I’ve got a problem. A big problem. I’d call it one-itis, just to give it a label, because that’s what it is.
A little background: I’ve been spending a fair amount of time lately with a particular woman (Lets call her… Denna) who is pretty much everything I could ask for in a partner for life, but it doesn’t seem to be what she wants. We went to high school together (I’m ’04, she’s ’05), and we dated for about a year after I graduated and went to a nearby university. We ended up breaking up because her ex-boyfriend very obviously still had a huge thing for her, and it made me uncomfortable. I tried bringing this up several times, usually with the line, “I don’t want to tell you who you can and can’t be friends with… But this makes me uncomfortable.” (Her ex would stop by randomly any given day, bring her gifts, try to hug/kiss her, etc. Generally just wasn’t dealing with the fact that it was over). Eventually I finally just had it with her talking about how uncomfortable it was making HER, but she didn’t want to lay down the law. So I ended things. We had a brief fling over valentines day (this was probably 2 months after the break up), and then all hell broke loose.
We ended up not speaking for five years or so, until I started at the university she was going to. I had had a relationship in the intervening years that ended on decent terms (we were headed different directions in life, and ended things amicably). But as soon as I started hanging out with Denna, things were just like they were when we were dating. Even the first few nights we hung out were spent on her couch, basically making out and feeling each other up. We’ve both since dated a few people since those nights, and now we’re both single again.
In the present day, Denna and I have hung out a number of times–both just the two of us, and in group settings. We’ve watched movies together, gone to dinner, etc. When we stroll about, we even link arms and usually have good, comfortable conversation. Her parents adore me (her words…), my parents rave about her whenever she comes up in conversation. Her animals and mine both have quite a bond with the other person… Most all of the stars are aligned in the sky.
Now, I’ve recently asked Denna out on a few dates. I asked her one Sunday night (about three weeks ago) if she would go on a date with me the next weekend, and she said “Yeah, sure!” But…. Fast forward to Wednesday and suddenly things are just all ahoo, and plans get cancelled. We spent this past Sunday night together as well, just making dinner and playing with her cats. Monday morning I realized a movie I thought we’d both like to see was going to be in theatres, so I asked if she’d like to go to that… This time there was some hemming and hawing, but eventually she decided she’d probably be too tired Friday night, and would just want to have some ‘her time’.
I’m seeing all kinds of “Soft No” written on these various interactions. She wants to preserve the friendship, I think, and doesn’t want to date. Also, whenever I try to strike up a conversation at all, be it via text, IM, or wherever…. Its usually monosyllabic, or at best perhaps a short sentence.
I think I know WHAT I need to do here–I need to take some time to myself, get my head screwed on straight as far as Denna is concerned, and move on. But HOW is that accomplished? Is preserving anything about the friendship (when we’re hanging out in person, we have fantastic conversations… And I would say we have some pretty awesome personal chemistry in terms of knowing how to make the other laugh, or comfort them in a tough situation) possible? I’ve had a number of people say “Kvothe, get out of there. Stop thinking about it. Just let it go.” Is that the right course of action?
A Wise Man’s Fear