Love interests can take a lot of work. Even though this person doesn't rank as a girlfriend, and may never achieve that status with me, accommodating her to the extent of acknowledging her as a love interest requires an investment of time and resources to a very material, tangible extent. These resources can include everything from mental acuity to the situation, commitment of personal attention to the love interest (which proves a very tricky proposition), to the mustering of all the things I've learned about how to stay happy as a single person and how to spend all of this time I have to myself in constructive, sustainable ways. I've spent the last twenty years working on those last two things pretty much nonstop.
When I worked at the factory in 1992, I told one of my fellow employees that I had a "girlfriend." I really put my foot in it with that one. When things did not work out with Jenna after all, I had to backtrack what I said to this employee in front of other coworkers, including this one really attractive girl. How embarrassing!
Acknowledging that this person does represent a love interest, but does not qualify as a girlfriend to me, sets up boundaries and paradigms that will, hopefully, allow me to just walk away from this situation should things refuse to play out in a timely manner. In the case of this young woman, though, since she put herself up for consideration for love interest status about two years and two months ago, and I've thought of her a great deal and expended a great deal of energy just with that, a "timely" resolution might take a couple of months or even more. All the while, her status as this kind of person to me pretty much demands attention from me that no other women in my world requires.
If I'd just acknowledged that Jenna represented a love interest to me rather than a girlfriend, well, I don't know. Looking back, my behavior towards Jenna seems pretty exemplary, if not altogether good for me or particularly skilled or smooth. My game could have used quite a bit of work, but all that eating crow from her on behalf of seeing things through to the bitter end in the name of Sara provided a kind of boot camp training for the kinds of shit I've faced since then. I don't believe this young woman I can go on and on about wants me to put myself through any kind of hell like that for her sake. If I ever got the impression that she did, she would lose her love interest status with me at that precise moment in time.
In the documentary series, Mike Judge Presents: Tales From the Tour Bus, Season 1, Country Music, Tammy Wynette's contemporaries talked about how she felt as if she always had to have a man in her life. An actual woman in my life has proven a difficult proposition indeed, but not so a love interest. In 2016 I came to the realization that my problems with love addiction caused me to almost unconsciously feel as if I needed to always have a love interest to aspire to in my life. Having a love interest meant, to me, that I at least played some part in the dating and love game. That realization contributes to my reluctance these past two years to take on this young woman as a love interest.
Believe or not, when a fifty-something, mentally ill man, who has a tendency towards romantic fixation decides that an early-twenty-something, very, very attractive woman-a young woman that he only knows through his walks through his daily routines (as opposed to a person in a more social orbit)-when that mentally ill man makes the decision to take on such a person as his love interest, that might not go over well with her or anyone else around her, which also explains my total reluctance to do so these past couple of years. We'll see. We'll see.