HELP! My professor wants to date me!

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-16-2004
HELP! My professor wants to date me!
56
Mon, 02-16-2004 - 8:49pm
I'm a 24-year-old college student. I'm graduating in May, and my 30-year-old professor told me over the weekend that he's had a thing for me for the past two years. He teaches a performing ensemble class that I've been in for a while, and my friends and I have always considered him one of the gang. I've actually always had a goofy little crush on him, but I NEVER thought that feeling would be reciprocated. It was VERY weird to hear him tell me this - he's my professor for god's sake! - but I'm also intrigued. We have both decided it would be a very bad idea to pursue this while I'm still a student; he says he just wants to get to know me better, which is fine (right?). I think it would be interesting to see where this whole thing goes after I graduate. The only drawback is he is recently (a year or so) divorced and has two kids. How am I to tell if he really means it, or is just confused and sexually frustrated? He's a really great guy, but this is all very new and frightening (and WEIRD). He's been my teacher for two years, and we (meaning me and the other people in my ensemble) are very comfortable and casual around him. He's more like our older friend than a teacher, but he has just recently started to confide in and get to know just me away from my group of friends. We actually communicate really well and can talk on the phone for hours. The whole thing is very surreal - this kind of thing only happens in movies! Something this crazy has never, ever happened to me before. And the scary thing is, I'm very attracted to him - I've just been ignoring it. Is this all wrong?

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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-06-2004
Tue, 02-17-2004 - 1:29am
First off I must say if you have that kinda wierd feeling you should trust your first instinct and not get involved. His priorities are a bit selfish in some ways as his thought that nothing should happen until after you graduate is any decent college that found out a professor had something with one of his students would most likely lose his job and be pretty sure not to get another teaching. To use a position of authority no matter how slight it may seem to you is wrong and you might consider after grades are in talking to someone at the school. What he is doing is in most respects wrong. Teachers are supposed to be just that teachers,not people looking for love as it were. He crossed the line when he told you in the first place because now you are probably wondering if you will get the grade you deserve or what he wants to give you in order to help you make your mind about him. I saY it again trust yourself and your gut but above all consider yourself and what you want after graduation. Do you really want to be in the middle of his mess because if the soon to be ex finds out she would use it to her interests in the courts. Most do and finally you should consider a fact(being a guy here) most who leave someone for another are usually in one of two catagories. There full of it about leaving the wife in the first place and are just looking for something to keep things interesting or if they really leave number one for number two. They will most likely leave you for number three. And for the last thought are you really sure you are the first he has tried this with?? Perhaps you need to really consider all this and more and find someone you can trust to discuss it with. Someone who is there and can really give you the advice you need. My view :he should loose his teaching credentials for good for this. Hope you find the way to the right choice for you. For him he get's an "F" for failing to uphold the standards. On a personal note I am sure there are many arguments on the positive and the negative but are you ready to take on a family right after school or somewhere in there is a dream you really want to achieve before settling for what someone else wants. Do you think he cares enough to give up his career so you can achieve yours or will his weekly support payments make that impossible. Like the salesman always said,if you can find a better deal take it, for you I think the better deal is to finish on a positive note while joining the ranks of those who consider that behavior sad and perhaps search inside yourself for I believe you know what should be done here. I wish you luck and honor in whatever you decide.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 02-17-2004 - 2:05am
i highly agree with you on this..... i have no respect for

a teacher that goes after a student....

at your age you can find a great guy "off" school grounds

before this snake bring you down to the "ground" with him.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-2003
Tue, 02-17-2004 - 2:41am

First of all, I totally disagree with the others here on this...


Although this man is your professor he is also a man. I don't know of any vocation that one chooses that requires that they give up their gender in order to work. He is a man, you are a woman, he is attracted to you and you to him. That's pretty darn normal in my opinion.


Now, he has simply stated that he has an attraction to you. Nothing wrong there... He hasn't violated a code of conduct at this point. He has maintained his professional integrity and has stated that it would not be proper to begin a relationship under the current conditions. Getting to know someone is not a violation of the principles of professorship, is it?


As long as he treats you properly by maintaining the professor/student relationship until after graduation he is doing nothing wrong in my opinion. Unless he shows favoritism with grades which aren't earned then he is crossing the line. If he acts on his interest in you to the point of something improper or immoral then he is crossing the line. If he coerces you to act in an improper or immoral fashion then he is crossing the line. Otherwise, he is standing on his side of the line and you are standing on yours.


I don't think he is acting selfishly at all. I think he is being respectful, both of you and of his position and I commend him for that. All to often we here on here of cases which have not adhered to this respect and they have jeapordized both the position and the relationship. Be thankful that this man has respect and consideration, they are good qualities to have.


tg

 
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-2003
Tue, 02-17-2004 - 2:53am

Why are you being so harsh about this man? I just don't understand this.


"His priorities are a bit selfish in some ways as his thought that nothing should happen until after you graduate is any decent college that found out a professor had something with one of his students would most likely lose his job and be pretty sure not to get another teaching. "


It is selfish for him to maintain his position of integrity and respect for his position by not doing anything immoral or improper? My gosh, all they have done is talk. I don't know of any profession that says you cannot talk to anyone of the opposite sex!


"To use a position of authority no matter how slight it may seem to you is wrong and you might consider after grades are in talking to someone at the school."


What, exactly, has this man done wrong? How has he used his position of authority? I didn't get that at all from what she said.


"Teachers are supposed to be just that teachers,not people looking for love as it were."


Yes, teachers are teachers. But, they are also men and women and human. I don't think he has proposed to her yet and I doubt that he has invited her to his bedroom - he is a teacher, she is a student and from what I could tell this man has a great deal of respect for that fact.


"Do you really want to be in the middle of his mess because if the soon to be ex finds out she would use it to her interests in the courts."


Read her post again - he was divorced a year ago - he is free to enter into a relationship.


"My view :he should loose his teaching credentials for good for this."


??? lose them for what? What law has he broken? What policy has he violated? It sounds to me like he's a pretty darn good professor! He has compassion, he has respect and he relates to his students in such a way that they are comfortable with - what's wrong with that?


(and, I'm a guy too...)


tg







Edited 2/17/2004 2:59:24 AM ET by cl-tgowens
 
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-2003
Tue, 02-17-2004 - 2:56am

I may be old and out of touch but does simply letting someone know that you are attracted to them "going after" them? It's no wonder we are all so confused these days - we just don't know all of the rules and bylaws.


I didn't read anything in her post at all that indicated that he was "going after" her and I sincerely doubt that she feels that he was either.


My gosh, the poor girl is going to be scared to death!


tg

 
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 02-17-2004 - 3:28am
NO i don't think you are old and out of touch with this....

I just don't think a working professional should show

any attraction to a young girl... things do happen and I'm

not trying to scare her.....

i have a daughter in college and i wouldn't want her to come

home telling me she will be "dating" her teacher.....

I work with a lot of young very pretty ladies that's always

attracting "older" men.... I have also had them (the men)

tell me how many they "go after" and run through.....

Call me old fashion.... I would not let this go anywhere,

if I were her.. And I would let him keep his working line

to guide as a teacher and nothing else.

i've seen so many bad cases of young people being

used on the job and schools that

have turn out not in their favor......

i would hate to see it happen to her or anyone,

this is just how i feel.....

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-2003
Tue, 02-17-2004 - 3:41am

Oh, I completely understand. And, as I have said, between this board and my others I have read many stories about teacher/student issues but this one just seems a little different to me. This is not a 50 year old professor "going after" a 21 year old student - there is six years between them (which, by most standards is pretty normal) and there just didn't appear to be any red flags popping up other than his label - "professor".


Whether a person is a working professional or a blue collar worker or a volunteer or a politician - they are human and subject to attractions just like everyone else, in my opinion.


Let's just say that I am giving this one the benefit of the doubt. I think both of them are using good ol' level headed common sense and exercising proper restraint and discretion - and that's a good thing.


Who knows, this may not turn out either but it sounds like it is getting off to a better start than most that we hear of.


tg

 
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-10-2003
Tue, 02-17-2004 - 4:01am
I haven't read the replies already posted for you but here are my thoughts....

He has compromised professional ethics, in my opinion, for revealing his attraction to you *while* your are still a student. He is supposedly the "older" adult here but I think that he has failed in his discretion of keeping his feelings or intentions for himself.

Your guess could be right...that he is frustrated in his own life and just happens to find something in you that seems to boost his ego or perception of himself. And IF that is true, which only *he* should know, personally, I would not find his revelation as flattering or tasteful, intrigued though I may be.

You are adults and you make your choices, as long as you accept responsibility and are able to live with the consequences and implications of whatever you would eventually decide to do.

I think that "attraction" transcends barriers of any authority structure (e.g. teacher-student), age, life stage (he coming out of a divorce, you, a promising and talented single woman), or other circumstances. The difference is whether the attraction or crush remains just as it is, without it going anywhere, or if it will be worthwhile to risk acting on this attraction and see where it goes.

That's for you to decide. And you both seem to agree that it would be best to not pursue anything until after you graduate. Therefore, you *both* have to be conscientious in keeping the boundaries of the student-teacher relationship.

BUT, in some ways, that boundary has already been blurred with a disclosure of his feelings for you. It's February and you still have 3 months before you graduate. Can you honestly tell yourself that his revelation will not affect you as it is obviously doing to you now? I think it will be unfortunate if this distracts you from achieving your personal and educational goals.

Be careful. What also concerns me is when you mentioned that "he has just recently started to confide in and get to know just me away from my group of friends. We actually communicate really well and can talk on the phone for hours." What could you be possibly talking about over the phone, unless it is school related? Again, be careful -- he may be at a vulnerable point in his life and he seeks you for comfort (not necessarily in a malicious or even conscious kind of way) to feel good about himself. And remember, he is still your teacher and though he may feel like "one of the gang" to you and your friends, he is still in a position of authority/power.

I cannot emphasize this enough...be careful. Trust your instincts too, and if you feel in anyway uncomfortable about the whole thing, let *him* know, or at least talk to someone (e.g. student affairs or Dean of Students office) so you would know the appropriate conduct in this situation.

It's okay to be attracted to him as long as you know what the risks are IF you do plan to act on it. But honestly, if I were in your position, I would feel a bit unsettled too, *especially* knowing what's going on in his personal life -- which I assume he voluntarily gave you?

Be careful...not to scare you for being redundant here...but just to let you know that you have a choice in how to handle his revelation. He may be your teacher, and you may be attracted to him as he is to you, but that does NOT mean that you should compromise your personal values, standards, and goals where a situation like this is concerned.

I wish you the best.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-10-2003
Tue, 02-17-2004 - 4:58am
The parts that I agree from what you posted is that he is a man and and the poster is a woman. No matter what status or credential one may have, there is always the fundamental attraction that could develop between a man and woman...which, makes all of us human.

He may not have done anything wrong according your post, but using your argument, he *could* very well use his position of authority and attraction of her so that his perception , especially in grading or evaluating her class performance, is now colored by what he feels about her; therefore tainting any sense of objectivity and fairness where other students are concerned. Not to say that he will not be able to adhere to professional integrity, but it would certainly be very challenging.

Granted, they are relatively close in age, and there is no indication that he is predatory; after all, he was able to secretly keep his attraction for her in the last 2 years. So if I am understanding the timing here, according to the original poster, he has this musings about her *while* he was still a married man! I understand that he is a man, just like any man, married or not. But I am curious as to WHY he had to reveal his feelings for her NOW, and not just waiting until she actually graduated to ask her on a date. I am just concerned that his revelation is now pre-occupying the poster's mind and that she will always have that "knowledge" about her professor wanting to date her throughout her student days as she sorts out what to do now (in the meantime, *before* she graduates). I just think that it is an unnecessary distraction for her, when I personally think that she should rather focus on enjoying the time that she has before graduating, including her secret goofy crush on him. Now that she knows that the attraction is returned, I am curious how she would handle the next 3 months.


I am also not sure if it is respectful of him to share confidences with her that obviously involves his personal life, that would even involve long phone conversations away from her friends. She is his student, not his therapist or counselor. Teachers can be good friends and mentors, but doesn't he have his own circle of friends to confide in? Why involve her in his circle and not just wait until she actually graduated?



He may be a decent man (giving him the benefit of the doubt), and the original poster may be someone with a good head on her shoulders to do what is right, but I still feel that he should just have waited to tell her of his romantic interest AFTER she graduated.

My point is NOT to deny attractions that happen in student-teacher settings/interactions, but I question his *exercise of discretion* within their school's policies or norms of faculty/student conduct.







Edited 2/17/2004 10:57:47 AM ET by carmelsf

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 02-17-2004 - 5:05am
I see your point and I agree they are human and attractions

are normal with a man and a woman all the time....

But as I read her post.. She stated he is recently divorced with 2 kids!

hmmmmmmm...... not a good dating picture here... as a woman i know

how most women, especially young woman are often "strongly"

attracted to men that show them a high interest... being a professional

as well....a lot of women like men in a higher status and more "mature".

it's very flattering to see a man show this "special" interest to a young woman

among her class mates......or all the other ladies...........

I feel a man just out of a divorce with kids has a very strong need for "company"

and comfort from a kind open heart. And most men in this case still need time

to heal and learn from their lost marriage. women get involved when they "think'

he's OK.... when in most cases he is NOT.....YET......

She is just starting out.. And even if she is 24.....her goal is to learn , have fun,

and not nurse him back to single dating health. but to date "free" men.

She said he "wants to get to know her better"...... my guess with him not having

a warm body (wife) to go home from work to.... He may just need her "now" to fill in.

I am the QUEEN of giving the benefit of a doubt.......

But from past experience.... My right common senses

have been more beneficial than my doubt.......... :)

I only hope she makes a good choice.

thanks for your thoughts........ :)

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