yogaguy

Female teacher flirting with (married) male student

8 posts in this topic

I am a guy and i practice yoga regularly.  One of my teachers spent a few months openly flirting with me.  This is not one of those situations where i'm reading too much into an assist or something.  She did some things outside of class and in class that were obvious attempts to get my attention.  Lots of touching, comments, etc.  I don't know if she really liked me or was just having a good time, "toying" with me, whatever.  I am married with a family.  

I do get a little bit of attention from other girls in class sometimes, but not typically the teachers, who are all very professional.  I love this teacher and don't want to stop going to her class, and quite frankly i was incredibly flattered by the attention.  I have great respect for her (and she happens to be gorgeous).  I guess I'm cool with it and frankly rather enjoyed it, although i will say it was incredibly distracting, and more importantly my wife would not approve.

My questions are: how common is this, female teachers flirt with their male students?   Honestly, if there is an attractive guy in your class, do you approach/assist him differently?  are you ever tempted to flirt?  And how should i handle it without hurting her feelings or making it weird? Typically you only hear about it when it is the other way around, male teacher/female students.  I'm honestly not sure how to handle it, as i don't want to stop going to her class, nor do i want to make things awkward.  I have no desire to be confrontational about it, such as complaining to the studio or something.  

Robbie and YogaByCandace like this

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Why not, politely and directly, let her know that you appreciate the flirtations, but would prefer to maintain a professional relationship.

I'm an ugly dude, so it's never happened (nor will ever happen) to me, but if it did, that's how I'd deal with it.

Edited by LarryD517

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I can't say for sure how common this is, but I was taught in teacher training that if you ever find someone attractive, don't even adjust them if you want to maintain a professional relationship - rather, give them verbal cues. I wasn't really was on board with that idea of never adjusting someone based on whether you think they're attractive or not. Especially when you're doing something like acro yoga where as the teacher, you really do need to physically touch the two students doing the acro yoga to help them stay safe. I've just always tried to focus my energy on the task at hand, because I would never, ever want to put the reputation of myself or my company at risk. Whether or not someone is attractive is something that just doesn't register when I have my teaching hat on, do you know what I mean? So no, I'm absolutely not tempted to flirt, and definitely not interested in giving him extra attention. 

I think physically touching someone might be a personal decision for each teacher, though. Like I said, maybe on one hand the attraction doesn't even register and you're confident you can adjust someone without giving them any flirty vibes. But on the other hand - what if it's perceived as flirty and you wind up in trouble? Another thing to keep is mind is with how sue-happy people are - one little adjustment perceived in the wrong way could land a lawsuit at your doorstep, and that's something I know every teacher would want to avoid. So that always is in the back of my head any time I am adjusting someone regardless of anything else.

So what can you do about this? hmm.

I'm thinking about it from a business perspective. If I owned the studio, I would want to be sure professionalism was maintained at all times, and I don't know - from the standpoint of just understanding that a studio should be an emotionally and physically safe place to practice, those kind of flirtations are not conducive to that type of environment. Even though a small part of you enjoys it, if your wife were in the class, it would make you really uncomfortable, no? Could you speak anonymously with the person who maintains the studio? Perhaps send an email or write a letter? If it's happening with you, it may be happening to others and if I owned a studio I would be mortified if the teachers were flirting with their students.

I like Larry's suggestion of just being polite yet direct. If you're nervous that's going to make things awkward, what about bringing up your wife and kids in conversation when she starts flirting with you. I mean just subtle reminders that you're not interested and maybe she'll back off. Even if it's just 'How was your weekend? I missed seeing you around!" You can say, "Oh my wife and I had a great time at blah blah blah and we all carved pumpkins, it was great to just spend time with the fam." Hint hint.

Somewhat related: My friend, a crossfit trainer, recently signed something saying that relationships between clients and staff are not permitted, and either the client has to find a new place to work out or the trainer needs to cut off the relationship before it even starts - just thought that was interesting to share. 

Edited by YogaByCandace
Robbie and scottcraft like this

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Hi Yogaguy - Where did you say this class was?? (Just a little joke in case that was lost in print!)

I have no advice for you as this hasn't ever happened to me. I have noticed though, in a regular class I go to, that the recently single and attractive female teacher has a couple of male "groupies" in the class. They are like little puppy dogs around her, always being the first to try and strike up a conversation with her after class and always trying to outdo each other with how advanced their arm balances are. It is mostly inoffensive and slightly amusing stuff, but it has began to grate on my nerves lately because when I have a question for the teacher about my own practise, or something covered in the class, I know I will have to wait until the groupies are done with their awkward flirting before I can converse with her.

To her credit she doesn't reciprocate the flirting and is very professional. I think I would pack up and move to another class if I sensed the place was becoming a pick up joint. Your friend has the right idea Candace - It is best to not to let it happen at all because it can send ripples of discomfort throughout the community.

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I can't say for sure how common this is, but I was taught in teacher training that if you ever find someone attractive, don't even adjust them if you want to maintain a professional relationship - rather, give them verbal cues.

In my teacher training, we had a lengthy discussion about this during our ethics section. We were essentially instructed to do what we needed to do to not bring this sort of energy into the studio. It greatly compromises the important teacher-student relationship, detracts from the yoga experience (despite how flattering it may be), and is grounds for all sorts of trouble. From my standpoint, your teacher appears to be in gross violation of the ethics of our profession, especially as many view yoga as a sort of healing/spiritual profession - there is a power play going on to some degree, even if it's subtle. My own teacher even limits his social contact outside of the studio so as to retain the professional teacher-student relationship.

From a teacher's standpoint, I would do some energy clearing work before I allowed myself to adjust a student I felt an attraction to. I don't think it's a big deal to recognize that some students are physically very attractive - it's finding myself attracted to them that is the potential problem. I can adjust a hot guy, but if I am thinking that I want to hop into the sack with him, HANDS OFF!!! [Note that this hasn't happened]

That being said, if I experienced this from your vantage point, I'm not sure how I would handle it. If it felt good, it would make it all the tougher! But regardless, it needs to be addressed in some way. Ditto Larry's advice. Also, it wouldn't be out of line if you felt more comfortable mentioning your discomfort to the studio owner. Or, you could choose to attend a different class. Good luck!

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Go with Larry's advice. Or you could tell your wife, if she's like mine she would certainly handle it! Ok, don't really let your wife handle it, lol. It is something that does need to be addressed though.

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How would you feel about requesting no physical adjustments? That way you're making it quite clear you don't wish for her flirting to continue, but in the small, small chance her intentions have never been to flirt you're not going to end up red faced. (Don't get me wrong I 100% believe you but I do know how easy it is to take a 'flirty' person the wrong way, especially when we find them attractive!)

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All very good advice, thank you!  I'm probably most comfortable with dropping the "my wife" hints.  There's been a new twist lately though, she suddenly went a little distant and stand-off-ish.  Not unfriendly but no more special attention.  Either she got just enough response from me to satisfy herself she could get my attention, or she got frustrated because i wasn't responding enough.  Who knows, i'm into being ok with ambivalence these days.  

 there is a power play going on to some degree, even if it's subtle. My own teacher even limits his social contact outside of the studio so as to retain the professional teacher-student relationship.

 

Definitely this.  We tend to think of men having the power play advantage.  But as she is a yoga teacher, i'm guessing she's even more aware of her, eh, feminine powers, for lack of a better phrase.  That whole "kundalini/shakti" thing.  Your mind goes off into wondering if she is just genuinely attracted, which is ok with me, or is she just playing with me (not so ok with this, especially since i have a family.)?  I do suppose that's part of the reason this sort of thing is not supposed to occur between teachers and students.  Thanks for the feedback, yogis.

 

Jasmine and YogaByCandace like this

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