Dear DM, I just don’t know what to do….

Dear DM,

Please I need your help….

I am a 25 year old female who is in a 1 year relationship with a 52 year old man, but that’s not inherently where the issue lies….

The man I am dating is a pastor. And he is married. I met him when the pastor at the church I attend unexpectedly left and he stepped in as a temporary pastor while we were searching for an interim pastor. I thought he was a great, spiritual man and my thoughts about him soon turned to affection. I eventually told the truth to him about these feelings for him because I knew it was wrong due to him being married and a pastor but it in turn began our relationship.

I found out that he’s effectively separated from his wife and they haven’t been living together for at least 5 years. She cheated on him and left him for another man several years before the separation. But then she returned to him and as he puts it “the Godly thing to do was for him to forgive her” so she came back into the picture because it doesn’t look the greatest for a pastor to be without a wife.

He told me his intentions of divorcing her and I do believe him, but he has to earn the money for the divorce first. He isn’t the pastor at my church anymore, because my church went through another shake-up in which he lost the job, of not fault of his own, so now he is looking for another job (he owns his own business but doesn’t bring in enough revenue for him to live the life that he wants) to help increase his income so he can get the divorce from his wife, whom he barely communicates to outside of getting bills paid.

He loves me, and I know that he does but I can no longer be in this relationship anymore. We are basically in a secret relationship because of his personal issues and status as a pastor. His friends and family know about me and he has introduced me to most of them because they all know about the issues and situation with his wife.

However, my friends and family can’t know about him due to his status as a pastor and a pastor that once was at my church because they would not understand or care about how his marriage really is. I literally have no one to turn to about our relationship outside of him and God. So I almost feel as if I’m in a relationship that exists but really doesn’t exists.

I think that we are very similar but in the aspects that we are different in, we vary greatly. He is much older, so thus he is very opinionated about things and a lot of times I feel like he feels he is always right about everything, which leads to me feeling that I can’t communicate with him because there’s no point in it. I don’t feel as if he listens to my concerns a lot of the times as well.

I don’t feel as physically attracted to him as I did when we first started, so I’ve almost completely wanted to stop having intercourse with him. When he gets angry he can be scary sometimes and he yells so much I can barely get a word in, which fuels the whole part of me finding it hard to communicate with him. He’d never hurt me or hit me, but when I’m in an argument/disagreement with someone the last thing that I want to do is yell at them. I feel like of I were to stay in this relationship that I’d almost be using him. In a sense I almost feel as if the relationship would change into almost a sugar babby/sugar daddy relationship.

In the last couple of days I’ve been trying to end things with him but he is hurting because he stated that he trusted me, and he believes that God put us together so that he can fulfill his dreams of having a family (his wife also lied to him and basically cheated him out of having children with her which is also another reason for the separation), and how I am everything that he has ever wanted in someone to spend his life with. I feel incredibly guilty because I feel like he is inherently a good man but I just feel like he is not the man for me, however he isn’t letting me go and he insists that I am not being Godly and that I am being cold and heartless by trying to leave the relationship…..

I just don’t know what to do……

-SD


Dear SD,

The Bible is pretty clear on its stance of having intercourse with someone who is not your spouse. That is adultery. It is forbidden (see Exodus 20:14).

Whatever this pastor’s marriage history, it still does not change the important facts that he is married, you have had sex with a man married to another, and thereby you are in an adulterous relationship with him.

My point in saying this is not to shame you or beat you up. It is to help restore moral clarity to your situation. This relationship is and always has been ungodly. 

That said, I find the details of the relationship’s origin very troubling. You wrote:

The man I am dating is a pastor. And he is married. I met him when the pastor at the church I attend unexpectedly left and he stepped in as a temporary pastor while we were searching for an interim pastor. I thought he was a great, spiritual man and my thoughts about him soon turned to affection. I eventually told the truth to him about these feelings for him because I knew it was wrong due to him being married and a pastor but it in turn began our relationship.

This pastor has abused his position of authority and access to engage in an illicit relationship with you. What you have described qualifies as ministerial sexual misconduct. It is wrong morally and professionally.

He never should have engaged in a sexual relationship with you.

Like a therapist or psychologist sleeping with a client, he violated professional boundaries with you. He is supposed to care for you spiritually and NOT exploit your confessed vulnerability to him.

This is abuse. And I encourage you to leave this relationship as soon as possible!

Sure, he tells stories about his wife. Have you considered that those might simply be lies to keep you hooked? 

He clearly has no problem lying since he proceeded to have intercourse with you fully knowing that he is still married…so much for the vows of fidelity to his wife.

The godly and wise thing to do is to end it with this predator pastor. Adultery is wrong. If he really cared about godliness, he would never have sex with you while still married to another woman.

Also, this pastor never should have used his position of spiritual authority and access to pull you into a such an illicit relationship. That is a violation of the trust between pastor and congregant.

Honestly, I think you already know all this–more or less–from what you wrote. The path of righteousness is clear. The relationship with the pastor needs to end.

And I think his wife deserves to know it took place. It does not matter whether or not she cheated. That does not give him permission to cheat on her with you.

Hope that helps,

-DM

PS I would encourage you to find a good, Christian counselor. While this relationship is wrong, you are a victim in this matter, too, as this pastor abused his position to get you into this relationship.

3 thoughts on “Dear DM, I just don’t know what to do….”

  1. Sorry if I sound unsympathetic but, Informing him that she was attracted and interested in him may not have been an innocent mistake. What she did could also have been like flirting…letting him know that she was interested & available.

    1. I am not saying what she did was right. She seems to understand that somewhat. However, the pastor was the one who should have made it clear such sharing was inappropriate.

      Like a client coming on to a psychologist, the psychologist is bound by professional ethics to shut that down and not encourage the sexual attention. Pastors are bound ethically to do the same.

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