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Did I do something wrong? Am I at fault?

Ginger_roll
Community Member

Recently, I got into an awkward situation with my tutor, who I have become friends with over the sessions. We still got work done and had friendly conversations about things that were about our personal lives. Overtime I also started developing feelings for him but never said anything. Then last month he was telling me that he was in his girlfriend's house and that they started dating 5 weeks ago and how they met through mutual friends. I was sad but happy for him too. I noticed over the online tutoring session, he started whispering at random times. I asked him whether or not he was ok but he just said "I'm just talking to myself and I guess to you." He noticed I was upset and asked me if I was ok twice. I then said I'm ok and that sometimes I worry about making him feel awkward about saying things that might be too personal. He then said "I know that I'm your tutor, my time is paid and I'm a bit older than you, but if you need me, I can be your friend". Then I said that I was going to be sad about him leaving to the UK. Then he said "Don't worry, I'll be back next year". I was then given hope that he'd like to be friends with me after tutoring and my final year of high school, which is what I'd like since we have spoken about our personal lives and got closer. Then, I mentioned the whispering in our next session and he gave me a different answer saying "I was just upset, that you were upset". Then the next session, I opened about my concerns of his relationship since I have never heard him whispering over a zoom and he gave me different answers to it and his relationship seemed to have progressed really fast. He then got defensive and started telling me that we shouldn't talk about our personal relationships and getting into our personal lives will complicate things because he is my tutor. He then said "I know I said 'Don't worry, I'll see you again next year' but I said it because I say it out of habit to my friends who say the same thing but I never see my students again after the HSC". I was just sitting there feeling really awkward when he said that because we have spoken about personal topics and he knew that I broke up with an ex boyfriend because he was toxic (He never said anything about discussing personal topics for the past 9 months of our tutoring sessions until now). Plus, you don't just say "Don't worry, I'll see you again next year when you dont feel close to someone or see them as only a student". I felt like I was given false hope and thought I was a friend to him. I also started suspecting that something is fishy, maybe the relationship. My friends also agree something is weird. At this point I am questioning whether or not to say anything about feeling awkward to my tutor or leave it. Did I do something wrong here? Is there something that is my fault and I'm not aware of it?

11 Replies 11

Croix
Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Ginger_Roll~

Welcome. No I do not think you did anything wrong. Very often friendship do develop between student and tutor, it is only natural as you are close together dealing with the same set of problems. That sort of interaction does tend to let one person see the other as a human rather than just as someone with a job.

 

It's the sort of thing the can happen between two people that work together too.

 

In this case it does not seem like you are getting straight and consistent answers from your tutor. It's hard to know why, perhaps he feels he became over-friendly and now wants to step back but doesn't quite know how to do it. Then again that's just a guess.

 

Any relationship, friendship, romantic or platonic does rely upon honesty and care between people.  You're not getting that and it leaves you confused, it would me too.

 

May I suggest you remain pleasant but do not either apologize or ask about anything personal. Stick to the subject you are being tutored in and leave it at that. To go further simply risks disappointment or an awkward situation.

 

The fact matters will in any case break off when he goes to the UK and probably has a girlfriend anyway should be sufficient reason to steer clear.

 

I'd agree whispering over Zoom is a bit weird. Better to say anything straight out or say nothing.

 

It's the sort of situation that can be quite upsetting, you know you are welcome to talk  things over here anytime.

 

Croix

Thanks Croix, for your response. I am wondering if it is ok if you can explain why you said do not apologise, is it because I have done nothing wrong or it will just make the situation awkward? There's also a part of me which feels like a friend to him and to care about his wellbeing. I was told by some of my friends to just drop him out of my life after leaving to the UK, since he is acting like a jerk (I don't know if that's a bit too far). What do you think?

 

Ginger_roll

Croix
Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Ginger_roll~

In your place I imagined it might be best if the subject was not raised  and continued on as  a more impersonal student-tutor relationship. If you apologize that firstly might imply you thought you had done something wrong (not correct) and secondly doing so would raise the issue.

 

If he raises the issue then I would listen to what he says and I guess use my judgment and instinct. His behaviour to date has been unusual, plus he talks of a girlfriend,  so waiting to see might be the best policy.

 

Feeling like you care for his well-being and wanting to be a friend to him is understandable and shows a kind nature on your part. However it might easily slip on your part into a closer one-sided relationship without having any suitable response from him. A recipe for grief.

 

I hope things work out for you, and would like to know how you get on.

 

Croix

Hi Croix,

 

For the past couple of months I decided to see where things go. Thanks alot for your support. Things have been getting better now since he left and I admitted to myself that he's weird/unusual. I have been more focused on my life and less distracted without having him as a tutor. I also decided to discontinue having sessions with him because I came to the realisation that he was the root of my decline in mental health. It was very eerie at the end of our sessions as well as he wasn't a helpful tutor as much as he was in the beginning and somehow made me hate studying. He was really good at first. He knew how to work with me as a student and then he started acting weird at his girlfriend's house. At the time I just thought I wasn't working hard enough and the more I instilled this belief I just didn't end up enjoying what I was doing. I can't even tell if he used to idolise me in the beginning either since he was going on about attaining certain marks was achievable.

 

The week before he went to the UK. He was becoming more responsive with my text messages and then he didn't respond for a week. He just said that he forgot to respond since he was out all day and he responded an hour and a half before our last session was meant to start. He agreed to our last session. He sent me a text, giving me 40 minutes notice that he couldn't make our session because he forgot about a family dinner for the same reason. It was eerie because he lived with his parents and forgot about it. Then he told me he would ask his mates around to see if they could tutor me.

 

When he arrived in the UK, he then said that none of his mates were available and that he'd contact me on the 19th September for sessions. However, he contacted me five days later than the date and offered sessions. This felt somewhat eerie as well because it's very common to know uni students who tutor on the side and you'd think that some would be available for another student or two. I declined his offer, saying that I would let him know if I needed help (regretted saying the last bit). He then deleted my number.

 

Now I am relieved and happier than ever. Thank you for your support Croix.

 

Ginger_roll

Croix
Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Ginger_roll~

It's good to hear from you again and I'm very glad things have worked out. I think you have acted wisely.

 

It's pretty obvious that he had no regard for you and terminating matters has been good for you. I hope it has not put off your studies, that would be a pity as it does not depend upon him or even his impression of you as a student, it's what you think and want that  counts.

 

Going at your own pace, not being lead into trying unrealistically hard,  and I'm sure you will succeed.

 

Croix

Hi Croix.

 

Thank you for your response. I really appreciate you for being one of those people who have helped me keep my sanity. Funny thing about me saying that he deleted my phone number. He responded not too long after I sent it to you wishing the best for my HSC. However, he responded 9 days after I terminated things with him. I don't know if I am weird for saying or thinking this but many coincidences used to happen between my tutor and I (Coincidences might just be coincidences sometimes) but they happened alot between us including this one. What do you think?

 

I don't know. It was just really strange in the end and I never saw it coming and I wonder why I didn't at times. I wonder if it was a result of covert narcissism if that's what it was.

 

Thanks for hearing me out.

 

Ginger roll

Croix
Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Ginger Roll~

Some people try to manipulate others, and do so by many methods, including blowing hot and cold. Blocking you phone and then contacting you seems ot fit the pattern as does making you wait in the past.

 

They also seem to have an instinct in how to play that other person and that includes timing - which can sometimes appear as coincidences. There is no reason you would be able to predict his actions.

 

It does not really matter from your point of view what label you give him, narcissist or something else. The fact of the matter is from your descriptions you are well of without him and can get on with your life.

 

Croix

Hi Croix,

 

I hope all is well for you. I recently met a friend of my tutor through my vocal coach and we spoke about him and she did say he was nice as a room mate and she said it could have been hard to tell if my tutor liked me or not. This is because tutoring was done on zoom. She also said that it did seem like he was acting a bit weird. Her friend said that he seems weird and that they don't have to be extremely weird to be let go of from your life. She said I should forget about or block him since it seemed like he had many red flags. She also didn't understand why he was getting personal with a highschool student and leading them on (if he was). She also said it's on him since he should have made it clear through his actions that the sessions were going to be of a professional manner (plus my other friends think he's weird). My vocal coach and I spoke about it, since she recommended him to me. She said he seems like a lovely guy and that the room-mate that I met said he was good to live with and that he would have to own up to the fact that he should have put up boundaries and that maybe I got the wrong idea because I am young.

 

It's just been a bit confusing, I guess, because I got this idea that he was a really weird guy who didn't seem like he had any regard for me after the situation that went down. But I get told that he seemed like a lovely guy. The thing is, he did seem that way to me as well, it's just that things got weird. I question whether or not I got the wrong idea about my tutor's motives since I am young and am new to dating. However, at the same time my head can't wrap around the fact that he said to me, when he lectured me, that he should have set boundaries a long time ago but he was acting friendly and getting personal for 10 months.

 

My vocal coach said that she recons "Political Correctness" has gone too far in the sense that people get offended too easily that someone would say a sexual joke and people would get offended. Basically, she thinks that he may have stuffed up and got friendly with me due to the nature of our friendship. For me I feel like these two situations are different. I just think why would you wait 10 months to set boundaries, since if you felt they were important no matter how hard you would find to set them earlier, regardless of whether it's straight away or not.

 

I don't know what to think. Is it understandable to be confused or feeling off? What should I think? What's your advice and what do you think?

 

Thanks

 

Ginger Roll

 

Croix
Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Ginger Roll~`

It's good to hear from you again. May I say I suspect you are overthinking hte situation. While it would be good to know exactly waht had been happening and hte nature of your ex-tutor I don't think everything in life is always explainable.

 

Many people act differently at different times and your description is not of a forthright and plain spoken person. Acting weird, whispering and on-again off-again tutoring arrangements would I does read as unreliable

 

It may well be that wiht others he appears pleasant, however that does not change his basic nature.

 

The two most important things oyu have said are firstly his efforts have put you off study, and you now hate it. This is terrible, a real loss.

 

The second is htat in his absence your mental health has improved.

 

Can I suggest you do not try to make sense of it all (which may never happen anyway), but simply put it down as one of those experiences in life one should leave behind and concentrate on new fresh things.

 

Croix