When I broke up with my ex, I was desperate, to say at least. I was ready to do the impossible to get him back or to get over him.
That’s when my friend told me that I can actually do both. Yes, there is a magical way to heal yourself while your ex misses you even more and more.
It’s this thing called the no contact rule.
But, how does it actually work? What are the rules you must follow in order for it to be effective? What does it do to your ex’s brain, and how does it impact you?
I guess you’ll never find out unless you read on!
What is the no contact rule?
Going no contact means cutting all ties of communication with your ex in the post-break-up period for a certain amount of time. It means resisting the urge to reach out to them in any way possible, and not giving them a chance to contact you either.
Rules Of The No Contact Rule
The term itself should be self-explanatory, right? Well, it’s actually much harder than it seems.
That’s why I’m giving you some guidelines on how the no contact rule works.
Cutting them off completely
Going no contact really means going no contact. I don’t know how to emphasize this enough.
There are no random phone calls in the middle of the night, no text messages, no checking up on each other, no calling to hear their voice, no picking up the phone when you get their drunk calls…
Of course, all indirect hints are also strictly forbidden. You know exactly what I’m talking about.
I’m talking about stuff like replying to their stories, “accidentally” calling them from your back pocket, stalking them, and sending them signals that you still think of them. There is no wishing them a happy birthday or reminding them that it was your anniversary.
And, this one should be obvious but let’s make it clear for the ones in the back rows: There is no hooking up of any kind whatsoever! I know you miss kissing them and sleeping with them, but if you slip back just once, what’s the point of this entire trouble?
When is it acceptable to break this rule?
There is an exception to every rule. The only time you’re allowed to contact your ex is if they’ve been in a real emergency.
I’m not talking about their cat hurting its paw – don’t make such lame excuses!
It’s one thing if their loved one has passed away or if their life is at stake. Only in that kind of situation are you allowed to break this rule and be the bigger person.
Everything else is off limits!
How long should the no contact rule last?
The no contact period ideally lasts for three full months. Yes, you heard it right: 90 days. But, if that’s too much, I’ll let you slide with 60 days, at least. And, not a day shorter!
Trust the process, and believe me when I tell you it’s the only way to get something done. You can’t expect to move on or make your ex want you back if you go silent for a week or so.
They need time to process the breakup, time to understand they miss you, time to realize that you’re not coming back, and time to get the courage to reach out.
And, you? You need time to heal your broken heart, time to grieve your failed relationship, time to understand that you can live without them, time to work on yourself, and time to figure out if you want them back or not.
How do you expect all of this to happen in under 60 to 90 days?
Should you respond if they reach out?
What if your ex contacts you during the critical period? Will the no contact rule work if you reply?
No, it won’t. In fact, if you respond, you have to do it all over again from scratch (yes, from day one).
Nevertheless, there are some exceptions. Here is the guide through potential scenarios in which breaking the rule is okay.
Wanting their stuff back
If they ask for their belongings back, this is probably just a way to start a conversation. Don’t fall under this trap!
Nevertheless, you can’t keep things hostage forever. So, it’s better to return them right away without giving them the chance to deepen the conversation.
It would be best if you two don’t see each other eye to eye during this handover. Drop their things off at your friends’ house or make some other arrangement where you won’t have to meet them.
Be kind and restrain your communication from talking about anything besides the drop-off itself. Let them know you’re not interested in anything besides really giving them their stuff back.
Running into them
If you run into your ex, do your best to avoid them. Look at your phone, talk to your friend, or change direction.
But, sometimes they’ll deliberately show up in front of you just to engage in a conversation. In that case, you can’t just stare at them without pronouncing a single word.
Greet them kindly and limit yourself to answering their questions. Of course, you won’t answer anything personal, but it’s acceptable to say how you’ve been and stuff like that.
Nothing but small talk is allowed here. No inside jokes, and certainly no flirting!
Another thing: asking them anything breaks the no contact rule. Don’t show any interest in their life whatsoever and I assure you they’ll get the message.
Should you block them?
Observing your ex’s life and resisting the temptation not to contact them is tough. You must think that blocking them on social media apps is the best possible move if you’re going cold turkey.
Well, ironically, it isn’t. In fact, it’s much better to keep on following them.
If you block your ex, they’ll know that you can’t stand their presence on your social media. You’re either bitter or you’re scared to watch them move on.
Either way, you’re not indifferent. On the other hand, if you don’t block them – you don’t care about their activity.
Of course, if this ruins your peace, and if you spend your days stalking them, you have no other choice but to block them. In any other circumstance, let them wonder.
What if they call you? Should you block their phone number?
If you can resist the urge not to answer or text them back, leave them unblocked. That way, they’ll know you’re literally looking at your phone, but you have the strength not to pick it up.
How badass is that?
10 Benefits Of The No Contact Rule
1. Emotional maturity
I know what you must expect right now: me telling you how following the no contact rule will make your ex come back to you in no time.
We’ll come to that – take it easy. But, before that, let’s dig into something more important.
The thing you should be the happiest about is the way cutting ties with your ex will benefit you.
Trust me: it will bring you the kind of emotional maturity you didn’t even know you had. And, even if you don’t get anything else from this period, this maturity is more than enough.
This period will help you test yourself and your boundaries. It will show you that you can make it on your own.
Look, I know you still have feelings for your ex. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be here, would you?
Nevertheless, that doesn’t make your emotional dependency okay. Once you become emotionally mature and independent, you’ll thank God for taking this step and going no contact.
2. Reclaiming your self-respect
Losing your self-esteem is one of the main side-effects of a toxic relationship. At some point, you realize that you can’t make it without your partner.
Basically, you know that you have to put up with everything they do to you. Why? Well, because if the relationship ends, your world ends as well.
Consequently, you stop respecting yourself. You can’t believe that you’re weak to the point where you can’t tell your own heart what to do.
Luckily, all of this changes during the period of no contact. You regain your self-respect and self-esteem once you see that, against all odds, you’re capable of surviving without them.
Your ex’s respect
Respect is one of the most significant pillars of every healthy relationship. Every relationship coach will tell you that there is no love where there is no respect.
Do you really think that your ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend will respect you if they know they can come back to you whenever they want? Do you think that they will appreciate you if you keep on allowing them to treat you however they wish?
Or, they’ll start respecting you more once this period of time is over? Will they appreciate your presence more once they feel your absence? Will they admire your ability to live without them?
I think that the answers to these questions are pretty obvious.
3. Time to reflect on your relationship
Your relationship ended for a reason. It doesn’t matter if you think it’s still worth the fight or if there is still love between you and your ex.
The truth is that something was off with it. Otherwise, it would still last.
Now, you’re at a certain breaking point. You have two choices. You can either use this amount of time to lament your sad destiny or you can see the no contact rule as a chance to make the right decision.
You don’t need a relationship coach to figure out which path is the correct one. Use this period of radio silence to reflect on your romantic relationship.
What brought you to this breakup? What did you both do wrong? Under what circumstances would you go back together with your ex?
What were the advantages of your romance? What are the things that made you stick to your ex for so long?
What can be changed? What are the things you’d have to deal with, whether you like it or not?
Do your best to be as realistic as possible here. These seem like easy questions, but trust me – getting the answers won’t be a piece of cake.
4. Defining your deal breakers and standards
But, hey, this is not the only romantic relationship you should focus on. The no contact rule works as a chance for some throwback on your previous and future relationships as well.
What is it that you really want? Have your standards gone up after your past relationship? What did you learn?
What are the things you can tolerate in a man or in a woman? What are your biggest deal breakers?
What is negotiable, and what is something you would never forgive? Would you lower your standards for a guy or a girl you really like?
Try picturing your perfect match. What qualities should they have?
People forget about their standards and deal breakers after their long-term relationship ends and it’s time to refresh your own memory.
5. Stronger than ever
You never know how much you can take until you go through a devastating heartbreak. You think of yourself as weak and vulnerable.
You think that this one person is giving your life all of its meaning. You’re convinced that you’d be utterly lost without them.
You think you’re incapable of dealing with any of life’s hardships. Then, this hits you.
You test your limits and you start living without your loved one (unless you were in a long-distance relationship). And, guess what? It turns out that you can do it after all.
After the no contact period is over, you will see that it made you much stronger. You went through something that looked impossible, and you got out of it alive.
You made it. It taught you a lot, but most importantly, it helped you learn how much you’re actually capable of.
If you go through this period of no contact, you won’t just defeat your ex. You’ll also defeat yourself, and that’s the sweetest victory ever. How great and empowering does that feel?
6. Enjoying your single life
After spending years in a relationship, you get used to being someone’s boyfriend or girlfriend. You forget how it is to go through life alone since you’ve spent so much time as a part of someone.
This happens even if you’re involved with a narcissist or an abuser. Your relationship becomes your comfort zone, even if it’s not the happiest or the healthiest one.
Stepping out of this comfort zone is scary for everyone. Facing the world alone without this other person having your back is a huge step, and it’s never a piece of cake.
But, at some point, it has to be done.
You see, the worst part is taking the leap into your single life. After that, everything is much easier.
This is what this period of no contact will also give you: the opportunity to enjoy your single life. It’s the chance to rediscover yourself in a completely new light.
Being single beats being in the wrong relationship
Rocking your single life is one of the benefits of radio silence. But, there is more to it than just having fun.
At the end of this period, you should realize that being single beats being in a bad relationship any time. It’s time you figure out that being with someone out of fear of being alone is never the right choice.
7. Sorting your priorities out
Another thing that following the no contact rule helps with is sorting things in your life out. Once you step into this healing process, you’ll realize that you must put yourself in first place in life.
You can’t allow your happiness to depend on your family, your best friend, or your job, let alone your romantic partner. You’re the only one in charge here… please let that sink in.
This is difficult to grasp while you’re still in a relationship. But, the moment you start distancing yourself from your ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend is the moment you realize that you’re actually the only one that matters.
No, this is not a selfish approach. It just means that you’re mature enough to finally see your self-worth.
It means that you love yourself enough not to settle for anything less than what you deserve.
8. Breaking the addiction cycle
A lot of people mistake the sensation of being in love with the feeling of being addicted. If you have trouble detaching yourself from your ex, you might be one of those who are trapped in a toxic cycle.
They say that it takes you 21 days to make or break a habit.
What if your ex was just that? What if you stopped loving them ages ago, and lately, you’ve been nothing but hooked up on your memories together?
What if you’re addicted to drama and attention? What if this is just your obsession or a matter of your ego?
In that case, you must break this addiction cycle as soon as possible. And, you can’t expect to go through this detox successfully while they’re still in your life, can you?
That’s exactly why the no contact period will do you good. It will help you see that you can make it without them. It will help your body, mind, and heart get used to their absence.
Even if you two get back together, it will be healthier this time because you’ve managed to kick the habit.
I’ll be dead honest with you here: this detox won’t be all sunshine and roses. It’ll be painful, and sometimes you’ll feel like you’re going through a physical crisis because you miss this person so much.
And, that’s perfectly normal. After all, it’s the first time to be facing life without your loved one.
But, I can promise you one thing: it will eventually get better. You will overcome this addiction and you’ll go back to being your old self.
9. Time to grieve
Healing never happens overnight. It would be unnatural for you to forget someone you loved that much in the blink of an eye.
Instead, it’s a process. It has its stages, its course, and its pace, and the worst thing you can do here is rush it.
I know it would be easier to wake up in the morning with all of this pain behind you, but that’s not how things work. At least, they don’t if you want to do all of this in a healthy way.
That’s why you should use this time as an excellent chance to grieve your past relationship. Even if your ex comes back to you, see it as a chance to cry all those tears you’ve been holding back for years.
Instead of chasing after rebound relationships, spend the whole day in your PJs, binge-watch cheesy romantic movies, and cry your heart out. Trust me: there is nothing wrong with this – it only makes you a human being.
10. Getting your ex back
Finally, here is what you came for: the way the no contact rule helps you get your ex back. That will happen eventually as well.
They’ll get scared of losing you, and they’ll run back into your arms. They’ll see that you won’t always be there no matter what they do or how they treat you.
Once they see that you’re gone, they’ll start missing you. All of a sudden, they’ll understand that they’re ready to do whatever it takes just to have you back.
But, why is this the least important benefit of going no contact? Because, at this point, it’s possible that you won’t take them back.
Yes, you heard me right. When your ex contacts you, you’ll have already gone through the process of empowering yourself, and you’ll probably realize that you can do much better than them.
5 Signs The No Contact Rule Is Working
How do you know if you’re on the right track? How can you know if things are working to your advantage?
1. Them reaching out
If your ex contacts you – then the no contact period was beneficial. It’s what you wanted to achieve all along, isn’t it?
Well, congratulations, you got it.
But, please pay attention. This doesn’t mean that you’ll necessarily get a phone call or a text from your ex.
A lot of people don’t have the courage to make the actual first step until they test the waters first. So, if they start asking your mutual friends about you, begin showing up at the places they expect to see you, or send any other hint – they’re, without a doubt, reaching out.
2. You feeling better
As I said: there are more important things than making your ex miss you. Reclaiming your sense of self-worth and improving your well-being and mental health is top priority here.
It’s normal to feel torn apart while going through a painful heartbreak. It’s normal to miss the other person while you’re going through this detox.
Nevertheless, the moment you start feeling better is the moment you know the no contact period is giving results.
You’re learning to live without your ex. You’re finding happiness in small things. You’re laughing and smiling all over again.
You’re enjoying time with your best friends and family without spending every minute thinking about them. Hey, you even start noticing other guys or girls.
All of this means you’re on the right track.
3. Them missing you
If your ex misses you, it means that your job is done and you’ve completed your mission. But, they don’t have to actually tell you “I’m sorry” or “I miss you”.
The best way to figure this out is through their social media accounts – that is, if you haven’t blocked them everywhere.
Do they post sad quotes and songs you know remind them of you? Are they the first one to watch your Instagram and Snapchat stories?
Did they find a rebound girlfriend or boyfriend who is a spitting image of you? Are they doing their best to prove to the entire world how happy they are without you?
These are all the bulletproof signs your ex misses you.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should act on it and make the first move. But, I’m sure that the idea alone will give you enough satisfaction to begin with.
4. You reflecting on your relationship patterns
One of the goals of going no contact is reflecting on everything that went wrong in your past relationship. But, not only that: you should also take a moment to think about your dating patterns in general.
After this period is over, you should be a better, more improved version of your heartbroken self from the beginning of the story. You should be more mature in terms of knowing what and who you want or don’t want.
If you catch yourself thinking about your mistakes and about the things you put up with even though you shouldn’t have, it’s a sign that the no contact period is working.
5. Them wanting to get back together
Finally, if your ex tells you “I’m sorry” and “I want you back“, everything is more than clear. Your little stunt worked out for the best, and you got exactly what you wanted.
But, are these words a guarantee that you two will manage to build a healthy relationship this time? Does this mean that you both grew as individuals?
Does this mean that things will magically fall into their place as if you never broke up?
I hate to disappoint you but the answer is no.
First of all, just because someone wants you back doesn’t mean they love you. They could be doing this for the sake of their ego or just because they haven’t found anyone more convenient.
At the end of the day, even if there is love still present, it’s not enough for you to rebuild your fallen empire.
The fight is not over the moment you get back together. In fact, this is when it really begins!
What happens after a 30-day no contact rule?
The best thing about the no contact rule is that you can’t lose anything. You’ll either have your ex back or you’ll realize that you don’t actually want them back.
Or, in some cases, both scenarios happen simultaneously: you get your ex to realize what they’ve lost, but at the same time, you figure out that you’re ready to move on without them. Either way, it’s a win-win situation.
No contact rule, male psychology
What goes through his mind during no contact?
Every dating coach will tell you that no contact works better on a male’s psychology than on a female’s.
By nature, men are hunters. Nothing amuses them more than winning over something or someone they have to chase.
You simply have to make him wonder: Where have you been? Did you replace him with someone better?
Radio silence makes a guy miss you because it represents a challenge for him. They love the chase, and they’ll always be more interested in a woman who plays hard to get.
Of course, let’s not forget about the part where he realizes what he’s lost. Sadly, this doesn’t happen right away, but eventually, every guy comes to terms that his toxic behavior chased away the best woman he ever had.
Basically, no contact always works like a charm with men. The only question is: will it work out on time? When will he start to miss you?
I have to warn you: a lot of guys figure things out after it’s too late.
To Wrap It Up:
Every dating coach will tell you the same: you can’t go wrong with the no contact rule. In fact, it’s the best way to clear things of your past, one way or another.
But, please use this time wisely. Don’t waste it patiently sitting and waiting for your ex to come back.
I promise you, they’ll try to crawl back sooner or later. Nevertheless, your primary goal should be to move on from them, and most importantly – show yourself that you don’t need them.