8/27/08

Christine's Answers From The Big Book of Queer Girl Rules

Today’s Letter comes from a confused 23-year-old undergrad who has a serious thing for her professor and thinks the professor may feel the same…

But also worries she maybe just a diversion ...

She asked Christine just what she thinks she should do about it....

Dear Christine,
I am a 23 year old college student and I am in a pickle, so to speak. For a year now, I have had these strange feelings about my former professor, who is 38. At first, I thought it was because she was so different from anyone I had met previously, and I wanted to get to know her. I worked for her in the office, would often babysit her children (she is married) or go to her place for a little "mature conversation". We attended a conference together this year. I was getting really strange vibes from her. She often found ways to bring up the topic of lesbianism, and touch me. One night, I even woke up to see her standing over my bed. I freaked out and started yelling at her. She was always telling me to end it with my boyfriend and expressing her unhappiness in her marriage. I finally got the nerve to confront her about how I feel. She was very understanding, even when I expressed it may be more than a "girl crush." We still talk as usual, but it seems she never addresses the issue, or I always feel that it's a bad time to bring it up. She often expresses the desire to see me, and even invited me out of the country with her, but I am afraid of the awkwardness, or what I would be getting myself into.
Help!
Confused in College


Dear Confused in College,
It sounds like you both fell for each other which is completely okay.

Having feelings for a woman is not something you should be giving yourself a hard time over.

We grow up in a heterosexual society that rewards us for following its rules and norms. This makes it scary to step outside of those heterosexual ways of being. When I went to my first high school dance with a boy, my mom threw a dinner party, drove to two different malls in search of the perfect dress and shoes, and took an entire roll of photos of me and said boy, which she still likes to pull out from time to time. Later in high school when my parents figured out that I was sleeping with my best female friend, a person they'd known and loved for years, they threatened to send me to church camp in order to get the gay out with god. Our experiences teach us how important acting heterosexual is in order to be accepted by our families and communities. The good news is that when you yourself begin to appreciate that it's okay for you not to be heterosexual, others begin to follow suit. Working with a counselor really helped me to challenge deeply held negative ideas I had about being gay. This made me confident to challenge the negative ideas of others in day to day life. It might be important to start talking to a counselor at either your local gay and lesbian resource center or your college mental health center. Both should offer low or no cost services.

I'm even more concerned you speak about your sexuality with someone besides your professor. I'm confident in saying she knows exactly what your feelings of attraction are to her. Rather than being supportive of you or even open about her feelings for you, she is using your interest as a distraction from her own personal problems.
While having feelings for another woman outside of a marriage is more than understandable, manipulating you in to lying and cheating with her is not. It sounds like your professor has a lot of personal work to do before she could ever be ready to engage in an open supportive conversation about your feelings. I would love to see you find a therapist, some friends, maybe a student support group where you can talk about your feelings.

You need to let your relationship with your professor go so she can stop abusing your attention and affection.


1 comments:

LadyLazarus24 said...

Christine,

Thank you so much for this very sound advice. I,too, was in a situation with a married female professor. Things blew up when I refused to be sexually intimate with her and word of our feelings for eachother got out; consequently, I had to deal with feelings of betrayal because when I refused to be manipulated into lying for her and cheating with her she became abusive towards me. I wish I had been able to take the advice given to me and realise that her actions have nothing to do with me and she needs to work on herself first. What you said about the professor is so true and I really hope the young woman who wrote the letter takes your comments to heart.

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