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Feelings for ex teacher

Tagged as: Crushes<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (18 June 2024) 16 Answers - (Newest, 27 June 2024)
A female United Kingdom age 30-35, anonymous writes:

I don’t know where to start :s I guess I’m just curious if anyone else has/is going through the same thing, I’ll try and keep it simple…

When I started college I was 16 years old, I was at the same college until I was 21 and graduated. I had numerous tutors in this time, and one who remained our Art lecturer throughout. He is around thirty years my senior, so would have been around late 40s whilst I was studying. It started just a regular crush on a teacher, many students had crushes on different teachers and would talk about it amongst each other and I acknowledged this was completely normal. It didn’t consume me or effect my studies. I just felt very flustered around him and valued his opinions more than my other tutors.

I was an extremely anxious introverted teenager, and have been my whole adult life too, I never discussed anything with friends and still don’t.

Having left college for around 14years now, this Tutor still occupies my mind, and it’s hard to explain. It started off I just missed being taught by him, his lectures were my favourite time of the week and he was the most interesting Man. Along side teaching he’d exhibit his own work which was incredible. I really looked up to him and I just missed him. Although it wasn’t just attraction/lust, I’d occasionally fantasise about him, and then feel bad about it.

He’s retired now, and I still bump into him at exhibitions, still get to see his art work, I’m 35 now and he’d be around 65. I feel like the older I get, the more romantically I feel towards him. It’s like he’s remained this happy place in my head with so many mixed feelings, infatuation, admiration, desire, missing and caring about him…

I didn’t date anyone or have an relationship experience, I just met my current partner (I’ll call him Mark) in college when I was 19 and he was 29, and it just became a long term relationship. I felt comfortable because Mark was a bit older than me and we’ve been together ever since. I love my partner very much, but it’s been an extremely difficult relationship and as I didn’t have anything to compare it to it’s took many years to realise how difficult it is. He’s got several serious mental health conditions which has gradually resulted in me being more of a career to him than a partner and he is now completely dependent on me.

Usually I’d assume these crushes fade with time, but mine has intensified, and I don’t know if it’s as simple as I’ve been in a bad place and difficult relationship for a long time, but every time I run into my old tutor my heart explodes. Sometimes I feel overwhelmingly sad and cry and can’t understand why these feelings have resurfaced and won’t go away. It’s really confusing and depressing me.

Anyone’s similar experiences would be greatly appreciated, I feel like im going mad and have never felt the need to act on any of these feelings. My ex tutor wouldn’t have the slightest clue im a very reserved person and am under no delusion that he would ever care about me in that way. And I do care about my partner.

View related questions: crush, my ex

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A reader, anonymous, writes (27 June 2024):

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Dr Lady!…

Thank you for kind words x

Yes, I do think there are plenty of us out there, I did try searching other sites for these topics before posting on her and didn’t manage to find much. I found the odd story of women hooking up with former teachers but that was about it :s I found mostly stories of younger girls with crushes on teachers only a few years older than them and couldn’t find anything to relate so I posted here…

I do find it confusing how attraction is categorised. It’s no secret more women find older men attractive than viva versa… Perhaps because ageing men are glorified and ageing women are shamed. It’s all very odd.. I’m heterosexual but if I’m to appreciate attractive women I always find the older women more attractive too.

It feels however, like if you’re not the majority everything’s put into a kink or a fetish. Like men who prefer larger women, it’s just what you’re drawn to.. same with us, because the majority of couples are of a similar age, it feels like this added shame is placed on you which makes it all harder. I think some young women go for older men for material things, stability and things they wouldn’t get from their peers. But they’re never the qualities that draw me to the older man. I guess there’s an element of safety but overall just stronger connection.

I know how you feel, regardless of your relationship quality. Mines quite difficult but I still couldn’t imagine the fantasy ever being anything more than that even though it can drive me to feeling heartbroken! It’s weird how someone can occupy your mind so much but you struggle for words when you see them. I do try and think of things to talk about if I know he’ll be at an event, but sometimes my mind blanks with anxiety and I feel like a fidgeting mess. Him having those respectful and responsible traits definitely adds to the attraction you’re right.

I think with the amount of time passed and no more restrictions some confident single people would just go for it. I can’t imagine that ever being my situation, the thought of it though does send my head spinning and then I feel guilty. I can’t imagine carrying on like this forever with my partner, but I can’t imagine what would happen if I left either after all this time and his problems.

It’s so difficult to know what to do for the best sometimes. As you get older you hear so many people say it’s the things you didn’t do that become the big regrets, and that weighs on me sometimes…

I really hope you get to bump into your former Dr again, who knows, you have before so why not again! I can see like you this always remaining a daydream for me. I’m so sorry you can’t confide in any friends, it’s so tough, I don’t know if I could either, I have one in mind who might be less judgmental but it’s scary. I will let you know how my interaction goes although it will probably be same as always! X

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A reader, anonymous, writes (27 June 2024):

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Just spotted the other response, the lady regarding the Father figure…

I do sometimes worry the more time passes if he’s in good health and okay (I suppose as I do with my Father too) but mixed with the worry of (the very improbable) time running out to make my feelings known (which I can’t imagine ever doing anyway). There’s a feeling of safety and comfort around him that I suppose could be seen as Fatherly. I’ve always had a good relationship with my Father and he’s very kind and giving, also very sad and troubled which is hard to see.

I get the fantasy is a huge escapism, and if honest, sometimes feels like the only thing keeping me going. I don’t know if I could manage couples therapy, but think I should try it on my own, thanks for your post x

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (24 June 2024):

Hi, Dr Lady here again. I honestly do believe there are people out there like us too scared & embarrassed to admit their feelings - well definitely for me anyway.

You say you are plain & boring but it sounds like you have low self esteem so of course you will believe this to be true but I doubt it is. Personally you don’t sound boring to me - you come across as caring & articulate with a talent for Art which I am envious of as I can barely draw a matchstick man lol.

I’m sure you have plenty to offer him- he may wonder what he has to offer you.

Yes, there are no restrictions anymore, he isn’t your tutor & he sounds like a professional gentleman who respected his students, unlike the others- this trait is extremely attractive in itself.

You know he isnt married which is good - maybe in time you could find out his relationship status- the lady you saw him with could be a friend.

He invited you to his studio- that sounds promising- I know it’s awkward making conversation so before you next see him, maybe run some practice conversations in your head - think of things to talk about do it won’t be so awkward….

It’s good you don’t have a mortgage & you are a really good person for caring about your current partner & not wanting to leave him in the lurch. Just be true to yourself & do what feels right.

It’s different from an outsider looking in & telling you what you should do - for example if I was you I think Id be more selfish & put my own needs first especially after being together for so long & him putting himself first but everyone is different & you are a better person than me.

Yea, I can’t confide in anyone about my feeling for the Dr-my husband is a really good man & would be seen as the “bad person” so I just keep it to myself & on the odd occasion - like now t example I find someone in my position & I can talk freely about it, knowing I won’t be judged.

See if you can try to slip in his name in to conversation with your friends- they may be helpful - I know if I had a friend who was a patient of his I’d be more inclined to talk about it to see if they had similar feelings.

I don’t personally want to open up speaking to someone in therapy about this- I don’t want to be judged even though I know therapists dont judge but it’s not something I feel comfortable opening up about in person- obviously talking about it anonymously online is fine. This may change in the future.

However if you feel it’s something that would possibly help you then please do give it a try. You that have anything to lose.

I’m just going to continue in my daydream & hopefully one day things will make sense & I will magically just get over him (doubt it though lol).

The only thing that is clear for me is that if I ever see him again I will say “hi”- that’s my regret that I didn’t pluck up the courage last time. I found anything would come of it maybe I might get some closure who knows.

Do keep us posted if anything happens. Good luck xx

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A reader, anonymous, writes (24 June 2024):

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Dr Lady!… Thank you for replying again, I feel like I could talk all day about this to you, you know there’s people going through it and it’s finding them to talk to! I’ve found all the responses from everyone helpful and can see all points. I have been around a lot of dysfunction my whole life and it’s hard to pick out what plays into what. But ultimately when your feelings are so strong it’s hard to analyse everything, I can’t imagine anything could change my intense feelings at this point.

I’ve never thought to act upon them, and like you I’d never do a thing if the person was in a relationship, and myself. The reality of taking another path like you say is very scary even when the curiosity/temptation is strong. I know he’s not married, and I’ve only seen him along side a woman at an exhibition one time, but couldn’t tell what their relationship was so I’ve no idea if he’s single.

Like I mentioned in my reply to the other lady… in college, there were a few tutors who would openly flirt with students, my friend had one who would text her flirty things etc. But the teacher I like was extremely professional and would have never had any inappropriate interactions with pupils. I think cause he’s retired now and I’ve seen him around a tiny bit more, and has he not been my teacher for 14 years, I know there’s no rules there any more restricting it so maybe the thought alone excites me a bit. But I honestly couldn’t imagine in a million years he’d ever see me in that light. I’m very plain and boring and I don’t know what I’d have to offer to someone like him.

I do get to see him soon though, when I last saw him he said I could go to his studio where there are several artists, there was a piece of work I wanted. I always end up struggling for conversation because I get so flustered and nervous and feel so small.

I’m in a very lucky situation to not have a mortgage, my income is fairly low, and my partner has none, I’m not married, and the house is just in my name because it was in part some early inheritance. But regardless of what happened down the line if I separated from my partner I’d have to sell up and get him sorted with somewhere I couldn’t not help him out.

Sometimes I think if we weren’t together I still wouldn’t have the confidence to approach the teacher. I don’t feel there’s much positivity left in my relationship at this point, but I still love and care for him makes it so hard to put myself first. Even though reflecting on some other responses on here I think my partner in his own way is putting himself first within our relationship.

It’s good you have a good relationship with your husband, I can still imagine how hard it must be for you still harbouring those feelings though, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong in talking to him if you were to see him again, we all deserve happiness at the end of the day, I feel bad for how much I feel about someone else, but it’s kind of become my only happy thought. Obviously with your Dr, that’s harder again because it’s only you who knows him, so talking to friends is hard when they’ve nothing to go off. In my case, my friends know the teacher we were all taught by him! I don’t know if that should make it easier to talk to them about it or worse. I find myself trying to bring him up in conversations if friends are talking about college days.

Ido think I need to talk it through in therapy, have you ever tried talking about your situation in therapy? It’s horrible having what ifs and the curiosity whether you’re in a good relationship or not. I’m really glad I found this site to post on though, it’s really helped all the advice, particularly hearing from you whose gone through it x

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A reader, anonymous, writes (23 June 2024):

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Thanks for the continuing advice, I appreciate all advice, I’ll reply separately again as it’s easier… Regards to the very long post, thank you for taking the time to write all that, I can see your points and I think it’s only recently my relationship has become quite overwhelming and has made me panic about my future, because I’ve always been a plodder just going with the flow and to some extent it seems pointless making your own life plans when you’re in some ways restricted.

My family are very supportive and have helped me out a lot financially and they really are great people. When you’re in a family with a disabled sibling the dynamic is never going to be a normal experience, and the care is unconditional and forever. I don’t have as much freedom as some of my peers but my care for my sibling is my actual paid job and I’m very close to my sibling. I think picking up on some points you’ve made it does ring true, I’ve seen my parents have dysfunctional marriage, extremely difficult challenging times and bad mental health. They’ve never had much fun in their life it’s been mostly quite depressing from a daughter’s point of view. And as my partners decline has been quite gradual, I have just slipped into this role it’s all I’ve ever really known. And his needs are complex and when you’ve exhausted so many routes and therapies it’s difficult because he really doesn’t have anyone else and it’s become very daunting to me.

As a 19 year old, my partner then 29 always had a job, seemed independent, we didn’t have tons in common but at that age I wasn’t thinking what may be important to me in the future because needs and wants do change. I do try and keep up with my art but working 6 days a week doesn’t enable the artist lifestyle. I do try and keep at it and you’re right the world does need more strong female artists and thank you for the encouragement…narcissism does go hand in hand with my partners cptsd and it’s just really sad because he’s a good person who’s just very troubled and has many talents he just can’t seem to utilise.

I don’t really feel good for much and I spiral very easily, trying to find meaning can be so hard, and I think when I feel my lowest I definitely think about my former teacher most. He does come across a very caring person, and does ask how I’m doing, as he would others no different treatment to me that I’ve ever been aware of, he was the most professional of the tutors in college. I remember some who would openly flirt with students and text them, the teacher I liked would have never. He seems very respectful and it’s just hard to put into words how someone can make you feel. It’s like, even if I just got to be around him more it would lift my spirits, he really is just wonderful to me and I feel very confused but my heart does ache.

Caregiving in a relationship wouldn’t solely be a turn off for me. I think in my current one however it’s just difficult because there’s nothing fun, romantic or healthy happening anymore. He doesn’t leave the house and it’s like there’s just nothing left and I am quite a patient person and don’t yearn for big adventure. But I do crave romance and feeling loved and cared for too.

Thank you for the book recommendation I will definitely look at that and I do plan on seeking therapy I’m just trying to pluck up the courage to do it.

I will reply to Dr lady in separate post thank you x

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A reader, anonymous, writes (23 June 2024):

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Thanks for the continuing advice, I appreciate all advice, I’ll reply separately again as it’s easier… Regards to the very long post, thank you for taking the time to write all that, I can see your points and I think it’s only recently my relationship has become quite overwhelming and has made me panic about my future, because I’ve always been a plodder just going with the flow and to some extent it seems pointless making your own life plans when you’re in some ways restricted.

My family are very supportive and have helped me out a lot financially and they really are great people. When you’re in a family with a disabled sibling the dynamic is never going to be a normal experience, and the care is unconditional and forever. I don’t have as much freedom as some of my peers but my care for my sibling is my actual paid job and I’m very close to my sibling. I think picking up on some points you’ve made it does ring true, I’ve seen my parents have dysfunctional marriage, extremely difficult challenging times and bad mental health. They’ve never had much fun in their life it’s been mostly quite depressing from a daughter’s point of view. And as my partners decline has been quite gradual, I have just slipped into this role it’s all I’ve ever really known. And his needs are complex and when you’ve exhausted so many routes and therapies it’s difficult because he really doesn’t have anyone else and it’s become very daunting to me.

As a 19 year old, my partner then 29 always had a job, seemed independent, we didn’t have tons in common but at that age I wasn’t thinking what may be important to me in the future because needs and wants do change. I do try and keep up with my art but working 6 days a week doesn’t enable the artist lifestyle. I do try and keep at it and you’re right the world does need more strong female artists and thank you for the encouragement…narcissism does go hand in hand with my partners cptsd and it’s just really sad because he’s a good person who’s just very troubled and has many talents he just can’t seem to utilise.

I don’t really feel good for much and I spiral very easily, trying to find meaning can be so hard, and I think when I feel my lowest I definitely think about my former teacher most. He does come across a very caring person, and does ask how I’m doing, as he would others no different treatment to me that I’ve ever been aware of, he was the most professional of the tutors in college. I remember some who would openly flirt with students and text them, the teacher I liked would have never. He seems very respectful and it’s just hard to put into words how someone can make you feel. It’s like, even if I just got to be around him more it would lift my spirits, he really is just wonderful to me and I feel very confused but my heart does ache.

Caregiving in a relationship wouldn’t solely be a turn off for me. I think in my current one however it’s just difficult because there’s nothing fun, romantic or healthy happening anymore. He doesn’t leave the house and it’s like there’s just nothing left and I am quite a patient person and don’t yearn for big adventure. But I do crave romance and feeling loved and cared for too.

Thank you for the book recommendation I will definitely look at that and I do plan on seeking therapy I’m just trying to pluck up the courage to do it.

I will reply to Dr lady in separate post thank you x

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (23 June 2024):

I don't think the example of the women 'loving' her boss for years and then eventually getting together is a helpful comparison with your situation because you were effectively a child when you first developed feelings for someone who was unavailable, whereas the other example involved two adults.

It seems that what has happened is that you yourself have not done what the majority of people would do and gradually mature and develop and see this for what it was - an initially healthy, teenage crush.

Instead, whilst your life has continued in some respects, the part of you that had the crush has remained underdeveloped and effectively locked away.

Every time you see this man or his work its not really him that you are attracted to but what he represents about you yourself - a vastly unexplored realm in which you feel very different as a person and very far removed from the situation that you have now.

Significantly, for you, the possibility of loving and being loved in return is very key to maintaining this locked away and then reactivated fantasy.

Everyone needs a degree of fantasy. Life would be very dull without it. We would, like you, despair. Fantasy is complex and works to different degrees, with some aspects of fantasy being able to be woven into our life in a positive way.

But the bottom line is that fantasy is a form of escapism.

And it can be an escapism into all the unexplored parts of yourself that you simply don't know.

In a way, it is like a form of power when people feel powerless.

There is potentially something masochistic in what you are doing in handling your fantasy in this way. There are other, better, ways.

If this continues you will learn to enjoy the pain of what you are doing - totally denying your own needs (and I bet you don't know what they even are) to a partner who is effectively a child and also acting as carer for someone else. I

t's EASIER for some people to look after others, even when it's extremely complex and draining, because it means not having to face certain limitations, blocks, absences or fears in their own being.

it seems very obvious that you have naively been drawn into a situation, through lack of experience and, notably, lack of guidance from a healthy adult that you trust, and probably because you were conditioned into a caregiving, self-denying role early on, within family - a rather servile and 'selfless' stance in life - which so many women are conditioned into in youth and then can be the only safe space they have and the only mode where they feel they will be accepted by others in adult life.

You are basically doing unpaid caring labour for two people as a defence against having to go into full on adult mode and look at your own needs and address them. Many women are conditioned in this way, especially through being told they are selfish if they show their needs and desires; it's often when caregiving or labour is needed within a family that's struggling in some way, or dysfunctional or both; the family can't stretch to allow for the child / the emerging woman to become a full person because they need her to serve them somehow.

Women often go for unavailable men - unavailable due to marriage, position, age, etc because what is happening is that the absolute absence of normal emotional range from that person to the woman involved 'clicks' for her at an unconscious level as being familiar. She's only ever experienced this faulty range of emotions from those around her - for example, a family that doesn't engage with her need to create, or to travel, or to explore her ambitions or to make her own choices about anything; the emotions she should rightly feel in relation to these and other things are effectively not recognised by the family and the parents, so she's only ever exposed to this very limited range of emotions from them, and is effectively made to wait, and wait and wait endlessly, for the full range of experiences to 'kick in'. This waiting, this perpetual unavailability, is very addictive because it feels safe, like the only safe space she knows.

It's like connected an almost secret electrical wiring that is lying dormant in the psyche and then the fireworks and fairy lights and everything else is temporarily switched on when another unavailable person appears that seems to HOLD THE PROMISE of that full range of emotions but without actually delivering them, only for that circuit to be disconnected again when they are absent. The woman in question goes back to the painful but 'safe' space of suffering and doing without all over again. It's highly addictive. it happens when the woman, as a child, was not treated as a whole, loveable and loved being. She was short-changed without realising, usually very emotionally neglected without knowing, because others needs came first, usually worn away at during adolescence so that aspects of herself were never reached by her, never explored gradually and with confidence so that she can make the best decisions for HER life.

VERY often this happens to young women who grow up with parents who are mentally impaired AND some kinds of neurodivergence - ADHD - are EXTREMELY common, far more than doctors have ever admitted. this is why there is an NHS crisis about this condition now and a total lack of support for people who are caring for people who are neurodiverse. If you care for a neurodivergent person it can be like having your life stolen from you without you realising until it's too late. My bet is that your parents fell into this category - and it won't matter if it was your mother or your father because when we choose partners we tend to gravitate towards familiarity at an unconscious level, regardless of gender; you can 'replace' a mother with a male partner without realising it. This is especially where there is unfinished business in that adult - child relationship, and the unfinished business is that you simply haven't been allowed to grow and develop feeling fully loved and confident through exploring different needs, emotions and experiences and having these affirmed positively by a fully functioning parent.

You ARE enabling your partner in remaining a child and my bet is that this person is also a narcissist and you haven't realised yet. And you are offsetting the deadening and draining effects on you by maintaining this locked in fantasy as the only powerful thing you have. It's a bit like being a secret drug addict who takes hard core drugs to get by and then keeps trying to stop and go on with an awful life because they don't know anything else but feels somehow able to cope because they know they have this secret stash of drugs locked away somewhere. When what they need is to learn to address the fear of being seen as 'selfish' and to really get to know themselves in order to live.

Have you thought about actually BECOMING a female artist, rather than fantasising about a male one? The world NEEDS more female artists than it needs undeveloped women fantasising about male ones.

Work out all of your feeling through your art. Get onto some courses through local colleges. Get in touch with universities that offer art courses and ask for their advice. Get some therapy if you want to but be aware on the NHS it won't be that good - NHS therapy is simply designed to give you a basic input to either try to get you back to work or to keep you in work - any paid work mind you, not a great job.

It will help you to 'cope' but it WON'T probably be transformational. The transformation is down to you.

You read as creative, intelligent and articulate and very skilled in problem solving - albeit for others at this point in time, rather than yourself - so go online and really educate yourself about things like ADHD, caregiving, narcissism, unavailability and how it works - because this is extremely closely linked to ADHD. You might find the person you are giving your life to caring for is actually just a narcissist who wants the whole world to fit around them, and you especially.

The book "How to Stop Caregiving the Borderline or Narcissist" by Marsalis Fjelstad is the best book I've read on this subject, but there are others. And, if it helps, maybe think that what you're doing without realising it is caretaking for one narcissist - your partner - and actively seeking out your next narcissist - the art teacher whom you unconsciously want to care-take too.

You may not see it at all, and I know it will sound strange but, until you learn who you really are, there is something oddly predatory about what you are doing - without realising it, gravitating towards very needy, vulnerable people to caretake so that you can avoid looking at yourself.

A 65 year old male artist - and I know many, many of them - would probably snap you up in a moment if he sensed - and he will - that you would be utterly devoted to him and caretake to his needs. Male artists are typically unable to cope with real life and can be the most needy and selfish men there are, all the while seeming emotionally honest and sensitive - they are, but usually only to themselves. When you meet this man is he asking about YOUR art in any meaningful or helpful way? Is he giving you practical careers advice for your creativity? I really doubt it. You could probably easily get together with him. But the fantasy for you will wear off - you will find yourself sooner or later in a similar situation to where you are now. If you are lucky, it will be sooner, and you will realise you have to find ways to change yourself. Look to your OWN creativity and your own need to create. Find other artists' works and artists themselves to get involved with - read about them, go to private views to meet them, see the reality of what artists are really like rather than focussing only on this one older male artist. It's your own creativity that's locked away, and that's what will really 'give you wings' when you connect to it and explore it fully.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (21 June 2024):

Very often the person who seems out of our reach occupies a big space in the mind but it's fantasy only and often the need to escape from something real.

It could also be that you are seeking a father figure, maybe your father was sometimes absent and you wanted to see him more than you did.

Have you considered having couples counselling with your partner?

As regards crushes, I can relate to that. It's all consuming and only happening in the mind.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (21 June 2024):

Hi, I’m the lady with the former Dr Situation. I too haven’t ever spoken about my feelings to anyone- not friends of family for the fear of being judged & being told it’s a crush & to get over it. I totally get it, we shouldn’t be ashamed really but I guess society may make us feel that way.

We are so alike I could have written this myself! I’m in to older men too- always have been, I honestly think I’m an old soul as like you I was never interested in young fit men (aside from a couple of boy bands) but I’ve always liked older men like Michael Caine, Harrison Ford, Clint Eastwood - you get the picture…. I was always told I was weird so over the years I don’t discuss my celebrity crushes. I find older men are more interesting & sophisticated & have class.

Ironically my husband is only 9 years older than me- I always thought I’d marry a much older man.

I too have older friends in general as I prefer their company- I was never into drinking & clubbing like my peers, I always preferred a nice meal & theatre trips instead.

Feelings are so strange, they can lie dormant for a bit & then bam - they are back stronger than ever putting you in a spin- an emotional rollercoaster.

I used to get so excited about my drs appointments & then feel so low after thinking I wouldn’t see him for several months id literally yearn for him!

I really wish I had answers. But it’s obvious to me that you are very fond of your ex teacher & he makes you happy be it his art work or a little comment . Do you know if he is married or in a relationship?

I do feel for you - the only thing I can suggest is maybe next time you see him talk to him a bit more- I think the only way you will get any closure is to test the waters- I don’t mean disclose your feelings for him immediately but just general chit chat - see where it leads, suggest a drink or whatever you feel comfortable with….. small steps.

If he makes it clear he’s not interested or married then be strong & walk away & make peace with the fact that got an answer- it may help you move on.

Otherwise if he does show interest then you really need to reconsider your current relationship & pursue a life with your ex teacher - who knows it may all work out wonderfully but unless you try , you never know but I get there always a risk of things not working out as you hoped.

You need to weigh up what you feel is best for you- will you be happy going through life always wondering? Or will you be happy finally getting an answer -even though it might not be the one you want to hear?

You shouldn’t settle for a life you don’t want - ironic coming from me as I personally feel it may be too late as I’m married & have a mortgage etc…. So it’s be harder to walk away than if I wasnt tied down…. I’m not sure of your situation- you aren’t married but if you have a mortgage together it could be tricky.

To answer your questions:

1. Yes my relationship with my husband is good as in he’s a really lovely man, a good provider, he’s caring & loves me & treats me well.

2. Do I see myself with him forever…. This is tricky to answer…. Even though I love him I do feel over the years my love has faded….. and because I always fantasize about a life with this dr I wonder if i actually do love my husband because if I did I shouldn’t be thinking about this other man. I like the idea of being with someone else but id be scared of the reality of it, if that makes sense.

3. If I saw the Dr again yes I would approach him - see how he is, be friendly - I regret not talking to him that day. I doubt he’d even remember me but I’d definitely go speak to him.

If I was single & he was single then I’d probably flirt & hint to have a drink etc….. but I wouldn’t be a home wrecker or cheat on my husband- even though I guess I’m emotionally cheating on him.

One of the other posters suggested look in to therapy a qualified therapist may be able to break things down for you making it easier to deal with.

But overall I don’t think we are the only people who feel like this- i honestly believe everyone at some point feels the way we do but maybe not as long as our “crushes” have lasted. Don’t feel bad about it.

Listen to this….

My friend was totally in love with her boss- she’s a bit like us, in to older men etc…. He was married with kids so she never perused it & he had no idea she liked him.

She ended up leaving that workplace as she was promoted to manage another branch so they didn’t work together anymore.

They were friends on Facebook & She crushed on him for over 10 years… when he got a divorce she asked him out for a drink… Fast forward- they are now living together & expecting their 2nd child. He apparently was in love with her too over the years but couldn’t do anything about it. See, sometimes it does work out.

I do really wish you the best of luck & please keep us posted xx

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A reader, anonymous, writes (21 June 2024):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

To the lady with the Dr situation…Thank you so much! I cried reading your response because I’ve been so desperate to hear/talk to someone in a similar situation, it feels so isolating the fear of being judged telling a friend is scary. Thank you for sharing and I can completely empathise with you.

I was exactly the same as a kid I felt so out of the loop…

Even as an 8 year old, I’d watch Willy Wonker and drool over Gene Wilder, I think that was my first celebrity crush.. from then on all my crushes have been older men, whether it be celebrities, friends fathers, and if ever a younger man, someone from a different era like Charlie Chaplin! Whilst my peers would swoon over muscly young builders, id be ogling the old man across the street with the intriguing eyes dressed like a librarian! In a craft group I used to participate in, there was a much older man perhaps mid 80s and he was so captivating I’d sometimes fantasise about him…

I think overall, it’s both a physical and emotional response to older men. I have nothing much in common with my peers, and I don’t mean that as in I’m more mature or sophisticated.. I literally feel like I’ve been born in the wrong era and find modern life extremely alienating and hard. I really connect with older people, even friends (which I don’t have many if) but the majority are double my age.

But back to what you were saying with your Dr.. other crushes are fleeting and felt very normal just butterflies in the stomach and get on with your day. But then your Dr remains in your thoughts and fantasies… this is exactly how I feel. When I had my college crush, it was nothing more, some taboo fantasies being a curios adolescent… caring about what he thought of my work. Then when I left college, I was focused on my new relationship, and I was just so flattered someone took interest in me that was a little older having never had anyone before, I didn’t think of the teacher for some time. But gradually and I can’t pin point it to an exact time, it just started coming back.

I remember being at a low point, and I was at an exhibition staring at this amazing artwork I couldn’t take my eyes off, then my friend enlightened me that it was our former teachers work, and I though, of course it is, everything he does draws me in. I get to bump into him once a year, and it’s so thrilling and intense for me the excitements unbearable and then when it’s over I feel like someone’s stabbed me through the heart and just sob. He’s always pleasant and any tiny comment like ‘you look well’ just fuels the desire so much.

When you used the word grief I can relate to that so much and it makes me feel crazy but it does become a feeling of grief :( Everything you’ve said is relatable to me… I’ve spent many sleepless nights with this huge fear that time will pass, he might pass, and I’d of never gotten to tell him how I’ve felt, the thought fills me with despair and guilt. I don’t want to encourage or fuel you when I feel like I’ve lost the plot but the same goes for you, anything’s possible and you wouldn’t really know unless you approached the situation which does feel inevitably impossible. Sometimes I wonder if it would selfishly be enough, to take the weight off my shoulders and tell him, but that just be that.

I really care about my partner, sometimes I think I’m bound to be curious of another path because I couldn’t foresee this one, and most people I know haven’t only ever had one long term partner. Is your relationship with your husband good ? Do you see yourself with him forever? Do you think if you saw your old Dr again you’d approach?

It’s really good to talk to someone who’s gone/going through it, I appreciate it so much 3 x

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A reader, anonymous, writes (21 June 2024):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

To the lady with the Dr situation…Thank you so much! I cried reading your response because I’ve been so desperate to hear/talk to someone in a similar situation, it feels so isolating the fear of being judged telling a friend is scary. Thank you for sharing and I can completely empathise with you.

I was exactly the same as a kid I felt so out of the loop…

Even as an 8 year old, I’d watch Willy Wonker and drool over Gene Wilder, I think that was my first celebrity crush.. from then on all my crushes have been older men, whether it be celebrities, friends fathers, and if ever a younger man, someone from a different era like Charlie Chaplin! Whilst my peers would swoon over muscly young builders, id be ogling the old man across the street with the intriguing eyes dressed like a librarian! In a craft group I used to participate in, there was a much older man perhaps mid 80s and he was so captivating I’d sometimes fantasise about him…

I think overall, it’s both a physical and emotional response to older men. I have nothing much in common with my peers, and I don’t mean that as in I’m more mature or sophisticated.. I literally feel like I’ve been born in the wrong era and find modern life extremely alienating and hard. I really connect with older people, even friends (which I don’t have many if) but the majority are double my age.

But back to what you were saying with your Dr.. other crushes are fleeting and felt very normal just butterflies in the stomach and get on with your day. But then your Dr remains in your thoughts and fantasies… this is exactly how I feel. When I had my college crush, it was nothing more, some taboo fantasies being a curios adolescent… caring about what he thought of my work. Then when I left college, I was focused on my new relationship, and I was just so flattered someone took interest in me that was a little older having never had anyone before, I didn’t think of the teacher for some time. But gradually and I can’t pin point it to an exact time, it just started coming back.

I remember being at a low point, and I was at an exhibition staring at this amazing artwork I couldn’t take my eyes off, then my friend enlightened me that it was our former teachers work, and I though, of course it is, everything he does draws me in. I get to bump into him once a year, and it’s so thrilling and intense for me the excitements unbearable and then when it’s over I feel like someone’s stabbed me through the heart and just sob. He’s always pleasant and any tiny comment like ‘you look well’ just fuels the desire so much.

When you used the word grief I can relate to that so much and it makes me feel crazy but it does become a feeling of grief :( Everything you’ve said is relatable to me… I’ve spent many sleepless nights with this huge fear that time will pass, he might pass, and I’d of never gotten to tell him how I’ve felt, the thought fills me with despair and guilt. I don’t want to encourage or fuel you when I feel like I’ve lost the plot but the same goes for you, anything’s possible and you wouldn’t really know unless you approached the situation which does feel inevitably impossible. Sometimes I wonder if it would selfishly be enough, to take the weight off my shoulders and tell him, but that just be that.

I really care about my partner, sometimes I think I’m bound to be curious of another path because I couldn’t foresee this one, and most people I know haven’t only ever had one long term partner. Is your relationship with your husband good ? Do you see yourself with him forever? Do you think if you saw your old Dr again you’d approach?

It’s really good to talk to someone who’s gone/going through it, I appreciate it so much 3 x

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A reader, anonymous, writes (21 June 2024):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Thank you all for these responses (lady with similar situation with former Dr, please bear with me to reply to yours separately thank you!) …

I really appreciate advise, I’ve been looking into therapy and always have tabs open on my phone trying to pick one… I’ve had NHS therapy many years ago and it was helpful but I’m thinking of private to save the wait… you’re right though I am quite depressed. I have had depression and panic disorder all my adult life and have been off meds for over a year now. I feel like whilst I was on meds for many years, I become quite numb and wasn’t as bothered by things which served well in some areas, but in others I feel I let go of boundaries and respecting myself and just plodded along with things.

When I met my partner at 19 I thought he might be on the spectrum but didn’t suspect much more, he always held down a job and we’d do normal things like go out for dinner or little weekends away…fast forward fifteen years and the decline has been so gradual it’s hard to notice it till you look back then look at where you are :s now, he hasn’t worked for three years, won’t leave the house, sleeps nocturnal. We don’t go or do anything together other than watch tv, he’s tried countless therapies but his problems are so complex nothing seems to help and he has no one but me so the pressures very real and consuming. It would be easier perhaps if I no longer cared about him but i do. However the thought of this being it for me fills me with despair. I am already a carer for a close family member and worry about my future. I worry I’ve enabled his complacency with putting every responsibility on me :s

I will definitely look into therapy more although I am terrified talking about it all… And (other replier) you’re right, I don’t really know him that personally, I’ve only ever seen him in a wonderful light which isn’t necessarily the reality…

Thank you for taking the time to read and reply it means a lot x

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A reader, anonymous, writes (21 June 2024):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Thank you all for these responses (lady with similar situation with former Dr, please bear with me to reply to yours separately thank you!) …

I really appreciate advise, I’ve been looking into therapy and always have tabs open on my phone trying to pick one… I’ve had NHS therapy many years ago and it was helpful but I’m thinking of private to save the wait… you’re right though I am quite depressed. I have had depression and panic disorder all my adult life and have been off meds for over a year now. I feel like whilst I was on meds for many years, I become quite numb and wasn’t as bothered by things which served well in some areas, but in others I feel I let go of boundaries and respecting myself and just plodded along with things.

When I met my partner at 19 I thought he might be on the spectrum but didn’t suspect much more, he always held down a job and we’d do normal things like go out for dinner or little weekends away…fast forward fifteen years and the decline has been so gradual it’s hard to notice it till you look back then look at where you are :s now, he hasn’t worked for three years, won’t leave the house, sleeps nocturnal. We don’t go or do anything together other than watch tv, he’s tried countless therapies but his problems are so complex nothing seems to help and he has no one but me so the pressures very real and consuming. It would be easier perhaps if I no longer cared about him but i do. However the thought of this being it for me fills me with despair. I am already a carer for a close family member and worry about my future. I worry I’ve enabled his complacency with putting every responsibility on me :s

I will definitely look into therapy more although I am terrified talking about it all… And (other replier) you’re right, I don’t really know him that personally, I’ve only ever seen him in a wonderful light which isn’t necessarily the reality…

Thank you for taking the time to read and reply it means a lot x

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (19 June 2024):

As an RMN my first advice would be to seek therapy on your own . If your in the UK go see your gp and ask them to advise you on your current mood shifts. To me you seem rather sad n depressed but you need a clinical diagnoses not a online one. They may suggest medication to help elevate how you feel, that's all good n dandy but won't cover the underlying issue that your not content in your relationship and though you don't say the word settled, that's what comes to mind . That you have settled with foregone comfortable. You also have the dramatic shift of bring that as a carer, which means your wife status takes a seat while you become the person who takes care of all your partner physical emotional mental spiritual needs, while in my opinions yours have been benched . It maybe that you need therapy on your own to make headway to what you want in life . Maybe you crave done thing else, maybe this is a low ebb and you need supported, whatever it is . YOU MUST I stress this put yourself first .

Don't rush.. get advice ..get support ..go to therapy n then decide . Hugs

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (19 June 2024):

Awe bless you- it choked me up reading this as it feels like something I’m going through.

I doubt what I have to say will help but I just want you to know you are not alone & you aren’t going mad, unless I am too then we both are lol!!!

So ever since I was in my teens I’ve had hundreds of crushes- boy bands, teachers, dentists, friends fathers etc.. you name it….always older men lol! Each time I always was convinced it was love but after a few months/a year or so they’d subside so I knew it was just a crush.

In my early 20’s I met my husband & for a long time I didn’t develop any crushes - I figured me growing up I’d grown out of it… well I was wrong….

The year before I got married (I was 32) I started seeing this Dr for some health issues, the guy is 25 years older than me, average looking & married but I was so drawn to him- from the first time I stepped in to his office it was like a jolt in my stomach - I can’t describe it, I just felt we belonged together. Crazy I know! I developed the hugest crush on him probably the deepest & longest I ever had.

Of course I kept it professional-I couldn’t risk compromising Dr/patient care - the guy never had a clue, thank god & I know nothing would/could ever happen.

On occasions I’d think maybe he liked me - you know - noticing stare that went on a little longer than necessary, a small compliment, a witty joke, a long lasting smile etc…. But maybe I read too much in to it?

He was on my mind 24/7 - what upset me the most is on my wedding day all I could think about was him - instead of looking forward to marrying my husband I wished I was marrying this guy instead.

Part of me wanted to be the runaway bride, run to my dr confess my feelings for him & live happily ever after with him but it doesn’t work like that…..

I guess that was a red flag which I just pushed to the back of my mind I figured loads of patients crush on their drs, it’s normal as they are caring & nice etc…. & that I’ve i settled in to married life it would pass (fyi it hasn’t)!

We went on honeymoon for 3 weeks & I couldn’t wait to get back to have my appointment with him- I must be the only bride happy to get back from honeymoon to see her Dr!

He continued treating me for another year & then discharged me as I was better. I was gutted - I actually cried over it for a couple of weeks- I had to lie to my husband & say that I was having a tough time at work. Luckily he believed me but it was such an awful few months knowing I’d never see him again- I actually felt like I was grieving.

I figured out of sight out of mind would be beneficial, I threw myself in to Zumba classes, tennis lessons- overtime at work, anything to distract myself & as time went on it did get a little easier but he was always at the back of my mind.

I saw him once about a year ago - he was walking his dog, he’s in his late 60’s now & I just froze & my heart my wouldn’t stop pounding (he didn’t see me) but those few seconds of seeing him bought me right back to where I was 9 years ago- like you my feelings intensified & I get the whole heart exploding thing. I cried when I got in my car.

I wish I had got the nerve to speak to him & see how he was etc…..

I’m now 41 but I still think about him & miss him & in my head fantasize about a life with him.

Sometimes I panic thinking what if I read the obituaries & he’s in there & I never got to tell him how I felt.

Im sorry you aren’t in a good place with your partner it does sound a little toxic so maybe rethink your relationship with him & move on- i do understand this difficult when someone is reliant on you.

Im just wondering if the feelings for your tutor is exactly as you said- because of a happier time? He’s almost like a safety blanket for you so as you are having a hard time with your current partner the tutor brings you to your happy place & you are transferring those feelings on to him?

I’m no expert- I’m just as confused as you hun. Don’t be too hard on yourself.

To be fair who knows if he wouldn’t return your feelings? Maybe he would? Anything is possible. But unless you get the courage to try& explore you’ll never know (same for me) but it’s easier said than done.

I hope someone else can be of more help & please take care of yourself.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (19 June 2024):

The joy of a fantasy connection is that reality will never read its ugly head and ruin it all.

You have no intention of jumping ship and docking your partner while you run off into the sunset with the fantasy man!

It's all very well to dream about a fabulous connection etc but the reality is that you know very little about this guy. He may be difficult and demanding when he is not in his public persona. I am aware that teachers have to project themselves as wonderful, confident and knowledgeable.

But the reality can be mindblowingly different.

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