I've told her that I love her. The response is always that she just needs me as a friend right now / isn't ready for emotional closeness.
I'd need you as a butler right now - interested in the position? No? Then why for her?She
clearly stated her needs and set limits. Now (well - some months ago, but better now than never) you
have to decide if you want to stand up for your needs or submit to her needs - on the extremely faint chance that she might suddenly find you irresistibly attractive and melt in your arms.
She won't let me kiss her. I've tried. She won't let it even get near there. She puts up some pretty serious walls.
That sounds like a tough situation. I've been there, so what I'm about to say is something I had to tell myself in very similar terms...
8 months is a long time for her to play hard to get. You're playing her game, to her tune. She gets to use you as emotional support by dangling a tiny sliver of hope in front of you. I'd venture that she has lost all respect for you because you a) told her you love her (I'd typically advise against one-sided declarations of undying love, BTW, because it completely screws up the balance of the relationship) and b) allow her to treat you like this. Like a pretend-boyfriend without the hassle of intimacy or exclusivity. Like a puppy dog you can call on when you're bored, but which you can send away when you want to hang out with your girlfriends to go meat-shopping for some real men. Sorry for the tough love, but as I said: I was in a situation that was very similar and had to learn the hard way.
Here is what I would do:
1. decide what you want and what you are willing to take:
- Do you want this to go on for another 5 years?
- When she comes to you tomorrow, telling you how hard she fell for another guy and how great he is... will you think you've spent your 8 months wisely? Or will you go into "I'll stick around so I can be there to catch her because I know it can't work because we're meant to be together... insert romantic comedy soundtrack here)
- Is this fair to the other women who might be right for you which you ignore during this time and who will never get a chance because you're blinded by your quest for this one?
2. put your foot down and be clear about what you want.
- you want to be with her? Make it clear you want her to be your girlfriend and if she doesn't feel that way, leave.
- you want to kiss her? Do it - if she turns away, turn around and leave her standing where she is.
3. Go out and see other girls, start dancing lessons, just go out and be social
- part of your attraction to her is you projecting onto her all that you want from a woman... and thinking that "if only" she realized you are right for her, your life would be perfect. It won't be.
- you put her on a pedestal and are admiring her from a safe distance, which allows you to stay infatuated. If you could see her without the pink glasses, you would realize that she is just a person.
About the "I love her" - I'd say you are infatuated, but I don't think you can "love" someone without reciprocity, because you don't really know them the way you would in a relationship. Again - I know where you're coming from.
Ironically, independence and assertiveness are very attractive qualities, and it may even be the things she feels are "missing". By always being there for her and reassuring her you will be around, you may ultimately be driving her away, whereas if you live your own life and tell her "come along for the ride or not - but make a choice because I am leaving", this might push her to see you in another light. I'd suggest watching 500 days of summer, you may recognize a few situations.
Best of luck - all I can say is that after the relationship with my exBPDgf ended, I found that I had to re-learn what it was to be me, to be assertive and not to define myself in terms of a relationship with another person.