Advice From the Trenches

Advice From The Trenches: Hot For Teacher

Dear C,

There’s a guy I am really attracted to in my political science class. Sometimes I think that he’s interested in me too, but it’s hard to tell since I only see him in class. I’d really like to find out, but it isn’t as simple as approaching him at a party or casually asking him if he wants to get coffee. Why? Because the guy also happens to be the professor who teaches the class.

I know lots of girls get crushes on their teachers, but this is different. I honestly feel like he understands something in me that no one else can see. I’ve had a couple of meetings with him, and I just know there is something simmering under the surface. 

He’s actually only about 6 years older than his students – but since I’ve gotten to know him, guys my own age seem hopelessly immature. I honestly think my prof could be the one, and if I let him get away, I’ve lost a chance at happiness.

I know he won’t make the first move, especially in class. But I think if I can just get alone with him once, I can at least find out if these feelings I’m having are real.                           – Lisa in Love

C says:

Lisa, Lisa, Lisa…I’m sure your feelings are real – but in all likelihood, they are also probably doomed. However, I do realize that there isn’t a young woman in the world who would simply brush off the delicious excitement of an attraction such as yours, so I won’t try to talk you out of it. I’ll just give you some perspective.

The word for an attraction such as yours is “thrall.” You are in thrall, my dear. According to Oxford dictionary, here’s what it means: Thrall; a state of servitude or submission, usually used with in; the state of being in someone’s power. Historically, it was used to refer to a slave, servant or captive. 

In other words, it’s somewhat like being held in the tractor beam of an AK-47.

The professor in a college course is like a rock star; he stands under a spotlight in a darkened auditorium and his carefully constructed lectures are designed to intrigue and lure you into knowledge. He also holds the power to pass or fail you and to make recommendations or condemnations which could affect the course of your chosen career. If you have Daddy issues, he is an irresistible father figure. The thought of being able to seduce him, to have the affirmation of his desire for you, can be overwhelming. 

You are scarcely alone in your fascination. There are literally thousands of romance novels with the teacher/student theme driving their plots of “heaving breasts” and “rigid tools”. But in real life, although they do sometimes result in marriage, teacher/student relationships seldom work out well.

The reason is simple if you start with this basic axiom of human psychology: the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. If you and your teacher did become involved now, here is what you might expect from him – he has the upper hand in terms of power and authority and he sees nothing wrong with sneaking around with students, although it is probably a violation of his contract with the university. Now ask yourself: “What reason would I have to believe that he would become a different person if the two of us got involved?” If he is attracted to you, and gives in rather easily to that attraction, chances are that he’s done it before – and will probably do it again. 

But, OK, let’s say the best scenario happens – the two of you discover that you are each “the one” for the other and you decide to have a relationship. In that case, you couldn’t continue being his student, and he could possibly be asked to leave the university. Your education would get side railed, and he would be an unemployed professor with a dodgy past. You guys would need to have a very powerful and singular love in order to weather a challenge like that.

I foresee a lot of drama and conflict.

Bottom line – are you in school to get an education? Or are you there to find romance and put yourself on an emotional roller coaster? Getting involved with the prof ain’t nothing but another Harlequin Romance novel just waiting to go bad.