Source: SPH Razor
Hong Kong actress-singer Karen Mok knows a thing or two about making long-distance relationships work.
She has been married to German-born finance executive Johannes Natterer, for nearly four years, but is hardly in the same country as him most of the time.
Both 44 years old, the two were high school sweethearts in Italy, who separated after going to college.
Two decades later, they rekindled their love at a school reunion, and got married in 2011.
Now home is in London, where Johannes lives. Yet, due to Karen's busy schedule shuttling around Asia, the longest time she's spent with him is three months.
So here's how the jet-setting star ensures the long-distance relationship works.
Tip #1: Keep it fresh
Our biggest challenge is finding time to be with each other.
But this actually can be turned into an advantage. Some people, after getting married, tend to take each other for granted. That can be dangerous.
Long distance relationships, to an extent, can help you to keep your relationship fresh.
Tip #2: Trust each other
I think trust and confidence in each other and the relationship itself (is important). For us I think it's a good thing that we've known each other for a long, long time, since we were 17.
Tip #3: Understand each other's career
A maximum of two months is a long time to be away from each other. But it really all depends. I'm a little bit dreading it because I'm starting a new tour, so from September onwards, I'm basically performing somewhere every weekend.
And so I obviously have to be in Asia. So either he comes and joins the tour, or, I don't know... He's already applied to be the chef. (laughs)
Tip #4: Go on holidays
Johannes mentioned that I had previously filmed this movie called Around the World in 80 Days. So he suggested that we try a round-the-world trip ourselves.
I agreed and said I could make time. I could simply turn down any movie contracts for that period or tweak my schedule. I can make time for 80 days.
Instead I challenged him, asking him if he could get away from work for 80 days.
Surprisingly, his boss allowed him to take leave, a mini-sabbatical, for three months.
So, since he was able to take leave from work, then we definitely had to go on the trip.
Initially, he even said that he wasn't going to bring his mobile phone.
I told him we can't do that, especially since we were going to such a rural area. I was concerned about our safety!
Yes, he was pretty brutal, but I couldn't handle being without my mobile phone.
We stayed at the so-called "Four Seasons of the rainforest", but still, that was very very basic - no air-con, no electricity, we had running water but for limited hours. You've got to be a certain kind, to be able to take the Amazon for long.
Tip #5: Give in during fights
I'm the one who's more easily agitated, more hot-tempered. So most of the time, he's the one placating me. He will be the one trying to calm me down.
By now, he knows how to deal with me being angry.
Tip #6: Do sweet things
Johannes is a very practical person. He's not someone who has a lot of tricks up his sleeve. He's more down-to-earth, that's why I like him.
But most of the time, when I go back to our home in London, there would be a lot of flowers at home waiting for me.