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by Abigail Van Buren

Patient's Romantic Feelings for Doctor Cause Confusion

DEAR ABBY: I started seeing a new doctor six months ago to be treated for a serious medical condition. I respect his medical opinion and the fact that many doctors treating my condition would be judgmental and lack compassion. He has offered both.

While I appreciate his skills as a doctor, I have started to develop romantic feelings for him. I realize telling him would put him in an awkward position and possibly jeopardize our professional relationship because of the ethical implications. I don't want to move on to another doctor because I value his services. How do I get over it? -- ANONYMOUSLY IN LOVE

DEAR IN LOVE: Your romantic feelings for your doctor are not as unusual as you may think. When a person needs ongoing medical care as you do, it's natural to feel vulnerable and dependent. When that happens, something called "transference" can occur. The emotions associated with one person -- such as a parent -- become transferred to the doctor. If you keep this in mind, it may help you to better handle your emotions.