Q: I have been attracted to my former teacher for a while now. He is smart, attractive and an absolute delight to be around. There is an age gap of 20 years between us but I don't mind it. I have tried to broach the subject to him a few times and he has just brushed it aside. How do I get him to take me seriously?
Ans: You are very clear about how you feel about your teacher but put yourself in his shoes for a moment. He might not be taking you seriously because of various reasons. Maybe he is not attracted to you and you will have to accept this. It hurts, but truth is that, we cannot be liked by everyone. That doesn’t mean that you are bad or unattractive. You are just not attractive to him.
Unrequited attraction is hard but sometimes longing for someone from a distance can be as fulfilling as a relationship, or even better. He might also be socialised into believing that large age gaps in relationships are wrong. You might not mind it but he does. He could also be feeling that he is someone in a positions of trusted authority and doesn’t want to abuse that. Can you change these perspectives based on his beliefs and values?
There is no harm in trying but be ready for rejection too. Initiate with an open conversation, be vulnerable and express your feelings. Feel free to engage him on age gap relationships and have clear points on why you think age, and his position of trusted authority, don’t matter.
Being able to discuss social constructs with a coherent argument might make himchange his mind about you. How you handle rejection will tell him about your emotional maturity. Being able to tolerate your emotions is a sign of maturity, that could also lead to achange inhis stance towards your age.
Please refrain from approaching your former teacher if you are not over 18. He could get arrested for enticing a minor even if you are initiating this.
(The writer is an Intimacy & Relationship Coach and an Independent People and Culture Specialist focusing on relationships, sexuality, youth and social media in South Asia. Have a query? Send it on firstname.lastname@example.org)