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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.