Patricia Redlich

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Teacher Seduction

11th October, 2009


I am a mature, 23-year-old student from a very dysfunctional family and am fortunate to have a beautiful girlfriend. Two years ago I encountered a problem with my mother - my father is dead. I needed financial support which was not forthcoming. I related my problem to a teacher at my college, a person I considered very solid, who offered good practical advice and found me part-time employment which helped me over several hurdles.

The problem is, that as time went by, I found myself leaning more and more towards this man, who is in his mid-forties and has a wife and four children. As a conversationalist he was terrific and I learned a lot from him. He understood my difficulties, took me under his wing, and continued to give me guidance. On one occasion he had to travel abroad for a couple of weeks and I asked if it were possible to accompany him for part of the trip. I needed to get away and my girlfriend gave me every encouragement to travel. He agreed - reluctantly, I might add - and I joined him over a long weekend. We had a great time together, nothing untoward happened, and I learned a lot from the experience.

Six months ago, I asked if it were possible for both of us to go away for a night as there was something I wished to discuss with him, in private. We stayed in a hotel, shared a room, talked for hours, and during the course of the night, he fondled my penis. I did not object. Indeed, I felt relaxed. Now he continues to fondle me from time to time, just for a few seconds, and it never goes beyond that. It is very much one-way. Meanwhile, my relationship with my girlfriend has not been affected.

OK, it might be construed that this teacher is using me. I don't see it that way. Strangely, I have no objection to being fondled. My life has changed in other ways. I have grown in confidence, created a new circle of friends, and am happy with my lot. This person is not obsessive, and I don't believe that he has groomed me. I have complete freedom and we only meet at my discretion - maybe once a week. Your thoughts would be appreciated.

My thoughts are simple. Why on earth are you so ungrateful? You had a generally unhappy family situation, a specific critical problem with cash - presumably threatening your capacity to continue studying, a teacher you approached for help who came up trumps, and what do you do? You create a situation of temptation for him - not once, but on an on-going basis. Why would you do that?

This man rescued you. He didn't just provide a once-off intervention. He took you under his wing, as you put it yourself. He filled a huge gap in your life, intellectually and socially and emotionally. This wasn't something he forced on you. You asked. You needed it for your own growth. And he gave it to you, with generosity. Why, then, would you hurt him?

Yes, he is a weak man. No, he shouldn't be doing what he's doing. And yes, his behaviour is ultimately his responsibility. But why don't you care for him enough to say no? Indeed, why don't you care enough to strongly recommend he get therapeutic help? He's your friend. Can't you be a friend to him too?

You're right, he's not grooming you - and didn't groom you. You were 21 years old when you approached him, and you made the running. Of course his weakness was already there. And of course his weakness is not your fault. That doesn't let you off the hook, however. You know what you're doing. In practical terms, if nothing else, you're putting your friend at such personal and professional risk. And I'm asking you, why?

You're wrong about it being one-way. It's not. Yes, I know you mean that you play a totally passive role in these sexual encounters. But being passive is just one way of being involved. It's one of the roles we play. You are engaging in the interaction. More, you're initiating it by turning up. This is a two-way process.
You're wrong, too, to think that this does not affect your relationship with your girlfriend. Yes, I understand that you mean it's not affecting your sexual contact. But everything we do impinges on our relationships. The effect can be subtle - like avoiding any questions about where you're going when you set out to meet your friend, or lying afterwards, or even just omitting to say, when you recount how your day went. Keeping a secret, in other words, changes communication. Or the effect could be severe. How will she react if she finds out? At the very least, you're putting your relationship with this girl at risk.

You tell me you come from a dysfunctional family. I always hesitate to respond when that concept is floated. It can mean much, or little. It does seem, in your case, that somewhere along the line you lost your moral compass, or failed to develop an adequate one. It's possible you misguidedly believe you're doing this man a favour, somehow showing gratitude. Perhaps, confronted with his need, you savour an unconscious sense of power which makes you feel emotionally safer. Perhaps you've transferred, as psychologists might put it, your anger at your parents onto this hapless human being who befriended you, and unconsciously seek to bring him down, or at least place him in some danger. Or perhaps you hunger for that passive homosexual role, are addicted if you like. Maybe that's the damage done in your unhappy past. And if so, that's very sad.

I don't know what you think. I do know that the bottom line is decency and respect, both for yourself and for your friend. You need to end this relationship, and get therapeutic help, if necessary, in order to maintain your distance.
Irish based professional therapist and journalist. Website By : Deise Design