Should I kill myself if my teacher reacts badly to my love for him?


Hi Prem,

Thank you for writing in.

It sounds like you are living through a very difficult and confusing period. First, you are coming to terms with your sexual orientation. I think you are saying that you see yourself currently as mostly attracted to men and consider yourself as “gay.” I congratulate you for your self-awareness and your courage: it is not easy to be able to know this about yourself and to share it with others (even if it is for now just Alterheros). Do you know other young gays in your town or city? The support of people who have previously gone through coming-out experiences is important at a time like this. If you do not know anybody, you may want to join a group online. What about your family? Do they know? How would they react if they knew? Is there one family member (or perhaps friend) whom you trust and whose support you can solicit while you go through the process of defining and strengthening your identity?

The reason I am asking these questions is because I sense that you are quite distressed regarding your feelings toward your teacher. At a time like this, we often need the support and guidance of a friend. I would love to know more about your teacher. How old were you when he started teaching you? What was it about him then that made you attracted towards him? Was he always a fair teacher, or did he do some inappropriate things? Why do you think you are so much more attracted to him now? What is currently the nature of your relationship? Is he still your teacher? This may make telling him more complicated. Is he in an intimate relationship with someone? How do you think he would react if he knew?

I wish I could know the answers to these questions.

I also wonder – if you are in a friendly relationship with him now, and he is no longer your teacher, can you ask to see him and talk to him? Perhaps tell him first that you are gay, and see how he reacts? Give him some time to adjust to that information. According to his reaction, you may decide to tell him that you are attracted to an older man. Again, his reaction would guide your actions.

However, if he is still your teacher, telling him about being gay and that you are in love with him may be more difficult. If he is still your teacher, it would also be inappropriate for him to engage in a relationship with you (while he is your teacher) and/or you may find his behaviour more distant–which may make you feel sad and rejected.

I see that you are very much in love with your teacher, long for him, and have the feeling that if you are without him, life is not worth living. I would like you to ask yourself: what is it about this person that makes me feel so in love? so attracted to him? The answers to these questions give you hints about who you are and about who you may be attracted to in the future. The truth is that some relationships are not meant to be. Sometimes, it is because one person is in a position of power over the other (like being someone’s teacher). It may be very hard, but we must learn to live with it. Can you think of a place where you can meet gay men of similar age that may have some of the same characteristics as your teacher? Are there some activities that you can do to get your mind off your teacher? Do you have hobbies? Some people also find spiritual activity very helpful in going through difficult times like these. Do you have a close friend that you can talk to about your feelings?

You say something that really makes me worried: that if you do not tell your teacher about your feelings for him, you would kill yourself. If you are having suicidal ideation (thoughts about killing yourself, making a plan to kill yourself, acquiring the means to go through with your plan), I would urge you very strongly to talk to someone about it now. Do you have a trusted friend? Is there an anonymous crisis or suicide hotline that you can call for advice or support? We are not located in India, so unfortunately I am unable to provide the most relevant resources for you, but googling “suicide hotline india” gives some numbers and addresses (e.g. you can look at http://www.suicide.org/hotlines/international/india-suicide-hotlines.html).

Please do write back if you have any more questions or if you feel that more information could help us answer you better.

Rimma, for Alterheros.


About Rimma Orenman

She has a B.A. in Anthropology, an M.D.C.M. degree from McGill, and has started her psychiatry residency, also at McGill, in 2008.