Need help breaking free from addiction?
Call 24/7 for treatment options. Who Answers?

Dual Relationship


I’ve known my pastor for 11 years and went to him for counseling upon the death of my dad, and upon the aftermath of an abortion. These latest counseling sessions he offered to hold me and comfort me physically. This went on for about 4 months. Nothing happened but lengthy hugs. Then I began falling in love with him. But then he started pulling back, and distancing himself from me. I sent a cassette tape to him stating my feelings of love and hurt at his distancing. That was 3 months ago, and still no reply or response at all. WHAT HAPPENED?! Can we still hope to have a relationship? If so, HOW?

This Disclaimer applies to the Answer Below
  • ‘Anne’ is the pseudonym for the individual who writes this relationship advice column.
  • ‘Anne’ bases her responses on her personal experiences and not on professional training or study. She does not represent herself to be a psychologist, therapist, counselor or professional helper of any sort. Her responses are offered from the perspective of a friend or mentor only.
  • Anne intends her responses to provide general information to the readership of this website; answers should not be understood to be specific advice intended for any particular individual(s).
  • Questions submitted to this column are not guaranteed to receive responses.
  • No correspondence takes place.
  • No ongoing relationship of any sort (including but not limited to any form of professional relationship) is implied or offered by ‘Anne’ to people submitting questions.
  • ‘Anne’, Mental Help Net and CenterSite, LLC make no warranties, express or implied, about the information presented in this column. ‘Anne’ and Mental Help Net disclaim any and all merchantability or warranty of fitness for a particular purpose or liability in connection with the use or misuse of this service.
  • Always consult with your psychotherapist, physician, or psychiatrist first before changing any aspect of your treatment regimen. Do not stop your medication or change the dose of your medication without first consulting with your physician.

It is easy (all too easy) for a vulnerable and hurting person to fall in love with their pastor or therapist (or other supportive authority figure) whom they know and trust. However, getting involved with your pastor (or therapist, etc.) is generally a bad idea. Doing so confuses the relationship between you both. Experience shows that most such pairings end up doing more harm than good. This is because as you try to get close to your pastor, you inevitably change the way you and he relate – where before this man was your pastor – now this man would be your pastor AND your lover. This is often called a dual relationship. Many professional organizations have ethical principles that prohibit such relationships. Your Pastor ought to have known better than to offer you physical comfort. However, he appears to have acted responsibly (if without social grace) in avoiding your offers of intimacy. Please do give up the idea of a relationship with your Pastor and put your loving energies into forming a bond with a more equal partner. Thanks for writing, – Anne

More "Ask Anne" View Columnists


Call the Helpline Toll-FREE

To Get Treatment Options Now.

1-888-993-3112 Who Answers? 100% Confidential

Get Help For You or a Loved One Here...

Click Here for More Info.


Call The Toll-FREE Helpline 24/7 To Get Treatment Options Now.

100% Confidential
Get Treatment Options From Your Phone... Tap to Expand