I’ve fallen for a girl but I’m afraid she is leading me on

I can’t help but feel that this is some sort of game for her

PROBLEM: I fell for a girl back in May. She was with someone at the time but we started texting every day and there was some serious flirting when we were out with mutual friends. Friends were asking me if something was going on and telling me that it was obvious she was into me. I told her that I liked her three times while she was with her boyfriend, and she firmly told me that she just wanted to be friends and that she was quite taken with her boyfriend. So I accepted this, apologised for being pushy and said I wanted us to start afresh as friends and she agreed.

Just recently we both went away on a trip with a large group of friends. She told me there that she had broken up with her boyfriend because it wasn’t working. We stayed together that night and the following night. We kissed but didn’t have sex. I was delighted. We spent most of the trip glued together. However, I noticed that she was avoiding public displays of affection while not minding kisses in private. I even felt she was being a little clingy at times.

When I got home she told me that she just wanted to be friends again. I can’t help but feel like I am being strung along, and this is some sort of game for her. I was careful not to get my hopes up but now I am very disappointed.

I don’t know how to approach this. I still really like her and want to be with her but I don’t know how to fight for her

ADVICE: There two things that you are clear about. You are very attracted to her (and she to you) and she is ambivalent about her involvement. You could deduce from her earlier behaviour that she was not very attached to her boyfriend, as she was sending you signals that she was interested in you. Another possibility is that her flirty behaviour ended her relationship with her boyfriend. I think you need some more information before you commit to seeking a long-term relationship with her.

This on-off type of relationship can be very seductive (by keeping you very interested) but it is also very frustrating and potentially hurtful.

You sound like someone who has clear ideas about what is acceptable – you accepted and apologised for being pushy – but you also do not want to deny the clear attraction that exists. As you are part of a large group of people, you no doubt have some knowledge of each other. Perhaps you need to extend this a little.

I say “a little”, because you do not want to resort to schoolyard games of asking friends to check out whether a relationship is a possibility or not, but, at the same time, you could do some investigation.

You sound as though you are serious about connecting with this girl, so perhaps you owe it to yourself to know what you are getting involved in so that you can make an informed decision.

Has she had previous relationships? How did these end? Was there cheating? Relationships in the teen years and early 20s are a steep learning cur ve, and there are often messy situations. So it is unfair to judge a person of this age. However, character shines through. It is worth asking what her influence would be on you and vice versa.

You are both in a large group of close friends, I assume, as you all went on holidays together. There is a strong probability that you share values and can assume that there are good grounds for getting on well together. If you feel that this is the case – that she would be good for you and your group would approve – there is no reason for you not to approach the situation with determination.

The first thing to do is check where she is at. Is she still in mourning for the last relationship? Is she ready for another relationship so quickly? You may need to respond to this by taking things slowly, both emotionally and physically. It may be possible to tell her you are interested in her but are prepared to be patient while she works out her emotional issues, but in fairness to yourself, you then deserve some level of loyalty and to know that she will not date someone else without telling you.

If both of you can manage this, there is a possibility of a relationship – or at least a friendship if that does not work out. The danger is that the dance of “together when out partying, but not when sober” might begin to play out, and this will play havoc with your sense of self.

Take charge of the situation, follow your instincts and use your intelligence.