I Think My Doctor Has a Crush on Me, But I Don’t Want to Look Foolish By Asking

woman having a consulting a doctor

I met this wonderful man at physical therapy, whom I noticed from the beginning was attracted to me. The problem is he is my physical therapist. Soon, he started flirting with me, and I followed the lead. Although he has not been direct, the way he looks at me suggests he is interested. During one of my therapy sections, when I asked him if he wanted to go to lunch with me, he replied, “I wish I could go” and then became very serious. I felt so stupid afterwards. However, several times since then, he suggested that I should head to the lake after my appointment. I know he goes to the lake regularly.  

Is he suggesting I go there to meet him? Should I ask him directly if he is interested? I don’t want to look desperate but I think he is worth the risk.


Dear Dalia,

Worth the risk? What risk?

That’s the lesson of today’s blog.

“The only risk is the one not taken”.

Do you realize that men take that risk every single day? That it is expected that they are the aggressors? That it’s their societally ingrained job to introduce themselves to women and set themselves up for rejection?

I’m not even saying that I have a problem with it. I just think that risk and rejection is something that many women could stand to experience themselves. Something about walking a mile in another man’s shoes comes to mind.

Why struggle to figure out “what he’s thinking” when you could just, I don’t know — ASK HIM!

From the hints that the doctor dropped, it sounds like he is interested in you, but doesn’t want to conduct personal matters on business grounds. That line about going to the lake sounds a little more creepy than enticing, but hey, if that’s how he rolls, it’s up to you.

But it would seem like the most authentic thing to do — and this applies to ANYONE in this situation — is to have an authentic conversation. Women love the concept of this, yet struggle with the execution.

Why struggle to figure out “what he’s thinking” when you could just, I don’t know — ASK HIM!

Let’s play the worst case scenario back to you:

“So, Dr. Feelgood…would you like to have a drink after work one day?”

“A drink? But why? I don’t need more than five minutes to help you rehab your arm.”

“Oh, I just thought that you–“

“I’m sorry. Really?”

“Yeah. With the whole lake thing, it sounded like you might be–“

“No. I can’t fraternize with my patients, although it is flattering. Now back to your tendon…”

I mean, honestly, Dalia, how much worse could it go? How much are you really losing by putting yourself on the line? If you have such a low threshold for embarrassment, you can get another physical therapist, but so what?

If neither of you take action because of fear of rejection, NOTHING HAPPENS. And what’s worse? Knowing that you like each other but don’t have the guts to do something? Or having a two minute uncomfortable conversation?

There’s no reason for you to show up at the lake and hope he’s there.

You’re an adult. He’s an adult. Try having an adult conversation.

I’ll bet you both like it.

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  1. 1
    Cathouse Teri

    Evan is right. Stop trying to figure out what he’s thinking and just ask him.

    Personally, I think he’s married.

  2. 2

    Old School Opinion:
    There are good reasons for the time honored sanctions of dating at work, professionals dating clients, teachers dating students, etc …

    Finish your physical therapy or ask for another physical therapist. Then ask the good doctor out.

    Report back with the juicy details….

  3. 3
    Dave O

    I’ve actually encountered this very same scenario a few years ago. While in physical therapy for my shoulder I took notice of one of the other therapists in the office. My therapist was a friend of mine so after a couple sessions I asked about her situation. I came to find out she had asked him about me as well. I would talk with her occasionally during my sessions. While she had interest in me she did not feel comfortable initiating a relationship while I was a patient. So, a month or so after I was finished therapy I met my friend for lunch at their office. After lunch I stopped back in the office knowing she was there and asked for her number to call her. Turns out she knew I would be there and already had her number written down for me. I agree with Evan, if you choose to wait and take no risk, nothing at all will come of it. If you choose to wait until you are finished therapy there would be nothing wrong with that in my opinion.

  4. 4

    99 times out of 100, Dalia, these are fantasy relationships (i.e., one of the parties fantasizes they are real, but they are nothing more than a one-sided infatuation). You are positive your PT has a crush, but he’s not in a position to date you, right? So that must be why he doesn’t ask you out. Hmm. Maybe yes, maybe no. You can find out for sure by changing physical therapists — going to another location in your insurance network — and calling to let him know. “Hi, just wanted to thank you for the good job you did, my knee feels a lot better, but I’ve decided to go to a physical therapist closer to home [whatever excuse]. So I won’t be seeing you at the office anymore. You have my number thought, right? In case there’s ever any reason you’d like to follow up.” Keep it professional but warm, and see what he says and more importantly, what he does. You’ll find out very quickly if the attraction was mutual or all in your head. It’s still better for you either way than continuing on your current path. If you were right and he IS interested — and available to date you — he will be relieved there is no more professional/patient ethical barrier and ask you out. If you were wrong and he is NOT interested — or he is already taken — then you don’t have to face the embarrassment of having been the aggressor and been rejected every time you go in to have your sessions. Either way, I suggest you start dating other people so that you don’t focus on the least likely candidates for a relationship in your sphere.

  5. 5

    You’re afraid to be direct with him. Here’s what you do:

    Get his home address, then find his house on Google Maps. Pitch a tent on his front lawn, and don’t forget your binoculors.

    If you like what you see, go to the lake with him. He’ll be the one wearing the trenchcoat.

  6. 6

    I am a nurse, and I don’t know about physical therapists, but in many states nurses and doctors can lose their licenses if they become involved with a patient. So, she definitely should make sure that their professional relationship is over before becoming involved, even then there may be ethical boundaries that the therapist may not be willing to cross.

  7. 7

    Evan is right, Dalia because if you have that authentic conversation, you might find out that he is indeed interested,but because of professional ethics as Steve and Annie suggested prevent him from acting on it. It was my first thought when I read your letter. I’m a licensed counselor and while in school worked in a physical therapy clinic. It may also be that it is a violation of the clinic’s standards for employees to engage in relationships with patients. As Steve said there are good reasons for it.

  8. 8

    What is it about Physial Therapists? It is totally inappropriate for this person to breech professional boundaries in any way, shape or form, especially if they are touching you or doing any kind of body work on you; it is not the time to be flirting. If this person was an adult, they would wait until after session and explain that they couldn’t see patients romantically, which is just common sense, to address what seems to be a mutual attraction. I recommend Dalia get a new PT, one who is more professional, and then consider whether this is worth pursuing. Evan, she has already asked him out and he turned her down, saying, “I wish I could.” Very mysterious and not very adult (i.e., with an explanation.)

    My heading references my own experence with a PT who, though married, made himself very familiar with me. Not in a sexual or romatic way–I believe he loved his wife very much–but by telling me of his childhood, family, some of his life traumas, etc. It’s true we hit it off, right off the bat; he was like a long lost brother to me, actually. However, due to his marital and professional status there seemed to be nowhere for this relationship to go. I had to go through an actual grieving process at the end of my treatment time (two six week sessions.) It was very sad and painful. The personal nature of our relationship also caused little flare-ups and stress (because it was confusing, frankly) which increased my physical tension and therefore pain. A friend of mine who had this same PT indicated that he behaved similarly with her and added, “I know what you’re going through.” She actually did, also, believe he was flirting with her, although she also noted he often mentioned his wife very fondly.

    Anyway, I have seen many practitioners–Acupuncturists, Osteopaths, Massage Therapists, and now I can add PTs to the list–and YES, there is a reason professionals are expected to maintain PROFESSIONAL BOUNDARIES. You are more vulnerable to them because you have to fully put yourself in their hands, for treatment. It is a trust relationship that should not be violated while one is in session.

    1. 8.1
      Linda burgess

      I can totally relate to what your saying. I saw a PT and he told me about his entire family issues, old girlfriend, his dating life, how he hadn’t had a date in 5 yrs. told
      Me exactly where he lived. About his dog “Dexter doo doo” ask me to take him to dinner then acted like he was joking. Told me where he went “barns n noble” to meet single women. Said he met one lady that was a Domanatricts. We just had a good laugh. I really didn’t believe him at the time. He always starred at me and made me feel uncomfortable. He was really nice looking. I ask him one day when I was through with therapy would I still be considered his patient and he shouted really loud YES. He ask fort cell number. But refused to give me his after I gave him mine so I emailed him @ his work email one day just a friendly hello have a nice day. He tried to charge me with harrasment. This just goes to show he was just trying to cover his own ass. He’s not much
      Of a professional. A real professional would not have done this to anyone. I really
      Had started to debelop feelings for him. He’s not even a real man in my opinion.

      1. 8.1.1

        Not sure how long this happen to you but if that were me I would’ve responded back on the e-mail, well you did ask me to go out with you for dinner and I thought by e-mailing you saying hi I didn’t think it was harassment so I assume dinner is off then!     lol   oh ya I would give it to him good!!! ….

    2. 8.2

      Thank you moonsical I am going through something very similar.you can’t imagine….your post have me chills and I started to cry because I feel like between the narcotics they prescribed me and the over familiarity my pt has showered. Upon me for 4 months has made me lose myself

  9. 9
    Filipina dating free chat

    Nurses and doctors can lose their licenses if they become involved with a patient? Hmm. I think it depends on the situation of the nurses / doctors if they are already committed.

  10. 10
    Karl R

    “Is he suggesting I go [to the lake] to meet him?”
    Can you think of any other plausible reason that he would suggest that you go to the lake?

    I suspect that he’d like to meet you in a non-professional environment.

    “Should I ask him directly if he is interested?”
    Do you want to know whether he is interested?

    I suppose you could try reading his mind or stealing his journal, but asking directly is a lot more reliable.

    “I don’t want to look desperate”
    If a man asks you out, do you assume he is desperate?

    If a woman pursues me, I don’t assume she is desperate. If a woman is pursuing every man that shows the slightest interest in her, then I assume that she’s desperate.

    “I asked him if he wanted to go to lunch with me, [he declined,] I felt so stupid afterwards.”
    Why did you feel stupid?

    Okay, I probably shouldn’t be too harsh towards you. When teenage boys are rebuffed, they feel stupid afterward. In order to be successful at dating, however, they learn to ignore that feeling.

    I’d recommend that you teach yourself how to ignore that feeling as well.

    “he started flirting with me, … the way he looks at me suggests he is interested.”
    Or he could be a flirt. There are several women that I flirt with. They could correctly assume that I find them attractive.

    But I’m not about to dump my girlfriend in order to pursue any of these women. So it’s entirely possible that he finds you interesting … without being interested in a relationship.

    However, if any of the women I flirt with were to express an interest in me, I would be flattered. I would not think they were stupid or desperate.

  11. 11

    This is a little late and trite perhaps considering the situation, but it’s a good tip in general. If the guy who seems interested isn’t much more physically attractive than the woman in question (who presumably isn’t homely), then it’s quite possible there is something going on. It’s simpler when the seemingly flirtatious party is a woman, because generally (as shown by studies) men overestimate how interested attractive women are.

  12. 12

    Evan is right,assumptions is the key of a lot of unwanted stress for all of us. If your PT expresses that he has his reasons for sure of why he did that. Professional Ethics is necessary in thie world of tupsy turvy people.
    The best thing to do? AFter your professional dealing wd him. ask him honestly and be ready of what he will say to you.then you can move on from there.

  13. 13

    Hi all. I don’t have a reply, rather a similar question. How would I know if my same sex female therapist has a crush on me. She is married, happily I”m not sure. I know this is common, but I am quite certain there are some strong feelings going on. Almost like a heavy sexual tension when we are in a session? Thanks for any input.

  14. 14

    You should fight him. Best way to get into a mans head is by splitting it open. I suggest you do not give him any warning though.

  15. 15

    I think you need to just ask him. I was through the same similiar situation and in some ways still am. My son’s plastic surgeon called one day and asked “us” out for coffee. We talk to each other by phone and he will leave me a message such as, “I haven’t forgot about you (really emphasizes the YOU) or then my son’s name. Trouble is this has been going on for years and I wish I had the guts to just come out and ask him years ago because I have always felt he liked me and we sort of went through my son. So just ask him – like the others said, “what do you have to loose, all he can do is say “No” and he’s probably lying.

  16. 16

    It’s on doctor’s board exams. DO NOT DATE PATIENTS! Also, a physical therapist is not a doctor. Different degree.

    If I had a patient who asked me out, I’d question their judgment and understanding of boundaries. A health professional has access to your information that you trust he/she will keep confidential. As a health care professional, one MUST firmly (and kindly) turn down any requests from patients for a date.

    Ex-patients are tricky. Either way, I think you should never be involved with your doctor. If you’re a doctor and there are questionable moments, get a chaperone to make sure everything’s crystal clear.

    1. 16.1
      Suzanne Reid

      Thank EL I was waiting for someone to say a physical therapist isn’t a doctor no where near it Lol

    2. 16.2

      New PTs in California are required to have doctorate degrees, so their credentials are not the issue, professional ethics and boundaries. For a health provider who has treated you to date you, you can’t be their patient any more and a period of no contact has to pass where the profession relationship is over. These ethics are in place because of the power, authority, and personal knowledge of your health history they have. Transference of attachment and attraction to an authority figure is more common than you think.There is a huge potential for abuse. In my opinion, it’s even more likely for romantic attraction to happen with PTs as they see you often or routinely, can be close to you, you share personal life details with each other and could bond, sometimes touch you, massage you, see more of your figure than you know.

  17. 17

    He totally wants to bang you. I say let him.

    1. 17.1

      OMG. Thanks for the good laugh. I have a similar situation where I am enamored with my doctor and I’m trying to figure out what to do about it. I decided I’m going to treat him exactly the same way he treats me and see how that goes.

  18. 18

    Doctor’s I am sure know right from wrong, well in most cases, even still what a challenge it must be to seperate the man from the doctor and tthe doctor from the man. What do you do as a human who feels an undeniable spark? Is it worth the risk or would a doctor never risk it?

  19. 19

    Most likely, he simply encourages her to head to the lake so that she’ll do some much-needed physical therapy homework! Swimming is excellent therapy for a variety of conditions. Since “he goes to the lake regularly,” he knows it will be good for her. I doubt it’s anything more than that. It can be difficult to get PT patients to do any sort of therapy work at home, even though it’s to their own benefit. Maybe the lake sounded like a way to get her to do more because she expressed an interest when he mentioned that he goes.

    While a PT is certainly not a “doctor,” I doubt he can date you while you’re his patient. It’s unethical. He could lose his job or hurt his career track. If you’re convinced there’s chemistry, you could try contacting him after you’re no longer under his care. But before you switch PT’s, you might consider that the flirtation is getting you through what would otherwise be a painful and boring episode in your life. Those sparks give you something to look forward to and perhaps motivate you to work harder at recovery. And your long term health is worth more than just a date!

  20. 20

    What if it’s your child’s doctor? Is it the same? I’m not his patient my daughter is..

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