Dear Bunmi,

There is this single mother of two around where I live and we get on well together. Her children are under 10.

When I eventual summoned the courage to ask her out, she turned me down.

When I asked if she fancied me, she said she did but that things are not as easy as they seemed. What should I do?

John, by e-mail

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Dear John,

Getting mixed messages from someone you like could be really tricky. But, however much you want someone, if there is no real spark forget it; though the fact you get on well with her means there is some hope.

So, explore the problem: what’s making the relationship ‘not easy’, as she alleged? Would she be able to take things further if certain things were resolved? Ask what her difficulties are, then be prepared to change.

If there are some things you can do to improve your chances, then ask her what she needs from you – is it to see that you will get on well with her children? Give her some space too. Occasionally, someone says no because the timing isn’t right but they will be glad to be asked later.

Put the ball in her court, saying: “If you ever feel differently, please tell me.” This gives her room to change her mind. If you have worked your way through all these and you are still getting a ‘no’, then it is time to call it off.

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