Advice on doing “No Contact” when no contact isn’t entirely possible
Hello again, and welcome back to the advice column!
For today’s edition of Dear Dating Bitch, I am answering a reader’s question about what to do when you’re forced to see your Ex on a daily basis – when employing the oft-cited No Contact rule isn’t exactly possible. I get a variation of this same question fairly often, so hopefully this post will be helpful to a number of other readers as well.
(*Note: original question edited for length/clarity)
☆ ☆ ☆
Q: My ex-boyfriend, Jake, and I go to the same school and I have to see him every day. I still miss him terribly. Since the breakup, he’s texted me a few times saying that he misses me and still has feelings for me. I respond, but I try to stay friendly and neutral and not get too emotional.
The last time we talked, though, he told me that he has feelings for one of my best friends, Jenny. He actually said that he likes her more than me in “that way.” Obviously, this hurt me a lot and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the two of them getting together. On top of that, I can’t avoid him because I see him daily at school. How do I get over someone I have to see all the time?
– Love, Jealous of Jake and Jenny
Dear Jealous of Jake and Jenny:
I can’t tell exactly how old you are, but if you’re in high school still, that could explain why this feels so painful for you. You can rest assured then that as you get older, breakups won’t cause quite as much emotional turmoil.
Regardless, there’s no easy way to get over someone that you have feelings for. Breakups are always traumatic, no matter what the circumstances are. I can’t give you a “quick fix,” but here are some of my suggestions that may help you get through this a little sooner:
1. Limit Your Communication with Modified No Contact
Obviously, you can’t do a full period of ‘No Contact’ due to the fact that you share a school, so instead, I’d suggest doing what’s called “Limited Contact” (or “Modified No Contact.”)
This is basically where you try and limit your interactions with your ex as much as possible – meaning, no communication outside of what’s necessary. In your case, that would mean no phone calls or text messages, no social media engagement, and no conversations about anything that isn’t school related.
Even at school, I would say only talk to him when you absolutely have to. When you do, aim for polite and detached. You want to make it seem like you’re completely neutral towards him – anger and hatred won’t do you any good here. Instead, act indifferent.
Chris Seiter’s website, Ex-Boyfriend Recovery, is a great resource for anything ‘No Contact’ related. There’s a lot of great info there and I highly recommend that you check it out.
2. Focus on The Negative
Yep, you read that right.
Too often, after a breakup, we tend to romanticize or idealize our ex – we put them on a pedestal, remembering all the things we loved about them. But all that does is increase the separation anxiety we’re feeling.
Instead, try and think about all the things you didn’t like about him or about the relationship. Write those things down on a piece of paper that you can reference when you feel yourself idealizing him.
And before you say that there was nothing bad about him, I’d like to point out one thing that stood out to me from your letter: he told you he liked another girl more. Not just any girl, either – your best friend.
That’s a rather unkind and disrespectful thing to do, so that tells me he’s not the nicest guy out there.
3. Imagine the Future
Take comfort in knowing that eventually things will get easier. It may not feel like it right now – we’ve all been so heartbroken it feels like the misery will last forever, but I can tell you from experience that it doesn’t work that way.
What once felt like a soul-crushing devastation to me is in the past. As painful as it was at the time, when I look back on that relationship now, I only feel grateful that things ended because he wasn’t right for me. One day, you too will be able to look back on this as a difficult experience that ultimately led to growth.
Try and focus on that future feeling. Picture yourself 6 months from now, a year from now, two years from now. Imagine that you’re in a healthier/happier relationship, that you’re thriving and living your best life.
Whenever you feel down about this guy, picture your future self being happier, stronger, and better for the breakup.
4. Practice Good Self-Care
Keep up with your physical health as best as you can – even though it’s difficult when in the throes of heartache, it’s important to continue eating right and exercising.
Allow yourself some time to wallow – if you need to throw yourself a pity-party, do it. Let yourself cry, journal as a way of releasing your emotions and thoughts, and give yourself some pampering days (the classic bowl of ice cream and romantic comedy – it’s a classic for a reason.)
Finally, make sure that you have a good support system in place – people that you can lean on and who will provide some comfort to you. Try and socialize with your friends, family, and loved ones as much as possible and continue to do the hobbies you love.
☆ ☆ ☆
Conclusion: Modified No Contact
As always, let me know your thoughts in the comments below and share this article with anyone who might need to hear it.