“Hi… Remember Me?”

Experienced a change of heart and want to revisit an online admirer you rejected in the past? Believe it or not, it is possible—here’s how.

By Debra Kent

atthew was charming and smart and, judging by his photo, had extremely kissable lips. But by the time he’d responded to my profile, I already had my sights set on Eric, a Jude Law look-alike who loved kayaking and Thai food.

I sent Matthew a polite “thanks, but no thanks.” Three dates later, Eric and I were history—and I found myself wishing I could reconnect with the clever, kissable Matthew. But how? Assuming he was available, I couldn’t imagine he’d be interested in sloppy seconds.

Turns out that in the world of online dating, it is possible to double back and reconnect with someone you’d rejected. Maybe you passed initially because, like me, you were already involved with someone. Or maybe your romantic priorities and values have shifted since your suitor first winked at you, and you realize now that, on second thought, you two very well could hit it off. Whatever your reason, revisiting interested parties from weeks or even months ago needn’t feel awkward for either of you, provided you take some simple steps to leave the door open. Here’s how.

Hold off on your official “no thanks”
One of the beauties of online interaction is you don’t have to respond with a yea or nay immediately—nearly
You should be prepared for a “no thanks”—but you might get lucky!
all online daters have experienced a bit of dead air after sending a wink and probably won’t take it too personally. Then, if you do want to respond weeks later, all you need to say is “Hey, you contacted me a couple of weeks ago when I was super-busy. I hope you’re still interested in getting to know me.” The only exceptions: If that person follows up with a second message, it’s only polite to put their wondering to rest. Also know that the longer you remain MIA, the higher the chances that your suitor may lose interest in you, so if you do want to keep the possibility open, it’s best to say something within a week or two of receiving their message.

Reject with finesse
The key to keeping the potential for romance open, say experts, is to soften the blow by mentioning aspects of their profile or e-mail that you do like. “Say, ‘You have a lot of great qualities’—go ahead and list them—‘and I’d like to get to know you but I’m dating someone right now. It’s too bad, because you’re very appealing/attractive to me,’” says Tina B. Tessina, psychotherapist and author of The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again. Or, if you are unattached but just not excited to meet this person at first, it’s still a good idea to mention a few qualities you found appealing before adding, “but I’m not sure we’d be a great match” or “I’m going through a period where I’m not dating much, although that may change later.”

Steer clear of subtle insults
The biggest faux pas you can make while rejecting someone, says Tessina, is to “sound like some sort of dater who either doesn’t care much about the person you’re dating or someone who expects others to wait around. “If you say, ‘I’ll keep your number, and maybe call you sometime,’ it sounds very uncomplimentary and self-centered.” A complimentary “You seem like quite a catch, so if my circumstances change, I hope you don’t mind if I get in touch in the hopes that no one’s snapped you up” makes it clear you’re considerate.

Get ready to reconnect!
If you want to get in touch again, try a simple, “Hi! Remember me? I was dating someone, but it didn’t work out, and I’d like to know if you’re still available and interested in getting together.” Or, if you passed for other reasons, you may want to try easing back into his or her life with a “You may recall emailing me two months ago. While I didn’t see us as a match at that time, I’ve learned a bit more about what’s really important to me since then, and find myself thinking about you. I’d really like to reconnect if you’re open to that.”

Now, be prepared for a “no thanks” — he or she may well be dating someone by this time — but you might get lucky.” When I finally did muster up the courage to contact the kissable Matthew with a pithy email that said, simply, “Remember me? I’m back in circulation. If you’re not seeing anyone, any chance you’d want to get together?” His response was an enthusiastic “Absolutely!”

Writer Debra Kent is the author of the Diary of V book series.
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