I am a grad student with a crush on one of my teachers. It technically isn’t against the rules for us to date and I think we could. What should I do?

Hello – First, congrats on being in grad school! How much more time do you have? Because I think that can play a pretty large factor into what could happen with you and this teacher. True it probably isn’t against any written rules, but your university might have an unspoken rule for professors about dating their students. Being in grad school, you have a different level of maturity than undergraduate students, but it might be something to consider about maybe waiting until you finish grad school to start dating this teacher of yours. My thinking is that if you and your teacher were to start dating, other students could feel that there is favoritism in the classroom or in your grades or if things didn’t go well, the teacher might treat you differently in the classroom and make you uncomfortable being there. However, you are also older in age and maturity so things might turn out differently. I am a sucker for romance and don’t think people should ever pass up the opportunity for romance if two people like each other, but if you are the only one interested and your teacher does not feel the same way about you it might not be beneficial to pursue anything. But also, if there’s interest coming from both parties I say talk about it. Ask if it’s a good idea, if something could be worked out to make things easy, keep communication open so you guys can figure out what you best want to accomplish. I wish you all the best in this dating adventure. Let me know how it goes!

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  1. Nice response! A few words of caution to your advice-seeker: If you two do date it is not going to be appropriate for you to take classes from this professor, so if he is in your area of expertise you could be really limiting your options for future classes. Also, at some point you will need to select a committee for your masters thesis or doctoral dissertation and this person won’t be able to be on it. Ditto examination committees if you have them. Even if he is not in your area, he may at some point have some of your friends in his class, and that can be super awkward all around. Finally, even if there is no policy, most institutions frown on relationships like this, so there may be professional implications for him in terms of tenure or promotion. Maybe you should work on building a friendship for now and see how things go after you graduate?

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