From long experience I know that most of the onus of turning an ended relationship into a friendship is on the person who sought the end in the first place. There is a certain kind of processing that needs to take place. Unfortunately, it looks like Char is uninterested in making - or perhaps unable to make - the effort, so I am losing a friend as well as someone I love.
I've been there. I've been in situations where I was unable to make the effort, out of exhaustion or anger or both.
The entire time I knew her, I sensed that Char was the living embodiment of the Russian saying Ско́лько во́лка ни корми́, он всё в лес смо́трит. No matter how much love I felt for her - or inspired in her - she was going to dream of being single. It was just the timing that made it that way.
That and a gulf of experience, which made a lot of things that were totally innocuous to me seem portentous and disorienting to her. Looking back, this is the second - possibly the third - time I've had a relationship sabotaged by someone's lingering memories of their ex-boyfriend as a messy, emotionally distant, manipulative slob. But ... even so, people carrying baggage from their past are often determined to pursue a relationship in spite of it. In the final analysis, Char decided that she wasn't interested in doing so, and therefore there was something about me specifically that she found lacking.
Maybe she was repulsed by my stubbornness in debates. Maybe I wasn't attentive enough, or maybe I smothered her. Maybe it was something inane that she would never admit, like, perhaps she's impressed by people who wield power over others, and I'm just too damned easygoing. Maybe I just smell bad.
(I know I smell bad right now ... I just ate a bunch of garlic soup. The recipe turned out great, and I got to use up that container of beef broth that she purchased months ago and never used...)
Sometimes there's just no good reason. Sometimes the search for a reason only ends when you get sick of looking and pick something that allows you to move on.
I don't suppose it matters. The wolf is already back in the forest.
If I sound depressed about it, that's because I am. Why wouldn't I be. I love Char, her faults included, and I saw a vision of a future with her, and now that vision has to be shredded up into compost. That will take time and rest, and it will obviously be a while before I can bring my A-game to romance again.
I'm already past the state where there is just about nothing new under the sun, relationship-wise. I find myself a lot less curious and a lot less easily impressed these days. Nevertheless, I'm still optimistic that there are wonderful people out there. I've met my fair share, and they're certainly getting easier to find as I go.
In the meantime, I have a house to organize!
Let's see what happens next...