Am I really back in the friend zone or does she really need time?
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There's no such thing as the friendzone really... otherwise you're in the friendzone with everyone in your family and all your close guy friends.
You're basically just friends who had benefits for a time... and could probably continue to if you were cool about it.
The moral of your story is that she's just not that into you.
That might sound blunt but it seems pretty accurate. This is no judgement on you or her, it just is. Like sometimes it snows outside in the winder, and sometimes it rains in the summer.
It just is.
We can't control how others feel about us, and mostly it's none of our business anyways. All we can manage is ourselves and how we behave with others.
You've done all the right things so I applaud you.
Although I would have made my expectations with her more clear earlier in the relationship.. meaning, if you wanted to date exclusively you should have said so earlier. But you were probably smart by taking things slow and not trying to label everything.
Unfortunately your girl needs more than you can offer her... probably constant male attention... needing to have a boyfriend and stuff... not being able to handle you being so far away perhaps. There's nothing to be done about this, it just is. And it's probably a red flag anyways... some women aren't meant to be long term girlfriends.
Your best bet now is to accept your situation with her and decide if you NEED more or if you can handle sharing her with others.
If she's a cool persona and you're wise enough maybe you can stay just awesome friends without the need to OWN her or KEEP her to yourself. And that's okay if you're cool with it.
But it's also wise to know what you an handle and what you can't. If you can't handle her with other guys you should probably politely, and with care, push her away until you feel more whole and healed again... otherwise you'll be hurting yourself each time you pretend that you don't care who she's sleeping with.
I think it's perfectly okay and possible to love a close female friend without needing to be WITH her. Love does't have to mean ownership or romance, sometimes it's just love. I love my friends without having to see them naked, it's possible and okay.
It's all up to you at this point.
(My blog: https://www.fullofhateandreadytodate.com )
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