30/01/2012 12:24 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Does Being In A Relationship Ruin Your Career?

Days after they won X Factor, Little Mix's Perrie Edwards split up with her popstar boyfriend because she reckons that she and her bandmates don't have time for romance.

Perrie, 18, had been dating Zayn Malik since his band One Direction performed on the show in November.

But she's walked away from one of the hottest boys in pop because she believes that a relationship would get in the way of her career.

Does being in a relationship ruin your career? Photo: Getty

"There are no boys for us," she told The Sun. "We're going to be like nuns. Right now I haven't got time for romance. It's all about the music, the tour and then the album."

Her bandmates Jade Thirwall, Jesy Nelson and Leigh-Ann Pinnock seem to agree that boys are a big distraction.

Jade's electrician boyfriend Ben might not be too pleased when he hears that she said: "This [the band] is my main priority", and Jesy and Leigh-Ann have ruled out romance too.

"I've been single for quite a while," says Leigh-Ann. "I want this too badly to let any man get in the way."

Admittedly, these girls are all aged between 18 and 20 - and most people would agree that at this point they're right to focus on making their pop dreams come true.

But are love and success really that incompatible?

Well in the early days, I think they probably are.

It's all too easy to let a new relationship take over your life. When you first fall in love you want to see the object of your affection as often as you can. Although you spend a lot of time in bed, you don't get all that much sleep - and if he doesn't call for a couple of days it's so easy to tie yourself up in knots of anxiety just in case he's suddenly got cold feet.

And this kind of hormone-driven craziness isn't particularly helpful when you have to focus on work.

In much the same way, a new and exciting job can turn your world upside down.

Working long hours - as Little Mix are likely to be doing for the foreseeable future - doesn't leave much room for family, friends and relationships.

If you've landed your dream job you're going to want to put in the hours and prove yourself - which means that other areas of your life will suffer and those close to you might just start to feel a little bit neglected.

While your best friends and family are likely to understand if you suddenly fall off the radar - for a little while, at least - a new relationship demands much more TLC.

Those in long-term, established relationships might find it easier to balance the two, but we've all heard about people who have broken up as a result of 'work pressures' - it's got to be the most common explanation given for celebrity splits.

And the longer you've been together - or the older you are - you probably have even more demands on your time.

By the time most women hit their mid-to-late 30s, they're more likely to have young children and/or ageing parents, which makes it even more tricky to juggle work and family - so Little Mix are right to focus on their career while they can.

That's not to say that they have to live "like nuns". Remember that super-successful girl band called the Spice Girls?

All of them now have children and are in long-term relationships (although we can't keep up with Geri's on/off relationship with Henry Beckwith) even though Victoria was the only one to find love at the height of their fame in in the 1990s.

And I don't recall any of them leading a particularly nun-like existence. If the rumours are to be believed, I bet Robbie Williams doesn't either. Ahem.

Give it a couple of years until Little Mix have a had a few hits, released a couple of albums and done a big tour and they'll probably be only too glad to take a break and focus on their private lives.

But until then I think they're right - boyfriends would only get in the way.

By Ceri Roberts