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Dear Abby: As we dated for two years, pastor was secretly engaged

He denied it when asked, but now he and the other woman are married.

DEAR ABBY: A new single pastor was assigned to my church. He asked if I was single and if I had kids. I told him no, and we began having an affair.

For two years, it was all in secret. Then I began noticing that a single lady from his previous church would visit. He told me she was concerned about him being alone, so she was stopping by on her way through.

Well, I now know she was more than that. While he was having his affair with me, he was engaged to her. When I confronted him, he denied it. They got married in secret, and he didn’t tell the church until afterward. Everyone was shocked because he talked so much about being an open book and being truthful. I was and still am in shock. I love my church, but I hate my pastor. Should I leave? — HURTING IN SECRET

DEAR HURTING: I smell a rat, and it’s coming from the pulpit. Your pastor misrepresented himself. His affair with you was, to say the least, unethical and should be discussed with the governing board of your church. You were taken advantage of. One of you should leave.

DEAR ABBY: I endured an arduous decade-long marriage with a subsequent nasty divorce and custody battle. This was followed by years of contentious child rearing with my ex. With my children now grown, I am free to spend my money the way I want and have absolute freedom. I live alone, and quite frankly, I love my life. I am 100% sure that I want to remain unmarried.

When people ask me about getting remarried, I tell them “never again,” and I mean it. Yet, inevitably, people say, “You never know, you might get married again someday.” Abby, I DO know. It’s been more than 20 years.

I used to get annoyed, but now I just blow it off. Do you have any retort that doesn’t sound rude? I have thought about saying, “I guess you know me better than I know myself,” but it sounds snarky. — BEFUDDLED IN FLORIDA

DEAR BEFUDDLED: If blowing off the questions no longer works for you, try this: Smile at the person and say, “That would involve TWO willing people, and I’m not receptive. But thank you for the kind thought.” And then change the subject.

DEAR ABBY: I have been having some emotional turmoil. I’m feeling depressed and hopeless. I know I need to tell my parents, but I’m too scared. I’m afraid they will brush it off or blame me. It’s really affecting my life. Please give me some advice on how to break the news. — GIRL WITH A PROBLEM IN NORTH CAROLINA

DEAR GIRL: Many people are experiencing feelings similar to the ones you are. The worst thing you can do is keep them to yourself. Be brave. Tell your parents about your depression and turmoil. If they are disbelieving, confide in a teacher or the parent of a close friend so they can advise your parents on getting you professional help if it is necessary. My thoughts are with you, and I hope you feel better soon.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

To receive a collection of Abby’s most memorable — and most frequently requested — poems and essays, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby — Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price.





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