I hate to tell you this, but "friend zone" is not something you fall into because of the way you treat women. It's a nice way for women to describe a guy as "nice, but not someone I'd want to date..." It has nothing to do with getting to know a girl before you think about dating them. Many, many people date friends that they've known for a while. "Friendzone" is bullsh*t feel good excuse for why people don't want to date others. Very few girls (or people, for that matter) are going to be so worried about losing the friend that they won't go ahead and date the guy. Maybe they should be, but in the real world...nope. They generally go ahead and take the plunge lol.
"Ohhh well...see...You're SUCH a great friend, I would NEVER want to take a chance of losing that!"
TRANSLATION: "Ohhh, you're such a good friend...but I don't want to date you, cause you're not my type/what I'm looking for.
That's the truth of it. "I respect girls too much" Lol, have you ever dated? Girls aren't deserving of any more respect than guys. Everyone deserves respect. You're suffering from nice-guy syndrome.
FYI, there is no such thing as "THE ONE". There is "THIS ONE" then later there will be ANOTHER ONE. and ANOTHER, and so on. They all feel like "THE ONE" when you're infatuated with them, but honestly, soul mates don't exist so it just comes down to who you're interested in at the moment.
If she's interested in her ex and you know she isn't interested in you, best thing you can do is move on. Branch out and try to find some new girls, don't waste your time with ones you know don't want to date you. And maybe stop worrying so much about respecting them and all that, as long as you're not a TOTAL jerk to them, they'll be fine. Not saying you shouldn't respect them, but stop treating them like potential little princesses and start treating them like regular people, because they are.
Honestly, I don't see how nice-guys ever pass on their genetic material lol. That whole "oh he's so nice and considerate and sweet!" thing works on a small group of girls, but honestly you're better off being a bit more masculine and a bit less feminine.
Acting like a tool to women is the reverse of a girl playing hard to get. And yah, it works lol. It's not something that can really be learned though if it doesn't come naturally. So try to make the best of your nice-guy persona, but don't go overboard with all that "I respect you and want to go get to know you and don't want to hurt your feelings EVER!"...cause even girls typically roll their eyes at that anymore.
I'm one of the tools you described.