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Fidelity and Confusion

Douglas Holwerda, American trained and licensed mental health counsellor, answers your questions and offers advice


Dear Douglas,


I am 32 years old and have been married to a man for seven years. We met and got married quite quickly. We have a three-year-old son. I have a good job and my husband works part time and takes care of our child. Twice in the past six months I have found myself in situations where I am feeling a powerful attraction to other men. I have flirted and kissed a little in both cases. Afterwards, I have felt guilty and upset with myself. The truth is that my husband is a good man and loves me, but I no longer feel passion or connection with him. I am confused and don’t know what to do with myself. I am afraid I will do something that I will regret and it will hurt my husband and my son. What should I do?


— Longing For More


Dear Longing,


What you do… depends on who you are. Your decisions about love and marriage are rooted in a value system and a set of beliefs that are all your own. Different people will respond differently in the same situation. It is not for me to decide what is right or wrong or what others might do.


In therapy, what I can do is help you understand your core beliefs about relationships, and why these lead you to feel guilty. And what you have come to expect from marriage, and how you see the impact your decisions have on others. I can also help you consider the power of your feelings and how it relates to being balanced in your approach to making decisions in life.


I work from the premise that we are all responsible for the decisions we make, but that we are also learning how to live life as we go. It is normal to make mistakes, but, ultimately, we are trying to find a way to be true to ourselves and to love those around us. You never imagined that you would find yourself with such strong and conflicting feelings, so confused and with so much at stake. You are wondering how you got to this place and how do you get out of it. It might appear that there is no good solution and that anything you decide will hurt yourself and others. It is often in these moments of ‘crisis’ that we learn to integrate the changes that come from the living of life.


One of the purposes of therapy is that it creates room for truth. Your feelings are facts. This is the truth of where you are on the journey of life. When we accept the truth of your feelings without judgment we often find that it can open a door to solutions we hadn’t known to consider. First you have to be truthful with yourself and look deeper into the questions of what you want and what gives your life meaning and purpose. The best we can do is to live from the place of clarity and integrity.


So Longing… Before you decide what to do, explore yourself.


— Douglas


Do you have a question you would like Douglas’s help with? You can email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Personal details will not be printed

Douglas Holwerda

Douglas is an American trained psychotherapist, writer of the Dear Abby-esque monthly column in the Word, "Dear Douglas". He holds to the notion that the living of life is a creative endeavour... an eternal adventure without promises. And that we are both shaped by the journey and the shapers of what is possible. Our greatest hope is to find love and connection along the way. Live it all.

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