Dear Miss Emily:

I’m a 23 year old guy and I know a girl, also 23, who is a my best friend's ex-girlfriend from school -- but they've not been together for about 6years.  He’s is still hung up on it and when he gets drunk he doesn’t like us speaking to her and we have arguments. But this girl and I get along so well.  Actually, I’ve never got on with anyone so well.  The problem is a group of us recently went on holiday and this girl was around me all the time.  When she's tired, she puts her head on me and always touches my arm or my leg when speaking to me and always asked me to do things for her instead of asking other people.  Also, I found out that she speaks highly of me a lot of the time to her friends, sayin’ I’m really funny – but she has a boyfriend whom she recently told me she might split from.  She lives in Spain (I’m in the UK), but we contact each other a lot and she is soon to be home.  I don’t know how to read how she is with me and also don’t know what to do about my best friend who is still hung up on her.  This is eating me up inside, but I’m scared if I tell her how I feel she may not feel the same way, and I’ve ruined a friendship I love, and we may not have the same cracks we have now.  Please help me!!  I think I’m falling for this girl!!
-----------------Miss Emily’s advice-----------------

In cases like this, I always advise the "going through the back door" route.  When you see her next, say "Why is it that we've never gotten together?"  This puts the ball in her court, and begs for an answer.  How she responds will tell you where to go from there.  If she says, "I don't know," you can suggest you and she give it a try.  If she says "What, and ruin a good friendship?"  Your reply can be "Come to think of it, you're probably right."  And then just let the whole thing role off your back like you were discussing the weather.  Your best friend does not own this girl, and they have not been together for six years.  Their former relationship should be the criterion for whether you approach her concerning a possible romantic relationship.  If he does not respond well to this, it would be a shame, but you are not required to put your life on hold with this girl until he comes to terms with reality.  If she does respond to your overture, then, as a couple, you can go to your friend and tell him of the relationship.  It's being out in the open, because you have every right to be with her.  How he responds should have no bearing on your relationship with her.  To do nothing, and hope luck or fate drops in your lap, could keep you in your present mode of frustration for some time to come.  Only you can decide if this is the better choice rather than muster the courage to make something happen.