Why you seriously NEED to stop talking to your ex.
I’m the WORST when it comes to practicing the oft cited “No Contact” rule. I’ve broken it at LEAST once in Every. Single. Breakup. I’ve gone through. Because of that, I’ve learned firsthand just how important it is to follow.
Let’s dive in, shall we!
What is the “No Contact” Rule?
For those of you unfamiliar with this term, you’ve either been living under a rock or you’ve never gone through a breakup because the “No Contact Rule” is the most common piece of post-breakup advice out there. It’s also one with a deceptively simple premise: After being dumped, don’t contact your ex for a set period of time. The time frame can fluctuate, but for the most part, the gold standard is 30-45 days.
And then – nope, actually, that’s it.
Pick a set number of days. Then DON’T contact your ex for said time frame. To illustrate this point, I’ve made a “How To” guide for you:
What Constitutes “Contact” Exactly?
OK, OK. I’m pretty sure that you know what “contact” looks like, but just in case, I’ll spell it out.
No Contact means:
- NO phone calls
- NO text messages
- NO emails
- NO social media stalking (this includes the social media accounts of his friends and family as well as that new girl he added who looks both cute and single)
- NO spontaneous drive-by’s
- NO “accidental” run-ins at his favorite bar (“oops, funny running into you here. I know you come here all the time, but it’s just a coincidence that I’m here tonight too.” Girl. No.)
Anyway, you get the gist. No Contact means just that.
Like I said, it’s a deceptively simple concept.
In theory, it should be simple. After all, all you have to do is… nothing. And the rule itself is, in fact, simple. It’s the execution that gets tricky.
Seriously – when people fail at doing no contact, it’s not because they don’t understand it. It’s because they don’t think it applies to them. I know, I was one of those people (more than once, too, I’m afraid.) So, let me just help you out here: It. Applies. To. You.
But What If…
“I just want to stay friends?”
You probably don’t. You just think that staying friends will somehow lead to a reconciliation. It won’t. And it’ll just hurt you more in the process.
“I honestly just want to be friends?”
Then you can be friends next month.
“It’s an emergency?”
Do you have any other friends? Or family? Or neighbors? Or people who might care and be able to assist you in a dire circumstance? Then that’s who you should call.
“I just want to check up on him to make sure he’s OK?”
Well, then you’re either a saint (he broke up with you and you need to make sure he’s handling it alright??) or you’re lying. Either way. He’s fine.
But if you’re really concerned, you can check up on him next month.
“He calls or texts me first?”
Simple. Don’t answer. Don’t reply.
“He gets mad that I didn’t respond?”
Seriously? He broke up with you. Fuck his feelings.
“He never talks to me again?”
A) That’s almost NEVER going to be what happens. And B) If it is what happens, you’ve probably saved yourself in the long run because this guy sounds ridiculously immature. You’re welcome.
Now, there are a few legitimate exceptions to the rule:
- If you live or work together
- If you share a child/children together
In both of these cases, you should only speak when ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. That means about childcare, rent, or work related issues only.
Definitely maintain a bare minimum level of politeness – you don’t need to broadcast just how much you hate them right now, it’ll only make you look bad. But you also don’t need to go out of your way to be friendly. Communication should be: Cold, Distant, Polite.
For the rest of you out there? There are NO EXCEPTIONS. Stop talking to him. Like, yesterday.
Why is “No Contact” so important?
There’s a reason that No Contact is the number one piece of advice relationship experts give for handling a breakup. Because it’s important. Here’s why:
1. To allow your emotions to settle:
After a break-up you are in a heightened state of emotion. That’s normal – you’ve just had your heart crushed by the person you love. You’re probably feeling anxious, depressed, angry, or some combination of the three. Therefore, you’re not going to be thinking rationally or logically right now. And your words and actions are probably going to reflect that.
2. To avoid embarrassing yourself:
More than likely, you’re going to feel an overwhelming desire to reach out to your ex and beg for a second chance. You think that you can somehow convince them to change their mind. In your head, you have this whole movie montage playing where you’ll make some impossibly eloquent speech or perform some grand romantic gesture and then they’ll take you back.
In reality, here’s what will happen: you’ll make an incredibly in-eloquent (I’m talking blubbering, crying, and possibly incoherent) speech or you’ll show up at their house with flowers/gifts/a boombox and your misguided attempt at romance will be seen as annoying, needy, or creepy. And instead of leading to a passionate embrace, it will push your ex even further away from you. They’ll feel like they were right to break up with you.
3. To break your Ex-Addiction:
Love is like an addiction – in fact, being in love floods your body with the same feel-good chemicals that cocaine produces. Meaning that going through a breakup is akin to going through withdrawals. You need to give yourself enough time and space away from them so that your body has detoxed from them and you break your addiction.
4. To change the negative perception your ex has of you:
As an added bonus, your ex probably expects you to do all of those crazy, emotion driven things. They anticipate you blowing up their phone with calls and texts, crying about how much you miss them, and begging for a second chance. By NOT doing that, you’re going to change their perception of you. Going radio silent will force them to wonder about you.
5. To (potentially) get back together in the future:
Right now, your ex likely sees you in a negative light. Otherwise, they’d probably still be with you. By changing their perception of you, you’re giving yourself the best possible chance at a reconciliation down the line. If you’re still reaching out to them regularly, you’re giving them an ego stroke while diminishing your own value in their eyes.
You’re also weaning them off of you slowly. Instead, give them a taste of what life without you is really like. That cold dose of reality may be enough to make them miss you and decide they want you back.
But, honestly, that’s not even the point.
The point is for YOU to gain control over your emotions.
When the No Contact period is up, you might still love and miss your ex. You might still want to get back together with them. And if that’s what you want, you can absolutely pursue it.
Or you might decide that they weren’t right for you. You might look back on the relationship with less nostalgia and see the problems you overlooked before. And you might decide that you’d rather find someone else.
Either way, you’re making a choice from a place of empowerment, not desperation.
Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts in the comments down below. Have you ever had difficulty with the “No Contact” rule after a breakup?