I am a professor at a local university. I am in my early 30s, divorced, and generally not optimistic about the female gender. Like a proper asshole, I have started dating a student. I know this is a cliché and a bad idea, but isn’t that what makes it fun?
This is where it gets interesting: I actually like her. I have been through at least a dozen women in the last year, and she is different. I am not planning mistake number two here, but I am thinking she is relationship material. She is in her mid 20s, blonde and tall (hell yeah), and smart and fun to be around. She just moved here last summer for school. Her long-term boyfriend broke up with her when she moved. She was on the losing end and extended an invitation for him to visit whenever. Now he is coming for the holiday weekend, and I don’t know where that leaves me. She explained that her feelings for me complicate the situation, but she doesn’t feel like she can tell him he can’t come. She extended the invite before we met and claims she didn’t actually expect him to ever come. I do not want to fuck this up with a pissing contest, but I am not comfortable with her having sex with him. I want it to be just fine and we can pick up where we leave off when he leaves, but it’s not likely. I am prone to jealousy and I hate sharing.
The whole professor-student relationship thing complicates matters, as I have to pretend we are just that, not even friends really. This leaves out confiding in almost all of my friends I have here as well. So let’s hear what you have to say.
— The Bad Professor
Dear Bad Professor,
As long as you don’t have patches on your elbows and drive a convertible, I am willing to look the other way and discuss your relationship woes. I feel relatively safe assuming that there are more professors and students getting it on than admit it. It’s on the TV, in the movies, in the popular music kids listen to. In this case, everyone is legal; it’s not like you’re a middle-school teacher. Is it in poor taste, and does it threaten the value and quality of the young woman’s education? Absolutely! Will anyone besides her parents, your boss, and the dude who’s failing your class really care? Nope. I say this to ease your conscience a little. You still need to keep this to yourself unless you want a really complicated future.
Feeling jealous of an ex-boyfriend who’s coming to stay with the woman you are seeing is totally natural and, I would even say, justified. If she sleeps with Mr. Ex, you’ll find out the hard way just how important she is to you, what you really want from her, and what you have to offer in return, but you are correct that you will lose if you get into a pissing contest with either him or her for control of the situation.
If you don’t want her to sleep with him, I suggest you kindly ask her not to sleep with him. She can avoid sex with the ex without telling him she’s moved on. She has a great excuse to just say no: He dumped her when she left to pursue self-improvement via higher education. She may need you to put it in these direct terms — not with an ultimatum, but a request. Because you are both hiding the relationship, it may feel less real than it already is. Neither of you has the validation that comes from the acknowledgement of others that the relationship is actual and the other person is not just keeping their engine warm.
You are going to have to accept the answer she gives to your request. You will have to trust that she is being honest. This doesn’t mean that you can’t decide that this is not what you want and move on, but you can only do it fairly by giving her the option to live up to your expectations and the relationship itself.
Much love and a lot of luck,
Your Uncle Mat
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