Nicola asks :

Hi Lucy,

I have a dilemma and I would really appreciate some advice! I'm 21, almost 22, and a few years ago I dropped out of University in my first year for personal reasons. After that I started working full time in a minimum wage job, but shortly after that I did meet a wonderful guy online who I've been with for over 2 years now. We've both visited each other numerous times and we both know we would like to spend the rest of our lives together. The problem is that he lives in the USA, and I'm in the UK. We want to get married and live together in the USA, but both I and my parents feel like I should go back to university to get a degree so that I have better career prospects. He says he will support me, but we both know that another 3 years apart will likely cause strain on our relationship. Do you think I should go back to University and hope for the best with him? Or should we just get married? I'm also worried that University will be really hard and I won’t be able to handle it, so this is a really difficult decision for me.

Our Reply

Hi Nicola,

You have already admitted that you think you should go back to university, so it sounds like you have already made the decision.  Marriage is not time bound- it can wait if you want to study again, whereas it’s often better to get qualifications under our belt while you are still living at home with fewer responsibilities. Studying while working full time is a hard thing to balance.

If you have only seen each other for short bursts of time, it’s not a true reflection of what it’s like being with him day in day out, so it might be worth exploring that before committing to marriage. Long distance relationships are often like honeymoon periods in a marriages or when you start dating; for you often only show your best side. If you have to spend more time with him without a break; you will begin to see his faults. Perhaps try to be sure that you know all sides of him before deciding anything.

You have already survived a long distance relationship for 2 years, so it would just be like the same again with a bit of extra time tacked onto the end if you stay in the UK. You have done it once, so if you care enough for each other you could do it again. If you both love each other then time should not get in the way and if you really want to study then he should not stop you. You don’t have to make a choice here- you can have both- it’s just about a bit of patience along the way. University is not easy- but if you find the right course for you then it will be within your capabilities. It sounds like you have supportive parents and a loving boyfriend so hopefully the personal problems you had last time are not there anymore or are greatly reduced; enough to give you a second chance. 

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