I Have a Crush on My Professor

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Reader’s Question

I think I might be falling for my English professor. It is more than a naive school girl crush but I don’t know if it is merely lust or something more. He is constantly in my thoughts.

I need some advice on what I should do.

Psychologist’s Reply

There are several reasons why we are attracted to people romantically. Some of it involves biochemistry (the lust you mentioned) but a lot of it has to do with our own needs and relational patterns. Consequently, it may be important for you to determine what exactly it is about your English professor that attracts you. For example, is it the thrill of the forbidden, the sensitivity with which he reads poetry and great literature, the warmth with which he interacts with students, the way he reminds you of a former love, or his kindness and encouragement?

Or is your attraction because he is attractive and unattainable? When people have gone through relational trauma (either minor or severe), sometimes all they want is someone ‘safe’ about whom they can fantasize. Consequently, people who are in a serious relationship with someone else or who are in a position of power over you — people who are forbidden — oftentimes fit the criteria. There is nothing wrong with such a crush as long as it remains just that. It can be fun and even healthy to explore your desires as long as the exploration is just for you. Your professor does not need to know about your feelings for him. If he knew about your feelings, it could make him feel uncomfortable, or it could throw you into a situation that may quickly spiral out of control.

It’s also important that your feelings be kept in perspective. If you are constantly thinking about him, it could be a sign that there is something out of balance in your life. It could be that you’re lonely or sad, and these thoughts are a way for you cope with those feelings. If so, it’s important that you realize this and develop other ways of dealing with them. Perhaps you can channel your energy into discovering the reasons for your attraction to him so that you can work on finding them in someone more appropriate for you. If nothing else, maybe your crush will inspire you to read and appreciate great literature or even write some of it yourself. After all, some of the greatest writers of our time did it for love!

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