Will she be my Valentine? Relationship answers from Rebecca Ammon

asking her out in late September.

Good job on having the balls to be straight forward and ask her out early on, but always beware of trying to romance a girl on the rebound. They are often more willing to go on dates with people they aren't romantically interested in just to boost their ego, to get back at their ex, and to return to the dating scene. This isn't necessarily a bad situation, as it can lead to a fling. However, it can also produce plenty of complicated drama. Tread lightly and avoid creating a situation that makes her feel claustrophobic.

On our first date we spent a day together in the big city about an hour away from where we live. We got along quite swimmingly and there was obvious chemistry. Both of us were quite comfortable talking about previous relationships and even engaged in quite a bit of sex talk. Given her recent break-up she was quite clear about not wanting to dive into anything and I was equally clear that while I didn't want to be strictly in the friends zone, I too was looking for something comfortable and easy as opposed to serious.

Talking about your exes should be avoided as it unconsciously stirs up negative feelings and arrests the connection you're trying to facilitate. It also defines you as someone she can unload her emotional baggage on. Light sex talk is great as it subconsciously stimulates both of your desires and associates those feelings with each other. You also did well in affirming that you were neither looking to just be friends, or to be stuck in a serious relationship.

Over the next 3 weeks we hung out on our days off, probably 1 or 2 times a week. Then the mixed messages started. On one hand she revealed she was developing a "crush"  and feelings for me but also talked a lot about being damaged goods and not ever wanting another relationship.

Here's where your problem starts. While you said you wanted to keep things light, you were spending most of your free time with her. You weren't keeping it light. As hard as it may be, you need to show her in those early stages that you have other things going on and that you're not willing to drop everything and spend all of your free time with her. This will make her want to pursue you instead of creating the feeling that she's being corned into another relationship. The line about how she has a crush but is damaged goods is typical. More than likely she is planting the idea that she doesn't want to be with you while simultaneously trying not to be mean. Needing to be single is a great no-fault excuse for breaking things off. Also, by telling you she is damaged goods, she is really asking for your assurance of the opposite. She is saying, "Tell me I am worth it. Tell me I'm beautiful. Make me feel good about myself." You can reassure her, but don't baby her. You're not there for her to use as her emotional dumping grounds.

Just after the last time we saw each other she text me in the AM and after a little back and forth I texted: "If you want to hang out tonight, buzz me later." Apparently this was where she seemingly freaked out and decided she needed to ignore me. lol. Over the next 2 weeks I texted her only 3 times. Each text is spaced by 3 or 4 days of not hearing from her. The first 2 get short polite responses, but clearly not meant to be a part of a conversation and the 3rd is never returned. At this point it's pretty clear to me that something is up and because I have far too much bullish pride to send a bunch of, "Seriously, what's up??" texts, I leave things be. I knew that she was heading home to see her family on the 2nd week and wasn't about to stress her out or bother her while she was there. Instead I bought a box of tea (it was her evening drink of choice) and dropped it at her place along with a note basically saying, "Clearly you've hit the brakes, not sure why, I'm attracted to you but haven't developed feelings, cool with whatever, call me when you get back and let's chat about it." This was dropped off before I sent the final text that was completely ignored, so I admit that my feelings had changed a bit by the time I heard from her when she got back from her time with family.

A relationship is a game.  If the woman feels like she has won, that she is the one worth pursuing, she will quit playing with you. While you did a good job limiting your texts, you should have stopped them altogether and waited for her to contact you. She will use each unanswered text as evidence that she is a superior prize. This is a common move, especially with women recovering from a break-up who need guys to remind them that they are attractive. The best strategy is to quit reaching out to her sooner so she starts wondering why you aren't chasing her. While it was smart to keep your gift simple, be honest, it was a silly pawn that forced her to respond to you. No woman wants to explain why she isn't interested in you, especially if you are supposedly keeping things light and fun. It also sounds like you didn't make a move early on. Did you even kiss her during those first few weeks? You must be quick to define the relationship as a sexual one or your relationship will simmer into friendship.

When she did finally text, it was a fairly straight forward message that she felt pressure and had to pull the pin. Fair enough. She wanted to stay friends but I told her I didn't see the need because I wasn't gonna be her BFF and mostly because I felt disrespected that she gave me the ol'PFO (Please Fuck Off) by ignoring me. I had been a pretty patient guy up to that point and felt I deserved better.

You do deserve better, but you have to realize that there's no easy way to break off a relationship, especially if that relationship hasn't been defined. More than likely she was just trying to stop leading you on as opposed to actually suggesting that you remain friends. The best reaction is a positive one. Acting hurt or assuring her that you don't want to be her BFF only makes her feel reassured in rejecting you.

I recently emailed her asking her about some books I had talked about borrowing before and to my surprise she seemed quite excited to hear from me. Bare in mind that it's been since mid-October since we last talked. She has invited me over for coffee and a look at her new house. Not a lot has changed with me as far as what I'm looking for. I'm certainly not opposed to being committed to someone but more than anything I'm in a place in life where good company and good sex would suffice. She has expressed to me before that she is a very sexual person and capable of separating sex from intimacy and emotion.

She is playing the same game.

Now you may have read this all and may be thinking, why bother? I can assure you that this will be a last kick at the can type thing. I can relate to where she was as I too have walked in those shoes. In fact, I would be a huge hypocrite if I didn't admit to the odd freak out that involved avoiding phone calls and texts. All that said, I'm attracted to this girl enough to give it one last try. I just want to put my best foot forward so I have no regrets.

More than likely she is just toying with you. The comments about how sexually she is were likely used to spark your interest as she needs another ego boost. Call her bluff by trying to kiss her. If she just wants a friend to fill the companionship void her ex left, shrug her off and move on. Whether you want a girlfriend, a fuck buddy, or a wife, this woman sounds like she just wants a male friend to reassure her that she's still desirable.

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Valentine's is the season of love. It's also the season of fumbled romance and missed connections as singles scramble for someone to play the role of a new lover. That also makes Valentine's the perfect time for relationship advice. This week's question comes from a reader who is flirting with being stuck in the friend zone of a coworker who recently got out of a long term relationship. Read on as I give the play-by-play on what's really happening behind this woman's moves:

This past spring a new coworker moved to my city with her fiance.  After a couple months she broke off the engagement. We worked in the same facility (Psych Hosp) , but only knew each other in passing until we worked a few shifts together about 2 months after her break up. I felt compelled to do something quite out of the ordinary for myself and ended up


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