Wednesday August 20th 2014

6 Tips For A Great First Date With Your Ex

Question: Our breakup was not bitter at all, instead it was full of emotions from both of us. She said that she still cared for me but was not in love like she used to be. That she felt like “something was missing.” At first I tried “no contact,” but I saw that was not going to accomplish anything! I since have called her 3 times since we split up. The first talk was short. The second a little longer and the third was 3 hours long. We talked and laughed about many different things including memories we shared together and things “we” did. We even talk about the day we met. I suggested meeting for coffee but she said that it was not a good idea that it was too soon for that.

Friday this week, she surprised me with a text asking if I still wanted to go out for coffee. I texted back with a yes. She immediately texted me back saying she had hoped I’d suggest dinner. To cut the long story short, we texted a few times and settled on dinner this Friday. I’m both excited and nervous as this is the first time I’m meeting her face to face after almost two months. How should I act and what should I say? I want her back and I don’t want to make any mistakes. Please help me do the right thing

The Love Doctor’s Answer: Congratulations for coming this far. Who in your shoes wouldn’t be both excited and nervous?!

Besides the usual advice on any first date with anyone — look your best but not overdone, arrive early, take a seat facing the entrance (if possible), compliment how she looks, and be on your best behaviour, here are a few more tips on how to make a first date with an ex not just great but effective.

1. Go with no expectations

So far things look really good but that does not necessarily mean she’s ready to get back with you. This is definitely not the right time to bring up getting back together or define the relationship. If she brings up the “old” relationship (which most likely she will) just follow her lead on what she wants to talk about, but don’t introduce topics yourself because you don’t know where she’s at (yet). Think of this dinner “date” as two really good friends catching up.

2. Make the night about being there for HER

The fact that she wants to go out to dinner with you says there are still feelings there.  They may not be enough for her to want to want to come back just yet but there is certainly something there. If she comes across as trying to get closer, let her without trying to push things to happen in your timeline. Your job is NOT to tell her what she feels/should feel, but listen and concentrate on making her feel what she wants to feel. Use your own intuition and observe her body language for any hints she might be giving you about her feelings. Sometimes this means taking a walk on memory lane. Just make sure you try as much as possible to avoid memories that resurrect painful emotions.

3. Avoid confrontation

At times things might get a little uncomfortable but that’s normal. Try as much as possible to always take the negative and make it positive. For example: if you find things getting “heavy”, ask her (in a respectful way) if she really wants to talk about that “right now”. Tell her you’d also like to talk about it but if it will cause tension between the two of you, you don’t want that.  You’ve caused her enough pain already.  You’d rather spend time making it up to her than causing more pain.

If you find anything she says – right or wrong in your view – getting to you the wrong way, take time off. Take a deep breath or excuse yourself and go to the washroom and let it all out. Just don’t let “stuff” run the show for you

4. Show her what she’s missing

You’ve dated this person before so she already “knows” you.  The worst thing you can ever do is act like you’re trying to be somebody else. It won’t help. The next worst thing you can do is act like the same person she broke up with – the person you became just before and just after the break-up. It will be an instant turn off.

Show her the person you’ve become since the break up and how much you embrace the “new and better” you. For example if you had become “boring”, don’t just tell her, you’ve changed. Tell stories about some of the fun things you’ve been doing lately, laugh, tell jokes, and just look like you’re having the time of your life. Of course that’ll be hard to pull off, if you actually haven’t changed at all. That’s why doing the “self-work” pays off big time!

5. Keep the goodbyes short

Don’t try to stretch seconds just because it feels so good to be in the same physical space again. You want her to leave thinking about you and not wanting to forget you. Make sure to tell her how much you enjoyed seeing her again. If she doesn’t look like she’s had fun and does not want to hug or kiss you, don’t try to make it happen in the hope that that’ll get the two of you closer. Women mostly get closer emotionally then they get closer physically. Most men on the other hand do it the other way round.

6. Follow-up

Give her some breathing space, let her process her feelings about the dinner and the things you said. You don’t want to “be in her face” because this will seem like pressure.  My suggestion (see if it sits well with you) is give it a day or two, if she does not contact you, then contact her.  Not to ask her out but to find out how she is doing. You don’t want her to think the only reason you contact her is to go out or try to get her back but because you CARE.  Women are big on that.

If she’s still responding positively, give it a couple more days and then follow it with asking if she’d like to do something fun. Don’t do dinner again, spread out the fun.  Create new memories. Let her feel things are “new and different”.

All my best wishes!!!

Readers' Questions and The Love Doctor's Answers...

18 Responses to “6 Tips For A Great First Date With Your Ex”

  1. Karissyyan says:

    My ex boyfriend wants to meet up but I just can’t get over the fact that he got with someone new on the same day we broke up. He says he was hurting and used her to try to get over me. They broke up one week later. I still care about him deeply. What should I do? Should I go out with him?

  2. 27Wolf says:

    Thank you very much. These tips were very useful. I asked my ex out after 2 months of text messages here and there. We had a fun dinner and I felt good about the date. We talked, had a few laughs and even exchanged a friendly hug. She dumped me and I thought we were going to talk about the breakup, but it never even came up. She asked me if I’d met anyone else and said she is not ruling out the two of us getting back together. I’m just not sure how to move this forward and not scare her away. Is there some kind of rule to follow?

  3. Response to Karissyyan

    It’s hard to get over something like that. It’s not up to me to decide what is best for you. It’s all about how you feel. Do what’s best for you and you alone. If you do decide to go, just keep in mind that it’s just a date. You do not have to decide whether to get back together or not based on one date — unless something happens that completely turns you off… :)

    Response to 27Wolf

    It’s not unusual for an ex to still have some feelings after dumping you but just not enough to want to be in a relationship with you right away. One great date isn’t enough for you to know for sure. See what happens in the next few weeks.

    Match and mirror her pace and emotional vibe. Take one day at a time and let it happen naturally. This whole process is not easy but it’s not impossible either

  4. Rob says:

    What Happened to the 4th tip? Typo? Still good advice!

  5. Peter Griffin says:

    Thank you for all of this insightful advice. I followed these guidelines,and had a great time with a former lover and friend.Which was followed by a subsequent “date” and walk through the woods
    If you meet up with your ex after a period of NC, wouldn’t she take it as an intimation that you’ve excepted and are now okay with just being “friends.”
    How would one suggest the opposite, or would it just unfold naturally if she spent time with me?

  6. Yes, there is the possibility that the other person might think you are now okay with just being “friends.” That’s why in my eBook I strongly advice against “agreeing to the break-up” and “agreeing to just being friends” if you want your ex back. They say it’s reverse Psychology, I say, it’s self-sabotage. Openness and honesty always works best…

    In your case, you will just have to allow this to naturally unfold by spending time together. But it’s not just a matter of sitting out time, you have to make sure you keep playing with the boundaries of whatever it is that you have now so that you are not confined to a box/category. (refer to “pushing the boundaries of the friendship zone” in the eBook).

    It’ll definitely take much longer (and a lot more work and risks) for you to get her to warm up to a romantic possibility, but it’s doable.

  7. Randy says:

    I have read your book and blog extensively (both of which are great). I’m happy to report that she finally agreed to meet for coffee. It’s the first time in over 3mos that we see each other face to face. I plan on following the advice in the book, is there any additional information on what I can do to make this a success. Much appreciation.

  8. Congratulations for making it this far… not easy… but things do happen if you have the right attitude, take the right/necessary steps and are patient.

    For the big day… it’s best to go with “anything can happen…” attitude. Compliment her appearance because that’s something you will notice first. For the compliment to be meaningful, point out something that is different (in a positive way) from the last time you saw her…hair, weight, style etc. and make a comment about it. E.g. “Your hair is different. You had it coloured (cut/grew it long etc). It looks really good on you. I like it”.

    Once you are seated go beyond outer looks to make an emotional connection. Something like “You look happy” or “You look peaceful” or any other emotional state that you observe. My experience is that people like to hear that they look happy or at peace. I don’t know why, I guess it’s what we all deep inside long for.

    All the very best!!!!

  9. JChloe says:

    My ex has repeatedly asked to see me but I have avoided him because I’m still very emotional over the breakup. We broke up because I became too needy and controlling. I’m working on myself and have changed a lot. We text each other 2 – 3 times a week, mostly on things not about the relationship or breakup. I’m afraid that if I keep putting it off he will think I’m not interest but I’m also afraid of giving him the impression I’m still the same person I was a month ago. What should I do?

  10. Your fears are justified… you’re between a rock and a hard place.

    My advice is, when you find yourself with two unwanted choices, always go with honesty… 1) you will have less regret/guillt and 2) most people react well to emotional honesty/vulnerability, and it may work to your favour.

    Next time he asks to meet be honest and tell him you also want to see him but you’re not emotionally ready yet. You are working on yourself and although you have changed a lot, you don’t yet feel you are where you want to be. Tell him you appreciate his patience and really wish the two of you would remain in contact because it’s helping you see things from a whole different and better angle.

    Then let him decide what he wants to do… someone who truly loves you will always want what’s best for you. That said, try to get your emotions together because if you wait too long before meeting, whatever interest is there will begin to die off.

  11. Mimi says:

    This was a great help. We were apart for a little over 2 months, texted twice a week, me mostly initiating it and we had only seen each other 3 times, not intentionally but running into each other. Using the advice in your date your ex ebook, which btw is the best out there, I finally picked up the courage to ask him out. We had a great time just like in the old days. At the end of the night, he said that he’d like to go out again soon, and for me to let him know when I’m ready. Then he checked in to make sure I got home ok. We’ve been texting almost every day since. I know it doesn’t mean much, but I think I’m on the right track here?

  12. Jules says:

    I followed the tips in the article and we hung out until 3 a.m. and had a great time just like before. At the end of the night, he said that he’d like to meet for lunch, and for me to let him know when I’m ready. Then he checked in to make sure I got home ok. I’m excited but keeping my fingers crossed.

  13. Those are all very positive signs. Whatever you are doing seems to be working. I’m keeping my fingers crossed too…(:

  14. Faraz says:

    I have been having a few text conversations with my ex. Whenever we do talk, she always tells me about her life and how things are getting better for her. I find it hard to communicate through texting, but it seems to get her to respond. I want to ask her out for coffee or tea so we can have more in depth conversations. Your suggestions and advice would be greatly appreciated.

  15. How long have you been having text conversations? Is she initiating contact? Do feel that there is a change in the tone of her texts, something to indicate that she’s progressively warming up to you? If the answers to these questions are yes, yes and yes, it doesn’t hurt to ask her out.

    But if the answers are no, no and no, it may be pre-mature to ask her out. You want to make sure her responses are not just her being polite, but rather that she’s genuinely interested in talking to you. You may need to go beyond just mere contact to real communication where you are “connecting” more with her to get her to be interested.

    That said, there is really no fast rule on when to ask an ex out for coffee/tea. She may say yes, or she may turn you down, but at least you asked, and may be when you ask again next time, she’ll say yes.

    It all depends on your level of confidence and how well you can course-correct if asking her out somehow causes her to pull back.

  16. Christian says:

    Yangki, I’m following your dating your ex book and yesterday met up with my ex for the first time since the breakup. We stayed in contact since we run a business together, but avoided each other in person. We both could see that we still have amazing chemistry. She even joked about it feeling like we’re still a couple. We were together for over 4 years. She broke up with me because I became needy and clingy. I want to see her again, but I’m just not sure if I should ask her out or let it happen naturally.

  17. I am happy for you that things look positive. Her saying it feels like you’re still a couple means that she’s comfortable in your company. That’s a good thing.

    You can actually do both. The letting it happen naturally part is not trying too hard to make something happen, and also not simply giving up the first time because it didn’t happen the way you want it to.As mentioned in the book, ask her if she wants to do something together as opposed to the usual coffee/drinks/dinner thing. If you are turned down, a warm and friendly, “I understand, may be next time”, says you are not needy and not forcing anything that should happen naturally. It’s important to note her reasons for turning you down because people in general tell us a lot about who they are and how they feel, if only we really listened. Follow the advice on being persistent about face-to-face meetings without putting pressure (Page 187-191).

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