Have you heard about No Contact and wondered if it can really help you after a break up? It can sound almost frightening; not to see or talk to your ex for a while. What will they get up to during this time? And why should you consider it anyway?

So What Is No Contact? And How Does It Work?

It’s important that you understand how no contact works.

First of all, it’s not something you announce to the whole world – or to your ex. It’s just something you do, but which you don’t – ever – explicitly explain. It’s not necessary to explain it anyway, because you are not going to ignore your ex if they call, or if you happen to see each other when you are out.

“No Contact” means not (deliberately) seeing or talking to your ex for a period of time. The main reason is to create some space between you, and establish some boundaries. This is for your benefit, not theirs. Right now you are trying to cope with the breakup, and making a new life for yourself. You can’t do that if are constantly looking backwards into the past; to your ex and your old relationship.

It will also bring home to your ex exactly what they have lost; and make them aware that they can’t take it for granted that they can get it back.

You will both have time to step back from the crisis that ended your relationship, and get a clearer idea of how things look after the dust settles.

Do I Have a Chance to Get My Ex Back?

That depends on many things; why you got together in the first place, how long you were a couple, how happy you were, why you broke up, where your ex is now.

If you only dated briefly or casually, the chances are that your ex just decided you were wrong for them, so it was best to end it. If your ex was on the rebound from a previous relationship, then that may just mean the timing was off. Even if you were the right one for them, it wasn’t the right time to make it happen.

If you dated seriously for some time, and you were happy together before things went wrong, then you need to look at what caused the breakup. If the issues causing the problems between you are not deal breakers, then there is always the chance that you can solve your problems and get back together. If you have children together, or you genuinely believe that your ex still has feelings for you, then that should give you both a powerful incentive to make the effort to sort your problems out.

In any case it won’t help your cause if you just go on fighting and adding to the bitterness between you. And this is where no contact can be the first step that will help you to get back together.

Why No Contact is the Vital First Step

After a break up, your emotions are bound to be raw. You will be feeling confused and probably angry at being dumped; and many people do rash, unwise and irrational things at such a time. If you have been fighting with your ex, or calling and texting them without getting a response, then you have not been helping your cause.

You need to find a way of pushing the reset button on your relationship, and starting again.

If you can manage to pause and consider the effect you’ve been having on your ex, you should be able to see that right now you have no control over what they choose to do. Temporarily at least they have called time on your relationship, and you must accept that.

Even if you succeed in getting back together, you will not return to the old relationship – and this is a good thing. You have the chance now to solve your old problems, and create a new and more successful relationship together.

No contact provides the vital breathing space for that healing and resolution to begin.

End tension and strife

It stops the fighting and gives you both time and space to calm down. You can use this time to look decisively at your problems, and come up with some workable solutions.

Create space and distance

No contact lets you to step back from your relationship, so that you can try to see it more realistically. By getting some distance and perspective on it, you will be able to look at it with more detachment, and see whether your ex really is the right long term partner for you.

Increase your social value

You’ll be able to start moving on; which you must do, even if you don’t want to. You do not want to make your ex feel confident that they can have you back any time they want. Instead you want to instill doubt, and give yourself as much scarcity value as possible.

Engender loss and regret

It will give your ex the chance to miss you. They cannot miss you if you are constantly pursuing them. Missing you alone will not make them want to get back together, but it is a vital step in the process. It awakens the fear of loss in your ex, which will force them to decide whether or not the breakup is really what they want.

Why You MUSTN’T Pursue Them

You cannot hurry this process.

You need to get back in control of yourself and your life, and you can’t go any further towards getting your ex back until you have achieved this. You need to present a very different face to your ex from the one that was blindly pursuing them, and this isn’t possible as long as you are out of control.

No contact will give you the chance to regain that control.

Your ex has made the decision to break up. Any attempt you make to pursue them and persuade them to change their mind is challenging that decision, and forcing them to defend it. The more they defend it, the more convinced they become that it was the right decision.

Without you fighting it, your ex will have convince themselves that breaking up was the right thing to so. Almost inevitably they will start to wonder.

Along with their doubts, your ex is bound to miss you. When a relationship ends, a big gap opens up in the lives of the people who once spent so much time together. This encourages the good memories to prevail over the bad ones, and makes your ex nostalgic for the past.

Almost inevitably this will make them have thoughts of getting back together.

Putting No Contact Into Practice

The most important thing for you to do here is to stick to the No Contact rule. That means no calling, texting, emailing or following them on social media.

But it doesn’t mean that you are forbidden ever to talk to them. If your ex calls you, or you run into each other when you are out, then it is fine to stop and talk to them. But keep it brief. You want to be friendly and even at bit flirtatious, as long as you can carry it off without looking desperate. But remember you are busy and so you haven’t the time to stop for long.

What you are doing is showing you ex that you have taken back control of your own life.

When you pursued them you were giving all the power in the relationship to them. No contact shows that you are taking it back, and makes your ex see that you have started to enjoy the single life and what it can offer you. This is a way of challenging their decision to break up, in a way that forces them to defend it to themselves, instead of to you.

That is much harder.

Inevitably they will have doubts. It will become harder for them to be sure that they did the right thing. The more pervasive their doubts, the keener they will become on the thought of getting back together.

Eventually it will come to seem like their idea.

What If You Work Together?

You need to remember that it is not necessary to have a relationship, or to be friends with your work colleagues. You just have to get on with them well enough for you to work harmoniously together; and so you must try to treat your ex in this way.

It’s important for your (and their) professional credibility to handle this situation without causing any problems at work, so you need to have a few basic ground rules.

Accept that it will be awkward and difficult at first. Keep your contact to a minimum and confine it to professional matters.

Always be polite, but avoid being familiar. Keep to the boundaries.

Avoid all discussion of your private lives and problems at work. This includes emails or any other form of communication. If your ex tries to initiate them, cut them off immediately.

Do not socialize together. If you must both attend the same work functions, then avoid getting into one to one conversations. There should be plenty of other people to talk to. DON’T be the last two people to leave.

Don’t gossip about your problems with other work colleagues. Try to ignore what people may be saying behind your back.

It will not be easy, especially at first, but with practice it will become easier and more natural. If you are finding that the strain is affecting your work, then consider looking for another job.

Living or Having Children Together and No Contact

If your situation makes it impossible for you not to see each other, because you live or have children together; then you should keep all contact to a minimum. Be calm and polite, but avoid all sensitive subjects. The idea of no contact is to take the personal element out of everything you say to each other, without behaving like angry fool or a victim.

If you live together and neither of you is able to move out immediately, then try to have parts of the house or apartment which either are yours or theirs, so that you both have some privacy. If possible agree to use the communal parts at different times. The thing is to keep contact to a minimum and try to avoid fighting. Giving each other as much space as possible is essential.

Don’t bring a new romantic interest home. It might seem unnecessary to say that, but angry people in the middle of a breakup can go to extreme lengths to try to hurt their ex. But if you really want to get your ex back, it’s a mistake to make them believe you are moving on with someone else. And it’s rude and disrespectful to do such a thing when you have just broken up with someone.

How to Make the No Contact Period Work For You

The time you spend away from your ex should not be wasted time. Use it to improve yourself, your life and to make plans for the future.

Keep yourself busy by finding new interests and keeping yourself in shape. Remember all the things you meant to do one day? Now is the time to start doing them. It will add a new dimension to your life and take your mind off your ex.

Exercise is the other vital lift you need. Apart from getting you into better shape, exercise releases endorphins which create a feeling of well-being and lift your spirits and your mood. You will find your stress levels decreasing, and your confidence rising as you improve your looks and your body image.

Think about your relationship and what really went wrong. How will you set about putting them right? If you do get a chance to get back with your ex, you need to be ready with solutions and make sure that your old problems don’t recur.

When to End No Contact

There’s no specific time limit on how long you and your ex should spend apart. Before you end no contact you need to be a good place, with your life in order. It’s no good thinking of getting back together until you have thought about the breakup, and have something positive and exciting to offer them.

Remember, the old relationship failed. You’re not trying to revive it.

To find out how to tell if you are ready to contact your ex again, and how to do it, you need The Ex Boyfriend Guide. Go here to find out more.

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This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Ingrid

    I broke up with my boyfriend because he had become very cold towards me and he agreed with my decision. He said we should both focus on our children from previous relationships. Then he said I should go back to my ex husband and try to create a happy family with him. But I don’t have feelings for my ex husband anymore, I love my boyfriend. I want him back but he refused. I only broke up with him because I hoped it would make him fight for me. What should I do?

    1. Sarah

      You should be doing no contact and focusing on having a good time with your children.

  2. Frances

    My boyfriend and I broke up 2 weeks ago. I have been doing no contact and I have blocked my ex. Last week he asked my friend to ask me to call him. I didn’t. Then he called from a different number and I answered not knowing it was him. I wasn’t prepared and just told him I wasn’t ready to talk and that I’ll call him when I am ready. Was that right, or should I have let him talk about what was bothering him?

    1. Sarah

      No, you were right to say you’re not ready to talk yet. But if you do want him back it would be better to unblock him.

  3. Charlotte

    I recently broke up with my boyfriend of 18 months; we have a child together. I went straight into no contact and have only spoken to him to organize childcare. Is that what I should be doing, or should I try to be more friendly when I see him?

    1. Sarah

      No, you’re doing the right thing, so keep it up.

  4. Alison

    My ex and I live together which is very difficult in the current situation. Things are very tense and I have been thinking of going to stay somewhere else, but I’m worried about what happens to our place. We are co-owners (we bought it as a couple 2 years ago) and I don’t want to lose my money or my rights. Any thoughts?

    1. Sarah

      I think you should get professional advice about your legal rights and the pros and cons of leaving. It’s understandable that having to spend so much time with your ex is making things very hard, but I wonder how he feels about it all? Can you still talk to each other without fighting? If so, perhaps you could try and talk to him about it and see if you can find a way to ease the situation for both of you.

  5. Kylie

    I am currently doing the no contact rule, which it has been 3 weeks( apart from he txt me on my birthday) but recently he has been getting tagged in memes and tagging on Facebook with another girl…it’s always the same girl. It’s jokey and doesn’t seem flirtatious. However, do I contact him and and end the no contact rule incase they become flirtatious, do I kinda get in there first before it becomes anything? I don’t know who this girl is, and he’s never mentioned her before.

    1. Sarah

      You seem to think you can control him. You can’t. Either he wants to move on with this other woman, in which case there’s nothing you can do to stop him; or he’s doing it to get a reaction from you, in which case he is succeeding. If you are going to do no contact, then you must abide by the rules. And that means ignoring whatever your ex boyfriend is doing.

      The choice is yours.

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