Our agony aunt solves your personal problems.
Question: I've been living with my boyfriend for the past three years. At first, everything was fun and exciting, but for the last few months it's felt flat. I suppose this explains why I've started seeing another guy who is on the same course as me at college. He's great fun to be around and I feel he's what I need right now.
My problem is, I hate having to lie to my boyfriend and sneak around just to get some time with this other guy. I really don't want to hurt him, but I'm not sure how much longer I can keep this secret. Is it over between us?
Answer: You're thinking about leaving him and you've described your relationship as 'flat' - if this relationship isn't already over, most would agree it is in serious trouble. You're already hurting him by seeing someone else and when he finds out he'll be hurt even more.
Ending things with your boyfriend won't end the sneaking around with this other guy. A complete clean break with both will give you a clearer mind.
I'M TERRIFIED OF GETTING PREGNANT
Question: In the three years I've been living with my boyfriend I've been on the pill, and I've also made sure that my boyfriend uses a condom.
Not because I am afraid of getting an infection - I trust him completely - but because I'm really terrified of getting pregnant.
I'm so afraid of being pregnant that I've started making excuses to avoid sex altogether and, although he's been patient, I'm afraid he's going to get fed up with me.
Why am I doing this to him?
Answer: I see two possibilities here. Although you've been together for three years, it's possible that while you say you trust your boyfriend, you still have some slight doubts about him. The second possibility is that you have a fear of what being pregnant will mean for you, both physically and psychologically.
Counselling might help you pin down exactly what you are afraid of. Is it that you simply don't want children now or with this partner? Or do you never want children? Or is it that you are afraid of the birth process?
Whatever the root cause, your doctor can help you by looking through the range of contraceptive options and finding the one that will be most effective and suit your lifestyle.