News and Opinions

Letters to Ling: Blurring the Lines

on . Posted in Advice Column.


Facing a problem with your life, your sexuality, relationship, family et cetera? Write in to our advice columnist, Ling, with your problem. All emails are confidential and your anonymity will be preserved.

Dear Ling

I am in my mid-20s and have been heterosexual, or so I believe.

Recently, I took up a course and my teacher is a female. I wasn’t attracted to her initially, but over time, as I attended more lessons, I felt something. I like to chat with her, I like the way she laughs and smiles, I like her mannerisms. She is a sporty and tanned woman who is older than me by a few years. She has short hair and behaves quite like a tomboy.

We chat a lot during lessons, so over time, we got to know each other better. Both of us are pretty open so we chat about almost everything under the sun, from pets to family. She also gave me her number so that whenever I have queries about the course, I can text her and she would always reply. Sometimes we would make small talk over SMS as well.

During one of our chats, I decided to find out if she was attached. She paused for quite a while before telling me that she doesn’t intend to get married. She said that she prefers a carefree lifestyle and gave me a bunch of reasons why she was not suited to marriage life. At the end of the day, I failed to derive an answer and so am still unsure if she’s straight or gay.

Are there any tell-tale signs/ traits that would indicate to me that she’s not straight? Would I be able to hint to her about my feelings?

I’m also concerned that I may be barking up the wrong tree and offend her if I make any wrong assumptions. It would then affect our student-teacher relationship, which I do not hope to encroach. I still wish to complete the course under her guidance and supervision.

Confused Student


Dear Confused Student,

It is quite common for people to develop crushes on someone who is perceived to be a mentor figure in their lives. Given that you have been spending some time together and are able to click with each other, it is not surprising to find out that you have developed a liking for her.

The question now is whether or not you should pursue these feelings.

It is never easy to find out whether or not someone is gay or straight. There are no foolproof tell-tale signs or traits. For some people, they may even deny being gay if they are not comfortable with being out to you. Therefore, what I would suggest is to slowly sound her out. You have expressed that it is easy for you to be open with each other, so you can begin by asking her what kind of people she likes to date. You could also ask what she is looking for in an ideal partner and what she finds attractive. In return, you could share with her on how you have met women whom you are attracted to. This will allow her to know that you are open to the idea of being gay and it may be the door to her opening up to you.

Taking her cue from these conversations, you should be able to derive if she is gay. If she is not, you will now know that your feelings will not be reciprocated and can move on. If she is, then you will have to decide on how to proceed from here.

I would suggest that you do not pursue this until it is firmly established that you have a friendship outside of the student-teacher relationship. For most people who are in a teacher position, it is considered unethical and unprofessional to date their students. It may also cause unnecessary awkwardness between you both.

If you are both in the agreement that you are now friends instead of simply being student and teacher, then it would be easier to approach her and express the feelings you have for her. However, do keep in mind that as with every crush, there is a chance that she feels nothing but friendship for you. Either way, you must be prepared for the repercussions on your student-teacher relationship. You may want to hold off telling her until you have completed the course you are taking.

I hope the above advice helps and look forward to hearing good news from you ;)


Please send your emails to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., with your preferred pseudonym. Do note that all opinions and views expressed in this column are the author's, and does not in any way reflect the views of Sayoni or its members. By writing to the author, you accept the terms on which this advice is offered, with the clear understanding that Ling is neither a professional therapist, therapist/psychologist, counselor, nor in the business of giving advice, and she does not accept a duty of care or a contractual obligation in responding to your email. Sayoni disclaims all liability for the consequences of following the advice of the author of this column, howsoever they might have been sustained.

Add comment

Security code

Sign up to receive announcements and updates