This is a guide. This guide is designed to help you get her back. There are, however, other questions you should ask yourself before continuing to the meat of this guide. Questions like: “Should I get her back?” or “Do I actually deserve to get her back?”

“Should you get her back” is really a question of why the relationship ended in the first place. Was she clingy or insecure? Was she constantly nagging you or isolating you from your friends? Was she emotionally or physically abusive? These are important questions because they will (likely) tell you why the relationship ended. Knowing — or rather, remembering — why you ended the relationship should prompt you to reconsider your desire to re-initiate. There is a reason the relationship ended, after all, and it is almost always a good one; you’re probably just too dick-blind or forgetful to remember it. This is doubly true if you two have started hooking up again… because, ya know, casual sex with your exes is always a good idea and never ends up stirring up old feelings that would cause you to rush back into relationships that should have stayed dead. Riiiight.

Of course, this is all assuming YOU ended the relationship because of the way SHE behaved. If this is not the case, you, my friend, have an uphill battle in front of you. In fact, the degree to which you f**ked up is in direct proportion to how steep that hill will be to climb. Did you occasionally belittle her or snap at her once a month? If so, your hill is fairly manageable. Did you cheat on her? You, sir, are climbing a very, very steep hill. Did you abuse her? If so, you are looking at Everest. Actually, don’t even attempt the climb since you don’t deserve her. You’re an asshole, and she was mistaken to date you in the first place. Be grateful for the lapse in judgment she had in the first place, and go get counseling.

If, at the end of all this, you have determined that you should get her back and that you deserve to get her back, now it’s time to actually do the getting. There’s no simple answer of how to go about doing this. Each scenario will be unique, as the previous questions should have made clear by now. What can you rely on then? Well, there are a few principles you can go by.

Step 1: Outline What Will Be Different

I think a good way to begin the conversation with your ex is to tell her about what you think went wrong in the relationship. What did you learn about — and from — those events that makes you think that this time, things will be different? How do you intend to implement those changes in a concrete way? For instance, if she broke up with you because you are a workaholic, and you never made time for her, how do you intend to carve out time for the two of you to spend together? Be as specific as possible. If you broke up with her because you just got bored, she might be wondering how, all of the sudden, you will be able to conjure up enthusiasm and interest on demand? What is to prevent you from becoming bored again? What have you discovered about her that actually excites you… besides how great her tits are now that you don’t have any to play with anymore?

Step 2: The All-or-Nothing Maneuver

Contrary to most pickup material out there on the Internet, I suggest that after you have outlined what about the relationship will be different this time around, you should boldly proclaim your love for her and that you are going to fight tooth and nail to win her back. Tell her she’s going to have to unfriend and unfollow you on social media. She’ll need to block your phone number and tell her friends not to talk to you anymore. In short, she’ll need to blacklist you in every way she can think of short of a restraining order (we aren’t going to get weird here). This is not a cheap parlor trick, though. You really need to mean this when you say it. As long as you do, this should communicate that you mean business and you’re not just f**king about because you’re horny and can’t get laid otherwise. Don’t worry about looking like you’re whipped; you’ll be turning the tables in the next step.

(Note: If she seems truly resistant, and if she tells you in no uncertain terms that you need to stop contacting her or stop trying to win her back, admit defeat and quit it. Don’t be the guy who doesn’t know how to take a hint or, even worse, “no” for an answer.” Just don’t.)

Step 3: Asserting Your Minimum Expectation

If after step 2, she seems open to negotiation on a reunion, this is the part where you tell her what exactly you expect out of this rekindling. Most likely, this means exclusivity. For instance, if you tell her that you expect full exclusivity but she counter-offers with “friends with benefits,” tell her you respect her decision but that it won’t work. It’s exclusivity or nothing, in which case you will be the one blacklisting her now. You are to cut off contact completely. This is to prevent you from relaxing into relationship conditions that are not optimal for you. It’s not worth it, so don’t. Again, your blacklisting threat communicates that you mean business.

Step 4: Gauging Her Response

After this, all you can do is gauge her response and act accordingly. Now, by gauge her response, I don’t mean mind-read her. Mind-reading is a great way to read what you want to believe into her response. If she says: “Let’s just be friends with benefits,” that doesn’t mean: “For now, lets keep f**king, but eventually I will feel the same way I used to about you and we can live happily ever after.” Take her at her word and nothing else. Interpret what she says in the most literal way you can think of. This way of interpreting her may not be the most accurate (as people rarely say what they literally mean), but it’s the only way to hold her to her word, since you cannot ever know or prove she meant what she did not explicitly tell you.