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Dating a former CP patient: is it unethical?

I work as an LPN in a rehab hospital. One patient with CP I got to know over time, as well as his mother. She started inviting me to picnics with them offsite, and I gradually got to know them very well and would visit often. I started being intimate with him a few months ago, but am embarrassed in some ways because when I first met him he was only one of my "patients", and also because of his disability I'm sure some of my friends would think I'm nuts, as in "can't you do better?"

I don't know what to think at this point, but the relationship continues and is starting to feel more and more comfortable every time I'm over there.


Asked by krnrobey71 at 6:44 PM on Jun. 1, 2009 in Relationships

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Answers (9)
  • It is not unethical as he is a former patient and a relationship (of a physical/romantic nature) did not occur until he was no longer in your care.

    I would be careful, though, simply because it is easy to develop feelings for people you have cared for and vice versa (theres a syndrome named after it, even...The Nightengale Syndrome...after Florence). It may be hard to judge wether or not these feelings are genuine, or a reflection of your caring attitude in general combined with his feeling a void in your life.

    He may not fit what type of man you thought you would date/be with; but that happens for a lot of women. I think the real difficulty is in figuring out if the feelings are genuine and not displaced due to your previous lonliness, that maybe you feel like you are doing him a "favor" by being with him, or possibly that you don't want the guilt that may come with being "the girl that dumped a 'handicapped' guy".


    Answer by ozarkgirl3 at 7:36 PM on Jun. 1, 2009

  • If you care what others think, then don't date him. It's not fair to him.

    Answer by Anonymous at 6:47 PM on Jun. 1, 2009

  • Anon - I care a little what others think, but just feel embarrassed because he is definitely not what I used to think my ideal guy would be, but he has really grown on me despite his disability. I didn't plan on being intimate with him. It happened one time out of the blue, and has continued more and more frequently since that time.

    Answer by krnrobey71 at 6:51 PM on Jun. 1, 2009

  • i dont think there is anything wrong with you dating him. but i do feel it is wrong if you are woried about what other people will think about it. if you really liked him it wouldnt matter what other people though.
    my little girl has cp. and if she was dating someone who was woried about what his friend will think. then he is not the right guy for her to be with.
    you need to really think about what you are doing. because if your woried about what others think. most of the time it is because we are ashamed of what we are doing . kwim.

    Answer by cpmom610 at 7:12 PM on Jun. 1, 2009

  • this is sticky wicket if you ask me. being intimate with patients is probably a no no. Can you get in trouble at work over it? What are your intentions? Are you just using him or is it more? So many nurses fall for a patient but it's often short lived. Just don't hurt the guy.

    Answer by admckenzie at 7:16 PM on Jun. 1, 2009

  • p.s. I didn't pay attention to the FORMER patient. Sorry. It could still get sticky. Please be mindful of his feelings.

    Answer by admckenzie at 7:19 PM on Jun. 1, 2009

  • admckenzie - I don't know what my intentions are. At first maybe I was "using" him since I'm not dating anyone. And I felt a little guilty because it was like a compulsive habit to go over there, visit with his mom for half an hour, then get my "fix" from him. But gradually I'm developing feelings and a real closeness to him. I keep trying to imagine how the relationship can grow, and while I don't know all the answers, I think there is hope and we could have a future together.

    Answer by krnrobey71 at 7:24 PM on Jun. 1, 2009

  • *his filling a void

    I'm a nurse too BTW...

    Answer by ozarkgirl3 at 7:36 PM on Jun. 1, 2009

  • I don't think it is wrong for you to date a former patient. Just be up front with him about your feelings. Treat him with the same respect that you treat all men. He has feelings too and if you are having second thoughts about the relationship break it off before you hurt him.

    Answer by Anonymous at 5:08 PM on Jun. 2, 2009