Q: I began seeing a psychiatrist two years ago because I was obese and at 30 years old, had never had a boyfriend. Now I’ve lost 60 pounds and am trying to let men “in”, but really have no interest in meeting anyone because I am so in love with my fabulous shrink. I know, transference, etc.! We discuss it all the time, and he is so patient with me – but I am more content living in a fantasy world with him than finding a real companion. Tell me what I already know, please! Maybe it will sink in if I hear from someone else.

A: I like your “tell me what I already know” line! So here goes:

1) It happens all the time.

2) A true relationship with him will never happen.

3) You are entitled to keep the fantasy if you like. Nobody can stop you.

4) If you keep the fantasy you’ll be using it instead of facing your issues about men and real relationships.

5) The fantasy with the psychiatrist is something you know to be impossible. So you are holding on to what must be your basic belief: that relationships are impossible for you! (Not true, of course… but lots of people hold on to their untrue fantasies…)

6) No real relationship can ever be as good as a good fantasy relationship. It can be a lot better for a short while (during the early stages), but eventually you will notice all of the imperfections.

7) The stronger your fantasies about the psychiatrist are the more likely it is that you aren’t really seeing him as a man at all, but more as a “father” or “mother” figure – who would “take care of you perfectly and forever” (… rather than as a lover who is your equal and who doesn’t take over your own job of taking good care of yourself.)

I guess I could go on, but that’s good for starters.

Just keep talking to the psychiatrist about this. If it seems too difficult to continue with him because of the intensity of your fantasies you might want to consider a different therapist, at least for a while.

I’d suggest that you show the psychiatrist my response, to help both of you as you discuss things.

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