Dear Annie: People often say that one should never get involved in an office romance, but it's too late for me.
I am a 23-year-old woman who got involved with my much-older boss, a professor whom I was assisting while working on my graduate degree. In an academic setting this is frowned upon, so we kept it secret for more than a year.
The problem, however, is that it was incredibly difficult for me when the relationship came to an end. I stopped working for this man, but now find myself adrift both emotionally and professionally in the department. And I never anticipated the professional retribution from him and from my peers.
I have lost more than I can describe. No one ever talks about student-teacher relationships, but they happen all the time. I can handle the heartache, but how do I handle the professional fallout? Former Teacher's Pet
Dear Former Pet: While we cannot condone your behavior, the truth is, your professor is the one at fault. He abused his authority by taking advantage of his position over you, and he should have known better than to get involved with a student.
Inform this professor that he will immediately stop penalizing you for the affair or you will report him to the head of the department or the dean of the school. You made a mistake, and now you must deal with the consequences. So should he. You also might consider looking at another school to finish your degree. And make sure that professor writes you a decent recommendation.
Dear Annie: I'd like to reply to "Hopeless Epileptic," who had a seizure while on a date. I have a suggestion.
In addition to seeing-eye dogs and hearing-ear dogs, these days we have specially trained dogs to alert epileptics before a seizure so that they can get to safety before the onset. The advantage of having such a dog is twofold. First, he has a companion to help him. Second, a dog is a great conversation starter and a good way to meet people.
I live north of Purdy, Wash., where the Purdy Women's Prison is located. These women began training seeing-eye dogs, and the project grew. The inmates now train dogs for other special needs as well. They have an excellent reputation. This idea might be worth looking into for that gentleman. Port Orchard, Wash.
Dear Port Orchard: Thank you for your wonderful suggestion. Here's more on the subject:
From N.Y.C.: I went to lunch with a nice young man who, while walking to his car, had a full-blown epileptic seizure. I went with him to the hospital, but I was very angry. If the seizure had happened a few minutes later, when he was driving in the middle of very fast-moving traffic, we both might have been killed. His epilepsy wasn't the date-breaker. It was not knowing about it in advance.
Midwest: My husband is a kind, funny, generous and loving man, and an epileptic who has suffered from grand mal seizures since he was 14. He told me about his epilepsy on our first date, and we discussed it openly. What likely was upsetting for this man's date was not that he had a seizure, but that she was unprepared. I also will say that my husband is proactive in his health care and does not regard his epilepsy as a disability.
Any woman worth dating will choose the wonderful qualities in a man over his epilepsy -- but he must be honest. I say to "Hopeless": Stop looking at yourself as a liability, and women will stop seeing that. Give yourself some credit -- and give us some, too.
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