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  #11  
Old 05-24-2012, 04:49 AM
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samines samines is offline
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Originally Posted by km34 View Post
I've never really understood why it's okay for professors/instructors at colleges and universities to have close, personal relationships with students but it generally isn't well accepted if they are close, ROMANTIC relationships. I mean, does the fact that you love someone romantically impact your impartiality in professional arenas more than loving someone like a sibling/son/daughter/other family equivalent? Baffles me...
Haha, you know... I was just searching my school's website for a student-teacher dating policy (I figured "dating" wasn't the word they'd use, so I was searching variations of "student teacher relationship") and... I've yet to find one (maybe our school doesn't have a policy??) but it sure looked like they were telling me to go for it. Every mention of "relationship" was something like "...encourage faculty to built strong relationships with the community..." or "...allowing students and instructors to form close, supportive relationships..."
Well, I thought is was funny

Seriously, though, I can see how there are differences... mainly, if there're two relationships going on, "student/teacher" and "child/parent" are fairly compatible... the obligations from each relationship might be tugging in different directions, but I don't think they'd really be "conflicting". In both cases, the teacher/parent does what's right/in the best interest of the student/child, and the student/child deals with it.

When it's a romantic relationship, it's supposed to be two peers on even ground. Sometimes you have to respect what your partner chooses, even if you think it's the wrong choice. That's where a "conflict of interests" comes in- as a teacher, you have the authority and the responsibility to overrule your student if necessary; as a partner, you can talk it through but ultimately your partner decides. If the line between being "the teacher" and being "the partner" gets blurred, even a little, it could be a huge problem.
In the same way, as a student, I respect and defer to my teachers(& other faculty at my school)... if that ever spilled over, even a little, into a partnership, I wouldn't be advocating for myself the way I need to.

(Let's just pause here for a minute... I'd like a cookie, and if that sounded "very mature" and "maybe you really have thought this through" I'd love to hear some encouragement.
Okay, moving on now.)

Quote:
Like BP said, there are usually official channels to go through to have relationships acknowledged so that A could protect himself HOWEVER he is already married, so more than likely the college isn't going to accept it since it would not just be a student-teacher relationship, it would be an extramarital one (which, let's face it, most people are going to label an affair even if it isn't).
Yes, I expect they will. Which is one reason I'm glad to be on a poly forum where I can share the whole story...
What do we do about this? If we start a relationship, and if we decide we want to go about it "the right way" by informing the college... how should we react to the poly-hurdle?

I don't know how this works... do they give "special permission" to allow the relationship, or is it already our right to pursue a relationship, and informing the college is the proper way to cover our bums?
If they don't have veto power to begin with, I can't imagine them having veto power because it's extramarital. I can imagine them doing everything they could to stand in our way, but in theory we would have the upper hand, right?

Quote:
I also understand your desire to push through with it no matter what if A and/or E make a move, but you have to wonder if A is thinking clearly. If you are willing to rush into something saying "screw the consequences!" why wouldn't they? Crazy NRE sweeps everyone, so while he may be willing to risk professional credit right now, is he going to feel the same way in a year? Two years? Do you want to risk him having serious consequences to be with you and then regret it? You've got the right idea about talking, talking, and talking some more to make sure you're on the same page, but I just wanted to throw the possibility of him regretting it (not necessarily regretting YOU, but regretting impetuous action on a relationship with you) out there. Is that a hurt you are willing to risk?
I got happy, just thinking about being wanted so much that A's not thinking clearly. *giggle*

Right! Serious issue to deal with here. Right.
No, I don't want that to happen. I don't want to be the cause of that, I don't want it to happen, I don't even want to risk it. I want to do this the right way. I believe that we have every right to pursue this relationship, and I'm willing to jump through whatever hoops are necessary to have it recognized as such. Of course, if A & E want any sense of privacy, that'll limit the options some, but I'll let them reign me in when we talk this through.

I guess the problem comes when we have to compromise... between privacy and advocacy, between doing the accepted thing and doing what we want, between the practical thing and the right thing... possibly between doing what I want, and what A wants, and what E wants, although hopefully we'll be close to the same page...
I don't know, I don't know where I'd draw the line. On any of it. But I swear up and down that I'm trying to figure it out, that I won't just throw the consequences out the window.

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Another think you may want to make sure they are aware of is you inexperience in dating as an adult. The less experience you have in serious, adult relationships the more likely you are to make mistakes. This isn't a bad thing, it's just the way it is. Experience brings the ability to cope with things more effectively. Luckily, you are reading up so you should avoid some of the mistakes or at least be able to handle them a bit easier!
It's actually nice that you pointed this out... I'm very much buried in how young and inexperienced and naive (well, maybe not so much that, lol) I am... but you're right, it's not a bad thing. It's just another thing, another thing to think about and talk about and remember.

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There are a lot of issues here that you need to figure out for yourself, let them figure out for themselves, and then talk about and all of you figure out together! I wish you luck... I don't envy your position.
Definitely are. I'm not so upset with my position, though... I think it'll work out. I'm still waiting for some... sign... the "things are escalating" was short-lived, everything dropped off and I'm suddenly confused. Of course, my mind is going a mile a minute with all this stuff to think through, so it feels like "forever" but I guess it's only been a couple days since the last borderline-flirting.
Anyhow, that is the more frustrating part right now- still not knowing if this is all in my head. I know all this other stuff is important... but it's not such a big deal, if someones love me All this advice is definitely part of the process, but in the end I'm sure we'll figure it out.
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  #12  
Old 05-24-2012, 05:08 AM
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samines samines is offline
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I didn't quote your whole post, because I'm not sure how to respond to parts of it. But I promise I did read, and I am really trying to consider, all of it.
This part I can say something about, though...

Quote:
Originally Posted by hyperskeptic View Post
On the personal side, I have to wonder how much trust and openness there can be in a relationship in which there is a real power imbalance. It seems to me motives would always be suspect: Does the student really love the prof, or only the status and possible advantage the prof might bring? Does the prof really love the student, or is the prof just getting off on the abuse of power?
I definitely hear what you're saying, but it barely applies to my situation, as far as I can tell.
I'm not in A's class, and although it sounded interesting, it's an elective I can definitely skip it if it means a relationship with A and/or E. A's not a department head or an administrator. He's the advisor for multiple clubs I'm in but the student/advisor dynamic is a lot more flexible than the student/teacher one, it's a lot more of a partnership from the onset.

Honestly, I see is very little power imbalance or ulterior advantage to this particular relationship, if it happens. The biggest thing would probably be time-management- I already ask A for help with a lot of events and ideas I've tried to pull together, and I wouldn't want something as stupid as a college luncheon (well, the favor-asking that goes with that stuff) to screw up our relationship. But we can talk that through, and it really wouldn't be the end of the world if I had to take a step back from organizing campus stuff together. I can definitely find another teacher as a platonic friend so that A isn't my go-to faculty guy.
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Polyamorous.
Overuses smiley faces.

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  #13  
Old 05-24-2012, 05:30 AM
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Ummmm, just my two cents.

All other issues aside...the fact that it is against most (if not all) school policies for a faculty member to be 'amorous' with students, this girl is only 18 and these supposed potential 'partners' of hers are her GODPARENTS?!?!?
Oh, nope, that is the couple that already turned me down. Two years ago.
And btw, I didn't grow up with them as my godparents. I met them when I was already in puberty (barely, but nonetheless at that mental/emotional point) and they became my godparents because we had a very tight, but yet-undefined, relationship.

Quote:
Again, all other issues aside, isn't anyone else concerned about the health of this thought process or relationship??
I've actually had to think this through a little too, so anyone who has an answer please shout it out.
Try to explain exactly what's wrong with it though, (setting aside the godparents thing, possibly re-reading at least the OP) because I came to the conclusion that no: it's somewhat odd, and quite inconvenient, but it's not unhealthy.

Quote:
Samines, you are 18! You are young, beautiful, full of life! Go live life, date whoever you want, and stop worrying about what some 30-something year old couple may or may not want from/with you. It's not worth the drama.
I... know... but...
This is who I want to date.

I know on some level it sounds like I'm hung up on some issue, like I'm looking for someone to use me and protect me, but these people are incredible. They're kind, they're adorable, I get this giggly-lovey-butterfly feeling when I see them, or talk to them, or hear their voices from across the room... I don't know where it's going, and I'm not trying to pin myself into some lifetime without exploring everything else that's out there for me, but I'm falling for them. So it is totally worth whatever it takes, just for a chance to try to make it work.


(Oh, and remember... I'm a teenager. Drama follows me EVERYWHERE. This is nothing special on the drama-scale.)
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  #14  
Old 05-24-2012, 05:50 AM
km34 km34 is offline
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Originally Posted by samines View Post
(Oh, and remember... I'm a teenager. Drama follows me EVERYWHERE. This is nothing special on the drama-scale.)

This worries me. Drama didn't follow me when I was a teenager. I purposefully separated myself from drama in high school and by the time I got to college I was done with it. Sure, there are bits of drama that can come up in various relationships but if a relationship = drama more often than not, I'm out. It's not worth it. There are some people that I've had in my life that I have loved dearly, but I had to tell them that I could NOT have their drama-filled influence in my life. They chose drama over me. I'm okay with that. I miss them, but overall my life is better because of it.
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  #15  
Old 05-24-2012, 05:56 AM
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Originally Posted by samines View Post
I'm not in A's class, and although it sounded interesting, it's an elective I can definitely skip it if it means a relationship with A and/or E. A's not a department head or an administrator. He's the advisor for multiple clubs I'm in but the student/advisor dynamic is a lot more flexible than the student/teacher one, it's a lot more of a partnership from the onset.

Honestly, I see is very little power imbalance or ulterior advantage to this particular relationship, if it happens. The biggest thing would probably be time-management- I already ask A for help with a lot of events and ideas I've tried to pull together, and I wouldn't want something as stupid as a college luncheon (well, the favor-asking that goes with that stuff) to screw up our relationship. But we can talk that through, and it really wouldn't be the end of the world if I had to take a step back from organizing campus stuff together. I can definitely find another teacher as a platonic friend so that A isn't my go-to faculty guy.
It does change things - very slightly - that A is not in a direct supervisory role over you.

Even so, the power imbalance exists, and it is real, because of the institutional context in which you interact.

You see, conflict of interest isn't just something that can be worked out between the individuals in a relationship. It's a matter of context.

To be a member of a college or university faculty is to take on a particular role, one that has many benefits, but one that also brings with it serious responsibilities. Other people - students, parents, colleagues, the administration, and the broader public - have certain reasonable expectations of people who fill those particular roles.

One of those is that I not allow outside relationships - personal, financial, or whatever - to cloud, or potentially cloud, or even seem to cloud my professional judgment. If I come across to students, parents, colleagues, etc., as the kind of person who would pursue a sexual relationship with an undergraduate student - any undergraduate student, not just the ones currently in my classes! - then I will seem less worthy of the trust placed in me, and my department and my institution would be tarnished accordingly.

Why should parents allow their children - whose arrival at "the age of consent" is a mere legal convention unconnected to the reality of neurological development - to attend a university at which lecherous old profs are to be found?

It doesn't even matter if the prof really is lecherous. Where professional ethics is concerned, the appearance of wrongdoing can be as serious as the reality.

In my case, I work at a state university, so I am in effect an officer of the state in which I reside. The chain of command runs from me, to my department head, to the dean, through the provost, and from there all the way up to the Governor himself! I have obligations to my institution, the state, and even my profession in addition to my obligation to my students to treat them each fairly and equally, without playing favorites (or even seeming to be the sort of person who could play favorites)!

My own desires, the promptings of my heart, don't even enter into it, let alone any deal I might privately try to work out with a particular student.

You brought up the parent/child relationship in connection with the teacher/student relationship. The two really are quite different, and the obligations of each can easily come into conflict. I would not allow one of my children to take a class I was teaching, because there is a conflict in the way I would think about "their best interests" in the two different roles.

As a parent, I may be expected to place my child's interest ahead of the interests of other children; that's what parents do. As a teacher, I am reasonably expected to treat all my students equally, and not even appear to do otherwise, and also to take into account my institution's interest in having meaningful grades attached to meaningful degrees.

Finally, even if A has no direct supervisory role over you, he still has authority where you are concerned. Suppose he ended up on a faculty committee that considers petitions from students, and you need to file a petition. Or suppose he is involved in developing curricular policies that would have a direct affect on your course of study. Or, given the times, suppose he was involved in a decision to cut one or more programs from the academic offerings of your school, and your degree program was on the block. Or, suppose he ends up becoming Dean of Students, or even Provost.

Et, voila! Full-blown conflict of interest!

In the end, all these words come down to a simple point: It's not just about you, not even about you and him; it's about the context.
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Last edited by hyperskeptic; 05-24-2012 at 11:27 AM.
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  #16  
Old 05-24-2012, 06:00 AM
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This worries me. Drama didn't follow me when I was a teenager. I purposefully separated myself from drama in high school and by the time I got to college I was done with it. Sure, there are bits of drama that can come up in various relationships but if a relationship = drama more often than not, I'm out. It's not worth it. There are some people that I've had in my life that I have loved dearly, but I had to tell them that I could NOT have their drama-filled influence in my life. They chose drama over me. I'm okay with that. I miss them, but overall my life is better because of it.
This was entirely an off-hand comment.

Insecurity and... well, mostly my drama is insecurity... and we'll mention insecurity, for good measure...
It's not that drama is part of my relationships, it's that drama is part of my mind. And not so much that it's bad, I think.

It's just... growing up.

And I'm okay with it; it's because I'd rather jump head-first into a discussion like this and consider everything than to ignore it while I'm waiting for it to play out. It means my head's a little chaotic at times, but it's just the way I process things. With the bonus of being quite well-prepared when a situation does play out
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  #17  
Old 05-24-2012, 02:10 PM
CherryBlossomGirl CherryBlossomGirl is offline
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A couple of random thoughts that I had after reading more of your thread...

I understand that you're super into this couple, and that's a fantastic experience in itself already. I'm just wondering if you're aware of how many couples there are out there that would bend over backwards just to take you out on a date - did you know that you're called a "unicorn" in poly terminology? Just thought it might be worth mentioning, as so far it seems like both of your serious attractions have been to couples, and meeting a couple that has no authority over you, or responsibility (other than to treat you with love/respect, of course) over your life might be a more plausible set up to pursue relationship without societal encumbrances looming over your potential love. I definitely can see that now may not the time for this, as you've developed feelings for this particular couple, but I do think that it's worth mentioning as food for thought.

Another thought I had was: If the three of you end up pursuing a relationship with each other, and it grows serious, do you think that you would be willing to change schools to protect A's professional status? I totally blanked on what km pointed out: He's already married, so said form would probably not do a lot of good. Sorry for not putting 2 and 2 together in regards to that/giving you false hope. This is kind of putting the cart before the horse, but it might be worth giving some thought to.

I can totally understand the fear of rejection, but I also think that there is a lot of power in having all the information, and the only way to have that information is to be honest and communicate your feelings to them.
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  #18  
Old 05-24-2012, 02:53 PM
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BrigidsDaughter BrigidsDaughter is offline
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Originally Posted by newtoday View Post
Ummmm, just my two cents.

All other issues aside...the fact that it is against most (if not all) school policies for a faculty member to be 'amorous' with students, this girl is only 18 and these supposed potential 'partners' of hers are her GODPARENTS?!?!?

Again, all other issues aside, isn't anyone else concerned about the health of this thought process or relationship??

Samines, you are 18! You are young, beautiful, full of life! Go live life, date whoever you want, and stop worrying about what some 30-something year old couple may or may not want from/with you. It's not worth the drama.
No, the first couple she was interested in, when she was 16, were her godparents. They turned her down. She is now interested in a professor and his wife at her college that she met through a school activity.
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  #19  
Old 05-24-2012, 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by BrigidsDaughter View Post
No, the first couple she was interested in, when she was 16, were her godparents. They turned her down. She is now interested in a professor and his wife at her college that she met through a school activity.
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Originally Posted by samines View Post
Well, I'm pretty much past mooning over that at this point (I figured some background couldn't hurt, I think their rejection is part of why I'm so nervous now), but now I'm back in poly-lovesick-puppy-mode. New couple...
Yes, I got that when I went back and reread the post. I missed two words "New Couple" at the end of a rambling paragraph. Thanks.

I still don't agree that someone who is 18 needs to be involved in the potential drama of 30-something's that teach at the school she attends.

Nobody wins if that goes south.

Quote:
Originally Posted by km34 View Post
This worries me. Drama didn't follow me when I was a teenager. I purposefully separated myself from drama in high school and by the time I got to college I was done with it. Sure, there are bits of drama that can come up in various relationships but if a relationship = drama more often than not, I'm out. It's not worth it.
I'm with you there km34. I purposely separated myself from it too in high school, university and throughout my adult life. Seeking it and expecting it is asking for trouble.

I am not so quick to offer congrats to her on being poly. Is it really a realization at 18 that you are ploy? Isn't it more a function of being young and exploring what the world has to offer you? When I was 18, I dated multiple people too, but not because I was poly, it was just what we did when we were young. I now consider myself to be predominantly mono.

I just think that she could do better and have much more fun in the meantime.
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  #20  
Old 05-24-2012, 03:57 PM
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BrigidsDaughter BrigidsDaughter is offline
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I knew I was poly at 19, but didn't have a word for it yet. It was not an experiment or something I grew out of. Almost 12 years later, I'm still poly.

Personally, I'm glad that there are some teenagers who are becoming adults with the idea that there is not one right way to do relationships.
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