I appreciate all of the thoughts very, very much. I have never even *entertained* even remotely the possibility of ever being sexually involved with students or former students, beyond the level of fantasy. I do find it sexually arousing at times to be around what are essentially adult sexual bodies of young women who dress and act very frankly and provocatively. It is a distracting and sometimes disturbing part of my profession these days. But I would never violate the trust placed in me. It's just not in my repertoire.
This young woman is the first to continue to pursue a friendship with me after graduation. Well, except for a few young women who are now in their 40s, 30s and late 20s. (I've been a teacher for 23 years. I have one former student who is 40 and has three children). So this is the first time I've even had the opportunity to be in anything other than the teacher/student role. The path that has felt right has been to let her have her father figure deal going on but hew very close to adopting that role in a strict sense, as a mentor, a resource, a source of guidance, a shoulder to cry on. I think I lose all credibility and any opportunity to be truly helpful if we embark on a physical relationship.
The timing of it is very bizarre. It feels to me like a test thrown my way by the universe.