Advice needed on way to go with my supervisor who has/had romantic interest in me!!!


Hi guys, so it's me again with the supervisor issues i shared sometime last year. I am now in my penultimate year of my PhD programme and so far I have been managing my sup well as far as i could.

I have been patient and putting him off, even telling him i have a boyfriend just to keep things at bay and he actually seemed to back off but the emotional manipulation continued. He would accuse me of the slightest thing and complain about everything i did. For example, last Easter i was so busy i didn't wish people happy Easter. After the holiday when he saw me, he accused me of having poor relationship skills, that i didn't wish him Happy Easter, I was one of the few people on his social media and i didn't send a message. I started apologising again and that was settled. Now i travelled abroad and have gained more exposure and know better now that he is just being a bully and would do anything to torment me because he didn't have his way with me.

So in order to really put up professional barriers as much as I could, i deleted him from all my social media that he was on and decided to use emails or phone calls to communicate. But it appears he is now 'keeping malice' with me because for the last 4 weeks, he has refused to pick my calls or return them, he has also not replied the email i sent weeks back. Now i know he must have noticed i blocked him off social media and he must be angry but shouldn't he get over it. I mean it's my right to select who i want on my social media and i don't regret deleting him because i just have had enough of his BS. I am no longer a child and I am done with the emotional abuse. It's not healthy. Now I look back and i'm grateful i didn't fall victim to sexual abuse by him. He is indeed wicked and shouldn't be in that system but i am just waiting till i finish. I have confided in my mum who has encouraged me to be strong and is proud of me.



Now my worry is i will soon return home and since he is no longer picking my calls or even asking how my research is progressing, i don't know how the situation will be when i get back. i know it will be pretty awkward and i worry he won't want to supervise me any more which i will even be grateful about. It's just that he has really helped me in my programme in terms of getting opportunities like this stay abroad and some funding so it might not be easy to do without his supervision.

Anyway i just wanted to ask for advise about what way to go. I have other committee members but he is the main advisor, so i don't know if i should start dealing with them directly instead but of course they will ask me if i have passed it to him. Now i want to turn in some of my thesis chapters, but since he isn't replying my email, i wonder if he would acknowledge my email let alone read my work. I don't know if i should send it to my other advisors. The worst part is if i report him i don't have any evidence except my word and he may lie against me.

It has not been easy dealing with the silent treatment but if that's what it takes to set things right, i'm willing to deal with that. I wish i could change schools but i really want to finish and get out of that environment. I don't intend to apologise to him again and i'm sure that will cause problems. I have gone far otherwise i will dump the entire program because i am not getting good supervisor support. I really don't know what the future holds and perhaps i should start applying to other schools it's just i like to deal with problems rather than run.

Sorry for the long read. Please help!!!!


Are you sure he isn't on annual leave?

My supervisor has been on annual leave for 4 weeks, and I know will not reply to emails for another 2 weeks.


No i am sure he is not on leave. He is doing it on purpose to spite me. That's most likely the explanation. Thanks


To be honest I think you should have followed the advice given in the earlier thread! You are really in a vulnerable position now - are you in the UK? I would suggest talking in confidence to a university support service if you have one and asking their advice.


I also agree with time for tea. You really should have listened to the advice earlier. As I said then I will say again now - any kind of non-professional relationship between student and supervisor is not ok and doesn't end well. You have left yourself in a difficult situation. I also recommend a student support facility. Please learn from this.


Like others, I would advise talking to someone confidentially about this - an academic advisor or postgraduate tutor/support or whatever label they have at your institution. I think I understand how you've found yourself deeper in this mess... reading your original thread it sounds like you weren't sure what to do - maybe you thought that changing supervisors could damage your research more than the situation itself. Even when people are giving advice that is sensible, it is sometimes hard to project into the future about how it will end up if you follow it vs. don't follow it and try to handle the situation yourself.

Anyway, better late than never. Good luck.


Hi babygirl,
I'm having similar issues in my department and want to reiterate what others are saying. From my experience there is always more than one victim here. A colleague and my supervisor had a similar thing going on and it resulted in me quitting because of the bullying that resulted. Does your supervisor have any other students? Have they had the same issues?


To echo what others have said here, you really need to speak with someone at your institution about this who can give you more specific advice. You say you have no evidence- are there not messages on social media/ email trails that provide some indication as to what has been going on? Even without this though, you still do need to speak to someone. It may be worth writing everything down that has been occurring over your studies with this supervisor before you do go and speak to someone so they can understand the extent of this.


I agree with Zutterfly that writing it down (a concise bullet point list of exactly what you want to say) would probably help when you raise this with someone.


Hi Babygirl, this situation is not going away, is it? Despite all your efforts to manage things, you keep coming back to the same unhappy place. I don't always deal with things head-on (eg I was in a workplace bullying situation some years ago) and I can tell you that looking back, I am sorry I wasted so much of my own time and emotional energy trying to contain someone else's abusive rubbish. For the sake of yourself and your PhD, I do think you need to get into a more comfortable and professional supervisory relationship, so I would echo the advice of others here - please speak to someone at your uni for advice about how to resolve this. You may find that as soon as you open up, you feel less alone with it and have options.


Thanks for the advice guys but it wasn't exactly easy to just change supervisors because there weren't other professors working in my field of interest and i felt i had gone far with my work. I'll talk to someone about it and seek support/advice. Thanks. And yes he has other students but they are married though i wouldn't put it past him.