DEAR ABBY: I have a terrible problem. I had an affair with my pastor. (I'll call him Pastor Jones.) It began as a one-night stand but lasted for more than a year. Pastor Jones is married with six children. I'm also married and the mother of two.
Unfortunately, I have fallen deeply in love with him. We both know it's wrong. We have prayed together many times, asking God to forgive us for our sexual relationship and for breaking the Seventh Commandment. But no matter how hard we fought temptation, somehow we always ended up between the sheets.
It became too painful for me to attend church on Sundays, knowing that I'd had carnal sex on Saturday night with the man speaking from the pulpit. I was also uncomfortable watching other church members tithe 10 percent of their hard-earned money, unaware that Pastor Jones was pocketing a sizable percentage to finance his lavish lifestyle.
I finally stopped attending his church. I don't believe in playing with God, and I want so badly to do what is right. However, Pastor Jones still comes around my workplace to "visit," and I continue to have a weakness for him. He is smart, funny and very handsome. My temptation is stronger than ever.
Every minute of every day I remind myself that I love my husband and our children. Please advise me how to fight this powerful urge that will surely give me a first-class ticket to hell. Sign me ... FALLEN AND WANT TO GET UP
DEAR FALLEN: Pastor Jones is a thief and a hypocrite who deserves to be atoning in a correctional institution rather than preaching in a house of God.
Ask God for forgiveness, and also for the strength to stay away from the "Pastard." Then talk to your husband. The two of you should report Pastor Jones to your church headquarters. They need to know that the man they have in the pulpit is dipping into the collection plate ... and more.
DEAR ABBY: A few months ago, I met "Barry and Maryann," a married couple who work in the same office I do. They've been married for 10 years. We've become good friends and the three of us spend a lot of time socially. Barry and Maryann have both confided to me that they're unhappy in their marriage.
This morning, Barry called me at home and told me that he has feelings for me. It made me uncomfortable because I am friends with both Barry and Maryann. How do I suggest they seek marriage counseling when one of them has a "thing" for me -- and the other doesn't know there's a problem?
I want to be friends with both of them. Help. -- AT A LOSS IN LAS VEGAS
DEAR AT A LOSS: Since the husband has come on to you, a friendship with them may no longer be possible. Tell Barry that although you like him and his wife, as friends and co-workers, his romantic feelings are not reciprocated. Then urge him to take Maryann and get marriage counseling because confiding their problems in you is neither productive nor a solution to them. You'll be doing them both a favor.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)
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