I know that I'm older than a lot of you here, but I am just as confused. I've been in love with my graduate school professor for over a year now. This is a bit of a long story, and I don't know if anyone will read it, but I need to get it off my chest and this seemed like a decent way to do it.
I met my professorlast winter when I was attending a different school. He came in to guest lecture our class two times a week from January-end of May. The school was just a one year certificate school for animation, and I was looking to apply to grad school and get my masters. My parents have never been too thrilled with the whole art school thing, so they told me I could only apply to one school, and if I failed to get accepted, that I would have to give up my dream of becoming an animator and do something "useful". I finally settled on a school to apply to, the best one in the area. When I first heard that we were getting a guest lecturer after Christmas, I was not too thrilled. From what I had heard about this guy, he was really uptight, and what he would be teaching us was going to be tedious and very technical. I expected him to be a stuffy old man, but when he got to class that first day, he turned out to be in his mid-late 30s and adorable in a very geeky way. I also found out that he was a professor at the school that I had decided to apply to. I was becoming increasingly worried that I wouldn't get into grad school and I would have to give up my dream. Some of my classmates suggested that I show the professor my portfolio, and if he liked it, kindly ask if he could put in a good word for me. It took me almost a month to build up the courage to do it, but when I finally asked, he kindly agreed. It was another two weeks before he had the chance to look at my work, but when he did, he ended up saying some pretty disappointing things about it. I left school early that day, and went home in tears. After that, I avoided my professor like the plague, half hating him. A month later, after I had gotten over that harsh critique for the most part, we were showing him some of our work that we were doing for a large-scale end of the year group project, when he picked some of the shots I had worked on out of our film and began praising them and wanted to know who the student was that had worked on them. He made some small suggestions, and then told me that my work was near professional level. After that incident, my crush was rekindled. In April, I heard back from grad school and found out (during my professor's class, no less) that I had been accepted. After that, he became very interested in talking to me, asking what classes I was planning on taking, where I was from, what I had done as an undergrad. We also discovered we had a similar (and slightly morbid) sense of humor. He helped me figure out how to register for classes, and what I needed to do before I arrived in the fall. That summer, I decided to take a stab at meeting someone else to get over my infatuation. I joined a dating site and met my current boyfriend. At first, it was exciting and I enjoyed dating him. This excitement did not last very long though, once I got back to school and saw my professor. All the old feelings came rushing back, and I felt more alive and inspired than I had in months. I saw him several times last semester, each time he seemed interested in what I was doing at school. Around November, one of the few people I told about my crush suggested I friend him on Facebook, since he friends students at my school. I did so, and he never friended me back. He didn't reject my request, he just sort of left it sitting there. It seems silly, but I was crushed. I decided to give him some space and focus on my work. Finally, about a month ago, I had started thinking that maybe I should try talking to him for the first time since before Thanksgiving. I saw him in the lobby of our school, so I went over to say hi. He seemed pleased to see me and asked how school was going. I told him that my animation skills had greatly improved, and to my surprise, he smiled and said "Well, you were already very good, so I can imagine how good you are now". I was stunned, especially since he is not all that free with praise. I saw him once more, just the other day, when I went to ask for help with something having to do with my thesis. He offered some suggestions and told me that I should email him questions and motion tests to get his opinion over the summer. We then left school together, chatting, joking, and gossiping like old friends. When it was time for us to go in different directions, he gave me a half-smile and said "Well, I guess I'll be hearing from you this summer," and went on his way. I stood there, feeling happier than I had in months (it had been a difficult semester), and excited about working on my thesis.
I know that I have a boyfriend, but I don't feel anywhere near as strongly for him as I do for my professor. I've had several boyfriends before, and I've never felt this way about anyone before. I've been upfront with my boyfriend about my feelings, but I still feel guilty. On paper, my boyfriend is perfect. He understands me better than anyone else ever has. He stays up late with me when I have a lot of work and makes me cups of tea to keep me awake. He has been nothing but kind and supportive, but I just don't feel the same intense chemistry with him. I know that in the next year, I'm going to have to make a hard decision about my relationship. In the fall, I'm going to be in my professor's class again, and it's sounding like I may see him at school this summer when I go in to work on my thesis. I know I can't date a professor, it's in the school handbook, but it's driving me crazy. In a year I'll be graduating and unless I get closer to him, I may never see him again. The other thing is, he's still at least 10 years older than I am, and possibly more like 15. He will probably only ever see me as a student, not a mature adult. On the other hand though, whenever we talk about things other than school, there is definite camaraderie. I'm just at a loss about what to do right now. The few friends I have told about my feelings are thoroughly fed up with the subject. Two of them think I'm crazy. Anyway, I know this story may seem boring and wordy compared to others that are on here, but I'm thankful I finally have this off my chest.