Clinginess mode: Activated
February 27, 2013 2:35 AM Subscribe
The age-old "crush on teacher" dilemma: I'm getting too attached to my TA and it needs to stop. How can I dial it back while maintaining a friendly, professional relationship?
posted by cucumber patch to human relations (19 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Background: I'm early-mid 20s, female; he's late 20s, male. I don't want to divulge too many details, so I'll just say that he oversees the clinical training of a small group of students within my year, and I'm in that group.
Previous groups he's tutored have raved about how awesome he is, and that he's the best supervisor out there. We've had him a few weeks and I can already see why: he's engaging, compassionate, competent, super-smart, and goes the extra mile to make sure we learn as much as possible in our precious weekly sessions (by giving out handouts, asking lots of questions, giving us insider tips etc.). I'm screwed because authority figures like this hit my buttons and hit them hard.
He added all of us on Facebook last week, which I initially thought was weird, but apparently he's done that in previous years in order to create discussion/feedback groups. (I don't know if that was his intention this year -- he hasn't set anything up yet.) He also messaged me asking about one of my hobbies, I messaged back, a conversation started up, and since then we've been chatting almost every day.
I think it's platonic on his end and maybe he's just super-friendly, although I get the sense that he might be a little bored and lonely (other than teaching us, he works long hours most days, and I can't imagine that someone with a busy social life would be messaging so frequently). I don't really care what his motives are -- or at least that's what I'm trying to tell myself. My main concern is that our conversations were a mild amusement in the beginning, but now it's almost an addiction for me. I feel relieved when I get a reply and I have that slightly anxious, waiting feeling for all the time in between. I haven't managed to muster the motivation to tactfully disengage, partly because I don't know how and ... partly because I just don't want to.
The boy I liked recently started dating another girl in my class, so I'm fresh off a rejection and extremely vulnerable to validation right now. I knew I was really screwed when we had our latest session -- I was off my game because I was hypersensitive to every interaction, and irrationally jealous of my clinical partner (also female) for knowing all the answers to his questions. I mention 'female' just to say that there's definitely a romantic component to it, but I don't think I'd actually want to be romantically involved with him. (Not that that would be even viable while we're still TA and student.) I think I just really need his validation, in a way that's becoming unhealthy. He's going to be our supervisor for the rest of this year, so I'm really going to need to nip this in the bud.
Steps I'm taking so far:
-- Getting a discussion group going on FB. I want to encourage communication between my supervisor and the other group members -- as far as I'm aware I'm the only one who's been in contact with him outside clinic hours, and I'm the only one who has his number (and he mine). Even though this secretly pleases me, I am uncomfortable being his sole spokesperson, and I do get lightly (if harmlessly?) teased by classmates whenever I tell them "he said he'd be late" etc. The last thing I want is to foster gossip about favoritism, or worse things.
-- Meeting more people outside my field. I went to a meetup the other day and it was a totally different crowd with dateable cute guys. I think doing this regularly will help me a lot.
-- Trying to talk to him less. This is difficult because 1) I genuinely enjoy talking to him, 2) I cannot stand unread messages (the red notification number! argh!), and 3) whenever I'm quiet for a bit he'll gently prod the conversation along, and sometimes ask where I've gone. This is the step I need the most help with. Is there a way to wean off contact without making him think something's wrong? Should I just talk about this issue (the unprofessional aspect, not romantic) directly with him? And if so: how?