For millions of couples there truly is no mountain high enough or river wide enough to keep them apart. They're living proof that a long distance relationship works. In 2005, there were about 3.5 million people in long distance marriages, a 30 percent increase since 2000, according to the Center for the Study of Long Distance Relationships, an online information clearinghouse.

This rise in long distance relationships isn't surprising. More men and women travel for business. Also, unlike bygone eras, women are increasingly reluctant to relocate to follow their husbands or partners. But, the Internet also plays a part. More people are falling in love across the country and across continents, says Caroline Tiger, author of The Long Distance Relationship Guide: Advice for the Geographically Challenged.

Tiger writes of what she knows, having tried out long-distance love herself. In an interview about long-distance relationships (LDRs, for short) with the New York Times, she says: "Making an 'L.D.R.' work requires a good cellphone plan, wrinkle-free clothes, humor and an unshakable belief that there is only one person in the universe for you."

OK. So maybe it takes a bit more. But, the good news is research suggests that long distance relationships can be just as fulfilling as relationships between people who live near to each other.

The next time Cupid's arrow soars across the miles, keep these strategies in mind to help your long distance relationship survive and thrive.

• Check your personality. According to Tiger, people who are pessimistic may be more likely to wallow and be depressed when apart from their long-distance partner (LDP). Also, if you have trust issues, hate to travel, or fidelity is a challenge, you may not want to jump into a long distance relationship.

• Be proactive. Don't just hope for the best. Ask important questions from the beginning to ensure you're both clear on the parameters of the long distance relationship, advises Dr. Emily Kensington, a psychologist and family therapist. Even if it makes you uncomfortable to ask, it can prevent misunderstandings and heartache in the future. You may want to discuss the possibility of relocating if the relationship progresses or relationship exclusivity.

• Don't duck big issues. When having "the talk" include life issues such as having children, religion, political beliefs and finances. For many couples--long distance or otherwise--these are make-or-break issues.

• Touch base daily. If possible, do it more than once, advises Kensington. This helps to keep emotional connections strong in the absence of seeing each other. A little love text, or video or voicemail message can go a long way to keeping those love ties strong.

• Return to romance. A love letter can touch the most jaded of hearts. Need a little help? Check out Or, send little tokens of your love, just because. Kensington advises that in long distance relationships, quantity is as important as quality.

• Spend time together. This is especially important at the beginning of a long distance relationship. There's only so much you can learn about each other through technology. Being around each other is the most reliable way to figure out each others' quirks and pet peeves.

• Enjoy the benefits of LDRs. As Kensington puts it, long distance relationships allow you to spend more time with family and friends, and a little more personal space. You're also more likely to safeguard your individuality, a common casualty of new romances. And there's less opportunity to grow tired of each other too quickly.

• Consider adjusting your work schedule. Flexible work hours that allow you a few long weekends each month will enable you to see your LDP more often and help your long distance relationship blossom.

• Remember important moments. It's bad enough when your live-near lover forgets a birthday or an anniversary. But, it could be the kiss of death for a long distance relationship.

• Keep your sense of humor. Long distance relationships allow too much room to misinterpret, misunderstand, or discount your partner's feelings, states Lucy S. Raizman with the Council for Relationships. It's essential to be able to laugh off miscommunications and hiccups in your relationship.

• Do things together. When you're together, indulge in each other's passions, whether that's basketball, ballroom dancing, or baking.

Although they've gotten a bad rap over the years, long distance relationships can work.