Agony Aunt April

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Q: Dear Agony Aunt April,

I’m a first year student in a relationship – my boyfriend is at another Uni and we see each other once every 2 or 3 weeks. I do love him but I’m finding it hard being away from him for so long. The other night we had an argument on the phone and afterwards I went out and got drunk at a club and did something I regret – I slept with someone else. I feel racked with guilt and I’m terrified that I’m going to lose my boyfriend. Should I tell him?

A: In order to answer your question I think it is important that you first look more closely at the reasons why you cheated. You are finding it hard being apart from your boyfriend and being unable to sort out an issue straight away and in person. Unfortunately these circumstances are not going to change. You have both made the decision to go to University and live away from each other for at least the next 3 years, and during this time the two of you will be living largely separate lives. This is, unfortunately, the reality of a long distance relationship. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe that it can still work, but only if you are both committed and have complete trust in each other. Your actions the other night suggest that this is not the case in your relationship. Alcohol is no excuse for cheating – I’m sure you wouldn’t let your boyfriend use that as a reason if the situation were reversed. Think how you would feel in your boyfriend’s shoes – would you think he was making a fool out of you? You need to be honest with yourself. If you’ve already cheated on him, do you really see the relationship lasting? Maybe you should tell him the truth and end it now before you both end up getting even more hurt.

The other course of action is to spare him the pain and keep it to yourself. However, you should only consider this if this experience has genuinely made you realise how much your boyfriend means to you, how committed you are to making the relationship work, and how you will never do anything like this again. And if you do decide not to tell him, make sure you spend the next 3 years making it up to him and appreciating what a lucky girl you are!

Q: Dear Agony Aunt April,

I’m having doubts about my Uni course – I chose Accounting and Finance after being convinced by my uncle, a high-flyer, that it was the best thing to do, even though I’ve always wanted to be a musician, my true calling. I’ve nearly completed my first year of the course but I’m regretting my decision as I really do not enjoy it and hate the thought of working in this field for the rest of my life. Is it too late to pursue my dream, or should I just face reality?

A: For a start, you are only in your first year of Uni so it is definitely not too late to change your mind – people change careers far later in life than this. It seems clear that you will not be happy working in finance, and that being a successful ‘high-flyer’ is not a priority for you, so I would say you owe it to yourself to follow your heart and try to make it as a musician. However, bear in mind that that does not mean you have to drop out of University. My advice would be to look into the options available to you – for example, would you be able to change your course to Music, or any other more relevant subject?

Even if you can’t change your course, keep in mind how hard you must worked to be in this situation, how much Uni fees have gone up and how fortunate you are to have got in before this affects you. You are studying for what is a highly regarded degree, whatever you decide to do in the future. Could it be an option to stick it out for just 2 more years, and then start pursuing your career in music once you graduate?

Whatever you decide, make sure it is what you want, and try not to let your family or anyone else pressure you into any decision which affects your life – they may have your best interests at heart, but it’s you that has to live with the consequences, not them.

If you have a problem, however big or small, and think you could benefit from some friendly, confidential advice from a fellow student, please email alf1g10@soton.ac.uk. All questions, if published, will be done so anonymously.

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