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Bz Writes:

Question:

I have an unusual situation — one that makes it difficult to express. I have had a long term relationship with my primary care physician for treatment of a chronic disease that I have beaten. I have always gotten along very well with him and even my husband has commented on our “bond.” About 18 months ago I began to interpret his intentions as stronger. He encouraged me to get a computer and go online to expand our relationship. We began to talk on the phone, sometimes for hours, during his workday, our in office visits sometimes lasted an hour or better, and we met — once — at a computer show. I have archived most of our e-mails these last 10 months and I realized we have e-mailed over 900 messages. We have grown very close and he now considers me his “friend.” Lately, there has been a shift in our relationship as his office began to make derogatory statements to me about our relationship — one called it an “affair” and requested I do to him what I do to my doctor as he has had such a big smile on his face. (He accused a lot of other things too and I tried to laugh it all off… I could not believe that a co-worker in medical office could make such a bizarre statement to me.) I tried to talk about this with my “friend” and it has made an uncomfortableness between us. I had to tell my husband of it because it’s his medical office too, we discussed talking to the rude one but decided to table that as unproductive, and we discussed not giving credence to unfounded rumors. But as a few months went by I began to get very uncomfortable seeing these people and remembering the conversations… and knowing they have never spoken these things to my doctor — their coworker! I probably need to move on but I resent having to get another Physician. I did see a therapist for 5 months about my marriage and about this growing relationship with my doctor. How can someone be so good and kind, so above board (he really has never made a pass at me but my therapist still calls him seductive), and have such a great bond with another human being. it is tough on me. I want it all and I can’t have it. How can I settle this down to continue or get skills to cut the ties and move on? I hope this makes some sense. It’s pretty encapsulated. bz

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  • ‘Anne’ is the pseudonym for the individual who writes this relationship advice column.
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Answer:

It sounds as though you need to take a step back and re-evaluate the relationship with your physician. Relationships are based on reciprocity. Your physician is being unfair if he is asking you to put more into the relationship than you are willing. If he is truly your friend then the two of you should be able to talk about your feelings toward each other without posing a threat to the friendship. First you have to know what you want out of this relationship, and how it fits into your life. Ask yourself why your physician’s attention is so important to you. Perhaps he is providing you with attention that is lacking in other areas of your life. Friendships with the opposite sex are perfectly natural, but there is a fine line that you have to be careful not to cross. You also have to consider your husband’s feelings. Is he uncomfortable with this situation? Keep in mind how this relationship with your physician may be affecting your husband. Is this friendship worth the hassle? Best of luck, – Anne

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