Finally…..we have a priest admitting of falling in love. So many female readers have asked for a priest to tell his point of view of falling in love. How does a priest feel, falling in love with a woman? Well today you should be so happy as one priest is prepared to spill all the beans about his love story with this wonderful woman. Enjoy your reading!

It is so heartbreaking reading all these messages from broken hearted women in these difficult circumstances. I am Patrick, a 43 yr old catholic priest.. I was ordained at 24 years of age so I am 19 years in the priesthood.

Naturally being human I have felt attracted to different women in my life. That is normal enough even for a celibate. But my difficulty arose 3 years ago when I met Michelle, a 32 yr old single woman at a parish meeting. She had difficulties in her life and we talked privately for a long time. After the meeting ended, I felt so at ease and at peace in her company and for both of us I think we realized that there was some bond or chemistry between us that night.

Anyway we kept in touch mainly by phone for a while and than we agreed to meet mainly to discuss her difficulties which have now been overcome. We enjoyed each others company so much that we kept in touch by phone and meetings even when there was nothing to discuss at a professional level. At this stage we had developed a good friendship which I had no difficulty with as it was within the boundaries of my celibacy commitment.

Unknown to myself this friendship was growing over time and I was blind to it or maybe subconsciously I knew it but needed her companionship and friendship. For her too, Michelle is her name the relationship meant a lot and in her own words transformed her life. She was a broken person when I met her first but now felt whole and complete in herself. This all began 3 years ago, but my difficulty is that in the last year or so the friendship grew into a fully intimate and sexual relationship.

The first time that happened I was taken unaware, one thing followed another and almost unknown to myself I was making love to her for the first time. I experienced the normal fulfilment and excitement that goes with that experience but also I was gripped with awful guilt with the realization that I had broken my celibacy vows. This is still a struggle for me.

During the last year the relationship has continued in full and has grown and developed in every aspect. I feel I have no control over my feelings or where this is leading me.

Obviously I am now at the stage where I have a dilemma on my hands. The relationship cannot continue as it is indefinitely with me in my current life. Do I walk away from Michelle once and for all or do I leave the priesthood and marry her make a new life with her?

Currently we have decided on a 3 month break to help me decide. Michelle has declared her love for me and asked me to leave on a few occasions. I finally promised her I would decide during this break of 3 months, two months of which have already passed. We still email and phone each other but will not meet until the time is up, around Christmas.

I miss her company so much and long to be with her. A sense of loneliness has grown in my life over the course of the relationship as I know now the sacrifice involved in celibacy. I have changed as a person as a result of my relationship, falling in love does change you in a good way. I certainly do not want Michelle to be hurt like many of the women on this blog. If I thought that would happen I would definitely leave the ministry, if you love someone you cannot allow them to be hurt.

Yes in all honesty I am drawn to leave, to life and family with Michelle. I have done 9 sessions of counselling with a lady psychologist and that process is also leading me towards a decision to leave. I admitted this to my therapist in my last session and it was such a relief. She is helping me to process that thought in the coming sessions to a stage where I can own and implement my decision.

What is preventing me? Well I am torn in conflict between the part of me that says I need to move on. I have outgrown celibate priesthood. I need a human relationship with a woman who is Michelle in my case. I love her and want to be with her and she feels the same. Than the other voice says you made commitments for life: you took vows, you owe it to God, the church, your parishioners and your family. This is my dilemma.

I feel I have known the answer for a long time, almost from when I met Michelle, my counselling is leading me to the same answer, but this other voice and guilt feelings still get on top of me at times. I need help to have the courage to do the right thing for me and Michelle over the next 1 month or so.

Readers….it’s your turn. Let’s help our priest is making the right decision. Now you can ask as many questions as you want to!

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