Mom is flus­tered to find her fam­ily ther­a­pist on dat­ing site

The Times Herald (Norristown, PA) - - YOUR DAILY BREAK - Dear Abby

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. 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. Dear Abby is writ­ten by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Con­tact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los An­ge­les, CA 90069. 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.)

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