I am completely smitten with my professor. Please talk some sense into me.
September 9, 2011 10:54 AM   Subscribe

How do I stop this crazy, ridiculous attraction I have towards a professor?

One of the courses I'm taking this fall is being taught by a young-ish adjunct. She looks around my age or, at most, nothing more than 30 (if that). She has some mild acne and carries around a copy of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and says things like "That's just how I roll" after telling us she's giving a pop quiz. I feel almost embarrassed to admit this because she's decidedly not "my type", yet I find her incredibly endearing and so very smart. And cute, admittedly.

Obviously, this isn't going anywhere. I have no plans whatsoever to... anything with her. But, I am concerned that my attraction/infatuation has become really evident. My girlfriend stopped me mid sentence the other day to say how much I "fucking talk about [the class the professor teaches] all the time" and, by extension, the professor herself. And I can't stop staying behind after class and discussing some part of the lecture with her or just talking with her or listening. It's just bad.

How do I get past this? I have a few more months until graduation and this will all be over, but I need to something about the situation NOW.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (24 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Typically when you want to get over an attraction you need time and distance. Really there is no magic secret to stop liking someone--you either have to do whatever you can to talk yourself out of it, or remove contact and fill your life with other people. Since that isn't possible right now, maybe just be more discreet about it by not talking about someone you're attracted to in front your girlfriend?
posted by Kimberly at 10:59 AM on September 9, 2011 [7 favorites]

Hmm, I've never found there's much that can be done about a crush but just let it be until it fades away on its own. They can be harmless and even enjoyable if you just treat them as your own little secret and behave sensibly outwardly. It seems to be making that class of yours very gratifying to go to at any rate. Try to avoid discussing the class/professor so much with your girlfriend. Talk to your professor if you want to as long as it doesn't get to the point where you're pestering her — she's there to interact with her students, after all.
posted by orange swan at 11:01 AM on September 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

I think that the perfectly safe crush is one of life's great pleasures. You say, "Obviously, this isn't going anywhere. I have no plans whatsoever to... anything with her." So, just enjoy the silly, giggly elated feeling you get out of a crush, and enjoy your prof as a person (not just as an object of your fantasy desires).

When you find yourself dwelling on her, just chuckle to yourself about how ridiculous it all is, and move on to a new thought. And, yeah, try to put a lid on it around the GF. :)
posted by BrashTech at 11:02 AM on September 9, 2011 [5 favorites]

My wife and I regularly develop huge crushes on other people we know; as a rule, we always tell the other person that we've got a crush on someone. Once I've heard my wife describe some random coworker as "my girrrrlfriend" and making kissy noises, the crush is pretty difficult to take seriously. Otherwise, yeah, it will fade with time, there's not really another solution.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:03 AM on September 9, 2011 [20 favorites]

Create a narrative in which she is unattractive to you, then commit your belief to that fabricated reality. For example, she's into Adult Baby Play, or she is your cousin, or she is allergic to your favorite food. These are just examples; only you can determine what will turn you off sufficiently that the crush will subside.
posted by Greg Nog at 11:04 AM on September 9, 2011 [6 favorites]

She sounds amazing. :) To me it sounds like you have an admiration crush -- not a love crush. Let your GF know that that's all it is and that you're just pleased to have a teacher who doesn't bore the fuck out of you. Then smooch your girl silly and move forward.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 11:06 AM on September 9, 2011 [3 favorites]

I married mine. :)
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:13 AM on September 9, 2011 [2 favorites]

I used prof crushes to get extremely good grades.
posted by the young rope-rider at 11:14 AM on September 9, 2011 [9 favorites]

I had the same issue with a psych professor myself. The best thing is to try to ignore it. I never considered the admiration crush vs. the love crush. But mine had a lot of physical attraction. Purely on my part. I would spend time looking at her legs when I should have been listening to the lecture. Really nothing to do as I saw it. Use your willpower and eventually the prof will be a fond memory. If it affects your grades maybe a transfer is possible?
posted by Splunge at 11:32 AM on September 9, 2011

I am ridiculously happily married and a MOTHER and I actively cultivate this sort of thing. I consider it a minor superpower to crush on rad people in order to make courses, labs, workdays, etc. go by faster with built in thrills. I can control time and my attitude with nothing more than my imagination and my hormones. Without this power, there is no way I could have gotten through grad school at this stage in my life.

The crushes are kind of like exercises to develop parts of yourself you wouldn't have known were there, otherwise. It's how I found out I could be really good at higher level math, or telling jokes, or writing fiction. A crush eliminates your own boundaries to getting to places you would like to go, personally. In other words, it's for you, all for you. It's not for them because they aren't going to know about it, you're not going to ask them out, you're not going to position yourself to give some part of yourself because there is typically a single aspect of that person you have picked up on that is motivating you that you have objectified as a way to help YOU.

There is a saying that you should never give up on something that you can't spend a day without thinking about. Crushes represent some daily thought you should be having that will change you. My crushes tend to ratchet themselves down from giddy and silly to thoughtful and useful once I figure out what it is I am really wanting to think about every day and start to change.

Don't ignore the nutty ways we learn. Adult crushes are one of the more ridiculous ways, but also a crazy, fun, and fast way to get to something better about yourself. Also, all the other advice here* is awesome.

*And certainly I have had secret crushes on various mefites over the years, without having met them or knowing them, but just feeling like they were so fucking smart or funny or cool, somehow, and this has Improved Me as a community member. I could never bring myself to metafilter spouse them, however, because of the blushing. I do admit to occasionally checking if one of them has favorited me. (is it kind of warm in here?)
posted by rumposinc at 11:42 AM on September 9, 2011 [139 favorites]

If you're not going to do anything and it's not an issue then why make it into a problem?

I was a perpetual student for about a decade and I WISH I'd been that transfixed by most of my professors. This is massively AWESOME. Embrace it! (Just not her :)

The next time someone ribs you about talking about this fucking class all the time just laugh it off and say "Sorry! I'm just really digging it!" I still get to take the occasional class as part of my employee benefits and last year met a new friend that way. I hate him a little too because he was my first professor who was younger than me but that's what happens when you refuse to let go of academia :)

In other words, just don't let the fact that she's of your preferred gender make this weird. Surely you have female friends who you admire and who you think are cute, yes? Slot her in the same sort of category, albeit with some authority over you, and just enjoy knowing someone new and cool.
posted by phearlez at 11:51 AM on September 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

I feel almost embarrassed to admit this because she's decidedly not "my type",

Yes, sometimes a crush is just a crush, but maybe you are wrong about your "type" and that is what this means. (Seriously, she's not your type because she has a little acne, or what?)
posted by yarly at 12:00 PM on September 9, 2011 [3 favorites]

I once read an article by a professor who said that he dealt with student crushes by recognizing that they weren't crushes on HIM, per se, but crushes borne of the groovy good feeling you get when learning about something you enjoy with an expert who guides you into the discipline and opens your eyes to the wonders of microbiology, or whatever, and in the process changes your thinking and your understanding of the world. It's a bitchingly exciting and heady experience.

I dealt with my professor crushes SOOOO much better once I had that framework on them.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 12:37 PM on September 9, 2011 [33 favorites]

Create a narrative in which she is unattractive to you, then commit your belief to that fabricated reality.

This usually helps for me. It doesn't get rid of the crush entirely, but sends it well on its way.

The guy she was talking to in the hall just now? Her boyfriend. They like to cuddle and watch Two and a Half Men.
posted by Capt. Renault at 12:51 PM on September 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Nthing all the others who said if it's just a harmless crush, enjoy yourself! I used to snooze through one of my classes until I developed a ridiculously huge crush on the prof. My crush gave me the motivation to pay close attention to every word out of his mouth for the rest of that semester. I'm not gonna lie, I didn't ace the class, but I didn't bomb it like I probably would've.

Yes, sometimes a crush is just a crush, but maybe you are wrong about your "type" and that is what this means.

THIS, so this. My "type" is tall, really tall, athletic, blond hair, blue eyes (see Alexander Skarsgard for example of ideal specimen). My prof was the complete opposite of that, but I wanted him all the same. He had such a beautiful way of seeing the world. I could have listened to him talk on and on about anything, forever. I totally wanted to have his babies. Type, schmype.
posted by keep it under cover at 1:21 PM on September 9, 2011 [2 favorites]

You know that video Two Girls, 1 Cup (Wikipedia link)? Picture your crush as one of those girls
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:33 PM on September 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yeah (of course) it's true you can have a crush on someone who is 'not your type' and usually that is because you are so wowed by some other part of them..how intellectual they are, hilarious they are, etc.

I think having a crush on your professor is great-that way you will never skip class!:) Just keep it to yourself, don't make your gf or professor uncomfortable in ANY way by bringing it up.

Unless you run into her in a cafe in Paris in 5 years and you are both single...(yes, I watch too many romantic comedies). (and don't stay after class every day- you are infringing on her time in a non-professorial/student kind of way....work on that first).
posted by bquarters at 2:44 PM on September 9, 2011

I just don't really see what the problem is. It's harmless. Just acknowledge the feeling that you have a crush on her and let it go by. Intentionally thinking about her in awful situations seems kind of gross to me as a response - what's so wrong with finding a person attractive that you have to try and force your brain to think something ugly about them? Don't do that.
posted by citron at 3:28 PM on September 9, 2011 [3 favorites]

Just to follow up on what Splunge and Snarl Furillo said: check out Hugo Schwyzer and William Deresiewic. They write interestingly about the student crush, and helped me at least realize that it wasn't the professor as a person that I was crushing on. Perhaps it might help you?
posted by UniversityNomad at 3:32 PM on September 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

I taught at college level (undergrad and grad) before I was 30. I'm not cute, but I got the crushes. Be the person who channels the energy into the course material and "impress" her that way. Don't be the creepy guy who always stays late with a question he knows the answer to, because really, it's obvious. Know it's common. Know you're likely not the only one. And just do the work.
posted by Gucky at 3:40 PM on September 9, 2011 [5 favorites]

So where does the acne come into play?
posted by jitterbug perfume at 10:12 PM on September 9, 2011

Your description of her is too adorable. Universal Declaration of Human Rights? I can't encourage you NOT to enjoy this crush. But don't act on it until you're no longer her student, and only if you are unattached.

I used to be a TA, and there were many sparks between TAs and students...but you can get expelled for acting on them while you're in their class. Just remember that, and you should be fine.
posted by xenophile at 8:32 AM on September 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Gosh, whatever you do, don't think of kissing her, don't think even of kissing her hand, her eyes on yours, going soft, slowly closing. You must not allow yourself to consider the sensation of your arms 'round her shoulders, your hands resting gently on her upper back, and absolutely do not think about taking her shoulders in your hands and gently, softly pulling her toward you, into you, her lip tremoring just a littlest bit as you softly bite into a sweet, delectable kiss, her softly moaning as you release her a little, just a little "Oh god, anonymous, oh god -- this is just the way I roll..." Plus also you do not think of pulling her back into that embrace, not as soft now, the muscles in your arms swelling with power as you move her to you, crushing, crumpling between you and her that copy of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as she rises to you, writhing now, her eyes gone fevered now, the mild acne showing endearingly on her face as it flushes, filled with need and stuff...

So don't think about any of that. Think of math problems, instead.

Good luck.
posted by dancestoblue at 11:05 PM on September 11, 2011 [2 favorites]

And I can't stop staying behind after class and discussing some part of the lecture with her or just talking with her or listening.

You stop staying behind after class. And the rest will cease when you finish your class.
posted by mleigh at 2:36 AM on September 12, 2011

« Older What songs protesting government reaction to 9/11...   |   Whoa, back up. You're telling me it's going to... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.