DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been romantically interested in a girl for about six months. We have a lot in common, and I feel more connected to her than I have with anyone else. I think that we would make a great couple. Unfortunately, she has a boyfriend. I still flirt with her on occasion. She doesn't tell me to stop, but she also doesn't reciprocate, even though I've told her my feelings. Should I give up hope of us being together and try to be just friends, or should I pursue the matter further? -- Flirty, Syracuse, New York
DEAR FLIRTY: If you are seriously interested in this young lady, select one more occasion to make your intentions known to her. Tell her that you know she has a boyfriend and you do not want to be disrespectful to their relationship. For this reason, you want to be clear with her one more time before backing off. Tell her that you care deeply for her and want to have a chance to prove it to her. Tell her that you think she would be happier with you, and be prepared to enumerate your reasons for thinking this. Ask her if she is willing to end her relationship so that she could be free to be with you.
If she says no or if she says nothing, that is your cue to walk away. You should not continue to flirt with her. You should be respectful and keep your distance. If, however, she says she wants to give a relationship with you a chance, tell her you will give her space to make a clean break from her boyfriend, after which you will be waiting for her. Then step back until she is ready. What you do not want to do is start a relationship with her while she is still in a relationship with someone else.