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by Abigail Van Buren

Reconnection With Teacher Is Highlight of Reunion Plans

DEAR ABBY: I'm a woman in my 50s and will be going to my high school reunion in a few months. I recently reconnected with one of my high school teachers, whom I greatly admired. (OK, I'll admit I had a schoolgirl crush on him.)

He is 10 years older, and we had a friendly relationship "back in the day" with extracurricular school activities (he was a sponsor) and even some outside socializing (dances and such), though there were no lines crossed as far as impropriety. We were both engaged to other people (who both happened to live a good distance away) at the time, so there was no thought of a romantic relationship.

Fast-forward 40-odd years. We are both single (I'm divorced; he never married). We have been emailing back and forth for a couple of months and making plans to get together at the reunion -- maybe before. We have discussed a lot of things, but he never mentions dating or his former fiancee, so I sometimes wonder if he might be gay.

I have two questions: (1) Would it still be crossing a line if we started a romantic relationship because I was once his student? (He's long retired.) (2) How do you ask a man or find out if he's gay before you embarrass yourself by trying to start a romance? -- TORN IN THE SOUTH

DEAR TORN: It would not be crossing a line if you and your former teacher were to start a romantic relationship at this point in your lives. However, before you embark on that campaign, it is important that you understand why he has been single all these years. A way to do that without embarrassing yourself would be to pay him a compliment by saying, "Why is it that such a great guy like you has never married?" Then listen.