I met her at work. My initial reaction? Hey, she’s kinda cute. As it turned out, we’d be spending a lot of time together as I was to help show her the ropes. I saw her nearly every day for three months and sometimes spent a significant portion of the day with her. Slowly, she really began to charm me. It was like I noticed another wonderful quality about her every time I saw her. I love the way she dresses. She’s really funny. Wow, she’s smart. Is that a thong I see sneaking out there?
I tried to turn off these thoughts. I was supposed to be showing her around, not hitting on her. It wouldn’t be appropriate, I told myself, you just need to forget her. I filled my head with as many thoughts of the opposite side: she’s too young, she wouldn’t be interested, she’s too cute. I kept repeating these throughout the day, hoping that I’d convince myself. But then I would see her and my soul would shake. That smile. Those eyes. The way she talks to me. Ugh.
Towards the end of our mandated time together, we hung out a couple of times as part of a group. It was then that I realized how beautiful she really was. Dressed casually in a black shirt and jeans, she looked incredible. I caught myself admiring her figure and imagining what it would be like to hold her. I managed to turn away before she could catch me in such an act, but I knew I had to get her out of my mind. I decided at that point that I would need to avoid her because being in her presence was slowly driving me insane.
Confiding in my friends, I found myself telling them the same reasons why I couldn’t date her. I kept hammering on the fact that she’s much younger than me. Across the board, everyone has the same response: so what? I found my point really didn’t stand on its own. It’s not like she’s a kid, she graduated from college last year. She’s an adult according to the law and most other measures. And so am I. So I made the point about us working together and how that could be awkward. Are we on the same team? No. Damnit, my friends were systematically eliminating each of my reasons. I still had an ace up my sleeve: there’s the possibility that she might end up on my team, so I certainly can’t take such a chance! That possibility wasn’t realized. And there I was, with no excuses not to ask her out.
I checked my feelings again…yup, still enamored with her. She had become, in my mind, the Only Girl There Was. It was as if no other girls existed in the entire world and my soul was screaming to be with her. One evening, after a particularly charming hour-and-a-half conversation we were having, I took the plunge and asked her out to dinner. My heart was in my throat as I awaited her answer. Then it came, “do you mind if I take some time to think about it? Things are a bit complicated right now.” Of course, I told her. This is good, I told myself, anything that isn’t a “no” means she wants to say “yes”. And I anxiously awaited her response.
It came a little over a week later over a coffee. She said a few wonderful things about me and then described how life was stressing her out at the moment. Dating, she continued, is something that would stress her out even more and she just didn’t think she could deal with it. Fair enough. I felt like she liked me and that was good. But…if she likes me, why isn’t she going out with me?
Thoughts about her kept circulating in my head. It seemed like she could have said either yes or no and opted for no. Is there anything I could do to swing that in the other direction? Will she contact me after a week or so and say she had thought about it some more and changed her mind? What was it about dinner that stressed her out? I hope she knows I really wanted to get to know her and just spend time alone talking with her. I talked to a few people whom I know have talked to her about dating before to try to get some insights. To my disappointment, she hadn’t even mentioned to them that I had asked her out.
A couple weeks went by. I hadn’t seen her in those two weeks and thought that my chances with her would disappear if I didn’t reiterate my interest. I mean, I know I’m a good catch. I have a really good job, I treat people kindly, I have a good sense of humor, and I’m reasonably successful for someone my age. I kept telling myself that she wanted to say yes but needed convincing, which clearly I hadn’t done a good enough job at. So, in a very uncharacteristic move for me, I wrote her an email reiterating that I liked her and would like to take her out. I also mentioned that this offer came with no strings attached, that I just wanted to get to know her and have some more of the great conversations we’ve had in the past. I told her we could decide after dinner if it was something we wanted to do again, but why not give it a shot?
The response I got back was heartbreaking for me: another no. She once again mentioned the things going on in her life and how this just wasn’t the right time. I was crushed. I had come so far in my approach to her, coming from convincing myself not to even think about her to convincing myself to just go for it. And this is what I get? Heart ache as if we had dated and then broke up…only without that fun middle part.
No problem, I told myself. I haven’t seen her in weeks so cleary our schedules don’t sync up. She’ll just fade out of my mind as I won’t be seeing her ever again. Then a funny thing started to happen. I began running into her everywhere. I’d see her at lunch, she’d walk by me in the hallway, I’d go to grab a drink and she’d be there. Every day it was another uncomfortable run-in. She always acted like her normal cheery self, “Hey Zack!” So then I’d have to put on a brave face and act like I wasn’t still thinking about her…all the time. I make small talk then excuse myself to go back to work, all the while wondering if she thinks about me at all.
It’s strange to think that you need to get over someone that you never actually dated. Yet there I was. The one I had tried so hard to convince myself that I didn’t want now didn’t want me, and it hurt. The heart doesn’t know the difference between being in a relationship or not, it just knows the yearning and the person that will make it go away. If only she had felt the same.