In love with my teacher?

TLDR – I have romantic feelings for my 49 year old teacher who is married and has kids.

I’m a 17 year old girl, just graduated high school and for a while now, I think I’ve been in love with my grade 12 English teacher. Now, I know what literally anyone over the age of 17 is thinking right now: “Pshhht, just another stupid girl with a stupid crush. What would a 17 year old know about love?” And I totally agree. I know what I’m feeling can’t be love, but at the same time, I can’t find a better way to describe it.

I first met this teacher (let’s call him Mr. M) when I was in grade 10. I was visiting the city I was about to move to over my spring break to figure out where I was going to be going to school there. Not really much of a decision to make, since there was only one school in that city that offered the IB programme. Mr. M was the IB coordinator at the school and he was the one we had to talk to about me getting into the school. Long story short, the IB programme was initially already full, but Mr. M managed to somehow make space for me anyways.

I didn’t really see him much during my grade 11 year, but I do remember the leftovers of my good impression of him from the first time we met going down the drain after a particular incident involving my wanting to change my courses. I should probably also mention that I’m the type of person who can hold a grudge to hell and back, so my resentment towards him was definitely still bubbling at the back of my mind when we got our timetables for the grade 12 year.

In grade 12, I had two blocks of English and while there were 3 other IB 12 English teachers and most people got two different English teachers for the two blocks, I somehow got Mr. M for both of my English blocks. I wasn’t exactly thrilled about this at first, but that would definitely change throughout the year.

Despite the fact that I went into his class thinking that I was going to hate it and despite all the bad things I had heard about him (how intimidating he is, in particular), within the first week, he had won me back with his sharp wit, sense of humour and just his general demeanour.

I tried (and struggled) to ignore the slight twinge of something-or-other that I felt when I realized that he had actually gone through all of the “get to know you” writing exercises he had us do at the beginning of the year and written his genuine comments on them, when he told me that my writing in a short piece of prose I had written for a presentation was comparable to some of the professional authors that he read and just generally whenever he looked me in the eyes for long periods of time while teaching.

I really tried not to read to much into these feelings and made an active effort not to explore them further, but the turning point where these feelings I had turned into something more concrete was in February. My mom had just been to talk to him about concerns that she had about me getting into university and he called me in after class one day to talk to me one on one about what she had said to him and what he had told her.

This was something that I greatly appreciated, mainly because of the fact that all throughout my life, parent-teacher interactions have been kept so hidden from me. We talked about a lot of things, ranging from my goals in life to my relationship with my parents and objectively, there was absolutely nothing even remotely romantic about the situation, just a man doing his job, so I’m not sure what it was about that afternoon that made me fall for him harder than ever.

Three of the things that stood out to me the most from that conversation were:
1. He told me that he thought I would do well in the arts, and throughout my life, I’ve only ever been told that I’m a very scientific and mathematical person. It surprised me, and I liked it.
2. He told me that he had told my mom that I would do well as an author in the future. It had been over 8 years since I had been praised so highly for my writing and I was really happy about it.
3. He said that when I get upset, it radiates outwards and affects the people around me negatively, so I need to learn to control it. Given the way he worded it, I normally would have gotten fairly angry, but I didn’t because it was 100% true and to me, that showed that he had been paying attention to me. It’s actually pretty hard to express how much those words affected me. Even to this day, I still try to hide my anger by laughing and making light of it more than I ever have before.

Since then, I’ve been painfully aware of him every time we’re in the same room together. It’s not like I stare at him, but I definitely glance over at him a lot and during presentations, I look over at him to see which jokes he laughs at and what his reactions are to certain lines. It’s also gotten to the point where I’ll make an effort to dress up nicer, wear makeup and put a little more swing in my step when I’m around him. I took some pictures with him at the prom (which he only showed up to for about 30 minutes) and my heart was pounding the entire time.

I know he doesn’t see me that way, I’m not deluded, and I am also very aware that he has a wife (who is a teacher at the same school, mind you) and two daughters who he is very happy with. Obviously, I’m not a homewrecker and I would never want to do anything to break up his family, and I’ve never made anything even remotely resembling a move on him, but the feeling is just kind of there and I don’t really know what to do with it.

Apart from the romantic feelings, I’ve also noticed that some sexual feelings have also developed and I’m sure it’s just the teenage hormones or whatever, but man, this is kinda scary. I mean, he’s not exactly my age and I’ve never thought about anyone his age in that way before.

I know there are definitely other girls who go through this, but I feel like my case might be slightly different. I know that there’s like a group of girls at my school who all have a crush on the chemistry teacher, but that’s kind of understandable since he’s only 30 and he looks 21. He also has a cheerful, kind personality and he’s really fun to be around.

On the other hand, I don’t know of anyone else who has a crush on Mr. M. He’s well known around the school for his death glare and intimidating personality, in addition to the fact that he’s 49 this year (that’s 4 years older than my parents) and he looks his age. He’s got grey hair and a slight beard that he keeps trimmed short to the point where it’s halfway between beard and stubble. His stomach isn’t exactly flat, but he’s far from being overweight, and he needs reading glasses.

Not exactly what you would expect from the object of a 17 year old girl’s love, right? Currently, no one that I know knows about this and I plan to keep it that way, but after graduating, the fact that I won’t be able to see him again is kind of hitting me. Oh, that, and he has mentioned many times that he doesn’t remember students from previous years. Like, ever. Which is kind of sad for me.

I mean, I’m not stupid, I know I’ll probably be over this by October, but I just kinda wanted to share this with someone. If you’ve got any advice or similar stories, please feel free to share them with me. It would be much appreciated.

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