≡ Menu

“I’m a Straight Woman with a Crush on a Straight Woman”

New readers, welcome to Dear Wendy, a relationship advice blog. If you don’t find the info you need in this column, please visit the Dear Wendy archives or the forums (you can even start your own thread), or submit a question for advice.

05845336_

I’m 20 years old and live in Spain. I’m a straight girl, who has always been just with guys and I have had three boyfriends. I decided to go to Italy to take an Italian language course. When the lessons started, I met my Italian teacher and from that moment on I can’t think about anything or anyone else but her. She is the most incredible, amazing, kind, and beautiful person I have ever met.

I have three-hour lessons a day with her, three days a week, and they private lessons, so I really get to talk to her a lot, one-on-one. Lately, we have become closer because now we have more confidence between us. In fact, once she invited me to have dinner at her house with some friends and I had an amazing time!
This past weekend she again invited me to have a drink after a conference that we are both attending in a few days.

Now, like I said I’m straight and I had never ever thought about being with a woman. In fact, just the idea of it was really unappealing to me. But now that I met this teacher of mine, I don’t think it’s unappealing at all. I’d like to be with her, and I like the thought of going out with her and everything… in a few words, I really like her.

But it’s just her. I’m not doubting my sexuality because I don’t like any other woman at all. It’s really just her. Maybe it’s because she is so perfect that I just have a crush on her, but I can’t stop thinking about her all the time and I just want her to be happy. Is that a crush? I don’t so, right?

She is also straight, but sometimes when we are together I really feel like she is a bit attracted to me. She gets a little nervous and gets pretty close to me when we are alone in class — really really close — and she has already invited me a few times to have a drink. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but I do feel something when I’m with her.

The other problem is that she has a male “friend” who lives in another city. They don’t see each other very often, but this guy doesn’t like labels, so he is just her “friend.” For me, it’s pretty clear that he doesn’t want to commit. I think she knows it too, but I don’t understand why she is still with him. Sometimes when they talk on the phone they fight and she seems really sad.

So, I don’t know what to do. Do you think that she likes me or that eventually even though she is straight, would like to be with me? And what about her “friend”? Should I tell her: “You don’t deserve to be treated that way because you deserve so much better”?

Finally, I want to ask her out and give her some hints to show her that I like her, but I don’t want to freak her out and lose her as a friend, so what sort of things should I do or say? — Straight Girl Crushing on Straight Girl


First thing’s first: do no bring up the “friend” at all. Just don’t. It’s none of your business and it’s not your place. Even if she asked you directly what you thought of him or their relationship, I’d say given your feelings for her, you should just keep your mouth shut. Your crush makes you biased and your status as a pretty new person in her life doesn’t really give you the wisdom or a wide enough view of the whole picture to come to a totally fair conclusion.

So, forget about the “friend,” and focus instead on your own relationship with your teacher. You say you have a crush on her, and you know, that’s a very normal thing. Plenty of straight people have crushes on people of the same sex. Those crushes don’t have to mean anything more than just pleasant feelings toward someone whose company is really enjoyable. Or, the crushes could have deeper substance. Sexuality is fluid and individual sexuality falls on a spectrum that at any given time may be at a different spot on the spectrum that at another time in a person’s life. You may feel 99.9% hetero but still manage to feel sexually attracted to your female teacher. That doesn’t mean you’re gay. It doesn’t even mean you’re necessarily bi-sexual. Those are just labels anyway. You can be whatever you want to be or call yourself whatever you want to call yourself. What’s most important is how you feel and whom you feel drawn to, and right now you say you feel drawn to this woman.

I’d say that first, decide whether you have any sexual attraction to her. Can you imagine kissing her? Is it something you think you’d enjoy, or at least want to try? If not, and if your crush on her is merely platonic, continue enjoying her company as a friend, NBD. But if what you feel is something different than friendship — something that gives you butterflies when you think about kissing her or sleeping next to her or running your fingers through her hair, then that’s exciting and worth exploring, especially if you think there’s any chance at all the feelings might be reciprocated.

So, how do you go about exploring your crush without potentially wrecking your friendship? Well, there isn’t a surefire way, but I think using vague, sort of “hint-hint” language that can be interpreted in a variety of ways will help your cause. You could say something like, “We’ve been spending so much time together lately, it’s almost beginning to feel like we’re dating,” which is an innocuous enough statement that your teacher can brush it off if she wants to… or not. Her response will give you a big clue as to her feelings.

And she may be feeling the same way you are — she may be drawn to you and confused by her attraction. And if that’s the case, it will take a combination of both of you being interested in exploring your feelings and brave enough to act on them. I say go for it. You’re young and living in a foreign country temporarily. This is the perfect time to explore your sexuality. If things don’t work out or you feel rejected, you go back to Spain and who cares?

You may discover that your crush is merely platonic … or you may discover that being with a woman — at least this woman — is thrilling and exciting and opens up your world to different relationship possibilities, which in itself is pretty exciting.
***************

You can follow me on Facebook here and sign up for my weekly newsletter here.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

{ 78 comments… add one }

Lyra Lyra October 28, 2013, 9:42 am

I find myself as a straight girl sometimes admiring other straight girls because of their bodies. Like: “damn, I wish my ass looked like that” or “she’s so cute! I love that outfit!” or “she has a KILLER figure. JEALOUS.” I think that’s pretty normal.

I wanted to bring something up that Wendy didn’t: this is your TEACHER. I’m not sure what the age difference is, but an actual relationship between a teacher/student is frowned upon in most situations. When I was in high school had crushes on young teachers because they were attractive — I think most every student has. Acting upon it is something COMPLETELY different and I strongly recommend you don’t pursue it because of that. There are boundaries that have to be set.

Immediately after I graduated high school, one of my classmates started dating one of our former teachers. He was 26 or 27 at the time, she was 18. It was the creepiest thing ever because they started going out literally a month after graduation so there was obviously some interest prior to that. I think their relationship lasted a total of 2 years, but it was creepy beyond belief.

avatar kerrycontrary October 28, 2013, 9:48 am

I think she’s at a language school, which is different from a teacher/student relationship in a regular education setting. Usually the students are adults (ranging from 18 to 80) and the teachers have a wide range of ages as well. If you’ve attended a language school, it really isn’t weird. Usually you aren’t “graded” very much (unless she was in the US and trying to achieve TOEFL or something). The hours are different. Students care more because they really want to learn the language. There isn’t that teacher/authoritative vibe.

katie katie October 28, 2013, 9:53 am

yea, she is “taking a language course”, she is not “in school”. i think those are two very different environments…

avatar kerrycontrary October 28, 2013, 9:56 am

and I have to add, when I studied abroad (at a language school) I had a friend that started sleeping with one of the teachers. It wasn’t weird. She was 21.

Dear Wendy Wendy October 28, 2013, 9:51 am

Of course, if this were a traditional school setting, a teacher-student relationship with be inappropriate. Usually, conversational language classes aren’t in an academic setting and are much more casual. I’ve had friends who taught conversational language courses and dated their students — often the same age — and it was no big deal. I assumed that since the LW already does so much socializing with her teacher, they are peers and in a casual class setting (especially since it’s a one-on-one course). Obviously, LW, use your judgment here and don’t pursue a teacher if it would be inappropriate given your ages and/or course situation. If you are graded for this class, for example, wait until the course is over to explore any romantic/sexual feelings you may have toward your teacher is over.

Jess Jess October 28, 2013, 4:44 pm

Yes, I’d equate it to dating a yoga teacher.

avatar Liquid Luck October 28, 2013, 9:55 am

She seems less like a teacher and more like a private tutor, though. And since they’re both adults, the “class” is simply something the LW is doing out of interest and not for some kind of school curriculum, there are no other students who would be affected by this, and they already seem to be okay with spending time together socially, I don’t think the fact that this woman is her “teacher” is an issue here. Honestly, your example doesn’t seem relevant to this situation at all.

GatorGirl GatorGirl October 28, 2013, 10:11 am

Lyra- I had the same reaction about the teacher. I do think this would create an interesting power dynamic and I think it’s inappropriate for her to act on this crush. Had she labeled/viewed the woman something else (like in Eat, Pray, Love she has a guy she is practicing Italian with and he is teaching her to a degree but she doesn’t call him a teacher…I should figure out what he was called.) I would say totally go for it, regardless of the whole sexual orientation hubbub.

katie katie October 28, 2013, 10:15 am

they already go out drinking together… what about that?

GatorGirl GatorGirl October 28, 2013, 10:19 am

I found that to be weird and inappropriate too. I do have strict (I guess?) views on teacher-student interactions, mostly stemming from GGuy’s profession. I also think it’s weird/inappropriate when a boss and employee socialize out side of work. I know I’m in the minority, but I think that blurring the lines of teacher/student or boss/employee is a very bad idea and can lead to skewed power dynamics and possibly other issues.

avatar ktfran October 28, 2013, 10:27 am

My first job out of college was at a smallish, employee owned engineering firm. The CEO/President and the VPs socialized with all employees a lot of the time. It was a super family oriented atmosphere. Like, we would all meet up for sandbar parties on the weekend. Or, a project manager would have parties at her house and most of the people working under her would attend. And occasionally people above her.

I think more personable relationships can work in the right setting. As long as people are adult enough to handle it.

avatar kerrycontrary October 28, 2013, 10:29 am

I agree with boss/employee and most teacher/student. But language classes are really different. There’s no grading usually. There’s no tests. So there’s no authoritarian vibe. What you’re referring to in eat/pray/love is the same relationship this girl is having with her “teacher”. Usually you call them “conversation partners” when its private lessons like this.

GatorGirl GatorGirl October 28, 2013, 10:35 am

That’s what it’s called! Had she called the lady that, I would have said go for it!! But I feel like using the term “teacher” means the LW is framing the woman in that teacher roll. But she does say she lives in Spain so maybe English isn’t her first language? Only LW truly knows if it’s going to skew the power dynamic.

katie katie October 28, 2013, 11:08 am

well, im sure she used “teacher” because that lady is literally her teacher- she is teaching her italian. i wonder actually where “conversation partner” came from. maybe that is an american phrase to describe a teacher, but not a formal teacher like we in the US think of a teacher?

i feel like in the US we are so hyper sensitive to certain things/words, including this. a student should *never* ever date a teacher. but in reality there are tons of varing teacher/student relationships that a hard and fast rule isnt always appropriate.

avatar kerrycontrary October 28, 2013, 11:11 am

A conversation partner means that you usually get together and just hang out and talk. Thus improving both peoples language skills. Maybe you meet for coffee. Maybe you cook dinner together. Maybe you get ice cream. I had a conversation partner in college with a French student. Usually we would like go to Wal-Mart and get Chinese buffet haha. In no way were there formal dynamics or a teacher-student relationship. It wasn’t a formal arrangement.

GatorGirl GatorGirl October 28, 2013, 11:19 am

Well, if she is literally her teacher- than I absolutely think this is inappropriate to pursue. I do *never* think it is okay to date a teacher. For myself, it is a hard and fast rule. If it is more of the informal conversation partner route, then I think perusing the relationship is fine.

Fabelle Fabelle October 28, 2013, 11:28 am

It is pretty informal though. I added the “don’t do it if it’s improper” disclaimer to my comment, but I’m pretty sure the relationship in this case doesn’t have that clear, uncrossable line like other teacher/student relationships do (like at a high school or college). They have drinks together, she goes to her house for dinner, etc.

katie katie October 28, 2013, 11:30 am

but “literally being a teacher” can be so many different kinds of situations. if i go to a canvas and cocktails event, an art teacher is going to teach me how to paint a picture. if i ask a friend to teach me how to do something, they become my teacher. if i ask my boyfriend to teach me something, he becomes my teacher. if i go to peer-tutoring, those people become my teacher. if i get certified in scuba diving, a teacher is going to teach me the safety classes. are all those people off limits to date? that seems ridiculous.

GatorGirl GatorGirl October 28, 2013, 11:41 am

Well, my personal “rules” for my life don’t have to make sense for you. I would define a teacher, for this whole dating thing, as a person you pay a fee to teach you a specific thing. So from your example, the art teacher and scuba teacher would be off limits and the peer tutor and your BF and friend would be totally fine. All in my opinion, of course.

avatar jlyfsh October 28, 2013, 4:57 pm

Katie I’m with you I don’t see how an art teacher (I mean it’s usually a one time event at those canvas and cocktails things!) and scuba teachers (once again usually short term, just a few classes thing) are on par with what is happening in this letter. Especially since those things aren’t graded. I mean it does seem ridiculous to me too. Even if you went back to a canvas and cocktails thing, it wouldn’t be like they could give you preferential treatment. I mean maybe they could give you a discount? But, that’s no different than being friends with the people who own those businesses.

avatar Milla October 28, 2013, 11:20 am

I will say that I both teach classes at a uni and tutor a woman in English writing/reading, and they are really completely different. My classes do have that very strict delineation of roles, but with my tutoring, it’s much more relaxed— I go to her home, her baby daughter is there, we chat about our lives in between working, and I would definitely call her my friend as much as my student.

Lyra Lyra October 28, 2013, 10:50 am

Exactly. The fact that she sees this woman as a teacher is what caused me to jump on the inappropriate bandwagon. I get that a language class is different, but the area is just so grey that I think it’s best not to even go there. I’m sure I have a stricter view on this due to my profession as a teacher.

avatar CattyGoLightly October 28, 2013, 11:17 am

She’s from Spain so I am guessing that English is not her first language, which probably would explain why she didn’t whip out the phrase “conversation partner” or “tutor.” I mean, her English is pretty damn good, but that could still explain why she chose that phrase!

I think the teacher/conversation partner thing is a moot point. If it’s one-on-one, it definitely doesn’t sound like the sort of thing you get graded on. It just sounds like you hang out for three hours, work on language and conversation skills, and call it a day.

GatorGirl GatorGirl October 28, 2013, 11:22 am

So, maybe here is the way to phrase it- If the “lessons” are being paid for than, IMO, it’s a no no to pursue a relationship. If it’s more of an informal, no payment situation than I would say it’s a go. To me, the LW sounds like she is paying for a service (language lessons).

Lyra Lyra October 28, 2013, 12:52 pm

For what it’s worth, GG, I’m totally with you on this.

Cleopatra_30 Cleopatra_30 October 28, 2013, 8:42 pm

I don’t know, one of my profs at Uni last year made the suggestion that we as a class go for beers or drink at the end of the semester after exams. Then again it was a class offer, not an individual, so might change things. But at some point the class sizes become small enough and you see your prof often enough that you tend to develop a good rapport with them, that going for a few drinks, mind you maybe as a small group, isn’t such a sketchy thing to do. But obviously i would be very hesitant to do it just one on one, unless it was to discuss things about a major project or thesis work or something.

GatorGirl GatorGirl October 29, 2013, 8:30 am

Sorry, not to nit pick- but the professor did suggest socializing after the semester ended. The teacher-student relationship would then be ending and IMO it would be okay since the prof is no longer in a position of power/being paid for a service.

LadyinPurpleNotRed LadyinPurpleNotRed October 29, 2013, 8:32 am

Yeah…A couple times during the semester my classes, including the professor, have gone out to the restaurant/bar a two minute walk from campus to eat and drink and be merry.

avatar kerrycontrary October 28, 2013, 9:49 am

I think you will find many examples of “straight” women who all of a sudden fell in love with another woman. They fall in love with those women because they are falling in love with them as a person. I don’t think it’s weird and I wouldn’t put too much stress on defining your sexuality. People fall in love with people.

avatar Jessi October 28, 2013, 11:33 am

Super true. Gay woman here, and more than 50% of the girls I’ve dated (including my now-fiancee) were straight-identified until they met me (the others were all bi-identified). And, because I like to be respectful of others’ identified orientation, I always, always let the other one make the first move (esp if they’re straight). Soo…totally happens. My fiancee says she’s never been attracted to another woman, so I’m the first and last, as far as she’s concerned.

avatar MsMisery October 29, 2013, 1:17 pm

You’re just convertin’ women all over the place!

Fabelle Fabelle October 28, 2013, 9:53 am

I wouldn’t worry about the gay/straight, am I attracted to other women/no, just her thing right now. The fact is, you’re crushing on a lady for now, & from what you’ve written, it sounds like a real crush, & not an admiration-masked-as-crush thing? (I say this because of: “I’d like to be with her, and I like the thought of going out with her and everything” & because of your preoccupation/jealousy of her male “friend”)

Sooo I dunno, if it’s not improprietous because of the teacher/student thing, then go for it.

katie katie October 28, 2013, 9:56 am

LW, taking away the details that you are a hetero woman and she (you assume, you know?) is a hetero woman, this really isnt that weird. you have a crush on someone and you want to pursue it and are nervous/scared to take the plunge. it doesnt matter what your gender, there is always the possibility of rejection and the possibility of some wonderful relationship flourishing, and really everything in between.

what would you do if this was a situation that you were more used to, like if this was a guy? what would you do? i say you do that.

avatar Liquid Luck October 28, 2013, 10:31 am

You posted while I was typing out my reply, but basically this is what I was trying to say (but more concise)! I’ve dated a lot of people, and I really haven’t found a huge divide in the way people act about dating that’s split on gender. I hope taking away that factor here will help the LW see this as just another crush she can either act on or not, and hopefully make it a bit less daunting.

avatar Liquid Luck October 28, 2013, 10:17 am

First, I think you need to figure out if this is a romantic crush or just an admiration thing. Does the thought of having a sexual relationship with this woman (not just drunk making out with her for funsies, but an actual sexual relationship) excite you, or does it gross you out? It’s one thing to feel a bit of trepidation simply because you’ve never been with a woman and aren’t quite sure how that would go, because that would be completely normal when experiencing something new, but it’s another to be put off by the idea of being physical with her.

If you do believe that your crush on her is real and not just feelings of close friendship or admiration, then keep in mind that this really isn’t much different than having a crush on a male friend. Make sure you aren’t reading too much into signals because you want to believe she’s into you. Not every instance of eye contact or fingertip-brushing is a sign that she’s flirting with you. Don’t over-analyze every thing she says looking for clues about her feelings. It will just drive you crazy. However, I do like what Wendy suggested about mentioning it in passing and letting her respond however she feels comfortable. If you’re feeling particularly bold, you could even just tel her that you find yourself attracted to her, but you’ve come to value her friendship and don’t want to make her uncomfortable.

You seem to have plenty of dating experience, so just treat this the way you’d treat any other situation with someone you like but who’s feelings you can’t quite read. Honestly, there’s not much of a difference between a man rejecting you because he’s just not into you and a woman who does the same, even if their reasons are different. When it comes to romantic relationships, there will always be some risk of rejection, and someone has to put themselves out there first. So weigh the pros and cons, and then do what feels best.

avatar painted_lady October 28, 2013, 10:46 am

LW, roller derby is sort of the land of the lesbians. I can’t tell you how many of my derby friends are either with women or have at one time been with a woman. How they identify themselves is as varied as their stories. My favorite teammate slept with half the male officials and some of the boyfriends and husbands in the league (there’s a bunch of swingers, so it may have been sanctioned?) and then has been in relationships with precisely two women, and she identifies as gay now. Another has an open marriage with a man, but mostly ventures out with women and calls herself straight. A third hasn’t slept with a guy in five years and identifies as bisexual. My point is, you can call yourself whatever you want and still be attracted to this woman. I would double check whether she can get in trouble with her employer for having a relationship with a student, but then I would go for it (or switch out of her class and THEN go for it). And while there’s nothing wrong with any of the labels you can slap on your sexuality, and you should never avoid a label because of shame, you can call yourself whatever the hell you want.

I say you should be as open as possible with your instructor. “Look, I’ve never said this to a woman, but I think you’re awesome and incredibly attractive. Would you be interested in going on a date?” There is nothing in that to creep any decent person out. And if she freaks out, boom, question answered. If she’s into it? Have fun!

avatar Scooze October 28, 2013, 10:53 am

I’m a straight girl who acted on a crush on a gay girl. We are now in a long-term relationship and I truly love her. I am still straight – I have never had a real crush on another girl. But friends and family really don’t get it. To the vast majority of the people I know, I just can’t admit that I’m really gay or bi. There has been a lot of heartache in all of this. While I can’t imagine being with anyone else, I really didn’t foresee how differently everyone would see me. I still see me as a straight girl, but to the world I am a lesbian. So I’m saying to follow your heart, but with your eyes open.

avatar Banana October 28, 2013, 10:57 am

Thank you Wendy. I think more people need to hear that we don’t need labels to define our sexuality. I’m very uncomfortable using the term bisexual to describe myself, just because it doesn’t seem to fit (it’s one of those things that’s hard to describe), but I’m a gal who’s mostly dated guys, but has dated one girl in the past, and had flings with two others. I don’t regret a moment of it, and I don’t think those were just a “phase,” but rather than describe myself as bi, or even bi-curious, I feel like the more accurate description is I’m a person who falls for individuals, on a person-by-person basis. In fact, many of my most recent friends don’t even know this about me because it’s never come up, and I figure they’ll find out if by some chance I wind up dating a girl again in the future (which seems unlikely now, when things are going so well with Banano, but I can’t see into the future). In other words, I don’t even think of it as part of my “identity” that anyone who knows me well would know about me. I just wanted to say, LW, rock on. Go for it. Dating chicks is great fun, and you can learn a lot about yourself, relationships, love, and sexuality, if you just be yourself and go after whomever you feel attracted to (as long as you’re both consenting adults!).

avatar Banana October 28, 2013, 10:59 am

One last thing: don’t ever let anyone else tell you who you are. Following up on Painted_Lady’s post: people do all sorts of things, and give it whatever label (or lack of label) they choose. If you feel like you’re a straight woman who just happened to fall for another woman, then call yourself that. Don’t let anyone else tell you who or what you are.

avatar CattyGoLightly October 28, 2013, 11:26 am

I think that she should go for it. I mean, if your teacher/conversation partner/tutor is already inviting you to hang out one-on-one after your three hours of studying is over, it’s a good sign. If you haven’t, maybe you should invite her out too! Ask her to go for a drink or a coffee, or maybe to dinner. If she says “no,” no big deal because she will probably invite you out again soon.

Spend a little more time with her, and see how that makes you feel. Do like Wendy said and drop hints.

If things look good, and you think she likes you too, you might have to be brave and tell her how you feel.

Good luck! I hope everything works out for you!

avatar Milla October 28, 2013, 11:27 am

LW, you might be surprised at how “straight” your teacher/friend is— when I first started dating my current partner, both of us were more or less outwardly presenting as straight, even though we both identify as bisexual. We both fell for each other, and after little hints and spending a lot of time together, we both confessed over e-mail (we were 21 and 22, so I don’t recommend this— we were both pretty ridiculous). For some people, it really is all about the person. Even though I do identify as bi, it’s really *her* I was (and still am) attracted to.

Also, this is less to the topic, but there’s a lot of biphobia in culture today (bi people are slutty / cheat / attracted to EVERYONE) that I think can steer people away from that. If this is something that you follow up on, I’d encourage you to poke around a bit in bisexual communities, where you might find more resources than you’d expect.

findingtheearth findingtheearth October 28, 2013, 11:33 am

I feel as though i am a straight female. However, I have had crushes on girls, once one that was very intense. I never acted on it because I could not imagine a sexual relationship with her, and was just straight forward and honest with her about it. She is a lesbian, and was very cool about it.

I think Wendy’s advice is spot on. You need to figure out it you like her as a friend or as a potential sexual relationship, and be honest. Also, don’t lead her on.

landygirl landygirl October 28, 2013, 12:26 pm

I think you fall in love with the person, not the gender. I have a friend who was in a lesbian relationship for many years and after they broke up she started dating men and eventually married a man.

Sexuality is fluid, not static.

avatar SasLinna October 28, 2013, 12:40 pm

I’m another straight woman who’s had crushes on women. I never acted on them, so I feel weird claiming to be bisexual (and it’s a label that comes with lots of baggage anyway), but they were definitely crushes that were based on sexual attraction (always combined with intellectual attraction). I didn’t feel particularly “romantic” about these women though, so maybe I’ve reserved that for men? In any case I think it can be useful to distinguish between different dimensions of crushing on someone: sexual, romantic, intellectual, friendship-oriented etc. and try to find out what you really want from that person based on that. There are so many different possibilities besides “I must traditionally date this person” (although that’s one possibility). Also, you may or may not repeatedly crush on women – it could mean your sexual orientation is not set in stone and that you’re moving toward being more attracted to women, but it’s not necessarily so. Either way it’s OK.

meadowphoenix meadowphoenix October 28, 2013, 1:01 pm

I would also say go for it, but I wouldn’t hint. Facing rejection is part of dating, and hinting around what you want will probably lead to confusion and you trying to read signals. That said, I would prepare to find another teacher, if you guys don’t go out. It might be easier for you to get over the rejection and your crush, if you don’t have to see her unless you want to.

That said I would really agree with everyone that you try to determine if your crush is sexual or not. It’s quite common for teachers to be seen as attractive to their students because their students really love what their learning and because they’ve realized things about themselves because of the teacher. Do you feel more comfortable in yourself now that you’re in Italy learning Italian? Do you feel less lost? Have you met people who have opened your worldview because of this teacher? Having a crush isn’t unusual or bad, even if it isn’t sexual. If it isn’t, it could be a sign of how enjoyable you’re finding the experience.

fast eddie fast eddie October 28, 2013, 1:27 pm

You have to ask yourself what the risk is. The student-teacher relationship is valuable but hardly the end of the world if it ended via a romantic rejection. The professional associations could suffer also. Her love interest is absent and this close friendship could be filling that gap and not romantic attraction. If she keeps it platonic then she’ll always wonder what if. There are lots of ways to coax her into letting out her feelings without confrontation. Offer her a massage or a weekend spa trip together among others. Most importantly don’t take on a label about your sexual identity or put yourself down. It’s just something between the two of you.

Imsostartled Imsostartled October 28, 2013, 1:27 pm

So I’m not very into labels when it comes to sexuality, because as Wendy said it can be fluid and labeling doesn’t really work that well for people who are in the middle. I would land myself here (straight ——-x–bisexual———-gay) if you had to define it. I actually have become much more open about the possibility of me being not straight (which is what I used to identify myself as) in the past 6 years I’ve been with my husband. So what I’m trying to say is that your “orientation” doesn’t matter when you’ve found your person. Don’t walk away from someone because they’re not the correct gender. Don’t check off that box, if you’ve historically always been x you could still be y, even just with that person.

avatar AliceInDairyland October 28, 2013, 1:42 pm

This community is awesome. Everyone has contributed some amazing stories/personal anecdotes LW. <3

avatar Christy October 28, 2013, 2:11 pm

I can’t figure out how to explain my feelings, but suffice it to say, I’ve had two dude-crushes since realizing I was gay. After a lot of thought (and, actually, discussion with my girlfriend) I’ve realized that it’s not I-want-to-bone-you attraction, but it’s a great intellectual/emotional connection. We still “click” in that way, even if I’m not interested in sex. But it was really confusing at first, to think that somehow I was secretly bi. (Not that that’s bad! But I tried bi on, and it didn’t fit right.) So I’m glad gf and I could talk it out – she’s had those intellectual/emotional/non-sexual connections before too, so it reassured me.

And yay for finding someone to crush on! It’s always fun. I remember my first girl-crush. Scary times.

mylaray mylaray October 28, 2013, 2:17 pm

I agree with others who say sexuality is fluid. I personally will never label myself as any sexual orientation (when you think about it there are dozens). I just don’t care. While it doesn’t offend me when someone labels me as straight based on the fact my fiancé is a man, I think it’s funny how much people will assume about your sexuality. Our sexuality is so closely tied with our sex life, something the majority of people know nothing about.

And from your letter, you seem set on identifying as straight, which is totally okay, but it’s okay to have attractions to women. Like for me, I don’t think I could be in a relationship with a woman. I just don’t have that emotional and romantic type of attraction. But physical and sexual attraction? Oh definitely. How you act on your sexuality can be however you want. Fuck who you want, date who you want, love who you want. It doesn’t all have to be the same. People and our sexualities just don’t fit into the perfect square boxes. It’s okay to go outside the lines.

bittergaymark Bittergaymark October 28, 2013, 2:57 pm

Okay… I am sorry, but if some hot for teacher random dude wrote in with all this bullshit about how he just “senses” his scorching hot female teacher is secretly hot for him, too. Oh! And — of course! — that her other lover is unworthy and unwilling to commit — oh, and knew all this without even meeting said lover — you’d all rightly brand the LW a flipping headcase. Nevermind the passe’ selfloathing homophobia that simply drips from this dreary letter. “I’m so not gay. Ew! Really! Doubt my sexuality? NEVER! It is just that she is so perfect… Sigh.”

Ugh. Gag. Vomit. Wretch. Barf.

Imsostartled Imsostartled October 28, 2013, 3:13 pm

Well the reverse gender situation would be a guy writing in saying that he has feelings for his quasi-teacher (it’s a language class for christ’s sake) and even though he thinks he’s straight he can’t stop thinking about him. In that scenario I think we would all give the same advice that we gave here. I know I would. As for the discussion about the teacher’s lover, I mean come on we’ve all done this when we were young, stupid and had a crush. She’s 20.

avatar Liquid Luck October 28, 2013, 3:27 pm

Actually, my advice would have been exactly the same, regardless of the gender of either person in this situation. And where you see “passe’ selfloathing homophobia,” I see a young woman who never thought to question her sexuality until she was faced with a situation that made it uncertain. It can be very difficult to suddenly find yourself attracted to someone of the opposite sex when that’s never happened before, and if she wasn’t a bit confused by it I’d be surprised. But I’m sure you’d never admit that struggling with one’s own identity (especially their sexual orientation in a still very much straight-defaulting world) is a very normal thing for young adults, because it’s not nearly as fun for you to try to be empathetic as it is to just assume all people are stupid and horrible. You do have an image to maintain around here, and surely trying not to be so narrow-minded would tarnish that. Plus, then you wouldn’t get to use all those cool synonyms to emphasize your disgust and show off how many words you know!

GatorGirl GatorGirl October 28, 2013, 3:37 pm

IDK, I actually agree with Mark and think people are being nicer about this because of the genders. I personally would have had the same reaction regardless, since I think developing a relationship is a bad idea here, but I think people are being nicer about than if the genders where switched. Anyways, who would have thought I’d actually agree with BGM?

Imsostartled Imsostartled October 28, 2013, 3:41 pm

While I agree that if the LW was a male with a female teacher the group would have acted differently, I also would say that if it was a female with male teacher we also would have reacted differently. I think the sympathy and personal experiences coming from the commenters are because it seems like she is struggling with defining her sexuality and what it might mean to date a woman.

GatorGirl GatorGirl October 28, 2013, 3:51 pm

Yes, I definitely agree.

katie katie October 28, 2013, 3:43 pm

i know that most people would pull the whole “oh if you like boys you must be gay” thing to a man in this situation, but i honestly dont think it would come up at DW? maybe some not so informed commenters or something…

but no, id still think the same thing. she (or he) has a crush, they hang out socially, whats the harm if she (or he) doesnt classify herself as gay? who cares?

Fabelle Fabelle October 28, 2013, 3:44 pm

BGM is saying if it were a male student crushing on his female teacher, though— & actuallyyy I kind of agree with him, that’d we might react differently in that case.

Fabelle Fabelle October 28, 2013, 3:45 pm

But okay, just saw Imsostartled’s comment, & I agree with her that our reaction was gentler here just due to the same sex exploration thing.

Imsostartled Imsostartled October 28, 2013, 3:50 pm

I honestly don’t think that if it were a opposite sex situation that it would even get posted here. It just wouldn’t be that interesting imo. We’d all be either focusing on the teacher aspect more or just be like “Eh, go for it I guess” then be waiting for the next letter to come in.

katie katie October 28, 2013, 3:49 pm

i wouldnt- especially in this case. its a language course, its not traditional schooling at all. there absolutely are times when its cool to date your “teachers”. people even date their teachers when its objective “wrong” and it turns out fine.

Fabelle Fabelle October 28, 2013, 3:57 pm

Well, to clarify, I said male student/female teacher just to differentiate (in my above comment), but I meant even taking that part out of it— there’d probably be a different vibe to the comments (because of the “sometimes she gets really close to me, I want to tell her she deserves better” ish)

I agree about the teacher thing, but I do think there’d be different reactions in this case, even taking that part out.

Fabelle Fabelle October 28, 2013, 3:58 pm

Gah I cannot express myself today.

bittergaymark Bittergaymark October 28, 2013, 4:05 pm

Her language is really freaky. It’s ALL in her head — add in the audacity that she should tell this person that “you can do better — date me!” Is delusional and — frankly — disturbed. It amazes me so few see it.

Imsostartled Imsostartled October 28, 2013, 4:08 pm

Eh, everyone’s a little fucked up in the head sometime. :D

katie katie October 28, 2013, 4:16 pm

wendy addressed that….

katie katie October 28, 2013, 3:54 pm

here is another teaching letter- http://dearwendy.com/your-turn-should-i-ask-out-my-student/

female language tutor, male student.

the comments were kind of split like they are today- some people in the “never date a teacher EVER EVER EVER NO MATTER WHAT” camp, and others that are like “this is totally different, different country, different student/teacher relationship, totally fine”

Imsostartled Imsostartled October 28, 2013, 3:57 pm

haha nice one katie! It’s like look, here is some evidence on how we react as a community. BAM!

bittergaymark Bittergaymark October 28, 2013, 4:51 pm

Its less the teacher issue versus the “i know she wants me! Can i tell her her boyfriend doesn’t deserve her but I do” vibe thatvis the stalker redflag warning…

katie katie October 28, 2013, 4:54 pm

eh, come on- she has a crush. everyone says stupid stuff like that. no one on here was like “im SO SURE she is in love with you! go forth and be together forever!”

bittergaymark Bittergaymark October 28, 2013, 5:07 pm

No. But few gave her much of a reality check. Not everybody who is nice to you — wants to sleep with you. Especially when you are PAYING them for their services… She sounds delusional.

landygirl landygirl October 28, 2013, 9:54 pm

You’re nitpicking. This is what a lot of people do when they like someone. She isn’t being arrogant, she is being human and attracted to someone.

meadowphoenix meadowphoenix October 28, 2013, 5:45 pm

I’m actually glad that you mentioned more strongly that LW is in the “build up a fantasy relationship” stage of A Crush with her teacher, but that suggests to me that she tell her now while the fantasy isn’t too large.

But you do realize that you’re making up straw men everywhere right? Making up what someone might say if there were slightly different circumstances and then trying to argue agaisnt that is logically unsound. Do you really want your “logic” or rightness” to be based on something some ridiculous?

avatar bethany October 28, 2013, 4:18 pm

I don’t see what the big deal is. Try to kiss her. At least you’ll know if she’s into you or not!

iwannatalktosampson iwannatalktosampson October 28, 2013, 4:20 pm

The only thing I thought when reading this letter was “oh man I cannot imagine setting myself up for that (likely) rejection”. Even if the LW was gay, and the teacher was gay, she’s still her teacher! Of course she’s going to be friendly. And now that I think about it I don’t know that I’ve ever “made a move” on someone when I didn’t KNOW they’d be receptive.

avatar ktfran October 28, 2013, 4:41 pm

I so have never made a move on someone unless I knew they would reciprocate. Hell, I’m apparently super guarded when I know for a fact someone is into me. I suck.

avatar MsMisery October 29, 2013, 1:21 pm

You’re in a sexy country learning a sexy language from a sexy new person in your life. No wonder you have a crush! But you have to figure out if the “signals” she’s sending are in your imagination or real, and if the latter, are they something she’d be willing to act on as a mostly-straight girl too? You don’t want to lose her as a friend and/or tutor if you misread signals and she decides she’s now uncomfortable around you.

avatar Relieved May 15, 2014, 5:08 pm

Thank god for this article!
I’m currently in middle-school and I have this bff, the other day we were holding hands a lot, it was definitely platonic on her side, I started to feel a few butterflies in my stomach, and I blushed a little, THANKFULLY I DIDN’T ACT ON IT! If it’s a phase, it’ll go away….

It might be a little possible since she used to be bi anyway……

Leave a Comment


9 + four =