She should respect him enough to retreat

Dear Annie: Please help me. I'm in love with my priest. I'm a widow, and "Father Patrick" and I are the same age. In fact, we knew each other about 20 years ago, before he entered the priesthood.
Twice in the last few weeks, Father Patrick has asked me to meet him for coffee, and we had so much fun talking and laughing that I forgot the time. When I last saw him at church, he shook my hand and continued to hold it while talking to me. Sometimes he looks into my eyes and blushes. I'm fairly certain Father Patrick feels the same way I do.
Should I break this off for his sake, or try to explain that all we can have is a casual friendship and I don't want to make him uncomfortable? If I am wrong about his feelings, I would feel like a fool. If I am right, am I a hypocrite for loving him? Do I have to be the tough one? Clerically Confused
Dear Confused: It's not uncommon for women to develop crushes on their clergymen, priests in particular. We're not saying it can't be reciprocated, but it is unwise to make that assumption or do anything to promote it.
You don't need to say anything to Father Patrick and risk embarrassing either of you. You need to retreat. Be too busy to meet him for lunch. If you have a problem that requires counseling from clergy, make an appointment at church. Respect him enough to stop tempting him (or thinking that you are). If Father Patrick wants something more, he will take steps in that direction. And you can indulge your fantasies with a copy of "The Thorn Birds."
Dear Annie: I am a 49-year-old woman, and I have lost approximately 30 percent of my hair. I have many symptoms of hypothyroidism (hair loss, weight gain, fatigue, constipation), but my blood work is normal.
My internist and dermatologist say my hair loss is hereditary, although no one in my family has had this problem. However, my mother was hypothyroid, but was treated for it and didn't have hair loss.
I don't think any of my prescriptions are causing it, and I haven't changed my diet. I've been told my health insurance company probably won't pay for me to see an endocrinologist since my blood work says there's no reason for it. Can you help me? Going Bald
Dear Going Bald: Women can lose their hair for a number of reasons, including aging, stress, infection, a hormonal imbalance or immune disorder, or too many braids and perms. However, since your mother was hypothyroid, and you have some of the symptoms, this possibility should be pursued more thoroughly. A standard blood test will pick up only so much. Ask your doctor to refer you to an endocrinologist for more detailed tests. Your insurance should then cover it.
E-mail your questions to, or write to: Annie's Mailbox™, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611.
Creators Syndicate
Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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