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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 heal and grow from a breakup and/or get a decent shot at re-attracting an ex.
Yet, despite its glaring popularity, the no contact rule is also one of the most misunderstood pieces of breakup advice. Hence, this article. 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 past your breakup or back with your ex sooner.
So go and make yourself some hot cocoa, pour five shots of whiskey in it, and let’s do this shit.
What Is The No Contact Rule
The no contact rule is a boundary-building action that translates to emotionally and physically separating yourself from your ex by, as the name implies, cutting or limiting contact with them. When you apply this rule, you essentially disrupt your typical patterns of interaction with them, oftentimes leading to improved self-esteem and reduced emotional dependence.
Now no contact entails exactly what you think it does. No calling, texting, direct messaging, stalking, orbiting, tapping up mutual friends, or attention seeking. I’ll expand on these topics later, but for now, you get the point. Avoid anything that keeps you emotionally and physically in contact with your ex.
What The No Contact Rule Is Not
Many people confuse the no contact rule with punishment, game-play, or a gimmick. Consequently, they feel too guilty and icky about committing to it, and instead keep reaching out to their ex, reopening their breakup wounds further with every interaction. I don’t want this to be you, so let’s sort something out.
No contact is not punishment. You’re not punishing your ex by doing it, even if it sometimes feels like it. A time when no contact could become punishment, however, is when you apply it to hurt or manipulate them so they give you another shot. Obviously, don’t do that.
No contact is not game-playing. Silent treatments, power-plays, reverse psychology, etc. — no contact is none of that. Rather, it’s about setting healthy boundaries and focusing on self-care and personal growth. By taking time away from your ex, you can gain perspective and emotional strength.
No contact is not immoral. Don’t tie morality into no contact. You’re not in a position for this sort of judgment. Plus, it’s irrelevant and a waste of time. Keep things simple and recognize there are just certain relationships out there where the healthiest thing you can do is to remove yourself from them. It’s either that or holding yourself hostage and suffering unnecessarily.
How Long Should The No Contact Rule Last
No contact should always be a permanent thing. It’s the equivalent of walking away and never looking back after breaking up. And whoever tells you otherwise is selling you bullshit.
This is pretty self-explanatory if you’re in it just to move on from an ex. Of course you don’t want to resume communication any time soon. Where things get murky, however, is when it comes to people who want to get back with their ex.
Interestingly, I’ve seen lots of ex-back coaches advocating for making the no contact period between 30 and 60 days. These people even encourage their followers to reach out to their ex after a certain number of days, usually with some pre-prepared text message.
This shit never made sense to me.
Doing time-limited no contact only incentivizes you to passively wait for the X-day period to pass. Therefore, your intentions and efforts are no longer set on healing and personal growth but largely on forceful reconciliation. And that never works out. That’s not the point of no contact even.
It’s also needy and therefore unattractive. It implies you perceive yourself as less worthy than your ex (you see them on a pedestal). It shows you’re willing to go out of your way to accommodate and fight for someone who clearly doesn’t appreciate it or wants you around. And that only conveys that you have little to no self-respect and have nothing better going on in your life.
My theory is that all forms of X-day no contact are just another marketing ploy. People don’t want to hear how their ex should show willingness to mend things by reaching out first before they ever give them another chance. Of course not. They want to hear what feels good. And since this feel-good bullshit sells more ex-back products than the harsh truth, most people working in this slimy industry swear by it.
Note: if you’re interested in this perspective and want to dig deeper, read this article: Exposing The 30-Day No Contact Rule Scam.
How To Apply The No Contact Rule
For those who want to move on
Don’t think about it and just go no contact. If you want, you can also communicate to 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, “So 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 hope you understand.”
In other words, make your notifying message short, to the point, and respectful, as well as devoid of dramatic declarations of your feelings. And if your ex replies. don’t be too eager to respond. Most of the time, you don’t have to. Plus, if you do, you can quickly drag yourself back into discussion and undermine your credibility.
Note: to read an in-depth, step-by-step guide on how to get over your ex, click here.
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 or text 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.”
Now whether you respond through a text message, a phone call, social media, or in real life 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, mean or vicious, or if they’ve blocked, ghosted, ignored, or rejected you, end the conversation and start/continue with no contact.
Note: to read an in-depth, step-by-step guide on how to get your ex back, click here.
What The No Contact Rule Entails
When going no contact, I advise you to stick to these 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.
- 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 not to come to you with any information about your ex.
- Avoid fishing for information, be it 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, or 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.
- Don’t 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.
Modifying The No Contact Rule
Sometimes the classic no contact rule is impossible to apply. Maybe you have kids or pets with your ex. Maybe you live or work together. Or perhaps you share some other responsibilities that force you to stay in touch. In these cases, 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 or financial 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.
Overall, modified no contact commands 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.
Being Friends After Applying The No Contact Rule
Being friends with an ex during a period of no contact can be somewhat paradoxical, as the essence of no contact is to create space and distance between you and your ex so you can heal and/or re-attract them faster. However, some people still attempt to go through with it.
Whether this is a feasible and healthy option for you depends on many things: mutual agreement, emotional maturity and readiness, level of attachment, expectations around the friendship, the amount of respect for each other’s boundaries, and so on. To be safe, though, when deciding whether or not to pursue friendship with your ex, consider this rule of thumb:
Feel free to pursue friendship with your ex only if it’s been months since the breakup and if there are absolutely no shards of emotional baggage or the desire to rekindle things present on either side.
If any of the above isn’t the case, you shouldn’t be friends with your ex. It’s probably not feasible nor healthy — and will only lead to drama, confusion, and unnecessary suffering. And for all you curious ex-back peeps, the answer is no — you can’t use friendship as a backdoor to a new, rekindled relationship. Your ex will soon notice that you’re playing them and be repulsed by it.
The Psychology Of The No Contact Rule
I could write pages on the psychology of no contact, 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 often 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.
Male Vs. Female Psychology Of The No Contact Rule
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. So they usually suppress their feelings for weeks post-breakup, causing buildup and the inevitable eruption later on. After all, every emotion needs an outlet.
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, character, life history, peer groups, and attitude.
Why Is The No Contact Rule So Effective At Breakup Recovery
While there are many reasons, here are some I find most important.
- No contact 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.
- No contact decreases negative feelings and attachment. 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)
- No contact reduces drama and conflict. Self-explanatory. The more drama and conflict you get into with your ex, the more you’ll hinder your recovery process.
- No contacts builds self-esteem. It usually does this by forcing you to shift your focus from external validation to internal.
- No contact makes it easier to find yourself post-breakup. In other words, it 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.
- No contact helps you see the bigger picture. Meaning, it enables you start perceiving your loss not as some major life crisis, but a simple problem virtually everyone encounters and eventually gets over.
Why Is The No Contact Rule So Effective At Getting An 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 behaviors, 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 behaviors 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.
How Long Will It Take For The No Contact Rule To Start Working (Exploring Recovery Effectiveness)
No contact’s time till effectiveness depends on many factors — self-esteem and resilience, the quality of one’s lifestyle, the type and length of one’s relationship, the intensity and number of prior breakups, and unforeseen circumstances (i.e., breaking up with a friend or family member, having someone close die, losing a job, having a business go bankrupt).
That being said, below is a rough timeline of what you may feel during no contact and when it’ll start working. So while not everyone goes through this exact timeline, it’s one I keep seeing with my readers repeatedly.
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 near 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. You’ll also still be coming up with futile ideas about breaking no contact. Conversely however, you’ll probably a) 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 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.
The No Contact Rule Stages (Exploring Re-Attraction Effectiveness)
Re-attraction can be nerve-wracking. After all, your ex won’t always be up for it, and it often feels as though they’ll never change their mind and forever stay emotionally unavailable or indifferent.
Fortunately, this isn’t always the case. For most feelings change over time. Now these changes are typically reflected in the distinct stages I’ll list below. Just don’t forget that they don’t occur as shown for every situation, as each breakup is unique. Nevertheless, the following is a pretty common pattern.
Note: 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 become drastically more promiscuous and 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, or blocking and unblocking you.
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
While there are plenty of signs indicating the no contact rule is working as it should, below are some of the most important and common ones.
Signs No Contact Is Working For Recovery
- Your emotional stability increased — meaning you find yourself feeling less anxious or distressed despite no contact.
- You’re not constantly checking your ex’s social media.
- You’re not obsessing over the breakup anymore.
- Encountering your ex doesn’t make you anxious.
- You’re seeing progress in other areas of your life, like your career, hobbies, and friendships.
Signs No Contact Is Working For Re-Attraction
- Your ex reaches out and they’re not just trying to go over logistics like kids, shared possessions, living arrangements, work projects, etc.
- Your ex becomes more responsive after no contact.
- Your ex responds quickly and enthusiastically — and least quicker and more enthusiastic as usual.
- Your ex is asking your friends and family about you.
- Your ex sends their friends to gather information about you.
- Your ex invites you out, tags along wherever you go, and puts themselves into your orbit
- Your ex tells you that they still have feelings for you or start talking about a future with you.
Note: to explore these signs in more detail, as well as discover an array of new ones, read this article.
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 healing 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. All of which are a 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 reopen your breakup wounds.
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 reopen 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 reopened 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. Or if you broke no contact because a mutual friend kept talking about your ex, stop hanging out with them or tell them to avoid the subject next time.
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 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 text conversation or a five minute phone call and then say you have to go.
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 short text conversation or a five minute 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.
Note: if you want to go deeper into getting your ex on date, read this article.
Final Thoughts On The No Contact Rule
For those who want to move on — don’t overcomplicate no contact. 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.
For those who want to get their ex back — don’t commit to no contact to win them 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 back together because of it is just one of its sexy side effects.
But above all, know that no contact is not enough. It’s just one tool in your recovery or re-attraction toolkit. To hit your post-breakup goals, there has to be more than no contact on the table. As I suggested earlier, you must couple it with genuine self-examination and improvement. That, and probably some form of professional help too.
More Resources For Going Deeper Into The No Contact Rule
- The Breakup Recovery Cheat Sheet: a quick guide with over 40 tips on how to emotionally recover from your breakup and what to expect along the journey.
- Beat The Breakup: 27 Conflicting Answers And One Weird Conclusion: a book about conflicting approaches to getting past a breakup. Each chapter believes it knows how you should get past yours. And each chapter disagrees with the next. Which one is correct? All of them.
- My Radical Recovery Course: an interactive online course that teaches you how to heal and grow from a breakup so you can create a new possibility for love — with or without your ex.
- The 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.
- From The Inside Out: A Counterintuitive Approach To Re-Attracting An Ex: a book providing a practical, no-nonsense view of what it means to be a healthy, attractive person capable of mending a relationship.
- The Radical Re-Attraction Course: an interactive online course that teaches you how to permanently get back with your ex through honesty, vulnerability, and proper self-improvement.
- 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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