They’ve been dating off and on for almost three years. Sure, it’s “just” a high school romance … but in case you haven’t noticed lately, high school is a bit more complicated these days, and the pressures, responsibilities and even the relationships are much more profound.

This couple was best friends first. Romance developed slowly and surprised them both. They both think they might have “the real thing.”

They graduate in a few weeks. She’s heading 2,000 miles east to study theater in New York City. He’s traveling 900 miles west to study graphic arts.  They’re both 18, and wonder whether or not they should keep their relationship going once both of them leave school.

My advice?  No Way!!!

That probably seems a bit harsh, but there are a lot of factors to consider.  Long-distance relationships can – and do – work.  In fact, there are about 2.5 million married couples and another two million unmarried couples in long-distance relationships.

So why do I say no to this young couple?

Relationships, whether you’re married, living together or 3,000 miles apart are hard work. Two of the key components to a successful long-distance relationship are planning a future together and seeing each other as often as possible. Without those two components, the relationship is likely to fail. Add to that the fact that the average long distance couple only lives about 125 miles apart and this couple seems doomed from the start.

That doesn’t mean that down the road they won’t reconnect, but the 3,000-mile distance along with the fact that they are both young and starting fresh, new lives in different places makes me think they’ll both do better in the long run (even though it will involve some short-term heartache) if they say their goodbyes at graduation.

In a long distance relationship? Here are some tips to keeping the love alive from a distance:

  • Keep in touch! Talk to each other regularly. Use technology to your advantage and buy pc cams so that you can see each other while you talk.
  • Talk about your future. Do you have plans to join each other at some later date? Talk about your plans and dreams, your expectations and hopes. Keep the relationship moving forward.
  • Set ground rules. Know ahead of time how your partner is going to feel if you have dinner with the cute guy from your office – and respect the rules.
  • Be honest. If the relationship stops working for you or if you are just going through the motions, be up front with your partner. Make changes if you can, or agree to part as friends if you can’t.