I have a crush on my teacher

Having a crush can be exciting, erotic and… illegal? Well, if you have your sights set on your educator, it just might be. So, what happens if you have sex with your teacher? Here's what you need to know if you have a crush on your teacher.

A young woman is looking over her shoulder. She has a crush on her teacher. This is a wide-angle image.

Thinking ‘I’m in love with my teacher’? You’re not alone

If you’ve developed feelings for a teacher or lecturer at your school or university, don’t panic – you’re not alone. Agony Aunt Anita Naik estimates that 2% of her letters are from people who have developed crushes on their educator. And when you think about it, it’s actually surprising that the numbers aren’t higher. We mean, there are nearly five million students spending up to 40 hours a week with teachers and lecturers at schools and universities across the UK. These things are bound to happen.

What if your teacher fancies you?

Sometimes the attraction between teacher and pupil is mutual and the relationship ends up becoming physical.

“My teacher was 37 and I was 18 when we first got together,” says Julie from Sevenoaks. “I was going through a tough time at home and he noticed, so I confided in him. He hugged me and complimented me. At first, I just thought he was trying to make me feel good about myself. Then, several months later, he asked me to babysit for him. I agreed and one night, whilst his wife was out, he gave me a hug and asked if he could kiss me. I said yes and it developed from there until I had sex with my teacher.”

Is it illegal to have sex with my teacher?

Thinking, “I have a crush on my teacher” or even, “I’m in love with my teacher” is a world away from actually having sex with them. So as well as exploring how to deal with a crush, we need to break down what the ramifications of a physical relationship are.

Having sex with your teacher is a criminal offence. In fact, it’s been illegal since 2001 for teachers in the UK to have sex with a pupil at their school who is under 18. But that doesn’t mean it’s completely stopped happening. For instance, in 2009, 26-year-old public school teacher Helen Goddard was incarcerated for 15 months for having an affair with a 15-year-old pupil.

We know what you’re thinking… you haven’t said anything about people ABOVE 18. So, yes, technically, there are no laws against sleeping with a lecturer if you’re legal. But universities and colleges generally discourage these types of relationships and you could both end up in serious hot water if you get caught.

“I don’t advocate breaking the law. However, it’s still important to be aware of the consequences if you do,” says Julie. “The last thing you’d want is your parents finding out or the teacher’s name in the papers, on social media, or worst case scenario, them ending up in prison. I never went out on dates. But the teacher I was seeing did take me out to a pub near his house for lunch once, which I thought was really risky. Otherwise we usually just drove off to quiet places in order to spend time together.”

How to get over your teacher

“Having feelings for a teacher is perfectly normal,” explains British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy fellow Philip Hodson. “It’s actually a part of growing up. As you get older, you need to start making decisions for yourself, so you look for role models. If you’re at school that means teachers. We borrow glamour, confidence and a sense of learning from these people, but that doesn’t mean they feel the same or that you’re going to elope and start a life together.”

The reality is that thinking “I have a crush on my teacher” is probably as far as that relationship is gonna go. And that can be pretty painful. Not to mention that on top of making you feel sad and awful, prolonged heartbreak can also affect your friendships and even your exam grades.

“I get letters from people who can’t concentrate, sleep or eat properly because they’ve told themselves, “I’m in love with my teacher”,” says Anita. “If you find yourself in that situation you have to be very strict and keep your feelings in check. Reminding yourself constantly that your feelings are never going to be returned, for practical, moral and legal reasons oughta do the trick.”

Concentrate on their flaws

Completely and utterly harsh? Of course. But it’s possible, according to Philip Hodson.

“One way to get over your feelings is to treat it like any other crush. Try to concentrate on the teacher’s bad points,” he says. “When we’re in love with someone we tend to think they’re wonderful and, by comparison, everyone else is totally awful. But nobody is perfect and you can use negative aspects of character to help refocus your thoughts. That way you can start to bring the subject of your affection down off the pedestal you’ve put them on.”

If you can’t stop muttering “I’m in love with my teacher” under your breath, check out The Mix’s article on unrequited love for some support on getting over them.

How do I break up with my teacher?

We hate to break it to you, but most crushes and relationships involving teachers and their students just don’t work out. Usually they just fizzle out, as Julie’s did when she left school to go to university. But moving on can still be hard, so you need to be clear with yourself, and them (if you’re an item), about what you want.

“Breaking up might seem a potentially terrifying experience but you need to remember it’s for the best. If you stay in that relationship, then you hold the power to basically end their career,” says Phillip Hodson. “You should be confident, or at least try to appear confident, when you end things and there’s absolutely no need to be vindictive. Instead, be kind and explain firmly that you understand what has gone on and that it has to stop, otherwise it could end really, really badly.

Have you ever had a crush on your teacher, been in love with them, or even had sex with them? Get support from the community on our discussion boards; you can post anonymously if you prefer.

Next Steps

By Nishika Melwani

Updated on 17-Apr-2022