Dear Prudence

Help! An Intoxicating Fantasy About a Professor Is Taking Over My Life.

There is an age gap…

Woman in a lab coat with hearts in her eyes.
Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by BartekSzewczyk/iStock/Getty Images Plus. 

Every week, Dear Prudence answers additional questions from readers, just for Slate Plus members. Submit questions here. (It’s anonymous!)

Q. Inappropriately Attracted: I’ve recently started a doctoral research program and I have a massive crush on my supervisor (he’s a man, and I’m a woman).

We’ve become friends as well as colleagues and enjoy chatting and texting outside of academic stuff. There’s an age gap but it isn’t so big as to be a barrier to a relationship. I can tell he’s attracted to me as well because he checks me out subtly, and from what I know of him he wouldn’t ever act on it as it’s inappropriate given the power dynamic. I won’t act on it either because it’d mess up my work. But I can’t stop fantasizing about what might happen in four years when I’ve finished my program, which is driving me crazy. How can I make it stop?

A: You just have to let it run its course. Suppressing it and trying to get over it will only make it more thrilling. Give yourself permission to have your crush and think about him as much as you want. Remind yourself that it’s normal—and that this kind of infatuation is normally based on a fantasy version of a person. I promise that as long as you don’t actually cross a line and escalate the relationship, you’ll eventually get bored and move on.

More Advice From Slate

I had a professor last semester who I am really, literally in love with. She’s married with a kid and I think straight, so it’s not something I would ever even attempt to act on. I’m fairly sure she knows I have a crush on her—it’s not subtle—and my guess would be that she finds it flattering. She just offered to be my adviser, and I was obviously ecstatic and said yes. The problem is, I have a couple of tattoos related to her…