I think I was friend zoned? :(

Ok so I need some help. I’m so confused with life. So this might be really long because I’m going to give the whole story.  Ugh where to start… (ps there’s an extremely condensed version at the end if you don’t want to read all this.)
 So I’ve liked/loved my best friend for 6 years. & I feel ridiculous because I’m 18 and I’m getting worked up over a little crush but I figure it’s the same crush I’ve been getting worked up over for the last 6 years so maybe there’s hope and I won’t be stuck as a sad lonely cat lady? Ok rambling….background info time. 
I’ve known this guy – well call him Ben – since I was 5. We were kinda friends for two years and then he switched schools and I pretty much forgot about him. Flash forward to 8th grade: I’m 12/13, shy, and I don’t really talk to anyone. My little 12 year old heart is traumatized because one of my best friends (Beth) kissed the guy that I had liked all of 7th grade.  So keep in mind we  went to a small school – like 15 kids top in a grade small – so there was no getting away from her and her constant rambling about how she loved him.  I was sad and depressed and decided that I wouldn’t get so attached to a stupid crush again. 
 In walks Ben. He’s everything I’m not. He’s artistic, social, outgoing, sweet, and everyone loves him. He’s also best friends with Beth and – according to her – has a huge crush on her but she couldn’t care less.  Number one on the list of admirers is my best friend at the time: Stacy. Now Stacy liked anything that looked remotely male and when Stacy liked someone, she got possessive and saw only what she wanted to see. Ben was even a flirt back then; he was a very smooth talker. He flirted with all the girls, he brought us all flowers on valentines day, told us all we looked especially beautiful on that day, and loved to give hugs; he was a charmer. I didn’t care at all. I was still sad about the whole Beth incident, and the fact that Stacy liked Ben made him that much of a no-go. He was a friend to me, and that was it. 
Well, like any little girl, when a sweet guy constantly flirts and tells you you’re pretty and gets you to talk when you usually make an effort to say as little as possible, you start to like him. Now this is one crush I kept completely silent. I’d learned my lesson with Beth. After about 6 months I told one friend and that was it and I knew nothing would happen. Our 8th grade trip came, and Ben and I got closer. We talked all the time, hung out the whole trip, and I was getting more and more confident in everything. The end of the year comes, and just like the previous year, my little chubby heart was broken. Stacy kissed Ben. 
Now Ben didn’t know about my crush and I intended to keep it that way. Especially after that kiss. As sad as I was, I couldn’t not talk to him. All through the summer we talked. We’d text every day, he’d send me good morning texts, and we’d talk on the phone for hours; it was great. It got to the point where I was thinking that he might actually like me back and it might actually be going somewhere. High school started and with it came a very shocking fact: Ben had a girlfriend. 
 Ben made sure I wasn’t mad at him for not telling me about her and I reassured him that something like that couldn’t kill our friendship. When I saw them together it killed me a bit but he seemed really happy so I let him be. Now Beth didn’t have the same mentality as me. She decided that Ben was hers. She wrote him letters, begged him to like her instead again, and ranted about how much she hated his girlfriend. This went on all through high school. 
Now as high school went on, Ben and I stayed best friends. We’d have our on and off periods; we were a lot closer in 9th grade than in 10th, but got closer in 11th, and by the time we hit senior year, he was my best friend. We sat together in almost every class we had together, and we talked all the time. I’d make sure he stayed awake in class; he’d make sure I didn’t let the stress get to me. He’s the reason I survived high school. 
On our senior trip, we got even closer. He played me my favorite song on the guitar, we hung out practically the entire time, and I fell asleep on him. By this time, all my girlfriends swore we were going to get together. I didn’t think anything of it because we’re girls and we fantasize about everything and we’re blind when it comes to what guys want to do. But then lots of my guy friends started hinting at things. They talked about making bets as to when we’d finally get together and admit that we were perfect for each other. There was only one problem with their theory: he was still dating the same girl from 9th grade.  
Come graduation and Ben starts talking about how we’re never going to see each other again and he’ll miss seeing me all the time and he wished our friendship could survive going to different colleges. We graduated, and our friendship just got stronger. Even though I wasn’t with him 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, I felt closer to him. We texted all the time again, talked on the phone, and he’d always come over to swim. It was the summer after 8th grade all over again. Beth got over him, and so did Stacy. I was the last crush standing. (or the only one too stupid to move on.) I moved away to college but came back to visit every weekend, and I’d see him all the time. We’d make sure to do something at least once a month, and when we’d hang out it would be for hours and hours. I got, and lost, my first college boyfriend and called Ben crying. (On another note, don’t trust football players who are 3 years older than you and swear it doesn’t bother them that you have a purity ring. It’s a lie.) During the conversation, he confided that he and his girlfriend had broken up two months before. Even though I was depressed about mr. football douche, I couldn’t help but feel that spark of hope that maybe, just maybe, there was a chance for me. 
Now current time. I see him all the time and talk to him almost every day. He’s always sending me sweet “I’m thinking of you” or “I love you” texts out of the blue. Better yet, he sends me pictures of kittens. Now that’s a keeper right there. His roommate – whom I’ve known since I was 3 – makes comments like “just marry him already” all the time. He comes by my house all the time and takes me places. We hang out and he asks my parents when they want me home and insists on paying for stuff for me and I can’t help but feel like it’s what dating should be like.  
But I think I’m being friend zoned! He always says stuff like “I don’t know what I’d do if we weren’t friends.” or “I’m so glad we stayed friends even though we graduated.” or “you’re my best friend!” It’s killing me. So all you guys out there, is this just friendly flirty attitude? Or is this going somewhere? Or am I just being a girl and overanalyzing everything? Ugh. Any advice on what I should do?

SHORT VERSION:
I like/love my best friend and have liked him for 6 years. He flirts with me and talks to me almost every day and takes me out but then makes friend-zoney comments like “I’m so glad we’re friends.” I don’t know what to do or think. Does he like me or am I just a friend to him? And what should I do?

(Screen) Name: Abby

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