The important thing is that you can find a solution that helps with your frustration. Learning the details of the ruleset is something that will come over time, and running into situations like this is exactly how you learn. But it's not important to play the rules correctly simply for the sake of being correct. The important thing is to have fun.
To continue the conversation, if you want to
, you are exactly right when you state "if you ever leave the melee space of your opponent, you immediately stop applying damage". The key is that only the attacker has the option of moving stuff around during the pre-damage stage of the attack.
The wrong way to resolve an attack with a result of
is to go: Push, inflict 1 damage, push, inflict 1 damage, reposition, inflict 1 damage, inflict 3 damage, inflict 2 damage, push, inflict 1 damage. Not correct.
The correct way to resolve an attack with a result of
is to go: Push, push, reposition, push, inflict 9 damage.
And the if the attacker chooses to move out of engagement range with their
result, then they break off combat, and end up only inflicting 3 damage. Because then the results that come after the reposition are lost. But that is the attacker's decision - not the defender's.
(The attacker would mainly choose to do that because breaking off combat with a reposition allows them to recover one fatigue.)