paula.

"Then, you start taking the other person for granted pretty quickly and the relationship takes some serious strain. Drifting apart and not staying in touch is the big pitfall for long-distance couples."

Yet if, as they say, the best relationships are ones that are strengthened with the 4 Cs -- contact, closeness, chemistry and conversations -- what hope has the long-distance couple?

"Technology has made it so much easier for people to keep in regular contact," notes Paula. "Talk about regular, every day life. Often you forget to share the small details if someone is away."

Naturally, the other big hazard is jealousy; the idea -- founded or otherwise -- that your partner is having a much better time without you. If you live oceans apart, this can be amplified.

"Often, people get lonely, and need someone to talk to when they're away, and most affairs start out of these platonic friendships," observes Paula. "It frustrates people that there isn't someone there for them."

However, know this: whether your partner lives in Sutton or Sri Lanka, you will never be able to control them or really know their whereabouts 24/7.

"If you're thinking that way, chances are you had those concerns before your partner went away," says Paula. "People cheat regardless of where they live."

It may seem as though the odds are stacked perilously against a long-distance relationship, but the good news is that not only can these romances survive . . . they can positively flourish.

"The big thing is you have to make the most of what this is," advises Paula. "It's a new and exciting challenge for both of you. People act as if this distance doesn't change anything, but it so does. You have to do things differently, even if you don't want to."

Once you have a grand masterplan for your relationship in sight and are prepared to adapt to this new world order, all the Skyping, sexless weekends and airport security searches should ultimately be worth it.


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