DEAR ABBY: I am conflicted about boundaries being crossed between my family therapist and me. My 7-year-old son and I have been seeing someone we both bonded with and felt comfortable with. That is, until the therapist and I found each other on an online dating site.
We matched a few months ago. Once I realized it was him, I felt embarrassed and blocked him on the site. He sent me an email within three minutes acknowledging that he knew it was me. He said he thought I was "awesome" and that I look better in person than in my pics. I was so embarrassed I didn't respond.
A couple of months went by and neither of us brought it up. My son invited him to his birthday party and he did attend. It wasn't until later that I realized therapists are not supposed to attend social events with patients. We also text often, during late-night hours.
A couple of weeks after my son's birthday party he tried matching with me again on the dating site. I was surprised and sent him a text asking him what he was doing. He responded by asking me if I was enjoying it, but did not answer my question. I do have a slight crush on him, but I'm not sure what his intentions are. I am aware that it's unethical. -- UNETHICAL CRUSH
DEAR UNETHICAL: You are correct that what the therapist has been doing is a breach of professional ethics. There is a reason for it. Patients are extremely vulnerable to manipulation.
When the online flirtation first started, you should have changed therapists. Heaven only knows how many other patients he has done this with. My advice is to draw the line, establish a working relationship with another therapist, and decide whether you want to report him to the association that licensed him to practice. You may have a crush on him, but what he is doing is predatory.Read more in: Etiquette & Ethics | Love & Dating | Family & Parenting | Holidays & Celebrations
DEAR ABBY: Common manners are going extinct quicker than the dinosaurs did. I was raised to open doors, stand up for women sitting down at the table, etc. Nowadays opening the door for most women feels like getting slapped in the face. There is no acknowledgment of any kind.
Has our society disintegrated that far? These days if I open the door for someone and she doesn't acknowledge the courtesy, I say, "Thank you!" loud enough for her to hear and watch the reaction. I'm waiting for someone to slap me one day. -- GOOD MANNERS IN TEXAS
DEAR GOOD MANNERS: I agree that when a courtesy is extended, it should be acknowledged. However, if it isn't, shouting at someone is rude and makes you appear more like a petulant boor rather than the genteel individual your parents raised you to be.
P.S. When a gentleman opens a door for me -- old-fashioned girl that I am -- I always thank him. Then I add, "You were raised right!" which is true, and we go our separate ways with a smile.Read more in: Etiquette & Ethics
Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)