dating again
December 30, 2005 6:14 AM   Subscribe

I've been divorced now for over a year. I dated someone early in the year for a little while but we broke up and remain friends. Anyway, I've never really been in to the dating scene and I am somewhat shy. I like a teacher at my daughter's daycare but I don't know her at all and don't really feel comfortable basically hitting on someone when they are at work. Does that make sense? She's so hot I'm somewhat certain she'll be taken or I'll get shot down anyway. Should I just go for it? The other thing is that she will be my daughter's next teacher when she moves to that room (she is 2). Of course my ex is at the school all the time. I have an ok relationship with her and we are very civil and work hard at things with our daughter. There isn't any bad blood at all but I was just thinking how that might cause some "issues". Actually I think she (my ex) would be a good sport about it (she has a serious bf now) but I just wanted to see if that set off any flags for anyone. So I haven't even really flirted with this girl and I only even introduced myself the other day so she probably can't know I like her. I was going to ask one of the other teachers if she is taken but then I thought that would look really childish. I would prob just ask if she wanted to get coffee or something first. Am I making this too hard?
posted by arh07 to Human Relations (28 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Yes, you're making it too hard. I'll sum up your anxiety in a way that a friend of mine did when I was post-divorce and bemoaning the similar circumstances: "you're not afraid that she'll say no. Ultimately, you're afraid that she'll say yes." It doesn't have to be a big deal or a production. Simply, "If you'd like to go out some time, I'd love to take you out." and go from there. If she says, 'yes' terrific. If she says 'no' also terrific: time to move on.
posted by plinth at 6:40 AM on December 30, 2005

I'd suggest at least chatting with the woman you're interested in before asking her out anywhere, even to coffee. The fact that she's going to be your daughter's next teacher ought to be a good subject to start a friendly chat, so give it a try. She probably won't be able to chat with you for long, being at work, but do that a few times and you should get a feeling whether she'll accept when you ask her to get a cup of coffee.
posted by cerebus19 at 6:42 AM on December 30, 2005

There are no easy answers. Romantic risks cause unpredictable consequences, but most of us think it's worth taking them anyway. You can try to figure out the odds and the calculus, but ultimately -- if you feel you'll regret NOT asking her out -- I'd say go for it. Just know that there may very well be some fallout. You can't date without fallout. It's common to act cool and unconcerned about romance, but most of us actually care deeply about that stuff -- so we WILL have a reaction. Alas, that is life.

However, I WOULDN'T advice making your advance overly complicated (i.e. questioning her co-workers). As you suggested, invite her out for coffee. Keep It Simple, Stupid. She will know you're asking her out on a date, and (as an adult) she'll decide whether she wants to go and say "yes" or "no" -- and you can proceed (or not) from there. Adults are not allowed to pester other adults, but adults ARE allowed to politely ask other adults out on dates. And those other adults are allowed to accept or decline.

If you and the teacher form a relationship -- even a casual one that is mostly a friendship -- I think it would be wise (and polite) to tell your ex about it early on. (Fairly or unfairly -- what does it matter, either way you'll have to deal with the consequences), she may be upset if she finds out later through a third party.
posted by grumblebee at 6:47 AM on December 30, 2005 [1 favorite]

You are making it too hard. Ask her out for coffee. That's innocent enough, and if she's inclined to shoot you down, that'll probably give her an opportunity to do so gently.

As to any issues this might raise with the ex, well, cross that bridge when you come to it. It's hard to live life avoiding how other people might react to something you haven't done yet.
posted by adamrice at 6:47 AM on December 30, 2005

In other circumstances, I'd say go for it, but I'd bet that she's not allowed to date parents at the day care, or at the very least that it is frowned upon by her employer.
posted by echo0720 at 6:48 AM on December 30, 2005

  1. Yes, it makes sense.
  2. Yes, you should go for it.
  3. It doesn't raise any red flags, though I am not a parent or a child whisperer.
  4. If your ex has issues, let her own them.
  5. Don't ask around about teacher lady, let your approach be yours.
  6. You aren't making this too hard, yet.
Since she's at work and you're shy, why not give it some time? Work on preparing yourself mentally to be "ready" for dating, build up your confidence and subtly try to become more familiar with her over the next few weeks. Try to learn more about her, from her. Be chatty.

Then, come St. Valentine's Day, bring her a nice card in a sealed envelope. Get a card that aligns with her interests or bears a nice photograph (read: no v-day cards, no floral or romantic theme). Write a nice note inside listing three things you like about her (beyond "you're so hot"). At the end, propose a time and place for a date on the following weekend and suggest that an easy way to decline would be to not show.

Make a backup plan for what you'll do in the event she doesn't show -- pick a really fun activity with which to reward yourself with. Give yourself an awesome prize for your effort. If she ends up rejecting the offer, so be it. You'll then be free to find others to date. You'll have more confidence for having tried.

Savor the experience.
posted by cior at 6:48 AM on December 30, 2005

I can't take credit for this, but I'll paraphrase it.
"Go ahead and approach incredibly hot, probably unattainable women - if they say no, you won't be having any less sex with them."

But seriously, the worst that will happen is that she'll say "No thanks" and there you go.

No big whoop.
posted by willmize at 7:00 AM on December 30, 2005

cior, I'd say B- for style, F for over-complication. The guy wants to have a coffee with a hot teacher, not swear eternal love to a lost princess.

I'd say that a small step before asking her out would be actually talking to her "casually" in the school. This way you may at least test the water to see if she is in any way responsive to you as a person (or at least as a child father).
posted by nkyad at 7:07 AM on December 30, 2005

I'd bet that she's not allowed to date parents at the day care, or at the very least that it is frowned upon by her employer.

That was my first thought as well. As a former teacher, I have to wonder if you really want to date someone who has an ongoing professional relationship with your child. Have you thought this through? What happens if things go sour, for instance? At the very least, it's going to be a little strange for your daughter. Not saying it won't work, just saying there might be rules against it for a good reason.
posted by mediareport at 7:15 AM on December 30, 2005

Of course, to play devil's advocate:

You may want to avoid attempting a romantic relationship with someone you will not be able to avoid.

Dating her will also complicate the relationship she will have with your daughter.

Things to keep in mind:

1. You will likely have to see her for the next year.
2. She will be teaching your child every day.
a. After saying 'no' to your advances
b. During an on-going relationship
c. After you've had a few dates and call it quits
3. You will be giving your "ex" a lot of leverage to talk with your new girlfriend.
a. She could say nice things
b. She could say not-so-nice things
c. She'll certainly know your relationship status
d. It could creep out the teacher a bit

(On preview: mediareport beat me to it)

Then again... it's pre-school, so you might as well go for it.
posted by o0o0o at 7:36 AM on December 30, 2005

media has a point but living a ....'what if?' lifestyle isnt terribly fufilling.
posted by j.p. Hung at 7:36 AM on December 30, 2005

He doesn't have to live a 'what if?' lifestyle. He should just think twice before dating his daughter's teacher. Perhaps testing his wings on a couple of folks *not* intimately involved in his daughter's life would be wise?
posted by mediareport at 7:45 AM on December 30, 2005

mediaport. That was the main reason I posted. Otherwise, I'm sure I would just go for it. I agree getting shot down is good for you sometimes. My ex and I agreed to not have our SO in our child's life right now. I'm not sure when that would be but I would do some homework before making someone else a part of her life. Also given it is a daycare, it will only be a temporary situation anyway.

I'm not sure this girl is the main "teacher" for that room (I don't know her). They usually have at least 2 in there and many times 3 in there with the kids. I drop off at 7 am and she is always there. I think the one that does curriculum comes in at 8 and stays until 5. So it's not like this is her professor or something.

I know it's only speculation but for me a relationship would go slow enough that she would be out of that classroom before any kind of milestone or whatever.
posted by arh07 at 7:51 AM on December 30, 2005

So it's not like this is her professor or something.

I'll just disagree - who does the curriculum may have nothing to do with who spends the most time with your daughter at the day care - and simply asking complicates the existing professional relationship between her and your family. I'd also note that you may want to ask your ex if "having our SO in our child's life" includes casually dating one of her teachers. But I honestly think it's going to be moot, since I'd be very surprised if the day care allows the kind of thing you're looking to do.
posted by mediareport at 8:06 AM on December 30, 2005

arh07 : "My ex and I agreed to not have our SO in our child's life right now."

Then the answer would be that this girl is out of bounds, wouldn't it? Since you state in the question that "she will be my daughter's next teacher when she moves to that room", she would certainly be in your child's life. Specially because you can't really know that "she would be out of that classroom before any kind of milestone or whatever", because last time I checked relationship milestones were not bounded by time, but by degree of involvement.
posted by nkyad at 8:09 AM on December 30, 2005

I did that. I dated someone else for a while this year. It was great fun but we were just too different so I broke up with her. We are still ok friends and chat and have dinner once in a while. Healthy relationships only. If she said no I don't think I would really think twice about it or have a problem being friendly with her. In other words, if someone would take "no thanks" personally then for sure they shouldn't do this.
posted by arh07 at 8:11 AM on December 30, 2005

So now I feel bad. I see the out of bounds point. But really what I was explaining was more the living arangement stuff. When I'm with my daughter I'm focused on that and I don't have a date over (at all) or whatever. I know too many people that DON'T have those boundaries. If I do, why can't I exercise it? Part of getting to know someone is to see what their boundaries are like. It's not like some bar where so many of us leave them at the door.
posted by arh07 at 8:27 AM on December 30, 2005

in the nicest of ways i say;

oh for gods sake....ask her out for a cup of coffee

kids will adapt...adults will adapt....everyone will be matter what happens....
posted by jamie939 at 8:31 AM on December 30, 2005

If there is a rule re: teachers dating parents, she will say so. If there is no such rule, she may spontaneously invent one to let you down easy if she is not interested.

Can you find some time to help out with a project at the school? Offer a skill you have that might help them in some way? It may not be something specifically related to the children. Maybe they need some furniture moved or some shelves built or a storage area cleaned out. Then you can spend some time with this woman in a less stressful atmosphere (when there aren't children and parents around) and it might be easier to suggest a coffee or lunch after your project is finished.

Plus, a woman who works at a preschool obviously loves children, so by showing willingness to help out and be involved in your child's school (beyond bringing her there and picking her up), you would be demonstrating qualities she's probably looking for in a bf, so you raise the odds that she would agree to a date.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 9:03 AM on December 30, 2005

Here is the response that my wife (who has worked as a teacher and administrator in a preschool for over 10 years) sent me when I pointed her to the question:
I thinks its a bad idea... If it's a reputable daycare/preschool, the teacher will find it creepy and the school would find it inappropiate. The dad may even be talked about in the staff room. There will be all kinds of future awakardness. Besides, it doesn't even sound like he has any interest in her besides the fact that she's hot...
posted by Mayor Curley at 12:25 PM on December 30, 2005

If you want to ask her out, ask her out. Duh.
posted by delmoi at 12:28 PM on December 30, 2005

Creepy? I think that is over the top if it's honest and the answer is respected. I think "she's hot" would be more of a someone in a bar type thing. "talked about in the break room" wouldn't that make her not worth it anyway? I have not "talked about" anyone that ever asked me out after I said no. Now I feel like a stalker?

It's supposed to be the best preschool in town (large mid-west city). It's a large nationwide company.
posted by arh07 at 12:42 PM on December 30, 2005

Creepy? I think that is over the top if it's honest and the answer is respected. I think "she's hot" would be more of a someone in a bar type thing. "talked about in the break room" wouldn't that make her not worth it anyway?

I'm just telling you what an actual preschool teacher said, because this thread was absent of primary sources. But feel free to discount it if it isn't what you want to hear. Because that's what AskMe is all about, after all.
posted by Mayor Curley at 12:57 PM on December 30, 2005

No I'm glad I posted.
posted by arh07 at 1:09 PM on December 30, 2005

i'm not a teacher but i have a strict rule with myself that i 1)won't date a coworker and 2)won't date a client for an obvious reason - to avoid any awkwardness when it doesn't work out. i'm not saying she has that rule, but she could.

asking her out for a cup of coffee would be nice, but i wouldn't make any obvious attempt/sign that you'd like to be more than a friend for a while, until you feel confident that she knows more about who you are.

after you two establish yourselves as good friends, this may be when you make the move. however, this time, make your motive VERY clear. she might be more intuitive than me, but i myself have a retarded sense of awareness when my male friends try to go out with me on a date - i just end up thinking we're just going out as friends.

also, one year isn't really a long time since your divorce. spending some time with her just as friends might give you more information whether as to if you really like to go out with her or if this is just a temporary fever.
posted by grafholic at 1:56 PM on December 30, 2005

I also spoke with a teacher today - she's the wife of a coworker/friend, a former day care employee and currently a middle school English teacher. She said it would be very odd to ask out a day care employee who takes care of your kids, and agreed that it could put both of you in a very uncomfortable position. She said her day care company didn't have any official rule against it that she ever saw (it never came up during her time there), but nonetheless thought it would definitely have been frowned upon if it had happened.

Final point: If any single parent of one of the kids I taught asked me out, I'd not only have thought it was weird, but also would have started to wonder 1) if that parent had any respect for me as a professional and 2) if they had any idea of the work that goes into being a good teacher. I'd not only have said no, but would immediately have gone to my bosses to alert them and cover my ass in case things got any weirder. Sure, that's just me; feel free to do your own survey if you know any teachers.
posted by mediareport at 7:17 PM on December 30, 2005

This book taught me how to get dates. For each date you get, you will have to ask 5-10 women. So, you can't afford to miss any opportunities. If you see a woman you think you might like, flirt with her a little, then ask to meet her somewhere for a cup of coffee. If she says no, you move on.
posted by neuron at 11:48 PM on January 1, 2006

so i've seen this woman all of 3 seconds since my last post. given how crapy I feel about it after reading some of the posts here (all of them I respect) I just didn't feel comfortable springing anything. I did tell my ex about this. her comment was "go for it" and "you are probably ready to take a risk". All I got today was a polite hello but she seemed rushed.
posted by arh07 at 6:28 AM on January 5, 2006

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