I am a college student dealing with intense feelings toward a professor. I want to maintain a strictly professional relationship. I’m also in a long-term relationship with someone I really love. My partner makes me happy every day, and marriage is in the cards. There is nothing lacking in my relationship, which is partially why this situation is so confusing. I’ve worked closely with this professor in the past, and he was more of a mentor than anything else. He’s significantly older than me and also married. Possibly because he has been supportive and encouraging of my academic work (which I am insecure about), I became attracted to him, and I’ve found myself wanting his attention more and more.
I am not someone who develops feelings like this often or easily, so it’s unfamiliar territory. He has no idea, and I want it to stay that way, but I am worried that continuing to work with him at all would be inappropriate, given my feelings. I don’t want to fuel a desire for something I can’t have or risk my own relationship. I have been open with my partner about the situation, and he has been understanding (he actually thinks it’s very funny). He has encouraged me to continue working with this professor because of how the mentorship has helped me academically. I would like to do that but can’t shake the feelings of guilt and worry that I’m doing something wrong. Do you have any advice on how I can set some boundaries for myself, deal with this situation emotionally, and maintain the professionalism of this relationship?