My name is Alana. I fell in love with Jonathan – a Roman Catholic Priest. We met online on a popular social media website. We asked Alana some questions. The questions are for our readers too. Please do reflect on some of the answers. You are invited to write and comment.

How did you meet? I mean there are millions of people online, why did you pick up this guy?
I met him on a social network. He started communicating with me. I had the impression he was lonely. He actually chased me, pretty forward about his attraction towards me. I thought,”He is just a harmless flirt.”

Did he show that he was a priest or maybe he was camouflaged? If the latter is the answer, when did he tell you that he was a priest?

His social network name and handle clearly indicated that he was a priest, with his parishes’ website linked up. I did some research and found he was indeed legitimate.

What made you click together? (was it his language, listening.…) Please explain fully.

He figured out my real name based on my handle name. He was trained in Rome and was fluent in Italian and correctly guessed my real name. What made us click is that we have similar work issues, political games/problems at work, issues with favouritism etc. He told me his pastor thought he was lazy. In hindsight I believe he was an arrogant academic, but I mistook that for being intelligent and very well spoken as I’m a sucker for intelligent men. He asked me to pray for him a lot due to work struggles and I did. I would pray rosaries for him at night and he would always tell me my prayers helped him. Everyday he asked for prayers. I sympathized with him. Oh, and he even said that he had dreams about me, about us together doing things. He lives in another state about two time zones away. We first messaged each other and the conversation seemed good.

In general, what was the content of the messages?

In general we talked about life, work, family problems. We had a lot in common as far as addictive issues that run in our families. Travel and vacations, not with each other, but places, etc. It always flowed. He is very intelligent but much younger than myself, about 12 years younger, so I didn’t think anything of it. I thought myself too old for him even though I don’t look my age and I am very attractive. He then asked me for my phone number. I didn’t have an issue with this because it seemed harmless. It seemed as if we were friends.

Please allow me to ask you this question: Before you give your cellphone number…do you have any safety in case he is psychopath, what would you do? Or maybe did you take it for granted that priests don’t do the bad things other guys do?

I simply thought that since he is a priest that there would be no harm. I didn’t even give it a second thought. See, he follows my sister on a social network too, and my sister noticed when he started following me and she said that he was a nice guy that seemed to work a lot and asked for prayers. I firmly believe my sister would be honest with me, but now I don’t know if he did the same to her! He mentioned that he followed her too and that she was very religious, which she is, more so than myself. I started hearing from him daily via text messaging. I heard from him morning and night. He would always call before bed and tell me that he missed me. It was so exciting to hear from him. I was starting to like him!! He always text messaged me and called me saying he was thinking of me.

Would it cross your mind that at this stage he is crossing from a simple and natural friendship to something else?

Yes, it did. It crossed my mind a lot. Every time I heard from him I thought about it. I thought about it after hours, before bed, during day. Thinking,”I think this guy is into me.” I kept thinking,”This can’t be! A priest? May God forgive me/us.”

In our earlier conversations he said that he could never marry. He also said he wanted something from me that was more along the lines of between a man a woman than priest and woman. I tried to slow things down when I started developing feelings. I never chased him, but he kept up with text messages and loving phone calls. He was acting totally opposite of what he was saying, so I followed my heart. I allowed him to get closer to me and I fell in love even though we never met. We would use the webcam and then things became sexual in nature. We saw each other naked; he never saw me fully naked but I did see him and was a bit surprised at how easy it was for him. There were times when would be on online chatting via web-cam I would hear his phone text messaging going off repeatedly! What little time we had to talk would be distracted by his phone. I thought only another woman would text him repeatedly in this manner.

Again, please allow me to ask you the question in the name of our readers: are are there any safety measures before revealing yourself to somebody online? I don’t know your level of understanding of today’s technology but a web-cam could be easily used for recording. Without sending you into a panic attack, did you consider this possibility?

I never thought about that. He had gained my trust almost 99.9%. I thought,”This guy is a priest. He has much more to lose than myself.” I even thought, “I must be the exception to the rule.” Silly me! With your question I now am very concerned and I will press charges should anything ever be published without my consent. Actually, it was done on Facetime via Iphone. I’m pretty new to Facetime and I don’t know if there is a record feature there, but still I am VERY worried. I TRUSTED him and I am little panicked but trying to keep my composure. This is not what I typically do. I’m being honest here. I’m usually very much reserved.
We also had an agreement that I would never call him Father, just by his name. I was okay with that and so was he as he said since he was not my parish priest. He even advised me what to say in confession, to say ‘a priest’. He said he didn’t mention me or his involvement in his confessions, but used a different word, like to skirt it.

Don’t you think that he is indirectly admitting that he is using your relationship for his own motivations?

Yes, I did. This is why I ended whatever we had about a week later. This conversation stuck in my head like no other conversations. I analyse everything and I couldn’t let this subject go. It was like my soul telling me,”Listen! Pay attention. Run! Now!” He couldn’t even say my name in confession! What a slap in the face!

He kept thanking me for my ‘friendship’. He said he was grateful for me and he was so thankful that he had me that he could talk to regularly about anything and everything. We were growing close and this scared me as he said he could never marry me.

Being concerned about my feelings deepening and wasting my time I confronted him. I asked, ‘What if I fell in love with you?” He panicked and said, “I told you early on I could never marry you.”The fact is that I was already in love with him but didn’t tell him. I kept that to myself. On his part it amply proves that most priests don’t want a full relationship which involves responsibilities. They just want the ‘easy’ or the ‘attractive’ parts of a relationship!!

When cornered he folded up like a lawn chair under pressure. He wanted the fun and games but no commitment. End of story. If any woman wants to know just ask, be bold, be upfront and get the answers you deserve! Don’t be scared! I firmly believe that people always tell you who they are without ever realizing it. Like when he mentioned about addictions in his family and food as his; I believe now he was addicted to food and sex. Addictions come in threes and who knows what the third one is! I went to a face to face confession and my parish priest believed that he was deviant and used his power. It’s been one of the toughest confessions I have ever been to and I don’t wish this on anyone. If I can help any woman or man for that matter, please listen to me,”Don’t do it.” Your soul will thank you. He asked if I thought I was used and I said,”Yes.” My parish priest used the words, “exploit” and “predatory” and “using his authority and power” and that he hoped he would see his errors soon. My priest asked me if this guy ever gave me absolution and if I am in contact with him in any form. I said no to both, which is the truth. My priest said any confessions given to him would be null and void and I would need to do any of those confessions over and seek penance.

Just a simple question for the benefit of our readers: how would you know that it’s true love and not infatuation, loneliness etc……?

I believe now it was loneliness that got me sucked in. I take care of sick family member a lot and most of my time is spent doing that and whatever time I have left is for myself on my studies, work, my dogs and at the gym. Most men don’t approach me because I am an attractive woman. Most men tell me that are intimidated, so I don’t have very many confident men around. Even women tell me, “You are beautiful, but I bet no one ever tells you that.” So yes, I am lonely and a total bookworm.

I then told him that he was more than happy to use me but not marry me and it would be best to cut off all contact. He panicked and wanted to be friends still in regular contact, that he needed me and my friendship, he said he needed the contact. I told him no, that he sent out too many mixed signals and I’m not going down that road of being used. He kept apologizing saying he was so sorry. He asked that I continue praying for him and I didn’t answer. I even explained to him that I saw him connecting with other younger girls on the social media website and this proves to me realistically that even if he left the priesthood he would pick the younger girls anyway for something for traditional. He was silent. He asked for a Hail Mary at the end of the conversation. I said,”No, I need to get back to work.” We hung up and never spoke again after that Christmas Eve.

Luckily, I only spent about two months of my time on this relationship, but it was something I had never intended; to fall in love with a priest. I felt an enormous amount of guilt for getting involved and I pray that God forgives me. I’ll always love him deep down, but I’ll never tell him that. I should have known to never get involved. I do still miss him.

Just a personal comment, not for Alana but for our readers: somebody once said that’s it better to be all alone that in an abusive relationship. In this context do we miss being in a relationship or do we miss a particular person?