So, you’ve split up with someone and you’ve decided you want her back. But maybe you don’t think you’re Machiavellian enough to play tricks and mind games to win her back. You’re worried that “nice guys finish last” and you’re a nice guy. What can you do to win her back?

Leaving out the devious and dirty tricks people sometimes use to lure back an ex, what are your options?

First, take some time to figure out what you really want. Nice guys are great, and women love nice men, but make sure you don’t want her back just because you’re being nice and feel you owe it to her. Take a few days to think it over, and write about it.

I don’t mean write terrible, sappy love poetry or some miserable manuscript about how awful you feel without her. Not at all. I mean scribble down how you feel and what you want, what is important to you, for a couple of minutes each morning. Make a list of things you’re grateful for – your health, the roof over your head, food, friends, a job, a pet, whatever comes into your mind. This is a good way to remind yourself that your life is pretty good the way it is.

If you’re a nice guy, it shouldn’t be hard to find some nice things to say about your own life!


Do this for a few days or a week at least. Get in the habit of starting each day with a review of how good your life is. This exercise will help you figure out what is important to you.

During this time, don’t contact your ex at all. No text messages, no letters, no emails, no phone calls, no surprise visits (no unsurprise visits, either!), no social media contacts, and certainly no sappy love poetry. Your silence during this time is the best way to pique her curiosity and get her wondering what you’re doing.

For the next week, write a few minutes each morning about your goals. What do you want over the next few months and years? Do you want to get married, buy a home, start a family, travel? Do not write about your ex yet. You will fit her into your life scheme later.

If you’ve followed this plan, you should be feeling calmer and better about your life, whether you are with your ex again or not. You should have an idea of what is important to you – health, career, friendships, and so on – no matter whether you’re in a relationship or not.

The gift of this kind of clarity is precious.

Keep up your radio silence with your ex during this time. During the third week or so, ask yourself, and answer honestly, do you want your ex back? If you do, ask yourself why. What benefits does she give you, and how does she improve your life? [Related: 7 Signs You’re in an Unhealthy Relationship ]

Try to give specific answers, not just vague platitudes. If she makes you happier, makes you laugh, supports you when you are sad or depressed, write that down. Give specific examples from back when you were a couple. Write a little bit about this every morning, just notes that you scribble down and then destroy. You don’t need to save this sort of writing – it’s just for you, to help you think clearly.

After all this, if you’re still sure you want her back, congratulations. It’s time to let her know.

What’s the best way to let her know? Well, the adult thing to do, the grown-up way to do it, is just to tell her. It isn’t easy, and it takes courage, but that’s the best way to do it. [Related: How to Establish Communication With Your Ex ]

Keep it simple and low stress. After a few weeks of no contact, she should be somewhat curious about how you’re doing and what you’ve been up to. Send her a friendly text asking how she’s doing and letting her know you’d like to see her sometime. Don’t make it a date, just meet for coffee or something simple like that.

When you see her, tell her how you feel. Keep the focus on yourself and your own feelings and desires, not hers. Don’t ask her to get back together with you. Just tell her you’ve been doing a lot of thinking and that you are still interested in her. All the writing and thinking you’ve been doing should help put the right words in your mouth. [Related: How to Win Your Ex Back ]

Keep this conversation short and simple and to the point. You aren’t begging or pleading. You aren’t groveling on your knees. You aren’t, in fact, asking for anything right now. Don’t ask her for any kind of decision. Just tell her how you feel. That’s it. Then you’re done. The ball is in her court and you have to wait for her to respond.

Once you’ve told her, then comes the really hard part. You have to drop the subject.

Don’t remind her. That very quickly starts to feel like nagging, and you never want to be seen as a nag. Don’t send her flowers or romantic messages at all. You’ve said how you feel, and she won’t forget it, trust me. But you have to give her space and time to make up her mind.

The best thing at this point, once you’ve told her, is to go back to minimal contact, or no contact at all. Time for you to get back to living your life and enjoying all those good things you wrote down and thought about. Time for you to travel, learn something new, join a gym or club, take a cooking class. Time for you to remind yourself you can be happy and enjoy your life, whether or not she comes back.

You’re a nice guy and she knows that. The respectful and non-threatening, drama-free way you told her you want her back proves it. You were humble and polite, but you didn’t beg and humiliate yourself. You didn’t tell hyperbolic lies like, “I can’t live without you.” You told her the plain truth – you still care for her and want to be with her again. All of this will work strongly in your favor. If there’s any chance she wants to get back together with you, you’ve done what you can to make that happen. But the rest is up to her. If you’re still not sure what to do, it’s time to ask for someone’s opinion. [Related: Determining When It’s Time to Seek Outside Help ]

Even if she’s already involved with someone else, this is still the best course for you to adopt. Tell her how you feel, and then drop it. Don’t tell her she should break up with her new partner and come back to you. Stay focused on your feelings for her. All you can do is let her know, honestly, how you feel, and then never mention it again, unless she brings it up. Giving her the dignity to make up her own mind about you is the nicest thing a nice guy can do. Treat her like an adult.