DEAR ABBY: I started seeing a new doctor six months ago to be treated for a serious medical condition. I respect his medical opinion and the fact that many doctors treating my condition would be judgmental and lack compassion. He has offered both.

While I appreciate his skills as a doctor, I have started to develop romantic feelings for him. I realize telling him would put him in an awkward position and possibly jeopardize our professional relationship because of the ethical implications. I don’t want to move on to another doctor because I value his services. How do I get over it?

ANONYMOUSLY IN LOVE

DEAR IN LOVE: Your romantic feelings for your doctor are not as unusual as you may think. When a person needs ongoing medical care as you do, it’s natural to feel vulnerable and dependent. When that happens, something called “transference” can occur. The emotions associated with one person — such as a parent — become transferred to the doctor. If you keep this in mind, it may help you to better handle your emotions.

DEAR ABBY: I was adopted at a year old by loving parents. Through a lifetime of hard work, they have become wealthy. Their generosity allowed my husband and me to buy our first home and start married life debt-free.

My problem is, their community and friends, including some of my husband’s and my own, often feel compelled to bring the subject up. I always thought it was rude to ask questions about other people’s finances, and I don’t know how to respond to their intrusive questions.

I’m very aware of our unique situation, and I’m extremely grateful to my parents for the generosity we have received. How do I respond to friends and acquaintances when they bring up such a sensitive subject?

GRATEFUL IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR GRATEFUL: Remember this. You do not have to answer every question that is asked of you. When questions about your home or finances are raised, reply, “That’s very personal. My parents are generous, and my husband and I are grateful.” PERIOD!

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I disagree about how to handle taking our children shopping with us. I believe that, especially while our children are small (they are 3 and 5), the adult with them should keep them in sight at all times, or at least the majority of the time. If a child moves out of eyesight, the adult should find them within a minute. Are there guidelines on what is appropriate by age or developmental stage on this issue?

HELICOPTER MOM AND FREE RANGE DAD

DEAR HELICOPTER MOM: Your husband is an optimist, while you are a realist. Common sense should prevail. When you take your children to a public place, they should remain under your or your husband’s supervision at all times until they are aware enough that they can’t be lured away by a stranger, and big enough to fight off a predator.

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

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