I feel cheap and let down

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-28-2013
I feel cheap and let down
5
Tue, 04-29-2014 - 2:51pm

Recently, my friends and I went to meet some professors of ours as we were travelling to the city we had studied in. One of them was someone I had a crush on and continued to think of on and off. I never acted on those feelings because I knew I was just 20, not old enough, it was just a crush and not serious. I am not American, I'm from a more conservative country. We only encountered each other in class.

Well, we were meeting after over two decades and he sounded warm and thrilled when I called him and asked if we could meet. We had not been in touch since I left college. We met, he was happy and so were we. A few days later, I wrote him a thank you letter and sent him links to my work as well as a Facebook request. It was a brief and formal mail. He wrote a warm letter back but ignored the lines about my work and the FB request. He asked me for a piece of information which I gave him in a very short reply, no thank you to that either so far. 

I now feel ashamed because I wonder if he thinks I still have a thing for him - I never told him but he may have guessed. I'm a conservative person, both of us are married, me for 20 years, him for longer, and I honestly am only guilty of wanting to impress him with my work and have him notice me and my work now and then. I know he's not active on FB but he's friends with my friends and a zillion students so I thought he would accept my request immediately, especially since we met. I thought I did things properly. One of our mutual friends who could not come with us wanted a pic of the meeting posted on her FB wall and she tagged him in the photo. I don't know if that put him off for any reason but he's always being tagged in students' photos and he never seems to mind. He even told me he saw our photo on FB.

I wish he had at least commented on my work and made some excuse for not adding me on FB. I know I cannot do anything about what he did or decides to do or how he went about it but I feel insulted. It also feels as if he is trying to put me off him - and he has succeeded. At this moment, I can't even think of him fondly any more and that bothers me a lot. 

I'm not someone who puts herself out there, I am usually cowardly, inhibited, but this time I was feeling very optimistic and good, unlike myself, and now I feel totally snubbed and slighted. It seems as if a change of attitude, my willingness to loosen up and believe in people and things, have higher self-esteem, etc  did not work out.  I would like your advice on how to feel better about this. 

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Fri, 05-02-2014 - 12:54am

Maybe you didn't put him off, maybe he's just kind of flakey. Some people think its more polite or astute to say what they think you want to hear---such as let's keep in touch or be friends on FB--- without really intending to follow through. 

Don't worry about it or think that its because of anything that you did. Like you said, this is someone you haven't seen in over 20 years and there may not be much to say anyway. Let it go.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-28-2013
Wed, 04-30-2014 - 3:28pm

Hi all, thanks for your comments. 

My expectations were an appreciative word and a gentle let-down, if not an FB connection. He's just a little older than me, I wanted to connect with him as a peer, or at least as an interesting senior student who has gotten somewhere in life and wanted to show him that. And he was the one who took all our numbers and said keep in touch, and these days Fb is the best way to keep in touch while not being in each others' faces. I mean, what would I say to anyone I've met after over 20 years - I won't have much to say, esp as we haven't been in touch before this week. And I know my limits. But now I wonder if I've been forward by sending a friend request, and asking him to have a look at my work. I keep feeling I've overstepped somewhere but can't identify what it is that I have done to put him off. And he seemed genuinely happy to hear from us and meet us. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Tue, 04-29-2014 - 11:01pm

I just don't think you can take this so personally.  As you said, you hadn't seen the guy for 20 yrs--I assume that you haven't been in touch w/ him all this time, so you should be glad that you had a meeting with him and had a good time.  Maybe he just doesn't feel like evaluating other people's work--maybe he's too busy, close to retirement, afraid that he wouldn't be able to give you criticism or how you would take it, too many people asking him for help--there could be a lot of reasons that he didn't comment on your work, but it shouldn't put you off liking him just because things didn't go your way.  That's the problem with expectations when they aren't met--then you are disappointed.  I suppose that's natural, but don't carry it too far and think that because this didn't work out that then nothing else will work out either.

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Tue, 04-29-2014 - 7:37pm

Was the request to be FB friends in the letter or email? If so, send him a friend request through FB so all he has to do is click "accept" or "ignore". If he still ignores it then forget about it, its not a real slight like ignoring you at a social function.

He probably did not think that you "have a thing" for him, but if he did it seems like he shrugged it off. I'm sure you know that many professors have lots of adoring students and the prof gets good at ignoring or discouraging them. 

The problem seems to be more about your expectations, like you thought he would be more impressed or intrigued by your work and want to stay in touch as a peer. Since you did not get that reaction you are disappointed. Maybe there is also some further disappointment that this man who was worthy of your crush all of those years ago seems to not be as gallant or courteous as the man from your young fantasies.

This episode doesn't seem worthy of being ashamed or insulted. Not sure how to make you feel better about it, except to explore if you were hoping for something more and that is why you feel bad.

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Tue, 04-29-2014 - 4:10pm

You are making a mountain out of a molehill.  Your professor is probably in his 60's, and BELIEVE ME, men his age are not into FB, "friending" and all that stuff, especially if he is still busy with life.  As for noticing your work, I'm sure there are, as you said, a "zillion" students who studied under him, and want his attention.  Since he cannot follow all his students, and it would be imprudent to follow some, he follows none.

Be happy he took time from his busy schedule to visit with you and your friends.  That's ALL it was, a visit.  HE read nothing more into it, and neither should you.  Time for you to stop fantasizing, and move on with life.