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Erotic Transference & My Attorney

Asked by on with 1 answer:

Does erotic transference only occur between patient and therapist, or can it happen between any two people. I just went through a difficult and painful divorce. I was recently diagnosed with PTSD as a result.

Sometime during the divorce process, I started having feelings for my male divorce attorney. I am female. I started fantasizing about him. Sexually desiring him. I feel I am in love with him. My therapist says the feelings aren’t real and that it’s transference. From what I have read and researched, transference occurs between patient/therapist. But isn’t it possible it could occur when working with other people, such as the attorney/client relationship? Especially during divorce. My divorce was very devastating and my attorney was right there for me. He was a source of support and comfort. He saw me at my worst. He took care of me every step of the way. Then…. I fell in love with him and started having sexual desires for him. From my research on erotic transference, I can so see how it happens and how in my situation, it easily would have. It really bothers me when people say transference love isn’t real. Maybe so. But it feels very real and the hurt and pain is very real.

If transference only occurs between patient/therapist, then Is it possible I am actually in love with him?

It was very painful when my case ended. Not because it was divorce. But because it meant the attorney/client relationship ends. That was far more painful than the divorce! It meant I would have to let him go.

Also, if this is transference, does the other person know transference is occurring? In other words, does my attorney know that I am experiencing this?

I really want to write him a letter and tell him how I feel. I have been strongly advised not to say anything because it will likely damage the possibility of working together again.. But it’s tearing me apart inside. I feel that my telling him will help me move forward. Transference or real love, I need to move on with my life.

Erotic Transference & My Attorney

Answered by on -

A.

You hired an attorney to do his job. A divorce is complicated legally and can be, on occasions, very complicated legally. Apparently, your attorney handled the legal aspects of the divorce well. Part of his job went beyond the legal technicalities. Part of his job was to reassure you, calm you and comfort you, all within the professional rules that are imposed upon him.

When you meet someone in life, who listens to you, comforts you when you are upset and shows compassion for your feelings, it is likely that you will be attracted to them. Transference is common in therapy for exactly those reasons.

Your attorney, as part of his job, comforted you and showed compassion for your feelings, just as he has done for many women that he has worked with before you and many women that he was currently working with, while comforting you.

The question becomes, why did he show you this caring? Was it because it was part of his job or was it because he had personal feelings toward you? It could well have been, “just part of the job.” It is most likely, that it was just part of the job, as it is in most cases. That doesn’t mean with certainty that the emotions he showed you, were “just part of the job.”

I would suggest that you wait a while, to see if your emotions towards him decline. Likely, while the divorce was going on, you called him often. He would return your calls or call you to talk about some aspect of your case.

The divorce is over now and it is likely, if his interest was only professional, that he is no longer calling you. Ask yourself this question: if I never called him again, would he ever call me? If he never called you, that would indicate his interest in you. The job is over. He got paid, see you at the next divorce.

In all fairness, he may be shy and he may have feelings for you but he is reluctant to approach you for fear of rejection. It’s possible, that he would need to know your feelings were reciprocated. That’s possibly the case, but it’s more likely that his behavior toward you was strictly that of an attorney and his client.

There are many times in life that you think someone may be interested in you but you are afraid to approach them, again, for fear of rejection or making a fool of yourself. There are many ways to approach them as simply being a friend. You can call them on the phone, just to see how they’re doing and then wait to see if they reciprocate and call you in the future, just to see how you are doing or to chit chat.

You could ask them to meet you for coffee or any of 100 other things, that friends do. If he is unwilling to partake in things that friends do, he is uninterested in you romantically.

I hope I’ve helped and I wish you the best of luck.

Dr. Kristina Randle

Erotic Transference & My Attorney

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2018). Erotic Transference & My Attorney. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 21, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2015/09/21/erotic-transference-my-attorney/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.