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The no contact rule is the foundational and most widespread piece of breakup advice. Every blogger and their dog recommends it these days. And for good reasons.
It’s one of the most effective ways to recover from a breakup, grow as a person, and ultimately, get into a position where you have the best chance of getting your ex back — even if you’ve been desperate and needy; even if your ex is one hell of a stubborn nut.
Yet, despite its glaring popularity, the no contact rule is also one of the most misunderstood pieces of breakup advice.
In this article, I’ll shed some light on the whole thing. By the end of the read, you’ll know what the no contact rule is and isn’t, its benefits, intricacies, the psychology behind it, and how to apply it to get your ex back or get over them faster.
So go and make yourself some hot cocoa, pour five shots of whiskey in it, and let’s do this shit.
Note: If you’d like to learn about the no contact rule through a different format, here’s a Youtube video explaining this article. Enjoy.
What Is The No Contact Rule
The no contact rule translates to emotionally and physically separating yourself from your ex by, as the name implies, cutting or limiting contact with them.
So from now on, stick to the following:
General No Contact Guidelines:
- Don’t call, message, or engage with your ex’s social media anymore.
- Unfriend and unfollow them and go on a social media detox (more on this later).
- Don’t go to places where you’d have an “accidental” encounter with them.
- Don’t wish them happy Birthday, Valentine’s, Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc.
- Don’t express your condolences if they lose a family member or a friend.
- Hide every reminder of them that’s within your control.
- Avoid going to places that elicit (or can potentially elicit) painful memories.
Handling Mutual friends:
- Cut mutual friends out of your life until you’ve somewhat moved on. Or at least distance yourself from them.
- Don’t hang out with them just to babysit your reputation and play the pleaser.
- Always cut out shit stirrers — people that contribute to drama between you and your ex.
- Instruct your mutual friends to not come to you with any information about your ex.
- Avoid fishing for information, be that directly or indirectly.
- Don’t hold yourself hostage to uncomfortable ex-related conversations and don’t be shy about asking your friends to change the topic.
- If your friendships enable you to maintain any sort of connection to your ex, you’re breaking no contact and should stop immediately.
- Don’t expect or demand that your friends side with you when it comes to your breakup.
- If you’re close with your ex’s family, do call /visit them/send an email (but not a text) and let them know that you’ll be out of touch for a while.
- If they ask for reasons, just tell them you’re hurting and need time to heal. No shame in this.
- Don’t feel guilty if they suddenly start droning on how your ex needs you to be a better person or whatever.
- Don’t stress if they reach out. They may still be a bit attached to you and will have to go through their own light version of the grieving process.
- Do not request your ex’s family members to pass information about them to you or vice versa.
- Retrieve your stuff (if your ex won’t return something and it’s of great sentimental or monetary value, pursue a legal route).
- Give back their stuff (either do it yourself in person, via mail, or ask a friend to bring all the items to your ex so you can minimize contact).
- For joint possessions, do an inventory and divide the items purchased together appropriately. This may be based on value or attachment. And if there’s a legal process involved, consider opting for solicitors or a mediator, although it obviously costs less if you can sort it out amicably yourselves.
What The No Contact Rule Is Not
Many people confuse the no contact rule with punishment, game-play, or a gimmick. And as a result they feel too guilty and icky about committing to it, and instead keep reaching out to their ex until they get slapped with a restraining order.
Let’s sort this shit once and for all.
The No Contact Rule Is Not Punishment
You’re not punishing your ex by doing it, even if it sometimes feels like it. The only time no contact becomes punishment is when you do it with the aim of hurting them or manipulating so give you another chance.
The No Contact Rule Is Not Game-Playing
Silent treatments, power-plays, reverse psychology, etc. — no contact is none of that. Besides, those things don’t really work, they’re merely placebos for helping you avoid emotional problems. And they often do more harm than good to your mental health and relationships.
The No Contact Rule Is Not A Gimmick
When Is The No Contact Rule Most Appropriate
Generally, the no contact rule is most appropriate in the following situations:
- When you want to raise your ex’s attraction and come across more enticing.
- When you want to move on but don’t know how.
- When your ex is giving you mixed signals.
- When your ex keeps treating you as an option/plan B.
- When you want to rebuild and/or improve your self-esteem.
- When you’re obsessively stalking your ex.
- When you’re dealing with an abusive, obsessive, or controlling ex.
- When you’re suffering from codependency or a lack of healthy boundaries.
- When your ex is in another relationship.
- When you’ve been rejected by your ex several times but still keep going back.
- When you’ve been involved in a toxic relationship.
- When you’ve broke up and got back together several times.
- When you’ve forgotten who you are, your values, needs, hobbies, family, friends, etc. — and became isolated by your relationship.
- When your ex is continuing to see you even though they’re committed to someone else.
How To Start The No Contact Rule
For those who want to get their ex back:
After you break up, but still before you apply the no contact rule, you should clearly tell your ex that you want them back.
I’d say something like, “Hey Ex. This is kind of random, forgive me for being honest, but I need to get this off my chest. I love you, I miss you, and I truly want to make things work between us. If you’re ever feeling the same way, reach out, let me know, and we can try again. My door is open for you. In any case, thanks for everything.”
You can do it through text, social media, a phone call, or in real life — the medium is irrelevant. It also doesn’t matter when your breakup happened. Same story with who’s the dumper and the dumpee or whether your ex is indifferent to you or upset.
If, after stating your interest, your ex is receptive or implies that they want to get back with you, invite them on a date and start mending your relationship. In this case, no contact is not needed. But if they’re cold and unreceptive, or if they’ve blocked, ghosted, ignored, or rejected you, end the conversation and start/continue with no contact.
To read a in-depth step-by-step guide on how to get your ex back, click here.
For those who want to move on for good:
Don’t think about it and just go no contact. If you want, you can also tell your ex that you’ll be distancing yourself for a certain undefined period so you can heal faster, and that you’d appreciate if they don’t reach out for the time being — at least not if it’s not urgent.
I’d say (or text) something like, “Hey, I know we said we will still be in each other’s lives and be friends. But speaking to you is not helping me heal from the breakup. I need some space and time for myself so I can get some perspective and heal. I don’t wish to speak to you for a few weeks/months. Maybe we can start speaking again when I am feeling better. I hop e you understand.”
In other words, make your notifying message short, to the point, and respectful, as well as devoid of dramatic declarations of feelings. And if your ex replies, don’t respond. This not only goes against the ethos of no contact, but also quickly drags you back into discussion and undermines your credibility.
To read a in-depth step-by-step guide on how to get over your ex, click here.
When To Not Use The No Contact Rule
Sometimes the classic no contact rule is impossible to apply. Maybe you have kids or pets with your ex, or perhaps you live or work together. In these cases, you must resort to what’s called the modified no contact rule.
The difference between classic and modified is that, in modified, you’re “allowed” to contact your ex and communicate if it’s important. Like when you need to discuss who will look after your kid or dog for the weekend. Or when there’s a living arrangement that needs to be settled. Or when you need to go over a work-related matter.
Now despite being able to communicate with your ex, this communication does need to be brief, straight to the point, and only focused on the pressing challenge(s). And you need to end it as soon as you agree upon some mutually favorable arrangement, decision, or solution.
If you want to get back with your ex — in cases when your ex wants to steer away from logistics and talk about something personal, try setting a definite date by responding with something like, “Tell you what, I’d rather have us discuss kids/pets/living arrangements/work now. But why don’t we go out this Friday night and we can talk about all this more personal stuff then — what do you say; it’ll be fun?”
If you want to move on for good — in cases when your ex wants to steer away from logistics and talk about something personal, respectfully change the subject by responding with something akin to, “I get where you’re coming from, but I’m not ready to talk about that yet. Still have a lot of healing to do. Please respect that. Now, let’s get back to talking about our kids/pets/living arrangements/work.”
And in cases where there is a conflict, solve it amicably.
First, calm the fuck down. Try taking a couple of deep breaths while you’re arguing. If that’s impossible or doesn’t help, call a time-out. Tell your ex, “Hey, this is getting way out of hand, let’s take a quick break, so we can cool down, and then let’s talk about this like adults, without all the drama. I want to get to the bottom of it, just not in this furious and emotional state.”
Second, figure out what the issue is how to resolve it. Try to genuinely understand where your ex is coming from and reflect on why you’re arguing in the first place. Usually, it’s because of emotional shit or a difference in values. The former could be an argument about one person being distant, and the letter could argument about one person wanting to raise their child one way and the other another way.
Third, resolve the issue. Whether that means making a compromise or enforcing your boundaries further. Just remember to do it respectfully and calmly.
Ultimately, the modified no-contact rule commands much higher levels of self-control to pull off than its classic counterpart. Plus, it’s not nearly as effective when it comes to recovery or re-attraction. But fuck it — sometimes you just don’t have a choice. Make the best with what you have.
How Long Should The No Contact Rule Last
It should always be a permanent thing. I sometimes call this the “indefinite no contact rule.” It’s essentially the equivalent of walking away and never looking back after breaking up.
If you want your ex back, you should only give them another shot by inviting them on a date if they reach out first. As far as you’re concerned, you should focus on recovery and growth. At best, find someone else. Sounds counterintuitive, but letting your ex go truly is the most surefire way to get them back. The best way to get anyone’s attention is to remove yours.
And if you want to pursue friendship with your ex, feel free to do so, but only if there are absolutely no shards of emotional attachment, baggage, or the desire of rekindling things present on either side.
No Contact Rule Psychology
I could write pages on the psychology of the no contact rule, but I don’t want you to fall asleep, so I’ll keep things brief and practical.
The first thing to grasp is that love — largely fuelled by the physical and emotional proximity to your ex — forces your body to release oxytocin, endorphin, serotonin, and dopamine. Experts refer to these chemicals as The Love Chemicals. (1)
Now when you go no contact and consequently distance yourself from your ex, you obstruct their flow and prevent them from triggering. This obstruction is then ultimately what forces your descend into panic and distress.
What you’re dealing during these Love Chemical lacking, panicky and painful moments is a literal addiction — an ex-addiction.
Some of its main behavioral, psychological, and physiological effects include: a desperate desire for reconciliation, possessiveness, rumination, mood swings, profuse sweating, shaky hands, pounding heart, heightened codependency, inflated sexual desire, anxiety, and depression. (2) (3) (4)
The Psychology Of No Contact On The Dumpee
Dumpees, on average, feel more overwhelmed, worried, and anxious when in no contact compared to dumpers. Largely because they’re seldom prepared for the breakup — most don’t even anticipate it.
They’re also the ones who typically (consciously or unconsciously) want to continue talking to their ex, dating them, or at least maintaining a friendship. Unfortunately, their wishes are rarely met. At worst, their craving for closeness only results in their ex using them and stringing them along.
The Psychology Of No Contact On The Dumper
While dumpers, like the dumpees, may also want their ex back and could be looking for signs they still have a chance, they do have it easier after applying the no contact rule recovery-wise.
For starters, they usually aren’t as overwhelmed with emotions. They also have fewer desperate inclinations to get back with their ex. And they tend to go through their breakup stages and bounce back to a generally happy and more stable life faster than dumpees.
No Contact Rule Male Psychology Vs. No Contact Rule Female Psychology
There’s a lot of hoopla around male and female no contact psychology. Some people, for some reason, believe no contact affects us in some pre-ordained, unique way — a way dictated, for the most part, by our gender.
This is bullshit.
A blatant scam fake gurus push down your throat because it allows them to split their ex-back product into two versions, male and female, resulting in more money. After all, they’re now selling two hyper-targeted products instead of a sole generic one.
In other words, lots of unethical people are purposefully producing artificial complexity around recovery and re-attraction in order to appeal to their potential customers’ biases and frustrations and help them make more money.
It’s this sort of artificial complexity from which the “female/male no contact psychology” question stems from. In reality, however, no major differences exist in how the no contact rule affects the male and female mind.
Sure, women are, on average, more emotional than men. So going no contact is often more turbulent for them, especially right after their breakup when emotions are known to be most intense.
And men are, on average, more withdrawn and emotionally closed off than women. So after their breakup, they usually suppress their feelings for weeks, causing buildup and the inevitable eruption later on — since every emotion needs an outlet. Thus, while they generally don’t suffer as much as women right after their breakup, they do tend to suffer more weeks later.
But this is really where our differences end.
In fact, I’d go as far as to argue that the no contact rule’s impact on one’s psychology has little to nothing to do with gender and most, if not everything, to do with a person’s genetics, personality, life history, peer groups, and attitude.
And it’s not until you start thinking along these broader perspectives that you’ll earn the opportunity to really understand how your absence is affecting your ex.
Why Is The No Contact Rule So Effective At Getting Your Ex Back
When your ex broke up with you, they’re implying that a) their attraction for you dropped at some point, and b) because of their drop in attraction, they no longer want you in their life (at least not in the same capacity as you want them).
These things most often happen because you’ve been displaying too many unattractive behaviours, including: chasing and pursuing your ex, begging and pleading with them to come back, failing to stand up for yourself, mindlessly pleasing them, prioritizing their needs instead of your own, showing a lack of self-respect, among many others.
This is where the no contact rule comes to the rescue.
It helps you avoid displaying more unattractive behaviours and it sparks your ex’s curiosity, and gives them the space and freedom to re-choose you at their own pace, all of which makes them more likely to think about you, miss you, and eventually reach out.
Studies show that 40-60% of exes keep in touch after their breakup, and in 90% of the cases, their contact is initiated within the first few months following it. Still, don’t confuse this seemingly positive statistic with the odds of getting back with an ex. Those are still crap. (5) (6) (7)
Also, remember that while the no contact rule contributes to getting your ex interested and willing to date you again, it doesn’t help you keep them. Especially not if your relationship was toxic or if you’re incompatible. That’s what self-examination and improvement are for. And that’s why you should always couple no contact with self-examination and improvement for best results.
Why Is The No Contact Rule So Effective At Breakup Recovery
While there are many reasons, here are four I find most important.
The No Contact Rule Lessens Intrusive Thoughts
But there’s a catch: while it decreases the number of intrusive thoughts in the long term, it does increase them in the short term. So while going no contact may hurt at the start, it still saves you lots of unnecessary suffering in the future, rendering the whole thing worth sticking to.
The No Contact Rule Decreases Negative Feelings And Attachment
Psychological studies show that when you cut contact with your ex, the frequency and intensity of negative thoughts about your breakup and the emotional attachment you harbor toward your ex decrease linearly over time. (8) (9)
The No Contact Rule Makes It Easier To “Find Yourself”
In other words, applying the no contact rule helps you reflect on what’s actually important in your life and enables you to make better decisions about your newly formed values, beliefs, and narratives that you’re experimenting with.
The No Contact Rule Helps You See The Bigger Picture
Meaning, it enables you start perceiving your loss not as some major life crisis, but a simple problem everyone encounters at some point. And it helps you to see that you don’t need your ex to be happy and that you had everything required to be happy inside you all along.
How Long Will It Take For The No Contact Rule To Start Working (Exploring Recovery Effectiveness)
Below is a rough timeline of what you may feel during no contact and when it’ll start working, so you’ll know what to expect every step of the way. And while not everyone goes through this exact timeline, it’s one I keep seeing with my readers repeatedly.
Note: your no contact timeline is contingent upon many factors. These include the level of your self-esteem and resilience, the quality of your lifestyle, the type and length of your relationship, the intensity and number of your prior breakups, and unforeseen circumstances (i.e., breaking up with a friend or family member, having someone close die, losing a job, having your business go bankrupt).
After 1-3 Weeks Of No Contact
Your emotions will go haywire. You’ll simultaneously feel shock, shame, fear, anger, sadness, anxiety, and devastation. You’ll also lash out at others, contemplate revenge, feel as though you’re unworthy, find it impossible to move on, constantly miss and obsess over your ex, and struggle with intense urges to break no contact.
After One Month Of No Contact
This is where things get easier. Sure, you’ll still blame, criticize, and belittle yourself, and feel like shit. And you’ll also still be coming up with futile ideas about breaking no contact. But at least a) you’ll probably get better at dealing with your urges and emotions, b) your urges and emotions will subside and get easier to deal with, or c) a little bit of both.
After Two Months Of No Contact
You’ll hardly get any urges to break no contact. You also won’t be checking your phone for your ex’s text every damn second, and you’ll be open to finding a new date or partner. It is, however, still normal to want your ex back at this point, especially if you’ve had a long and serious relationship with them.
After Three Months Of No Contact
Your confidence and mojo will come back if they haven’t already, and most of your urges to break no contact will abate. This is usually also the period of rediscovery for most people — a period where your focus entirely shifts from your ex to you (although, again, it’s still normal to want your ex back at this point).
After 4-12 Months Of No Contact
This is a period of acceptance. During it, your chances of full recovery will be sky-high. Just don’t get me wrong: this doesn’t necessarily mean getting over an ex or losing the desire to get back with them. It simply means being okay with and feeling like yourself despite being broken up.
Two Warnings When Going No Contact
- The first 30 to 60 days of no contact will be a wild ride. But once you make it through, things get exponentially easier.
- Your mind will try to screw you over when you start no contact, so stay vigilant and don’t give in. Not only will it force you to break it, it’ll try to trick you into it by feeding you thoughts like “Just one text won’t cause harm,” “Maybe I should just check up on their Instagram posts,” or “I still have my ex’s old shirt, maybe I should contact them about it.”
No Contact Rule Stages (Exploring Re-Attraction Effectiveness)
During a breakup, our primary concern and desire is often to reconcile with our ex and mend the relationship. However, this can be a daunting task as our ex may be resistant to the idea of getting back together.
This initial sense of hopelessness is a common experience during breakups. It can feel as though our ex will never alter their stance, and their emotions will remain constant.
Fortunately, this is not always the case. As time passes, our ex’s sentiments may evolve because feelings are subject to change over time. These changes are typically reflected in distinct stages.
Now as I eluded earlier in the section on male/female psychology during no contact, these stages don’t occur in the same way for every situation, as each breakup is unique. Nevertheless, this pattern is one that I have observed repeatedly.
Note: If you want to explore these stages in more detail, check out this article.
No Contact Stage #1: Relief
During this stage, your ex may feel as though you didn’t understand them, took them for granted, hindered their personal growth, and made their life more complicated.
To validate their decision to end things (which may have been warranted), they will usually recount to friends and family how difficult you were and how much happier they are now when single.
No Contact Stage #2: Elation
This no contact stage is characterized by a sense of liberation and rediscovery, as your ex feels free to do whatever they want, whenever they want, and with whomever they want, without any repercussions.
They may explore new, unusual venues or engage in behaviors on social media that they have never exhibited before, such as sharing inspirational quotes, posting provocative or sexy pictures, or providing updates on their exciting life. They may also increase their dating activities or even undergo a significant change in their personality.
No Contact Stage #3: Comparison
In the third stage of no contact, your ex will inevitably start comparing you to their dates, which may pique their curiosity and lead to thoughts of you. This could result in them checking your social media profiles, stalking you, blocking and unblocking you, and so on and so forth.
If you have remained in no contact until this point, your ex may even begin revisiting places where you spent time together in order to reminisce about the good times you shared and grieve the loss of your relationship.
No Contact Stage #4: Grieving/Regret
In this stage, your ex will begin to feel a sense of sadness and loss. This is a natural response because as humans, we perceive loss as negative and threatening, and our instinct is to avoid it. As a result, your ex will eventually succumb to their emotions and begin to grieve deeply.
It is during this critical time that your ex may become emotional enough to react to one of your social media posts or watch one of your stories, and finally, reach out.
Signs The No Contact Rule Is Working
There are plenty of signs indicating the no contact rule is working as it should. Below are the most glaring ones. The first half relate to breakup recovery, while the second half to getting an ex back.
Signs No Contact Is Working For Recovery
1. You’re starting to feel more like yourself again. When you’re in a relationship, you often compromise on things like your hobbies, interests, and schedule. The no contact rule gives you time and space to focus on yourself, and you may find that you’re starting to feel more like your old self again.
2. You’re not constantly checking their social media. One of the hardest things about a breakup is resisting the urge to check your ex’s social media profiles. If you find that you’re not constantly checking their updates, it’s a sign that you’re moving on.
3. You’re not obsessing over the breakup. When a relationship ends, it’s natural to think about it a lot. However, if you find that you’re not constantly thinking about the breakup or obsessing over what went wrong, it’s a sign that you’re starting to heal.
4. Encountering your ex doesn’t make you anxious. Instead, you’re swamped by relaxation and the feeling where you have nothing left to prove to them, no validation you’d want from them, or any expectations around the encounter.
5. You’re seeing progress in other areas of your life. The no contact rule gives you time and space to focus on other areas of your life, such as your career, hobbies, and friendships. If you’re seeing progress in these areas, it’s a sign no contact is doing its magic.
Signs No Contact Is Working For Re-Attraction
1. Your ex reaches out. Whether their contact is in the form of an obnoxious, “I miss you and can’t live without you,” or the subtle, “This thing reminded me of you,” it’s a good indicator that they’re interested again. The only exception is when your ex tries to talk about logistics like kids, shared possessions, living arrangements, work projects, etc.
2. Your ex becomes more responsive after no contact. This is easy to spot. It’s when they don’t need much time to respond to your texts or calls, when they don’t think twice about meeting up with you, or when they unblock you from social media.
3. Your ex responds quickly and enthusiastically. If you’re getting a series of quick and enthusiastic responses from your ex, it means no contact is probably working. But this sign is tricky to interpret since, “a series of quick and enthusiastic responses” is different for everyone. Be careful.
4. Your ex is asking around about you. Specifically, your friends and family. Another sign that piggybacks on this one is when your ex sends their friends to gather information about you through the people you know.
5. Your ex directly or indirectly communicates that they still have feelings for you. Meaning, they invite you out, tag along wherever you go, put themselves into your orbit, talk about your future, or blatantly tell you how they miss you, love you, or want to get back together.
What To Do After Applying The No Contact Rule
I won’t dig deep into what to do after going no contact because I’ve already explained it in in this article, as well as this one. But I will list some general areas you should focus on and make progress in.
- Get quality sleep — invest in proper sleep-enhancing gadgets, routines, accessories, and supplements.
- Get or stay in shape — move your body, don’t turn into a couch potato.
- Start or maintain a healthy diet — cut out or limit sugar, carbs, and processed and fried food.
- Keep your hygiene in check — stay clean and neat and don’t be a slob.
- Learn to manage your emotions better — via meditation, journaling, gratitude practices, therapy, etc.
- Find something more important than your breakup to focus on — a movement, cause, purpose, etc.
- Leverage your support system — friends, peers, family, and counselors/therapists.
- Start dating — but only if dating begins to feel fun and exciting.
- Work on raising your self-worth and lowering your neediness.
- Develop solid boundaries and learn how to assert them.
- Develop character to become an interesting person worth coming back to.
- Cultivate an abundance mindset and drop the scarcity one.
- Overcome any limiting beliefs — for example, “I’m unworthy/unlovable of X.”
- Learn how to leverage vulnerability and an interesting lifestyle to become more attractive.
- Acquire the necessary skills to cultivate a healthy relationship with your ex if you start dating.
What To Avoid After Applying The No Contact Rule
Whether you just started no contact or you’re months in, there are certain things you should never do. Not only will these things prevent you from recovering and growing as a person, but they’ll also sabotage your re-attraction attempts. Here they are.
Repression And Suppression
Suppressing and repressing your emotions means pushing them down instead of feeling them wholly. The only difference between the two is that when we repress our emotions, we push them down unconsciously, and when we suppress them, we push them down consciously. (10)
In both cases, the more you do it, the worse you’ll feel, and the more mood swings, temper tantrums, and general irritability you’ll experience while trying to maintain no contact.
Escapism is when you avoid facing and overcoming painful feelings by indulging in various trivial pursuits or distractions. These can be playing video games, exercising, drinking, shopping, etc. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing bad about occasional distractions, but it is bad when they become frequent.
For example, playing video games for a few hours every evening to get your mind off no contact is healthy. But having a two-week-24/7 video game binge to keep you preoccupied isn’t.
Over-expression is another word for lousy emotional management. And God; does lousy emotional management pop up during the first few months of no contact. It happens to almost everyone. The act essentially refers to venting your negativity and frustrations to the point where it gets smothering and annoying for the person or people you’re interacting with.
Seeking validation is essentially seeking confirmation of something. In your case, this is usually the answer to whether or not your ex still feels something for you.
Now, seeking validation is counterintuitive to doing no contact. How are you supposed to cut communication, take care of yourself, grieve your relationship, and ultimately either move on or get your ex back, if you’re still nagging them and looking to get something from them? It’s a recipe for disaster.
And here’s the worst part: even if you do get some validation, you’ll likely find that it falls short of what you expected it would feel like. This is because the validation you actually need is the internal kind coming from yourself.
Expect nothing when going no contact. Act as if your ex is out of the picture until proven otherwise. That is, until they reach out. Likewise, don’t delude yourself into thinking that no contact will be easy. It will hurt, sometimes pushing you to the brink of madness. Expect it. Mentally prepare for it by visualizing the worst-case scenarios and what you’d do if one happens.
A lot of people, obsess about their ex during no contact. It’s safe to say that that’s probably the worst thing you can do. It only amplifies frustration, stress, worry, and fear with act as catalysts for neediness and self-sabotaging tendencies.
If you find yourself obsessing over your ex (hint: you’ve read at least five other articles on the no contact rule), remind yourself that it’s bad for your sanity and to stay in no contact. Then distract yourself with something else that can hold your interest and engage you — but not to the point where it becomes escapism.
Badmouthing Your Ex
Put plainly: don’t talk shit about your ex to your friends — especially not to mutual ones. I know you’re emotional right now, but you’ve got to prevent yourself from slipping.
Regardless of how often friends promise they won’t tell your ex what you’ve said, there’s always one or two bad actors who will.
Handling Social Media Immaturely
Don’t stalk your ex, share cringey, depressing, or sad quotes and memes, or try to make your ex jealous by posting pictures of attractive people of the opposite sex on your timelines or exciting updated from your life.
Go on a social media detox instead — a conscious elimination or restriction of social media use for a set period of time (usually 30-90 days) so you can emotionally distance yourself from your ex and anything that may remind you of them and re-open your breakup wounds.
While I wrote an entire guide on the social media detox that you can read by clicking here, here’s a summary:
- Unfollow your ex on all social media platforms and delete your chats and email exchanges.
- Delete your ex’s phone number, your texting exchanges, and all of their photos and videos.
- Unfollow anyone who may trigger an ex-related memory and upset you.
- Set up newsfeed killers and website and app blockers on both, your computer and your phone.
- If you want your ex back, don’t delete social media pictures of you and them together. This will only leave a bad taste in their mouth if they notice it and make them see you in a more negative light, which can lower their attraction.
- If you want to get over your ex for good and you’re not working or living together, or share kids/pets, block them everywhere.
What Breaks The No Contact Rule
Generally, it’s best if you don’t talk to your ex and simply stick to no contact (modified or classic) regardless of circumstances. But what about in special cases like urgent events, emergencies, or incidents? Does reaching out then mean you broke no contact or not?
Well, to figure out if a particular action breaks the no contact rule, hone in on your intentions — were they needy or non-needy?
For example, if your ex wished you a happy birthday and you replied by saying thanks — because it’s simply a kind gesture — you didn’t break no contact. Your action had a non-needy intent behind it, and it most likely didn’t affect the re-attraction progress you’ve made till now nor did it severely re-open your breakup wounds.
However, if your ex wished you a happy birthday, and you took it as an opportunity to try and desperately force, cajole, manipulate, or convince them to give you another chance or give you closure, then you did break no contact. Your action had a needy intent behind it, and it most likely did affect your re-attraction progress and/or severely re-opened your breakup wounds.
What To Do If You Break (Or Keep Breaking) The No Contact Rule
Simply start again. Sure it sucks that you’ve lost your streak, but whatever you did before breaking no contact is not a waste.
We all get caught in the bullshit of doing something perfectly. Yet, that’s just not how reality unfolds 99% of the time. You will make mistakes, some bigger and some smaller. But rather than getting worked up about them, accept and learn from them.
Honestly discern the things that contributed to you breaking no contact, and limit them in the future. For example, if what got you to break no contact is a cheesy post about love on Facebook, delete the app from your phone.
What To Do When Your Ex Reaches Out During No Contact
Some people spend way too much time obsessing about their ex reaching out during no contact and how to respond if they do. And many breakup advice overcomplicates this essentially simple issue.
Here’s how I approach it.
How To Respond To Your Ex If You Want To Get Them Back
If your ex reached out at some point, they probably still have feelings for you, even if their contact was unrelated to the breakup or getting back together. The fact that they reached out is a huge indicator of attraction.
At this point, all you must do is engage in a 2-3 message long conversation (or a 5min phone call). Then, as soon as reasonable, invite them on a date. Say something like, “It’s nice hearing from you. Tell you what, I’d love to see you. When are you free to get together.” Then accept whatever answer they give you — including silence.
(If you want to go deeper into getting your ex on date, read this article).
How To Respond To Your Ex If You Want To Move On
If you decide you don’t want your ex back anymore after being in no contact, yet they reach out, I would say something like, “Hey, I’m still healing from our breakup. It would mean a lot if you wouldn’t contact me at this time.”
That being said, don’t feel like you have to shy away from other options. You can tell your ex to fuck off (not recommended). You can block them. You can ghost them. Or you can engage in a short 2-3 message long conversation (or a 5min phone call) and then say you have to go.
How To Respond To Your Ex If They’re Toxic
If your ex is toxic, you shouldn’t be trying to get them back because such as ex will likely try to hurt you in some way during no contact. Be that through texts, calls, or an unexpected visit.
That said, it’s always a good idea to mentally prepare yourself for their desperate, needy, angry, or guilt-tripping advances. Here are a few common behaviors to expect from a toxic ex:
- They’ll post photos with attractive people of the opposite sex on social media to make you jealous.
- They’ll play tricks on you and use reverse psychology to get you back.
- They’ll call/text you excessively.
- They’ll excessively call/text your family and close friends — mutual or not.
- They’ll lie about wanting you back and give you false hope just to break your heart again.
- They’ll threaten to harm themselves if you don’t get back together with them.
In any case, resist caving in or starting a fight with your ex. But, also be aware that just because you still care for them doesn’t mean you can’t call them out on their bullshit when they’re, say, guilt-tripping you. Or that just be cause they show up at your doorstep doesn’t mean you can’t tell them to go away. Or that just because they contact you doesn’t mean you even have to respond.
Final Thoughts On The No Contact Rule
For Those who want to get their ex back…
If there’s one key piece of advice that you should take away from this article, it’s this: don’t commit to no contact to win your ex back. Commit to no contact to win yourself back.
That’s what the no contact rule is really for. That’s what it was always for. Raising your ex’s attraction and getting them back due to it is just one of its sexy side effects.
For Those who want get over their ex for good…
If there’s one key piece of advice that you should take away from this article, it’s this: Don’t overcomplicate it. Keep it stupid simple.
Eliminate your ex from your life (or distance yourself from them as much as possible). Then decide to not return — and keep remaking that decision in each and every moment, all until you’ve moved on and accepted your new life.
Top Resources For Going Even Deeper Into The No Contact Rule
- My Re-Attraction Cheat Sheet: a guide with quick information about every step of getting an ex back: how to reach out, become more attractive, handle no contact and dating, transition into and maintain a healthy relationship, and more.
- My Youtube Channel: a place where I publish video tutorials and other fun shit every week, much of it relating to no contact.
- My Radical Re-Attraction Course: an interactive video course that teaches you how to permanently get your ex back without tricks, games, or looking desperate. It has an entire module dedicated to the no contact rule.
- Going No Contact With A Fearful-Avoidant: an article talking about the psychology of a fearful-avoidant person during no contact.
- Should I Contact My Ex Who Dumped Me?: a list of reasons and explanations for why you shouldn’t break no contact after getting dumped.
- Should I Text My Ex? 10 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t: arguments against breaking no contact relating to breakup recovery.
- Exposing The 30-Day No Contact Rule Scam: a raw, detailed, and unrestrained critique of the 30-day no contact rule.
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