How Do I Get The Nice Guy I Ditched To Give Me Another Chance?

Hi Evan, Love your blog. Here’s my situation. I’m 37, single, and had a really bad breakup 2 years ago. I’m cautious but also a hopeless romantic. I finally meet this guy at a house party who intrigues me and reminds me of an old college boyfriend: cute, sweet, very shy. The first few dates, I really like him. He does everything right. He’s intelligent, curious, shows up, cooks me dinner… But around the 5th date, I start feeling ambivalent about him.

We’ve made out but no sex. (I want to be sure before I go there.) I start wondering if he’s too nice/boring/granola. I’ve travelled a lot, my friends all tend to be pretty ambitious, successful, outgoing types. I worried if he would fit in. I found him too timid. So 4 weeks in (7 dates,) I felt trapped. I couldn’t wait to get away from him! I pulled away when he tried to kiss me. It was pretty obvious that I wasn’t feeling it. When he suggested seeing a movie that weekend or cooking dinner for me later in the week, I was noncommittal. I suggested dinner the following weekend. I figured there was no harm in dating casually a bit longer. Plus, I’ve chosen fun, charismatic guys in the past and that’s gone nowhere! I wanted to see if I could make things work with someone who didn’t make me feel super tingly but might be a good long term partner.

 

But a few days later, he suddenly tells me things are moving too fast. He wants to dial it down and just be friends. When I asked why, he said “it just doesn’t feel right,” that I was giving out mixed signals and he had no say in anything. I was really, really shocked by this as the last time we met he was clearly keen to see me! So Evan, here’s the thing. He was right – I did give mixed signals. Ironically, (of course!) now that he has pulled away, I find him much more attractive and want him back. (I know this isn’t a healthy trait.)

After that, I admitted via text messages (not ideal I know) that I had some issues, didn’t behave well, and agreed it would be good to be friends. (But I really wanted to see him again to see how I felt.) After pestering him with texts, he agreed to spend Sunday morning with me to go for a walk on the beach. And we had a lovely, relaxing few hours. I wanted to kiss him, but I didn’t. I wanted him to kiss me, but he didn’t. I joked, “too bad we’re not dating, otherwise I’d kiss you.” He asked what he said that was so charming. I told him I was feeling more relaxed and left it at that. We had a long hug when we said goodbye. He kissed me on the cheek twice and said something about maybe cooking dinner for me again sometime… Now, I’m confused. Does he really just want to be friends? Is he still interested at all? So two days later, I texted asking if we could meet up for dinner sometime. 3 days have gone by and NO response. Evan, what do I do? I want another shot with this guy. Yes, I was stupid to have taken him for granted so early on. I still don’t know if he’s the guy for me, but he has qualities I really like. I realize I focused on things that were superficial. I don’t want to act all crazy and start stalking him. He must know I really like him, right?

 

Evan, you always say that a guy only wants to be with a girl who makes him feel good. I clearly didn’t make him feel good when I pulled away. How do I salvage the situation? I don’t even know if he pulled back because I pulled back or he met someone else or lost interest or he’s commitment-phobe. In which case, I’m better off not dragging things out… My question is, how can I get him to meet with me again in a low-pressure, relaxed environment so I can let him know genuinely how much I like him? Or should I just let it go? If he likes me, he will contact me himself, right? Help! Thank you! – Confused in the City

 

Oh, Confused!

If you weren’t such a big fan, I would tell you that this is a dilemma entirely of your own making and that you’ve made your bed and now you must lie in it.

Okay, that’s what I’m going to tell you anyway, because there’s not much I can really add to the belated wisdom you exhibited in your question:

You didn’t find him attractive or desirable until he became distant.

You blew him off and expected him to be waiting for you. He wasn’t.

You didn’t find him attractive or desirable until he became distant. Telling.

You were worried about what your friends thought and let that affect things. Sad.

You realized that chemistry is an illusion but you dissed him anyway. Predictable.

But then we get to the meat of your question, “What should I do to win him back?”

Let’s quickly flip it around, shall we?

Nice guy takes you out. Gets mixed signals. Gets blown off because you didn’t feel sufficiently excited, attracted, or nervous around him.

What could he do to convince you that you were wrong?

Should he text you again? Call you again? Send you flowers? Proclaim his love outside your window with a boombox?

Nope. There’s nothing the nice guy can do to convince you that you were wrong.

Wait. There IS one thing.

I nearly forgot because it’s childish, and nothing I’d ever recommend – except for the fact that it works like a charm:

He can pull away and stop trying to court you.

What a great strategy. It salvages his self-respect and makes you come crawling.

At least, that’s how it looks from the outside.

So, to all the people who are reading this who want to learn how to “get your boyfriend back,” the answer is clear: stop trying to get him back.

So, to all the people who are reading this who want to learn how to “get your boyfriend back,” the answer is clear: stop trying to get him back.

If he thinks you’re special, he’ll come around on his own.

And if he thinks you’re a little selfish, a little ambivalent and a little immature, you certainly provided enough evidence for him.

But I’m not worried about you, Confused. I’m pretty sure you’ll never make this mistake again.

The question – to me – is whether any of our readers will continue to blow off the good guys, simply because they’re too “available.”

Your anecdote makes a much better case than I could, thanks.

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Comments:

  1. 31
    jrd

    EMK@#30: “To clarify my point, yet again…This is science, y’all – not my opinion.”

    Duly noted.

  2. 32
    Sherell

    Time will tell in my opinion.  People may start out  believing that everything is great and wonderful.  But time will tell all. 

    Some us tingle and some don’t.  My husband died , but we were married for 10 good years plus 2 dating.  There was that special feeling that was constant for the first 2 years.  But it didn’t disappear completely. it came back periodically over the 12 years  It ebbed and flowed. He made a great partner no doubt, but he also made me tingle!!!

  3. 33
    Snazzy

    #26 ruby

    I believe “Or was she trying to force herself to like someone that she wasn’t really feeling enough for because she thought she should?”.

    I’ve been in that situation. I’ve thought logically – this is a nice guy with good qualities, bit I just didn’t feel it (or want to kiss him). Logic isn’t enough.

    To clarify, I also don’t believe in that overwhelming initial chemistry- it does fizzle. I do think 7 dates is enough to know you’re just not that into him, even if he is a really nice guy.

  4. 34
    JoJo

     
    Evan’s point is spot on.  I feel that a  relationship that’s based on friendship verses chemistry is a more substantial one and is more likely to last.  I don’t usually feel chemistry right away and I don’t rule a guy out just because I don’t feel that tingly feeling.  I’m one who likes to take things slow and like to build on the friendship.  At some point I eventually want to be able to feel that I at least want to kiss the guy.  Rubi #26, Selena 27  and snazzy 34 make valid points.  I’m curious to know what happens when you’re getting to know a nice guy but you just don’t even have the desire to kiss him?  How much time should you allow yourself before ruling him out as a partner?  Steve 28 asks the question about if 7 dates is a fair shot.  Evan, I would like to know what you advise women on this situation.
     
     

  5. 35
    Kurt

    If that guy has any self-respect, he definitely will not take back the “confused” letter writer.  There definitely are some women who think that if a man looks great on paper and is respectful and polite, that he must therefore be totally into those women.  In my own experience, women like that often take the men for granted and think that the men will always be there regardless of how well or poorly the women treat them.  Women who behave like that are totally shocked when the guys decide that they don’t won’t to put up with the woman’s ambivalence or bad attitude.
     
    This happened to me when I was dating a girl whom I wasn’t even that into.  She started acting flaky and canceling dates for stupid reasons, so I told her I didn’t want to see her anymore and that her behavior was unacceptable.  She totally shocked and tried to blame her actions on PMS, which I didn’t believe because I don’t think PMS lasts for two weeks straight.  The strange thing is that she seemed to want me much more after I stood up to her, but by then I decided I no longer wanted to be with her at all because she should have treated me well from the start.

  6. 36
    quiet observer

    On another note:
    The OP seemed to focus only on *herself*. “He cooks me dinner”; “I blew him off”, etc , etc.
    A healthy relationship consist of giving and receiving. When it is predominantly one-sided, one party inevitably gets tired. 

  7. 37
    Da Virg

    The Myth: Just because a guy is nice, treats you like a princess and regularly shows you how much he genuinely likes to be in your presence, doesn’t mean that he is the one for you, especially if he doesn’t make your, um, “heart” go pitter-patter. Holding out for the perfect guy, who has all of the “nice guy” qualities with bad boy packaging, and a little more excitement and intrigue is the smart move. You shouldn’t settle, even for the nice guy. Someone better, who has all of the qualities you are searching for, will come along eventually.
    Reality: In your 20s, the Nice Guys are lame. In your 30s, they will be the hot bachelor that every woman is clamoring to get. There is no such thing as a nice guy with bad boy packaging. Chances are, the thing that makes the “bad boy” interesting and exciting to you now, are the very things that will have you crying, crumpled up in your bed, questioning your foul judgment later. The older you get, the more you learn to appreciate the Nice Guy.
    He may not be aloof (he actually answers when you call or text), he may not be intriguing (he’s interested in meeting your friends and introducing you to his family), he may not be exciting (he doesn’t leave you to wonder about how he feels about you) but he’s there for you. Maybe he’s a little nerdy (he’ll also retire comfortably at 50). Maybe he isn’t the certified “cool guy” that everyone knows (he comes home to you every night) but he’s there for you.
    The Nice Guy is the one that actually likes, cares and loves you—learn to appreciate his qualities now, and avoid years of heartache from dealing with an exciting, “cool” guy who will inevitably turn out to be a dumb ass later.

    How to Apply the Thing You Just Learned:

    Step #1- Honestly assess whether or not you are even remotely attracted to your Nice Guy. If you have even a smidgen of non-platonic interest in him, keep him. Time has a funny way of enhancing feelings. If you’re not interested at all, don’t string him a long and mess him up for the next girl.

    Step #2- 
    Stop looking at all of your Nice Guy’s boring qualities. Focus on all of the things that make him a Nice Guy. Before you know it, the boring qualities will seem inconsequential—or even more likely, become what you love the most about him.

    Step #3-
     Stop watching bad romantic comedies and trying to draw comparisons to your own life. Those movies are totally unrealistic. In fact, they are the devil.

  8. 38
    Gorb

    Yeah.

    You’re a victim of yoru  own success. What you need is a man who leads, more than this guy; he has no game. He needs to learn Game, learn how to keep you on your toes, a little off-balance.

    Like it or not, this is why you want him now. if a man is too available, women won’t want him. Distant and hard to get – now they want him. Men who are too available stink of boring and safe and “he has no other options”.

    it’s basic programming, right up there in the hindbrain.

  9. 39
    Bill

    This guy made the right decision. I’m really sorry, but you are not a nice girl. Nice guys want nice girls. Perhaps you should work on yourself instead of working on finding yourself a nice guy.

  10. 40
    Mickey

    Is there a bigger kiss of death than “Let’s Be Friends?”

  11. 41
    Gabrielle

    OP
    Thank you for sharing.
    I want to say good on you! I am writing in response to Bill’s comment. Who most likely is a nice guy, in spite of his comments, with his strong defense of nice guys out there.

    Firstly the OP, states that she is in a cautious place after a really bad break up….not a fun place to be.

    Perhaps because of this experience, she is brave enough to try Evan’s advice (which I also adore) and do something counter intuitive to her past.  ***** five stars in my book.

     “Plus, I’ve chosen fun, charismatic guys in the past and that’s gone nowhere! I wanted to see if I could make things work with someone who didn’t make me feel super tingly but might be a good long term partner. ”
     
    Wow, I am impressed that she was willing to try something different. The first time we try something new we may not get the excellence we want. Of course something unfamiliar can be confusing at first, till we get more and more clear :)

    OP did one of my favorite things, was accountable and took responsibility.

    I feel happy that she tried it, liked it. It sounds like you are growing and getting wiser and got the experience of another type of partner. I think the hardest thing was doing it the first time, I suspect it will get easier and easier and more enjoyable with each experience of nice guys. 

    It was inspiring for me to read it, a great first attempt at something new.
    Thank you for sharing and I wish you the very best.

  12. 42
    Lt Dan

    Being the guy mentioned (not specifically from this story, just the same situation) I can tell you that if he likes you and respects you he won’t make the first move. After essentially being told you weren’t interested he is going to respect that. I stopped texting the woman that did this to me and after a couple of months I get a valentines day text. I can tell you it was quite effective.

    Just yesterday she sends me a text expressing boredom being out at a bar with friends. She wasn’t impressed with the bar being a gaybar, or something. it was pretty much like she was telling me that she was out with friends but not to pick up a guy… Like she was waiting for me to offer to come join her. If it wasn’t one of the days that I have my kids, I would have.

    I guess what I’m getting at is this: What drove him away was lack of interest and mixed signals. Want to see if he’s still interested? Express interest in him, but be casual. If he blows you off, there is likely no hope.

  13. 43
    Jared

    This whole first article is why I get so frustrated with women.

  14. 44
    trw

     
    Women wants to get off the carousel, fine. Hypergammy may not care, but her solipsistic thinking will pay a price when guys with options ignore her. I don’t have any sympathy for the typical 30 something Alpha widow.  

  15. 45
    Mickey

    This is a rather ironic piece considering the mentality that being “nice” is considered a disability when it comes to dating.

  16. 46
    Y

    You don’t love him, never will do either. He figured it out and left, give him a break, don’t ruin his life.
    Just count the “i” in your letter, it’s all about you all along…
    You don’t want him back for a healthy relationship you just want validation and ego boost again, which you’ve been denied while you were unprepared, thus making you feel hurt. So sad.
     
    he is obviously not stupid, and totally not into drama. You had a shot and you blew it, make things better with the next one instead of trying to fill imaginary chick-lit needs.

  17. 47
    phil

    in response to:
    Selena 19
    (quote

    Good question jrd. How many of us would want to be someone who admited we didn’t make them feel super tingly, but thought we might be a good term partner anyway. Sort of sounds like picking out a sensible car. Not very flattering. Got to be a little more than that to make someone excited about being with you, yes?
     
    also stop and think on this :
    how man nice guys (this can include nice girls as well) feel at times they were just settled for because the women(or man) felt the way the OP did. they had better sexual(chemistry) experiences with the flashier type people. however this guy will do in a pinch type deal.  yah, real way to win a persons heart over. the person may never say anything directly about it but there can or could be times it may cross his(or her) mind. reading thru the other posts here were some broke down the OP’s post and commented on it would seem to bear out what I’ve just said here.

  18. 48
    Scott

    One factor that should be taken into account when deciding whether to “settle” for utility is the woman’s attitude toward “I’m-not-in-the-mood” sex.  Crucial for her to be honest with herself.  Some women, when they are in the mood, they are into it, and when they are not in the mood, they can easily tolerate letting him do his thing.  Other women, when they are in the mood, they are into it, and when they are not in the mood, they can’t tolerate him touching her.  For women in the latter category, chooisng someone that doesn’t make her tingle is a bad idea.  It is one thing for a guy to realize “she is not that into me, but she chose me because I treat her well, and she makes herself available even when she is not in the mood because she appreciates me”.  That is a compliment.  Very different from “she is not that into me, and she chose me for utilitarian reasons, and I wish she had shared that with me before we got married because I am tired of being turned down”.  First know thyself.  Even that has risks, because sometimes you think you can tolerate something and it turns out over the long haul that you can’t.  But if you know up front you have trouble participating when you are not in the mood, going forward is foolhardy.  Affection can and frequently does  grow over time.  Tolerance for unwanted sex generally does not.

  19. 49
    ManOfRome

    Okay, first let’s cover you, confused.  You mention that with the ‘outgoing type’ that made you feel ‘tingly’ it never worked out.  Reading what happened with this guy, it probably wasn’t the type of guy but rather your attitude in dating regardless of the personality type of your partner.

    Second thing is, you need to get over yourself.  Lets face it, you acted like you were too good for him, then he blew you off.  He showed you affection, and you didn’t want it, he showed you nothing and suddenly you want him, probably because now YOU feel rejected and need validation.

    Get over yourself, get over your ego… and most importantly, stop using men to try to validate your insecurities. 

  20. 50
    ManOfRome

    In light of my previous comment, I will offer a solution.

    Apologize.  Women seem to forget men have feelings, complex, deep, human, emotional, irrational, feelings.  I guarantee you hurt them in your nice guy. 

    He probably thought things were doing okay, especially if he likes taking things slow. he tried to kiss you and you pulled away, your body language said ‘I’m not interested in you’ then he tried to make plans, (more than likely not because he wanted to do something, but because he wanted to know your response after the pull away), and you confirmed that you had no interest.

    You probably hurt his feelings, and gave him mixed signals.  How did you repair this, you got him to go on another date with you and you… SHOWED HIM NO INTEREST…  and in that no respect

    Sounds like he cut his losses, I guarantee you are not the first girl to treat him like this, so he won’t wait around for you to stop making him feel unwanted… He’s going to find someone who is going to appreciate him, and rather than play little games, be honest with him…

    So that’s it… If you are mature enough, apologize, be honest, and most importantly, apologize, you were not kind to him, and it doesn’t sound like he deserved it. 

  21. 51
    SparklingEmerald

    THIS is why I don’t lead guys on, give them a chance etc.  One poster suggested going out with a guy for a month if he didn’t repulse you.  I replied to that, and thought it was terrible advice, because I think advising women to date men that they aren’t even remotely attracted to is bad, advice and leads to crap like this.  (I also don’t think you should expect fourth of July fireworks, but to set the bar so low to “doesn’t repulse me” does no one any favors)  Boy, did I get piled on for disagreeing with THAT poster. 
    I think one of the bad things about giving “nice guys” a chance when you feel ZERO attraction, is they will try to win your heart (because by you giving them a second, third or fourth date, you really ARE leading them and giving them false hope).  And you will see that they have these great qualities, and that they would make a good partner.  IOW, the will look good on paper, but you still won’t be feeling it.  (Now if there was a small amount of attraction, it can grow, but zero attraction, I seriously doubt it.  There may be a few scattered exceptions, but that is not the norm)  So you feel guilty about not getting “the tingles” for the guy who has treated you so well, and you try to “learn to love him”.  These things end up blowing up in your face. 
    Oh yeah, and when he starts ignoring you, in response to your obvious lack of attraction, and you start thinking about giving him another chance, THAT IS YOUR EGO !!  It’s the “How dare you break up with me, I’m supposed to break up with you”.  Don’t be a bitch, let him go, and find a woman who is EXCITED about seeing him again, who is thinking “I can’t wait to see him again” and not “Hmmm, maybe I should give him a chance”.
    I’ve been on both sides.  I’ve tried “giving guys a chance”, and only ended up hurting them.  I have pre-emptively broken up with guys when I just knew they weren’t really that into me relationship wise (but weren’t above trying to score some NSA booty) .  Boy was it a hit to their ego that I “broke up” with them.  (Not really, because I was only responding to their obvious indifference)    If I break it off due to their indifference, they try to come back.  I don’t think it’s really because they want to try again.  I think they just want to make sure that it is THEY that end it and not me.  I think it’s their ego, and not a genuine change of heart or clarity on previous ambiguity.  Or maybe they are just horny and still think they can pull off a booty call with me.
     
    I agree with what most people here said.  The OP is just on an ego trip.  Go find a guy you really like, and let him go so that he can find a girl he really likes.
     

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