I can hear the torture in your message. You might want to take a look at my book In Session: the Bond between women and their therapists which looks at this situation. I based the book on a survey of 300 women in therapy. Although it may seem to you that what you want is the MAN underneath the therapist, I suspect that it is the nature of the psychotherapeutic relationship, the tension between intimacy and constraint, the forbidden nature of your therapist, the fact that he sends what seem like ambiguous or cross messages, the fact that you cannot declare your love and get a straight answer back -- all this tends to fuel the fire. . Of course, it is possible that were you to actually enter into an in-the-world relationship with your therapist, you would still love him as much. BUT based on the experience of a number of women interviewed for my book, I think it is likely that the man you are in love with only really exists in the room, in the role. I also suspect that if you think something is going on, such as his flirtinb back, it may be, in terms of his being subtly seductive or at least enjoying the intimacy and perhaps your attraction to him. That doesn't mean he's capable of actually being in a fulfilling romantic relationship with a woman . . . at least one of the therapists in my book seemed to use the intimacy of the therapy room as a way to avoid having to be intimate in real life. Some of the emotional currency of therapy -- eye contact, body mirroring, empathy can look a lot like courtship behaviors -- even when the therapist has no seductive intentions. Anyway, that's my take on things. Write more if you want to continue the discussion.
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