Asking For A Friend: I have a crush on my doctor

Pursuing a relationship with your doctor is fraught with potential pitfalls.

Maja Begovic 3 minute read December 10, 2021
Watercolor Love letter

If you’re inclined to let your crush know how you feel, there’s a possibility that things may feel awkward if he’s not interested in you. GETTY

Dear Asking For A Friend,

I have a crush on my very handsome doctor. I am single and I think he is too — is there a way to pursue this without putting his job at risk? Should I pursue it at all?

Signed, Falling Hard


Dear Falling Hard,

It’s easy to get carried away, especially when it comes to someone you’re so attracted to, but an affair of the heart could land your doctor in serious legal trouble. In fact, in Canada, “any form of sexual relations between physicians and patients is considered sexual abuse,” even if it is consensual. Because of power dynamics, there are ethical standards healthcare providers need to adhere to, and failing to do so could lead to sexual misconduct charges, not to mention that there is a strong possibility that your doctor may lose his license to practice.

“Doctors are ethically bound to maintain appropriate boundaries, which include not being in personal relationships with their patients,” says Joseph Eliezer, a registered psychotherapist, clinical counsellor and author based in British Columbia. “Physicians are authority figures and thus are in a position to directly influence others. It’s not uncommon for patients to feel an attraction to their doctors, or other health care providers, especially when good feelings experienced between the two; where patients feel heard, understood and cared for.”

Eliezer says that pursuing a relationship with your doctor can feel like a beautiful fantasy for the patient, and maybe for the doctor, as well, but the difficulties that could arise can be complex and destructive for both. If you’re inclined to let your crush know how you feel, there’s a possibility that things may feel awkward if he’s not interested in you. If you’re unbothered by that, you have nothing to lose by being honest. But if you think you’re going to be too embarrassed to ever see him again, it’s probably not a good idea to pursue your feelings any further.

To avoid being the person stuck with unrequited love, try to figure out which part of yourself comes alive with your crush — experts suggest that our unmet needs or parts of self that have been buried or suppressed often manifest into these intense attractions. For example, if he makes you feel alive and sexy, it may be time to get back to self-care, exercise or physical activities that might give you a similar kind of rush. Perhaps the thing driving your crush isn’t so much that you want to start a romance with this person, but rather, there is a need for you to reflect on what is lacking from your life.

“I would encourage the patient to seek out similar qualities the doctor possesses in another person,” says Eliezer. “This would make for a cleaner connection where power dynamics are less likely to surface within the relationship.”

On the other hand, if this connection evolves and the relationship with your doctor turns romantic, there is the option to keep it under wraps, but if someone catches on and reports him to a regulatory body, things could go south for both of you. The bottom line is that if you want to date your doctor, you can’t be his patient. Don’t wait to see if you’re good a fit for each other — switch healthcare providers and transfer your medical records to another office before your first date so that your potential relationship doesn’t risk his career, or your romance.

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