Asking for a Friend: Help! I think I’m in love with my teacher

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  • Is it okay to date my teacher?
  • Each week, we respond to a question from our readers, and our team of clinical psychologists gives advice and resources you can turn to
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It is never a good idea to date a teacher. Photo: Shutterstock

Need an answer to a personal question that you’ve never mustered the courage to ask? We’ve been there. Whether it is about school, family issues or social life, share your thoughts with us.

If you have a question you’d like answered (about anything at all), please fill out this Google form. Don’t worry, you will remain anonymous!

Dear Friend,

I am gay and seem to be falling in love with a male teacher. Should I tell him how I feel or just neglect my feelings? I am getting ready for the DSE exam, so I don’t want to get into a relationship right now.

Best, Boy in Love

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Dear Boy in Love,

Regardless of sexuality or gender, it is never a good idea to date a teacher. In addition to being inappropriate, the age difference and power imbalance can be very harmful. The younger person risks being coerced into doing things they don’t want to do or are uncomfortable with, and this can have lasting mental, physical and emotional effects.

It is also unwise to tell him that you have feelings for him. This would put both you and your teacher in an incredibly awkward position. Rest assured that it is very common for students to have crushes on their teachers, and don’t get angry at yourself for it. Teachers are kind, confident, knowledgeable and passionate, and it makes sense that you would admire him. Your teacher likely enjoys being your teacher and appreciates having you as a student, but they cannot have anything beyond a professional, school-based relationship with you, and they only like you in a non-romantic, teacher-student way. Carry on like normal at school and continue to be polite to this teacher, and don’t do anything to make him uncomfortable. It would also be helpful to keep your distance when you can, and make sure that you’re not going out of your way to spend time around him.

This is only going to end badly. Put your feelings aside and focus on your studies instead. Photo: Shutterstock

In the mean time, you can examine what it is that attracts you to this person. Is it simply their good looks, or are they charming? Are they a good listener? Perhaps they have a great sense of humour. Make a note of what you find important so that you can look for a partner with these traits in the future, when you’re ready to date.

As you mentioned, you are getting ready to take your DSE exams, finish secondary school, and maybe head off to university – these are all huge changes. Focus on these things. They might seem scary, but they’re exciting too, and they will help you take your mind off your crush.

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Please do not be afraid to speak to a professional about how you are feeling. Your school should have a guidance counsellor, so take advantage of it! You can also contact organisations like the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals Pride Line, Mind HK, or Open Up.

We know that your feelings seem very strong now, but they will fade in time, very likely after you no longer have this person as your teacher. In the meantime, focus on your DSEs, your friends, and your future. We promise it will be worth it!

Hope it helps, Friend of a Friend

The question was answered by clinical psychologists from the Department of Health under Shall We Talk, a mental health initiative launched with the Advisory Committee on Mental Health.

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