Living your life with no regrets is a very difficult goal, particularly when it comes to romance, love and relationships. Nearly everyone has a sad story about someone they should’ve introduced themselves to, or asked for their phone number, or kissed, or proposed to, or kept from walking out the door. And quite a few people wish they could reconnect with an ex or some other person from their past, someone who has perhaps moved on. Is there a good way to “re-attract” someone who once liked you or even loved you but who has now moved on in life?

Yes, there are tried-and-true ways to rekindle romance, but, as with so many things in life, there’s good news here and also bad news. The bad news is that there’s no guarantee of success – no matter how hard you work or no matter how many positive changes you make in yourself and in your life, there’s no promise you will succeed, even though you’re certainly increasing your chances of success. [Related: How to Get Your Ex Back (Video)]


The good news is that even if you fail, you will still reap all the benefits of making yourself a happier, healthier, more interesting and attractive person. That in itself makes your life better and increases your appeal to any possible future mates and partners you encounter along the way.

So here we go with our epic formula.

First, let’s consider attraction. Much of attraction is beyond our control – it’s based on subtle, subconscious factors like chemical scents and the bilateral symmetry of faces. Think, for example, of a person you really, really aren’t attracted to. Then try to think of some way to force yourself to find them attractive. It’s impossible. So keep that caveat in mind as you move forward.

The good news is that in this scenario you are trying to re-attract someone who has proved in the past that they do find you attractive. So your chances are better than average.

Although there are a million surveys out there about what factors make someone attractive to another, let’s focus on some simple basics to get you started. The number one thing that makes anyone of either sex more attractive is a smile. A smile indicates a happier person, probably with a good sense of humor.

But it isn’t enough just to say, “smile more” and leave it at that. Your smile needs to reflect some genuine happiness and contentment in your life. How do you make yourself happier and more content?

What you do is keep the focus on yourself, on your own health, happiness, intellectual and social stimulation, for a while. Then, after some time has passed and you’ve changed, or evolved, if you will, from the person your ex broke up with, then you can begin the gradual process of getting to know them again and giving romance a chance to rekindle.

Happy people are more attractive, as reflected in a nice smile. To make yourself a happier person, you need to be more social. Go out with friends – not romantic friends, but just regular friends – and enjoy life. If you don’t have many friends, or feel you have the wrong sorts of friends, then make some new ones. The easiest way to do this is to join some sort of club or take some classes. In the past, many people belonged to bowling leagues or other social groups where they rubbed along with other people who weren’t their family members or their co-workers. Having this kind of “third space,” neither home nor work, was very important for people’s social stimulation and contentment. We’ve moved away from this type of life in the 21st century, but you’ll find there are still plenty of clubs and other social organizations out there, and that the benefits of joining one are fantastic.

What are you interested in? The outdoors? Well, join the Sierra Club or some other camping and hiking group. Go on some trips and have fun with like-minded people. Your experiences will not only be interesting to you, but they will also give you a lot of good, funny stories (or even a few horror stories, like the time your tent blew away in a thunderstorm) to share with other people.

If you live near the ocean or a large lake, consider learning to sail – another great way to enjoy the outdoors and meet people. If it’s deep winter and you live in Canada, well, perhaps you’ll try snowshoeing or cross-country skiing, or pick an indoor activity. Cooking classes are a great way to have fun with other people – you work in a team or group and there’s lots of interaction. Plus, you get to eat what you make, and also try making the recipes at home later.

It doesn’t matter at all what kind of activity you pick, so long as you’re having fun with other human beings. We are social creatures by nature, and the more time you spend doing fun things (and even difficult things) in groups, the happier and livelier and more attractive you will be to others.

Healthy people are also more attractive. So get some exercise now and then. Join a gym if you don’t already belong to one. And don’t just go there and suffer in silence with your headphones on as you lift weights! Take a class where you exercise with a bunch of other people – indoor cycling or dancing or swimming or boxing. That way you will have more fun while getting fit, and you’ll meet other people who like to exercise.

Interesting people are also more attractive. By “interesting” I really mean “interested in something.” I could expand that to “interested in something other than themselves.” Use your mind. Turn off your TV, put down your smartphone, and pick up a book now and then. Try learning a new skill or subject, like painting (either doing it or looking at it) or Russian literature or chemistry or music or robotics – the subject is not important. Using your mind is what matters. Having a lively mind and some intellectual interests is not only good for you, but it also makes you much more attractive to others.

You’ll notice that I’ve hardly mentioned the person you’re seeking to “re-attract” at all here. And that’s because I’ve kept the focus on the things that are under your control. Once you’ve taken some steps to make yourself a happier, healthier, more interesting person, now you can begin the process of getting to know this other person all over again.

It depends on the situation between you, of course, whether your splitting up in the past was particularly painful or not, but in general, you want to go slowly. Contact this person and ask to spend some time with them in a low-pressure, friendly way. Go see a movie and then have coffee and talk about the film afterwards. If you’ve joined an interesting club or sports team, invite them to come to a meeting or to watch a match. [Related: How to Establish Communication With Your Ex]

If things go well on a few friendly, non-romantic dates, then you can decide if you’re ready to go further. The best thing to do at this point is just to be grown up and honest about how you feel and what you want. Meet the person in a safe place (safe for both of you – somewhere you feel relaxed and comfortable, but also probably in public, so neither of you feel pressured) and put your cards on the table. Tell them you regret what happened in the past and that you’ve worked hard to change from that old person into a different one. They will have noticed, probably, that you’re different. Tell them you are interested in renewing your romantic relationship. Keep the conversation on this topic, but don’t demand a decision or answer from them right away. Just say you’re interested and that you’re not in a hurry.

Then comes the hard part. You have to drop the subject. Once you’ve said your piece, you have to let it go. The other person may take months to make up their mind, or they may say they aren’t interested. None of that is under your control. But by following this plan, you’ve done everything you can to maximize the chance they will say yes. Now it’s up to them. [Related: How to Win Your Ex Back]