What’s the most frightening thing about doing No Contact? Not knowing. Not knowing where your ex is, what he’s thinking, what he’s feeling, what he’s doing, whether he’s thinking of YOU. It’s the main reason why women find the No Contact Rule so hard to implement, and why so many of them fail to stick to it. If only you knew. If only you knew how men react to the No Contact Rule, maybe, just maybe, you’d be able to follow it through.

But why is it so hard to do? (For a full explanation of all the great things the No Contact Rule can do for you, please visit this page.)

Well, here are some typical excuses.

I missed him too much

I couldn’t stop thinking about him

I was afraid he’d think I didn’t care any more

I was afraid he’d forget me

I was afraid he’d find someone else

There are two things to learn from this. First, what women really can’t bear is not knowing how men react to the No Contact Rule. And second, that consequently they do the only thing they can: assume that their ex will react just as they would.


He’s a man. He doesn’t think like you, and he doesn’t react like you either. So what you really need is a guide to how men react to the No Contact Rule.

What Controls How Men React to the No Contact Rule

Of course, there are variables here. And these variables will control how men react to the No Contact Rule. The most important of these variables is your relationship, how good and happy it was before the breakup. The second is the breakup. (Surprise! I bet you thought it would be the other way around!)

The truth is that if you had a great relationship before your break up, then your ex won’t have forgotten it overnight (which is what a lot of women fear). No, he’s not a fool (you wouldn’t date a fool, would you?) and he knows whether or not he was on to a good thing.

But if your relationship had been going downhill for a long time before the breakup, then your ex’s attitude to it – and to you – will be far more negative.

So that’s one variable, the one which is particular to your relationship. But there’s another variable, which in the end is more powerful than any experience he had with you.

So what is it?

It’s the kind of guy HE really is.

You see, in a crisis, a person’s real character always comes out. So how your boyfriend behaves now will give you some great insights into the man he really is.

Of course, you think you already know him – better than anyone. But people can surprise you, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll discover he’s not the man you thought he was. And that’s because how men react to the No Contact Rule can be very unpredictable.

The Guy Who Panics

This man is suffering badly from YOUR problem, but in reverse. He doesn’t know what you’re thinking. And it’s making him freak out.

how men react to the No Contact Rule

Whatever happens, I know I’M going to end up f****d!!!

The guy who panics usually reacts in one of two ways. Maybe he wants to contact you, but he’s too scared to do it. He might be the kind of guy who isn’t very confident with women; or maybe you dumped him, and he’s feeling bruised. The thing is; he will be too afraid of messing up or being rejected all over again to risk it.

This doesn’t mean you should cut No Contact out of your campaign to get him back. No, there’s plenty of good reasons why you still need to do it (go here to find out more about that). And anyway, contacting him too soon could change the balance of power completely, and not in your favor.

But there’s another kind of guy who panics. This guy lets you know all about it because he goes crazy, and bombards you with calls, texts and emails.

This guy is a bit more confident that the last one, so it’s going to be a few days or even a couple of weeks before he calls you. If you’ve been smart you’ll have answered him, ended the call after a few minutes, and said you’re too busy to meet up at the moment.

Next time he calls, you don’t answer; and so he texts or emails (go here to find out more about what to do when a man contacts you during the No Contact period). Eventually he realizes that you’re not going to just slide back into his life as if nothing has happened, and so he starts to panic. He keeps up a cycle of calling and texting you, ignoring you for a few days, and then starting again. As time passes, the intervals get longer, but the effect is the more (not less) he wants to see you again.

The Cool Guy

The cool guy is much more confident than the guy who panics. He’s a catch, and he knows it, and he’s not going let you get to him if he can help it. So when he doesn’t hear from you, he pretends he doesn’t care (you can find out more about this man here).

how men react to the No Contact Rule

There’s plenty more fish in the sea, and I’m just going out to catch one

But most of all, he’s NOT going to be the one to call first. With this guy you really HAVE to follow the No Contact Rule right to the end, because this often becomes a contest of wills, and to the death.

However, you can change his mind. Find out how to do that here.

The Nerd

Sometimes men just don’t catch on about No Contact. So you don’t call him? Well, why would you? After all, you’ve broken up!

how men react to the No Contact Rule

She must have lost her phone…

He might be nursing his broken heart, reading À la recherche du temps perdu in the original, playing Xbox or out buying the latest piece of tech. Whatever he’s been doing, he doesn’t think it’s odd that he hasn’t heard from you. It’s also quite possible he will call you at some point. With this guy, it’s best not to answer at all. It’s the only way he’ll ever catch on and do something proactive.

You still need to practice the No Contact Rule though, until you’ve sorted out your own head and got a grip on how you are going to rebuild your relationship.

The Crazy Guy

This guy has something in common with the guy who panics, only this man goes to extremes.

how men react to the No Contact Rule

I can’t believe this is happening to me!!!!!!

Whereas the guy who panics will gradually subside into silence (and probably sulks), this guy keeps on trying to reach you. The thing is that, at some point, a man (or woman) who is getting no response from the person they are pursuing should eventually desist. Beyond a certain point, he (or she) is turning into a stalker.

And that’s where you will have to draw the line. If your ex doesn’t know where the line is, you will have to draw it for him.

This is often an exercise in control. Some people have a deep-seated need to control everything in their life, sometimes to an obsessive degree, and this includes the people in it. If this was an issue in your relationship, and maybe even led to the breakup, then perhaps this isn’t the man for you after all.

The Ogre

This is the cool guy’s angry brother.

how men react to the No Contact Rule

I’m NOT going to be the one who calls first

He’s particularly likely to pop up if YOU did something very bad or wrong when you were together. Maybe you cheated, or you let him down in some other way he found hard to forgive. When his anger is justifiable, he’s probably not going to be the one reaching out to you anytime soon.

In fact, his thoughts are going to be very negative.

I’ll never forgive her

I never want to see her again

Even if he secretly does want to see you, he will fight against it. He will resist the urge to contact you, and try to put you out of his mind. Remember, he feels deeply wronged. And it was you who wronged him.

She has to call me first

Whenever he feels himself weakening, he will tell himself that YOU should be the one to call first. You can get him to change his mind, but it will take time and patience.

How Men React to the No Contact Rule

You can see there’s quite a bit of overlap between these different types of ex boyfriend, and how men react to the No Contact Rule. Maybe your guy falls into more than one category, so you’ll have to play it by ear as you implement the No Contact Rule and make it work for you.

But don’t skip the No Contact step. It’s going to take time to rebuild your relationship, and it’s essential that you start the process by doing No Contact. At least now you know a bit more about how your ex will be reacting to it.

Not sure what to do next?

Find out how to get your ex back FAST with this free report!

This Post Has 36 Comments

  1. Ganna

    My boyfriend of 4.5 years broke up with me by blocking me from Snapchat, I tried calling/ texting he won’t pick up to understand why but he wouldn’t say. I went to him the next day and it turned out he was upset that I crossed a line with his family (no ill intentions, it probably added pressure on him to commit officially which he says he is not ready for now will he be ever ready for). As I was leaving his house he said he can’t do this anymore and that the moment I entered he was trying to feel OK about us together and OK with having me around but he just doesn’t feel it. Although I could clearly tell he’s holding back. He then said we’re good and spoke to me over the phone till I reached home and that’s when he started ghosting me again. It’s like he changed his mind.

    I’m worried we won’t be back together, we were doing really well until I brought up the marriage conversation, I withdrew sex (I know it’s wrong) and then have crossed the line with his family all in the span of 1-2 months. I apologised several times and he kept saying he’s not upset he just doesn’t care.

    I deeply regret it, which is why I have confessed for crossing the line with his family. Otherwise he wouldn’t have known and we wouldn’t be broken up. I told him that I do not regret telling him the truth and that I had made a big mistake. Still though radio silence..

    I’m in day 2 no contact and haven’t seen anything from him yet. He’s a stubborn Virgo and I’m usually the one who initiates contact when we have arguments and mini breakups. I don’t know if I blew it this time with him? And will he ever come back? Does he really not care as he said?

    1. Sarah

      You’ve apologized and so there’s point in saying it repeatedly. The most important thing that comes of this at that he says he’s not ready for marriage and never will be. That was your worst mistake: no-one likes being pressured over such an important decision and you should never try to force it. Give him some space by practicing no contact and let things calm down.

  2. Anon

    Hi. Please help! I began dating one of my oldest guy friends last year in Feb after 15 years of being friends. I didn’t know until recently but he’s been in love with me for years. We’ve kissed a few times over the years but last Feb was the first time we started actually dating. Then lockdown hit and we couldn’t see each other for months and I ended it in May because the distance made me think maybe we should just be friends. But over the last 8 months I’ve missed him enormously and realised that I love him and have been falling for him slowly for some time. I’ve contacted him to tell him, but he started dating someone else in November. I didn’t realise how much he loved me or how much I hurt him until we spoke. Now he’s saying he can’t try things again with me because he was too hurt and wants to give things a go with this new girl. I’m heartbroken, after years of getting close I’ve realised I love him but now he won’t give me another chance. He’s reluctant to see me because he thinks that might complicate things. What do I do? I’m desperate to be with him, I think he’s the one. Thanks.

    1. Sarah

      Are you sure there’s not a bit of dog in the manger going on here? You know this man 15 years before you get together, then lockdown came and you weren’t keen enough to maintain a LDR and then it was 8 months after the breakup before you contacted him again and lo! he’s finally found someone else. And suddenly you’re convinced he’s the one.

      Now I’m not saying he isn’t but I think that you really should try to understand your feelings before you convince yourself you can’t live without him. And perhaps having read this you might understand why he is reluctant to risk further hurt by coming back to you.

  3. Sarah

    Hi Sarah,

    My boyfriend and I broke up 2 weeks ago due to his immaturity. I’ve managed 14 days with nc however over the weekend he contacted me via WhatsApp asking if I was still angry with him, I responded back to his message saying yes I was and he said he only messaged me because he thought of me but since I was still upset he’s sorry for reaching out…it’s now another week without contacting him but I really miss him but I want him to appreciate everything I do because he does take me for granted. What do I do when I have my moment of weakness? I’m trying very hard to keep strong but there have been positive life events I feel he would have been apart of…but mainly I miss speaking to him.

    1. Sarah

      It is very hard to have a lasting, successful relationship with someone who is not mature.

      Until a person has some real sense of who they are, how can they form a stable relationship? And even if they do, how can they be sure that relationship will survive the growth to maturity?

      Your ex can’t help being immature. And until he grows up he would be well advised not to try to make a lasting commitment.

  4. Daesun

    I broke up with him in person 3 weeks ago, he’s reached out twice with filler texts and I haven’t responded. I haven’t received a message from him addressing our problems. I want to wait till he approaches me with an apology and/or resolution.

    1. Sarah

      Fair enough. Give him some more time, as long as he knows (or can work out) what you’re expecting. Assuming he was in the wrong, it shouldn’t be too difficult.

  5. Colette

    I have been doing no contact for 3 weeks. This our second breakup and I haven’t heard from him. I’m afraid that he will think that after trying again once it isn’t worth trying again. I find it hard to believe in myself and to believe that I am enough for him. It makes me feel insecure and he finds that hard to deal with. What should I do?

    1. Sarah

      You need to improve your self image and learn to love yourself more. Helping you to improve your confidence is part of The Ex Boyfriend Guide.

  6. Rosie

    Hey ..I have a different story. I met this wonderful guy online and we chatted for a year. we both were in NY/NJ Meanwhile COVID hit and I moved to California for a new job and that’s when he started missing me The fires happened and I went back to NJ and finally met him. It was beautiful we stayed together for a few days We are in our late 40s He is a recovered alcoholic( 4 yrs) and a blessed musician and I am in the Tech industry- different fields and quite an economic gap ( i think he sees it )Long story short, I met him and it was beautiful and we hung around. I came back to CA and he isolated himself. from everyone..does that often .. i visited NY again and he said you are great but I dont know if I can be involved with anyone right now…but we still met and continued another 15 days and I had a marathon to run in NY and visited again and I rushed..guess it overwhelmed him and he said ” Please DONT contact me I have met someone and I think I will start a relationship with her” I had a huch that was a lie coz a week back he had hugged me so tightly saying how happy he was to see me and he was overwhelmed generally ..so I told him I know how sacred your personal space is relax, Im going back to CA and you figure out your personal & professional stuff in NY. The next day he blocked me on fb and as calm as i am, that bugged me and i send a text ” hey good luck with your life and your new relationship. I have your stuff with me should I donate or mail them to you ( sweatshirts etc) also you owe me some money. can you venmo. and since then I am on a no contact – 60 days by dec 13….. I wasnt aware of this being a strategy- I genuinely wantd to give him his space etc. But now i wonder – are we both dumpers? what next? I haven’t seen if he has unblocekd me coz I dont want to know..I am at peace but I still would love to be back with him…Meanwhile,my friend set me up with her brother, the most gorgeous guy on this planet- literally a brad clone but I found even speaking to him so hollow and I just ended it before it began

    1. Sarah

      The red flag was when he did the ‘you are great but I don’t know if I can be involved with anyone right now’ thing. When a man says this it’s time to withdraw. You have been doing all giving and making all the running while he has done sweet Fanny Adams. Give his ‘stuff’ to charity and move on with your life. And you shouldn’t have to ask him to pay back money he borrowed – another red flag.

  7. Erica

    Hi i broke off with my ex-boyfriend on 21 Nov and i started no contact immediately since then. He texted me on 22 Nov, 24 Nov, and 25 Nov. I had to tell him not to contact me until i decide to contact him. I told him that i need some space and time. I would be contacting him on 26 Dec. Wish me luck!

    1. Sarah

      Sure. Good luck!

  8. Julia

    Hi, my ex bf and I went through a period of him saying “idk” to if he wanted to stay together or not. We remained talking but not as much then after 2 weeks I asked if we could talk about it and he agreed and inevitably said that we shouldn’t get back together right now but that it’s a possibility for the future. He said his reason for not dating is Bc of stress in his home life and that he doesn’t need any extra at the moment. The breakup was ended with a call where we talked about our worries and everything and I said that I agreed but I wish we could have worked things out and we hung up. The breakup was due to petty arguments Bc he doesn’t handle them well. I haven’t contacted him in just 2 days but what should I do/what are my chances?

    1. Sarah

      You might be able to get back together but the most important thing is whether it would be the best thing to do. Go here for some help in deciding.

  9. Lindsey

    Hello! My ex broke up.with me about 3 weeks ago. Due to.his own mental health issues, and is moving away to be with his sister. So it wasnt a bad breakup. He wanted to remain freinds, told.me hes never met anyone like me. It was a really great talk. I know i should have said i need time but we made plans the next day! It was great, but hard since there was no affection. We had plans on Halloween so did them all the samez just not as a couple. It was like.nothing changed! We’re dumb for being ‘friends’ so fast. I ended up getting blackout drunk that night, and am.not sure wjat happened. But it ended with me not letting go of his car, and him leaving me at my brother’s house. I was drunk.and panicked!.called him to my phone died. Next day, he still picked me up, and said we would talk about it. I could tell he was mad. But he bought me coffee and it was weird
    .. the moment we got back to my house. He immediately told me fuck off and he didnt want to see.me.again. I couldnt believe it!he said maybe in the future. ( i will add my friends convinced me to download tinder, eventhough i wasn’t talking yo anyone and i guess he saw and freaked out about that as well) i let a week.and half go.and wished a really lovely happy birthday text, he responded with a thank you. I came to find out he sent the same exact response to my other freinds who wished happyay. I didn’t take it.well, and told him that hurt me in a text. I feel stupid about that text. And honestly want to be friends in the future, i think hea genuinely a great dude eventhough he told me to fuck off. Our relationship didnt initially end badly.

    So trying no contact, til i feel ready to reach out. Thoughts?

    1. Sarah

      Is he having treatment for his mental health issues? Because he shouldn’t try to embark on another relationship until they have been resolved.

  10. Sandra

    i broke up with my ex after 3 months. we are both in our 20’s. our relationship was purely online as we lived so far away from each other. we planned on meeting as soon as it was possible. However in the last couple of weeks of the relationship we were fighting more often, but in my opinion the fights only brought us closer together, and I didnt feel they were negative outcomes only positive ones. However i found out that he was cheating on me (online) with another girl, so i broke it off with him, then immediately changed my mind because I really want to make things work. He tried to convince me it was nothing, and he didnt want to end our relationship. but he wouldnt admit to cheating. he seems to have trouble taking responsibilty for his mistakes. I told him i think we should take some to think and have a break from each other for a while. he contacted me after a few days. I was still upset. and we ended up fighting again. i broke it off with him again (but hoping he would fight for me harder). he accepted the break up. then i was upset because he was giving up on us so easily. I then told him i wanted to work through this with him and that we shouldnt give up on each other. he didnt give me a clear answer. he said that our relationship wouldnt be good anymore if we were unable to trust each other. i told him i would trust him again but i was angry. he responded with “ok so what now?”. But because i was angry at him for the way he was handling all this, I told him that since he already broke up with me, then that’s it. there’s nothing more.
    Now im not sure who actually broke up with who. and im not sure if either of us were even serious about breaking up in the first place, just threatening really. its been 1 week. neither of us have contacted each other. should i apply the 30 day nc rule? Im not happy with the way i handled any of it. I feel I may have also given too much of myself in the relationship. and maybe i lost my value.

    1. Sandra

      Also i should note too that he is angry at me because he thinks i catfished him and that how i found out about him cheating. it was actually my friend not me, and i didnt know she was doing it, but he doesnt believe me, and he is angry at me for this.

      1. Sarah

        Presumably he is only ‘cheating’ on you with another fantasy. Put you phone down and get back in touch with reality. You will be much happier.

    2. Sarah

      A relationship is something that exists between two people who are emotionally and physically close. Using the internet to make contact with new people whom you would otherwise not know is fine. But it needs to be done with the serious intention of meeting up in person soon afterwards. If that does not happen, then what you have is not a relationship but an unreal yet increasingly compelling fantasy. Keep your online interactions with men cool and friendly until you have had the chance to meet and find out whether you actually want to spend time together. And don’t build romantic dreams around someone who you haven’t even met, whether it’s because they keep making excuses not to or because you are physically too far apart.

    3. Linda Johnson

      Hi pleaseeeee help! I met my bf a year ago we became exclusive 5 months ago bc after I found many sexual texts between him and other girls he was seeing. I told him it’s them or me. He committed n I moved in with him. We were happy for the most part but I’ve been having a hard time trusting him (been cheated on before plus his texts w other females didn’t help) I went through his phone a number of times n his computer n obviously he was getting very upset that I wasn’t trusting him. He also felt smothered he said especially bc he wasn’t ready for a relationship when he met me. Said I never give him a chance to miss me n men r hunters. About a week ago he lied to me n said he was going out with a friend and ended up in a hotel room with a girl (I saw her!). I stayed there until he came out n basically our fight was horrible screaming n pushing. He denied cheating n said he was with friends. I broke it off n he agreed. I moved my stuff out. Then days after he got a hotel room AGAIN n When I confronted him he said we aren’t together n denied being with a girl. I’m so depressed I wonder if he still loves me n if there is a chance of us to make it work. I know I pushed him away by smothering him and not trusting him. our mutual friend talked to him and He said u guys have officially broken up, and it was his fault. I asked if this is it or you guys just being impulsive and need some time to cool off.He said probably just need some time because right now he can’t think.. maybe in the future you guys can be back together. Mind u I met his entire family n the dad asked about me he said we were trying to work things out. I know he was sad too bc he texted he was when he saw my stuff was gone. It’s been only 5 days since I talked to him. WHAT DO I DO? Do u think he will come back if no contact? Or he’s hooking up with other girls n forgets me?

      1. Sarah

        Why did you have a hard time trusting him? Just because you have been cheated on before, or because your instinct told you he was untrustworthy? If the former, then perhaps you should work on your own issues before getting into another relationship. If the latter then he’s just bad news and you should try to move on.

        1. Linda Johnson

          It is because of both I already had my guard up bc of previous situations with others and bc before we were exclusive when I went through his phone I found out he was having conversations n sex with like 5 girls!!! I made him choose at that point between me and them. So he decided to be exclusive with me. Now after everything he is saying he wasn’t ready for a relationship when we started. What did he want? To date me and 5 other girls at the same time for how long!!??? I find that funny from a 41 yr old who has mentioned wants to settle down eventually but not on a timeline. I’m depressed over here n he’s out messing around with his ex’s. I don’t know if he’s hooking up bc he’s sad n trying to fill a void or just for fun. He’s upset at me bc I went through his phone n computer n work stuff. He was always complaining I wasn’t trusting him and I wasn’t giving him a chance to miss me bc I was smothering. I don’t think there’s a need to have a password on ur phone unless u have something to hide. Sarah do you think that no contact will work in bringing him back? I mean my picture is off of his screensaver but still in his living room. Thank you for your advice I appreciate it.

          1. Sarah

            If man says he ‘wants to settle down eventually’ and he’s in his 20s or even his early 30s then he probably does. If a man of 41 who is in the habit of keeping several women going at once says it I be pretty sceptical. It’s more likely he’s saying what he thinks you want to hear. And even though he said it, he didn’t mean it, did he? When a man’s words are in conflict with his actions it’s always his actions that tell the truth. Have a look at this article for more on emotionally unavailable men.

            1. Linda Johnson

              He said he was about to get engaged when he was younger so does that mean he is emotionally unavailable We just spent the entire weekend together. We had an rough start. On his guys weekend he saw a girl he used to hook up with I saw it on her social media. She sent him a package with a note. He put the note on his board in his living room where there are still pictures of us! Obviously I was annoyed when I read the note. He could tell from the positioning of the note I read it n said see u haven’t changed. I denied reading it n said it probably just fell. Besides that we had such a great time hanging out watching movies n running errands like we used to. On the last morning I told him I don’t think we should hang out anymore bc I don’t want to just be friends. I think that triggered him bc He said he doesn’t want to be with anyone right now he needs some time to work on himself and he knows I’m doing the same. He said when he’s in a calm state of mind we can revisit the idea of maybe getting back. Last night he asked our mutual friend if I looked sad when I left his place. So he still has feelings? What does it mean that he asked that? Does he just need some more time to miss me n try again? Please help Sarah

              1. Sarah

                He was about to get engaged – and then what? The impression you give is of a man stringing you along.

            2. Linda Johnson

              I forgot to mention that he has been making comments like ur making it obvious with ur messaging sneakily I said I’m not messaging a guy I’m messing Jen (our mutual friend). He commented once again later about another text same thing. Also I suggested a show on Netflix n he said how have u been watching I know u don’t have Netflix. Seems like he’s jealous he wouldn’t be if he didn’t care right?

              1. Sarah

                Why would a man string you along? Because it benefits him to keep you around. It doesn’t mean he wants or ever intends to have a real relationship with you. If you want to know where you stand, decide what you really want and tell him: but be prepared to walk away and mean it if he’s not prepared to give it to you. It won’t do any good if you can’t stick to your guns, but what you’re getting now isn’t making you happy so you need to change the status quo.

  11. Gloria

    Hi my ex boyfriend broke up with me one month ago. I am following the no contact rule for 60 days and 2 weeks remaining. I initially broke the no contact rule 3 days after the break up and I really ruined my chances after begging and pleading. He exchanged some nasty words and I can see he is angry with his posts and the sister told me that he never wants her to speak to me again. I can say he is the ogre type. How do I initiate the first contact in such a situation. Please help

    1. Sarah

      You say he broke up with you, why? His reasons are the starting point for trying to rebuild the relationship. If you did something to cause the breakup then you need to address this first.

  12. Gigi

    My ex and i were in a relationship for 4 months.We broke up because he wasn’t willing to make things official.Although we became friends soon after the breakup but one night we ended up sexting and upon asking him about the situation he just said it happened in the flow and he doesn’t want to drag me in it again.
    I ghosted him that night and have been doing no contact since.Its been 2 weeks.
    I still somewhere deep in my heart want him to contact me.I deleted him from my Instagram impulsively but he is not blocked anywhere.
    Whats should i do?

    1. Sarah

      Wait for him to contact you, and if he doesn’t, move on. You were only dating anyway, as you say it never became a relationship. Try not to deceive yourself like this in future, and don’t have sex with a man because you hope it will make him into your boyfriend. It won’t. Have sex with someone because you want to have sex with them, not because you hope for a particular outcome.

  13. Marie Connedai

    I’ve been doing no contact for several weeks but my ex hasn’t contacted me at all. I wouldn’t describe him as a cool guy, more of a nice guy with a bit of nerd really. Does that mean he’s moved on? I’m becoming afraid to try contacting him now.

    1. Sarah

      There are many reasons why he may not have contacted you since the breakup, and yes. one of them is that he has decided to move on. If you are genuinely thinking of contacting him, go here to find out how to do it.

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