You did the soul-searching, tried the “time apart” thing, dated some other lackluster women, and you’ve come to a stark realization: Things ain’t gonna get any better than this. You made a huge mistake when you let her go.
And now, you want her back.
It’s not necessarily too late to rekindle the love with your ex—but don’t get rash and make any mediocre moves. You want to do this right, and that means re-engaging with an abundance of caution and more confidence than ever. So here are 10 tips on how to approach her for Round Two.
1. Reconnect with a text: Sometimes absence makes the heart grow fonder—but other times, it causes that heart to seek out another man. Bottom line: Don’t call first. “Try sending a sweet text, not one that will make her think you’re looking for a booty call,” says dating expert Julie Spira. “Think about something that you shared together that might warm her heart.” Example: Was listening to the radio and heard that Coldplay song. Brought back memories of the concert together. Hope you’re doing great. If she responds, she may be open to rekindling the spark. And if she responds with an “Ew, WTF,” proceed to step two.
2. Take it slow. You romanced her once already, but that doesn’t mean you get to go from zero to 60 without even getting behind the wheel. So propose getting together—not moving in together. Says Seattle-resident Adria, who took her ex back after a nasty breakup: “He apologized out of the blue after three months of no contact and was very respectful of me. He wasn’t pushy about getting back together, which would have been a red flag in my eyes.”
3. Call her, maybe: So far, so good? Great. Suggest a casual date by phone. No texts. No emails. Let her hear your voice and register some sincere effort on your part. “See if she’d like to join you at an art gallery opening, see a movie, or a hike on a sunny day,” says Spira. “It will give you the chance to get together in a relaxed environment, without too much pressure.” But remember, accepting your invite is just that—and not a sure sign she wants to get back together. If she turns you down, give her space. “Don’t beg, cry, or stalk her,” Spira says. “If it’s meant to be, she’ll come around on her own time-table.”
4. Tell her you miss her: If she accepts your date invite, ease in. Ask what she’s been up to, how work is going, if her dog is still peeing on the couch—whatever. Then, if the date is going well and she seems to be warming up (you know, read the signs) say you want her back. Vulnerability on your part might improve your odds of a second chance; don’t just rip the Band-Aids off every old wound. “Open your heart and see how she reacts,” Spira says. “You don’t need to talk about everything that went wrong in the relationship. She knows, you know—keep the conversation light.”
5. Own up: If she seems open, and you want to step up for another at-bat, acknowledge your shortcomings. “If you did something hurtful, make a real apology,” Frances says. “It might be wise to see a therapist to clarify what you did and why, and how best to sort of the problem.” Then, no matter what she did, you need to take responsibility for you—and change. If you weren’t willing to extend an effort to get to know her friends before, tell her you’d be game for drinks as a group. (Yeah, that’s right. Swallow your pride.)