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Jean, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 433
Experience:  Licensed Clinical Social Worker with 20 plus years of experience in the field.
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Hey, I just wanted to get your advice on my situation:

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I just wanted to get your advice on my situation: My ex girlfriend dumped me two months ago. We had a really great realtionship, full of passion, fun, great sex, great times together. Then I had some personal issues which got me really depressed and I kinda went autopilot for a month. Of course this also effected the relationship, because I just didn't put any effort into it and into her anymore. Because of this she felt I didn't love her anymore and we slowly started drifting apart and it came to a point where she ended it. Only then have I realized what I have lost. We had a really sincere and open talk about what happened about 2 weeks after the break-up and I told her I know I did a huge mistake and that I would like to try again. She didn't say no. She said "not at this moment, I need some time for myself." After that I basically went no contact with her (we work together, but I treat her like any other coworker), and she contacted me a couple of times, set up a dinner date. In the past 2 weeks we went for coffee, had a great time, laughs and everything, didn't talk at all about our past, but I still want to get back together with her. We have the big dinner date a week from today. What should I do - play it cool and act like we are just "two buddies going out for dinner" or should I really try to flirt with her and make it a romantic evening. If so, how can that be accomplished?

20pluscounts : hello, thank for your post today
20pluscounts : How exciting, and scarey at the same time to have this opportunity to "rekindle" things
20pluscounts : Isn't that the truth, once we are at risk of losing something, someone, is when we realize how important they are.
20pluscounts : Were you looking for a particular expert?
Customer: No ... would you like to do it?
20pluscounts : Thanks for joining me- yes I'd like to assist you-
20pluscounts : This dating thing can be such a "game" lots of guessing where the other person is at.
Customer: yes ...
Customer: On these 2 coffee dates
Customer: we had, I tried to read her body language a lot, but she's sending totally mixed signals
Customer: and after the 2nd date I told her ... I really like spending time with you and having fun. I don't know where this is going, but we will see, what happens in the future. And she told me she agrees with this and we hugged.
Customer: I don't know ... does she see me as a friend
Customer: or is she thinking about maybe getting back together
20pluscounts : It certainly sounds like there is great potential for a good outcome here. She's likely hesitant, confused, has been hurt. She's unsure- allow her to take the lead but at the same time be attentive, kind, validating of her. Sealed it with a hug- promising! It's likely more than friends. It's typically either romantic or not in such situations- when you've been involved.
Customer: Also her friends (mutual friends) have told me she's been acting weird and not like herself for the whole time since the breakup.
Customer: I know she's been hurt, and I'm the one that hurt her with my (non)actions. How can I show her (show, not tell), that I'm not repeating the same mistakes again?
20pluscounts : Be yourself, no real "heavy" conversation, keep it light and playful- yes flirt a bit. She may have other stuff on her mind- in her own life. Hard to know, really, unless she is more open about what's going on. Be kind, that goes so far!
20pluscounts : It's a time factor, you being consistent in being kind, attentive, etc.
20pluscounts : Yes, behavior- showing you care, and that she matters.
20pluscounts : She is likely observing, watching you, and over time will trust more if you consistently show you care.
Customer: I am doing all of this
Customer: But it looks like she's emotionally completely shut-down
Customer: that's also what I got told by a mutual friend
20pluscounts : There sounds like you have good chemistry together and want to spend time together. You have lots on the line- of course- you want to tread carefully!
Customer: yes ... I don't want to push her too much
Customer: but I also want her to feel, that I'm still into her and want to get back together. So I'm thinking what can I do to go one step above "having fun together"
20pluscounts : Allow her the time and space to work through this. You could ask "is there anything I can do to make up for how I've been in the past?" What can you do to show you care- what is her love language?
20pluscounts : Does she like texts, gifts, time together, affection,...?
Customer: Words of affirmation & physical touch
Customer: but probably Words of affirmation is her primary
20pluscounts : That's where you put the time and energy then.
Customer: so ... is there any concrete course of action I should take
20pluscounts : Asking how her day is, validating, affirming her in anyway you can.
20pluscounts : Being attentive, but respecting the "space", time issue
Customer: Yes, for sure .. I don't want to come across as needy or something along that line.
Customer: What should I think of the dinner date she got set up
Customer: I need to tell you some more details about it
Customer: it was about 3 wks after the breakup and she asked me if I want to go to dinner with her to a really fancy (also, romantic) restaurant
Customer: I was a bit hesitant at first because it was totally weird to me that somebody who just broke up with you is asking you out to dinner
Customer: I told her I was really busy and have a lot going on in my life now (it was the truth, I didn't just make it up)
Customer: so she opened up a calendar and we started going through it
Customer: and we found a date, (it's one week from now), which was, at that time, almost two months away
Customer: on our first coffee date
Customer: I asked her, why she wants to go with me, as she can now go with anyone she wants
Customer: and she told me "I don't know I just don't see myself going there with anybody else, but you."
20pluscounts : See how the date goes, as you spend more time together, may give you more information to go on. Lots of this is a guess and speculation until she gives you more to go on. Be your kind, sensitive, and caring self. What attracted her to you in the first place? Interesting concept- the thing that attracts us to the person can also be the thing that can cause an issue. Fancy, romantic equals special! I can see where that caught you off guard. Take it as it comes, really savor, enjoy the time together- vs. planning too far ahead. Natural for you to be anxious about this- lots on the line. Most of all enjoy the time together, being yourself. You are special to her-
Customer: What first brought her to me? Huh, tough question. Probably combination of me being a fun person, kind, attentive, smart and good looks (she wrote me a text about a week ago, when I changed my profile picture on Facebook "You look really cute on the new pic")
20pluscounts : All you do know is she wants to be with you-not clear what's in her head right now. Careful not to get too stuck in your head over thinking- as our brains tend to do. The issue before was she didn't see effort- she may be looking for that.
Customer: she didn't see the effort
Customer: but my feelings were still there
Customer: I know I hurt her by neglecting her and taking her for granted
20pluscounts : So be that fun, kind, attentive, smart and good looking guy you already are.
20pluscounts : "You look cute"- she's into you!
20pluscounts : Be a good and attentive listener-shows you care.
20pluscounts : You could ask her what "showing effort" looks like? Her view may be different than yours.
20pluscounts : You work together- lots of opportunity to see her.
Customer: I was wondering
Customer: Should I bring her a rose
Customer: next week
Customer: for the dinner date
Customer: I don't know what's happening in her head right now
Customer: women think and act differently as men do
Customer: so ... would she like that
Customer: or would it be a turn-off
20pluscounts : Does she know you want to get back together? Even telling her you are attracted to her, give her lots of compliments, affirmations. A rose would be very lovely- remember she picked fancy and romantic- equals a rose! She would love a rose- I'm pretty sure about that!
Customer: Yes, she knows I want to
Customer: The first talk after the break-up, I told her
Customer: and about two weeks later she asked me if I changed my mind
Customer: told her that I stand by my words
20pluscounts : It's a small but large gesture to give her a rose. It's sweet- smells good too. I think she is just being careful- that's why it's hard to "read" her.
Customer: yes ...
Customer: But ... I'm not sure this is even going to work out
Customer: It would be really helpful if she just gave me one sign
20pluscounts : Respect that it's natural she's being careful, when she's been hurt. No you do not know for sure- that's why enjoy as it comes- mindful of each interaction- that's all you do have.
Customer: a mutual friend also told me she's not into anybody else or even flirting with other guys
20pluscounts : Very complicated sometimes- this dating "game". All you can do is be yourself- rest is up to her- no guarantee of anything in love, life...
20pluscounts : Much of this points in the direction of her being interested
Customer: What additional steps can I take to rebuild the trust. I think it's been broken and needs to be rebuilt
20pluscounts : Time, and consistent, be "present" when you are with her- good eye contact, listen, and listen, allow her to feel heard, validated.
20pluscounts : If she feels listened to, validated, she may begin to trust, in time.
Customer: from your experience
Customer: how much time does this take?
20pluscounts : When we feel validated, we feel we matter.
Customer: are we talking weeks, months, years?
20pluscounts : How much time? I'd say she's either into you or not- not something you just turn on or off- I hear her being into you.
20pluscounts : Like any relationship it is a process- keeping the lines of communication open, checking in with her etc.
Customer: yes, but how much time is necessary for her to start opening up more?
Customer: I mean, I really want to get back to her, but if it takes too long, or nothing is different, there will have to come a moment when I will need to start focusing on other women.
Customer: for my own sake
20pluscounts : No way to know how much time- that's what is so difficult right? Best guess is 6-8 weeks :) Think it of courting her.
20pluscounts : It's okay for you to set a time and re evaluate- yes!
20pluscounts : Does 8 weeks seem reasonable?
20pluscounts : By then I think you will have a better idea- or you become more direct with her.
Customer: yes, it does
Customer: so, two weeks have already passed
20pluscounts : I understand we need some concrete-ness
20pluscounts : so say 6 more weeks? You could ask her if she has an idea of time?
20pluscounts : For the now- think positively- look forward to the date- appreciate the time you do have together.
Customer: what is really weird with me that the 2 coffee dates were just like when we were together and we went for coffee ... just without the touching, kissing, holding hands, etc.
20pluscounts : I wish you the best in this- like you said if it does not work- there will be other opportunities. She's pulled away to protect herself- but wants to be with you- because she likes you.
Customer: ok ... thank you very much, I appreciated the talk
20pluscounts : Asking her "how does she know others care about her, what does effort look like?" or again the love language thing-
20pluscounts : You are welcome- hope it goes well for both of you.
20pluscounts : Let me know if I can help again.
Customer: sure thing
20pluscounts : Have a good day/night!
Customer: you too!
20pluscounts : Please rate ok or higher so I can get credit. Much appreciated!! We like the smiley faces.
Jean and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.


I would like to do a short follow up with you, as some things have happened this week. She got really sick (stomach) and had to go to the doctors and has to stay at home for a few days until they determine what's wrong. So I decided to send her some flowers with a get-well-soon note. She recieved it and immediatly texted me that this is the best surprise and that she never got such beautiful flowers before in her life. Her mother saw them and told her "See ... he still cares, he still loves you." (she told me that). Then yesterday we had a long "talk" over chat ... she tol me that she sees that I've truly changed and that she can feel I'm supportive, affectionate, and that I show her that I care. That she's been thinking about giving me and us a second chance and that if anyone I deserve it, but she wants to be 100 % sure before she decides to open up that door. So, it seems that I've managed to clear some of the obstacles that were standing between us, but two major ones still remain.

1) She told me that one of the things she missed during our last 2-3 months together as a couple was PASSION. That I didn't make her feel like a woman and satisfy her needs (yes, she has a point, our intimate sex life went from great to almost non-existant during this period). How can I show her that I have this passion burning inside me without actually having sex with her. She won't do that. And even I don't want to do that, because it would probably jeopardize our chances of getting back together. How can you show someone that you are a passionate person ... without getting intimate?

2) She also told me that she sees the new me and she actually likes the new me ... but she is having doubts that the moment she decides to give us another go, that I will revert to my old ways and everything will be the same as it was. And she doesn't want it. How can I prove to her that I've changed (I told her that I've changed for myself, not for her)? What is the best way to show her I'm a different man now and will not got down the same road of mistakes that led to the disaster of the breakup? As we've talked before ... the trust needs to be rebuilt.

The positive thing about our last night's conversation is that I've actually felt her make a little bit of an opening, saying "I've been thinking about getting back together, but until I'm 100 % sure, I can't do it" and things like "There are moments when I truly miss you", so progress is being made ... I just want to continue this journey and take it one step at a time and fulfill the ultimate goal of having her back in my arms.


It's good to hear from you! Thank you for the follow up. Things sound really positive for the two of you. Wanted to connect with you to let you know I am away from the computer for an hour or so. I will have more time then to respond to your post. Look for my response in an hour or two.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

OK, looking forward to your response.

Thank you for waiting. First of all I hope she's feeling better. What a great opportunity that was to rise to the occasion and show how much you care. When she needed you the most you were there. She said that was the "best" surprise she's ever gotten- wow you can not do much better than that!! That her mother said "see he still cares...." tells you she has worried and wondered if you cared. She is telling you she needs you to continue to "show" her. It does not always have to be a big bouquet of flowers- maybe half:) It's apparent that the flowers, card, gifts mean a lot to her, communicate you care. Even her mother associated the flowers with "he cares". Continue to send her romantic messages, texts, cards, even a single flower of some kind. Take a look at this website: and on the right hand side you will see "quotes about love", browse through and find a few that are a good fit to what you'd like to express. There is nothing more romantic than poetry when it comes to love. There are plenty of other sites for "love quotes".

Remind yourself and her that "progress not perfection" that you are making changes, but it's not uncommon that we slip without intending to- it's natural that we may sometimes revert back to the "old". If you make it a priority, put it on your schedule everyday-or a couple times a week- to express something sweet and romantic to her, it will go a long way. Tell her to be really honest with you if she sees you "slipping" away- as a way to help you continue to change and grow, because it is so important to you.

You can be even more "intimate" without the sex, especially meaningful for women. Being close, snuggling, kissing, even if it's a kiss on the hand, forehead, neck, etc. That can mean a lot more for a woman than the actual act of sex. It might me brushing your hand across her face, playing with her hair, massage, taking a walk and holding her hand etc. It can even be sharing chores together- time together. Love is a verb- an action. Again being honest with each other, asking her what she'd like in the bedroom- once you get to that place again- no rush though.

Not so sure any of us can be 100% sure of anything- right! We are human and the for sure thing is we make mistakes. Encouraging her to continue to give you feedback about what is working, what she'd like to see more of. You can not read her mind nor be a fortune teller- the two of you must talk more openly about this. That you are changing for "you" is most important and will increase the chances of more permanent change.

It does sound very promising. It sounds like your kindness comes natural for you. Do make it a priority to be romantic, fulfill her love language, even when things get back to "normal". Relationships take work to keep them alive and well.

This is exciting- it's apparent you care- enough to seek out knowledge, info. guidance etc. to help you- that says a lot about your dedication to her, to the relationship. Do enjoy this it is exciting.

Take care,
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

What can I do to rebuild the trust we once had ... the trust she had in me, but has been lost? I mean I can see a big difference about how the talk went yesterday compared to how a similiar talk went just 3 weeks ago. Big difference. She was a lot more open, even said "I'm thinking about giving us a second chance" for the first time after the break-up. I mean ... this is progress, and I want it to progress to a point where she will have enough trust in me that I won't ever hurt her again and that I will take care of what she needs. She also said. I'm not gonna take you back just because you deserve it. I did that once and it didn't work out. I want it to be on my terms and I want to trully believe it can work out. So, what I think is we have made a few steps in the direction of being together again, but it's still a long way to go. And she can just turn around and walk away in any given moment. I don't want it to happen and I understand she needs time to heal. But at the same time I want to keep showing her the new, improved version of myself. I think she already knows how much I care about her and she likes the attention I'm giving her, she's just not giving anything back at the moment. I'm hoping someday she will. But that's for her to decide.

The true factor towards healing is time. The not knowing is very difficult. Do be realistic that you can not be "perfect". The true strength comes from admitting those things that are not our strengths. Expressing to her your thoughts and feelings as you have here can open up the space for true healing. Yes, she or you can simply walk away. That goes for anyone, any relationship. All you have to go on is where things are at right at this moment. Continue to build on this- like you said you also want it to be on your terms. If she is being unreasonable or unrealistic in the expectations of you, express that to her. Use the "I" statements to express yourself: "I feel scared, worried, excited, (whatever the emotion), when you..., and I wish...or want..." Also asking her what change "looks like" can provide you with more information. She indicates she's been hurt and is respecting herself enough to have expectations that she will get her needs met in a relationship. She is fighting for the good stuff, verses settling.

The best way to build that trust is consistency on your part, continue to do what you've been doing. Sharing your emotions, and reminding her you are trying, you are practicing, but that you are also human, make mistakes, and you need her input about what is and is not working.

This love thing is complicated, your struggle and confusion is very normal.

Take care!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

She doesn't have any expectations toward me at the moment. At least she's not telling them to me. She's told me what's been wrong, what I did to hurt her and what she wants and expects in the future (from any man). Yes, I understand that time is of the essence here, but I want to continue making small, baby steps on the road to reunion. There will come a time even for her, when she will have to make a decision. She went from a "no" to "i have doubts", I understand that this is a big step, but nowhere near as big as going from "i have doubts" to a "yes, let's do it."

Yes!! She is indicating "let's do it". That is a testament to the hard work you've done so far. What you are doing is working. To show such progress in such a short time says a lot. You will likely continue to make the baby steps because you "care", and are motivated to work hard- as you have been. The love you have for her and the stress this is causing is what is motivating you to do the hard work. You sound like you are doing enough- her comments to you are communicating that. This can be such a roller coaster for a person in this situation. Going from feeling like it's good, to doubts, worry, and back to it feeling "good" again. It sounds like it is headed in the direction you want it to go- of course you are afraid- have courage. Trust this process, and progress not perfection. Hang in there.
Would you be so kind to rate my answer, much appreciated! If you'd like in the future you can start a new question and we can engage in a live chat.
Thank you!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Just one quick question and we're finished: We're going to that fancy place to have dinner on Sunday. Should I bring her a red rose (1)? Or would it be too much (maybe it would seem to her that with all these gifts I'm trying to 'buy her' back)?

One rose is perfect! It says so much but is not too much. A fancy restaurant calls for romance! Do enjoy- you are not trying to buy her back, you are speaking to her love language. I wish you both the best!
Jean and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you