CAROLINE Buchanan is our new Agony Aunt at the Dorset Echo. She’ll be helping readers with their problems on a weekly basis.

Dear Caroline,

My 27- year old daughter has really been struggling in lockdown.

She came back to live with her Dad and me in April, after breaking up with her boyfriend. Two weeks before that she had confessed to him that she had been unfaithful earlier in the year, and understandably he was very upset.

He asked her to leave which is why she came home. She longs to have him back but he says he just can’t trust her anymore.

She is absolutely heartbroken and really regrets her drunken one-night stand. She has no interest in seeing the other guy again and would give anything to be reconciled with her ex whom she still loves very much.

I’ve tried everything I can to help her, but she keeps on beating herself up. She feels she’s ruined her life and will never be happy again. She says she cannot understand how or why she behaved as she did but at the time, she couldn’t resist this other guy’s charm. I’ve asked her to consider that maybe she wasn’t as happy with her ex as she thought she was and could that be why she was tempted to be unfaithful? She says no and this horrible situation is all her fault.

I’m at my wits’ end with her. It’s so upsetting to see her like this.

Emma, Bridport

I really feel for you, Emma, it’s torture to watch your offspring suffering, as I know only too well.

You feel powerless to help and yet your motherly instinct is desperate to make it all better for her. You need to accept that you cannot fix this, no matter how much you want to.

You are helping, though, by being a loving, supportive mum. But this is her journey, and as she goes through the pain, she will hopefully grow and learn a lot about herself.

Her ex may forgive her, he may not, but either way the pain will pass. She may uncover why she was tempted to stray and look at n Dorset Echo agony aunt Caroline Buchanan her relationships both with her ex and indeed with alcohol. She may choose to address both issues, if that’s what is needed, or she may not.

Primarily, she needs to look at her relationship with herself.

Forgiveness is highly recommended all round here! Your daughter is obviously wrestling hard with forgiving herself, but she needs to do just that. We’re all human!

Personally, I always found it quite easy to forgive others but I was awful at forgiving myself. I’m much better at it now, since writing my book. The 15-Minute Rule for Forgiveness available from Amazon.

So many people don’t realise it’s the lack of forgiveness in their life that really holds them back Unforgiveness, of ourselves or others, can actually make us ill, or contribute to maladies. According to CBN, ‘Of all cancer patients, 61% have forgiveness issues and of those more than half are severe.

The first step in forgiveness therapy is recognising forgiveness is not the same thing as condoning what a person did, which is the major hurdle for most patients.’ We know that love is what makes the world go round, and yet forgiveness, which is such a demonstration of love, is all too often ignored or denied. The ability to forgive – and accept forgiveness – is a very powerful enabler. And for those who master it, the rewards are wonderful.

If we all spend just 15 minutes a day, taking the steps needed to attend to our own corners of forgiveness, just think what we’d be doing not only for our families and ourselves but also for the whole of mankind.


Caroline Buchanan is a journalist, author, agony aunt and Relate- trained counsellor who lives in Dorset and West London.

Her latest book is The 15-Minute Rule for Forgiveness. Her previous book, The 15-Minute Rule - How to Stop Procrastinating and Take Control of Your Life, is a bestseller.

If you would like Caroline’s advice, send your problem to and it will be passed on.