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What Are the Rules and Benefits of the No Contact Rule After a Breakup

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Should You Do No Contact After a Breakup?

You've broken up with your ex, and you aren't sure which next step to take - move on with your life or try to get your ex back. More so, the pain you're feeling is unbearable you are uncertain whether you'll recover from the breakup. Will no contact assist you in healing and recovering from your break up?

What if you want to resurrect the failed relationship, that is, get your ex back? Will no contact aid you in getting back the relationship you're in back on track?

The answer is, "Yes." There are attested testimonies of individuals, including the writer of this article, who exercised no contact as a means of aiding them to recover from their break up. And, yes, there are stories though a few of individuals whose failed relationships were restored as a result of exercising no contact.

What Is the No Contact?

No contact is the arrestment or cessation of any form of communication with your ex for a certain period of time. It implies not initiating nor responding to contact from your ex until a specific period of time has expired or when an individual is no longer heavily-weighed down by the hurtful emotions emanating from the termination of a relationship.

Discipline or self-control is highly required when exercising no contact so as not to jeopardize the benefits derived from employing this technique after the occurrence of a breakup. Consequently, you should cease the following:

  • No calling your ex nor responding to their call
  • No texting your ex nor replying to their texts

Furthermore,

  • You shouldn't stalk your ex, either in-person or on social media sites.
  • You should block your ex from the list of your friends on your social media account(s) e.g. Facebook so as to bar your ex from contacting you or being tempted to contact him/her.
  • You should not go to places where your ex frequents so as to get a glimpse of him/her.
  • You should avoid creating an environment where you 'accidentally' bump on your ex and act as if you're surprised to see them.
  • Don't use your mutual friend(s) as a messenger to update you about your ex e.g. is he/she seeing another man/woman?

How Long Should No Contact Last?

The suggested minimum period of exercising no contact is two weeks. However, the preferred minimum period is one month. How long you should exercise no contact depends on several factors. They include:

  • Has the healing process begun its course?
  • Are you still living in the fantasy world with your ex in it?
  • Are the hurtful emotions still causing havoc in your life?
  • Do you feel your life is still empty without your ex in it?
  • Are you depressed as a result of the occurrence of the break up, or displaying symptoms associated with any type of depression following the end of your relationship?
  • Are you addicted to drugs and alcohol to make it through the day, find sleep, ease the pain , or as a means to forget about your ex?
  • Are you still needy or desperate to get back with your ex?
  • Do you still believe your ex is the only one who can compliment your life?
  • Do you still find yourself crying when you think of the failed relationship?
  • Do you find yourself staring at images of your ex or stalking them on their social media profiles?

It's recommended the maximum period of enacting no contact should be between three to six months, with an exception of one year (particularly for relationships that span for many years).

Does the No Contact Rule Work?

The answer depends on whether it's effective in aiding you to recover from the breakup or in enabling you, somehow effortlessly, to get your ex back. If it's the latter, there are some reservations.

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Search online, and you'll come across success stories of individuals who managed to restore their failed relationship as a result of employing no contact. Nonetheless, the reports aren't many indicating it isn't an effective method in reviving a terminated relationship.

It should be noted no contact doesn't in itself assist an individual in getting his/her ex back. It has to be employed in conjuction with other factors outlined below to make it effective in getting your ex back.

How healthy and stable the relationship was, and the manner of the breakup, can work in favour of an individual in getting back his/her ex or turn out to be disadvantageous. Sometimes, luck might play a hand in the success of reunification.

Other than than how healthy and stable the relationship was, and the implementation of the no contact, other factors that might propel the possibility of a reconciliation between you and your ex are:

  • The length of the relationship.
  • The personality of your ex.
  • Whether your ex is exercising no contact.
  • The reason for the breakup.
  • Whether your ex is seeing another person.
  • Whether both of you share a child, property, business, and so on.
  • How the relationship ended - did it end on a good note, or was it characterized by dramatic reactions from either your or your ex, or both of you.
  • Your ex's decision never to get back with you.

Three Benefits of the No Contact Rule

1. It Gives You Time to Heal

According to psychologist Jill Weber, staying out of contact with your ex is one of the most important things you can do when recovering from a breakup or from a divorce.

Healing occurs by acknowledging the negative emotions that've sprout following the end of a relationship for what they're, experiencing them, and dealing with them (not feeling them anymore e.g. not being bitter or hateful towards your ex).

When you keep in contact with your ex, you're in essence trying to suppress the emotions so that you don't feel the pain that emanates from experiencing them.

Untreated psychological pain can complicate a relationship (be it the reunion or new relationship) or intensify the worsening condition of a relationship. Something said or done by your reunited or a new partner can trigger the suppressed emotions in the subconscious mind leading to the eruption of new problems or worsening the present ones.

Healing doesn't occur quickly depending on various factors such as the length of the relationship, how much you invested in the relationship, how the relationship was like (e.g., if your ex was abusive), was the breakup dramatic, whether you've family and/or friends support, and so on. However, your determination to recover from the breakup will shorten the length of healing and recovery because it's all about taking the necessary steps to heal and recover from the breakup.

2. It Gives You Time to Reflect

Given that you're not in contact with your ex, your mind won't be distracted by focusing on your ex instead of the relationship.

By keeping your ex at bay, your mind Will be free to analyze the relationship both from the positive and negative side and come up with an informed decision - move on with your life without your ex, or try to get them back.

Reflecting on the relationship involves analyzing the failed relationship from the third person point of view. This is to avoid being biased - favouring one side of the failed relationship - in analyzing the relationship which might compromise making an informed decision.

Since no contact will lessen the intensity of hurtful feelings you're experiencing, you'll be in a better position in judging the failed relationship from an unbiased position. The no contact will assist you in not relying on hurtful emotions and feelings what to think and not think about the failed relationship, and in making an informed decision on what should be done in relation to the end of the relationship.

3. It Helps You Regain Control and Power Over Your Life

It might feel as if you're not in control of your life, particularly if you're the one who was dumped, or your partner led you to terminate the relationship (e.g. they're abusive or were repeatedly cheating on you). The hurtful emotions can appear overwhelming to the extent you feel you can't free yourself from their grasp.

A breakup has the capacity to break you down to the point you feel you can never recover from the breakup. You wish to end your life so that you can relieve yourself from the intense pain you're feeling.

You can achieve your dignity, worthiness, and a hold of your present and future life by taking back control of the steering wheel. You become the driver of your life by not letting the powerful-negative emotions, the images of your ex, the good (and ugly) times you had with your ex from imprisoning your mind and heart.

It might appear using no contact is a means of revenging against your ex, but far from it, the purpose of no contact is to shield you from not to drown in a sea of negative emotions thereby causin you never to rise out of the breakup.

No contact isn't a tactic used to inflict mental pain on your ex even though some individuals employ no contact solely for this reason. When used for this purpose, no contact ceases to serve its purpose - assisting you in healing and recovering from your break up.

Other Benefits of Exercising No Contact

  • It shields you from being adversely affected psychologically, physically and/or spiritually by hurtful emotions and resultant, emotional pain, which tend to increase in intensity every single day following the break up.
  • It prevents you from desperately seeking to get your ex back. While you might've legitimate reasons for wanting to reunite with your ex, you should go slow on your desire for reunification because you aren't sure whether it's in your and/or partner's best interest. Furthermore, you will appear as an irritant to your ex which might jeopardize your desire to get back with them. Also, your ex might take advantage of your neediness to manipulate or use you for their own enjoyment or gain.
  • It helps in redirecting your focus on important aspects of your life. You don’t want to be thinking about your ex and your previous relationship all the time. You have a life. Be aware of your goals, ambitions, and dreams. Stop living in your ex's world.
  • It will re-energize you. Following a break up, you'll feel emotionally crippled. As a result you'll feel physically drained. The distance between you and your ex enabled by not contacting your ex will create the needed space for regaining mental and physical strength. Consequently, you'll feel encouraged to push on with your life.
  • It helps you see both the positive and negative side of the failed relationship so you can better judge whether or not you should get back together.
  • It helps you rediscover the hobbies that you had neglected. Hobbies help you appreciate life, heal from hurt, have a positive mentality, get rid of negative emotions, and have hope.
  • It assists you in gaining an unbiased perspective of life, in general, and relationships, in particular. Hurtful emotions, and the resultant, emotional pain, have a tendency to distort one's view about various aspects of life. The distorted view about life that you've conjured in your life will cause you to live a meaningless life, like some sort of a zombie. You won't find happiness in life, and will do things for sake of it than enjoying what you love doing.
  • It helps you regain self-esteem. You will feel proud of yourself for being able to go for a prolonged period of time without contacting your ex, for having control over the negative emotions you're feeling, and for being mature in dealing with the break up in an appropriate manner.
  • It shields you from creating a series of images of your ex. Giving reign to constant bombardment of images of your ex in your mind is in essence letting your ex have control of your mind; albeit indirectly - something which your ex doesn't know or wouldn't wish to be the case. As long as you keep thinking about your ex, your healing and recovering from the break up will be prolonged.
  • It will prove to you that you can be happy and survive without your ex. Happiness does not come from having a relationship with someone else. It comes from within.
  • Lastly, it helps you realize that begging doesn't get you anywhere. You’ll realize you have your dignity to hold in high esteem, and that you don’t need to lower your self-worth for someone to accept you.

Tips on How to Recover from a Breakup

When you have applied the no contact, you can work on the following suggested tips which will propel you towards the road to recovery.

Admit the Reality of the Breakup

Don't pretend or convince yourself the breakup didn't occur. You're deceiving yourself thereby hindering the commencement of the healing process. When the healing process is jeopardized, your recovery from the break up won't occur even if you engage in another relationship (or succeed in getting back with your ex).

Your heart needs the closure on the state of the relationship so that it can grieve the failed relationship - a stage your heart will undergo as a means of allowing the commencement of the healing process. When you don't acknowledge a break up occurred, you're torturing your heart as you're subjecting it to confusion - not knowing the reality of the relationship.

Embrace the Hurtful Emotions

Emotions are conscious manifestations of a wounded heart. Suppressing or escaping from the emotions doesn't mean you've dealt with the emotions for good. In essence, you've pushed them to your subconscious mind. This can prove catastrophic when a hurtful event or something said by your partner (new or previous) triggers the emotions that you'd locked in your subconscious mind. You'll experience intense hurtful emotions, and the resultant, emotional pain. Also, you will react devilishly (dramatically) since the emotions you'd locked will errupt violently.

The body has to experience the hurtful emotions so that it can become aware something hurtful has occurred. This will arm it with the knowledge that it needs to deal with the hurtful emotions that have been informed by the manifestation of negative emotions, and the pain felt.

Don't Entertain the 'Sweet' Thoughts

They aren't helping you other than making your life miserable. Stop reliving the memorable days, or thinking so much about your ex. Extinguish the desire of thinking about your ex, and the good moments you had.

By doing so, you're suppressing the emotions. Furthermore, you're hurting yourself the more thereby increasing the wound in your heart as the reality doesn't agree with your thoughts or the fantasy world you've created with your ex in it.

Get Rid of Them

It doesn't benefit you when you frequently browse the photos of your ex, or the shots taken together with your ex. Don't open that video, and relive the past. You should only do this when you've recovered from the breakup.

For now, put the photos of your ex away from you. You might tear them into pieces or even burn them. The same goes for videos. Store them away or delete them. If you don't want to tear or burn your ex's photos, give them to your friend. Or, if they've been stored digitally, find ways of locking them, or uninstalling the apps storing the photos and videos to prevent you from accessing them when you feel the desire to.

As noted above, browsing the photos and videos of your ex will impel you to create a mental image - a fantasy world - that won't benefit you other than increasing the pain felt because you're no longer part of their life.

Unfriend or Block Your Ex

There is nothing wrong with informing your ex of your decision to unfriend or block them. It shows you do care about your ex.

By unfriending or blocking your ex from your social media accounts, you're saving yourself of the pain you'll feel by coming across updated posts of your ex, or feeling the temptation to read their posts, profile pages or browsing your ex's photos and videos.

Stop Blaming

Your ex might have been the cause of the breakup. Or, you might have caused your ex to end the relationship. However might have been the cause of the breakup, or whatever reason might have led to the end of the relationship, blaming yourself or your ex won't make you feel any better.

If you're the one in the wrong, admit it. And pledge, you'll change for the better by rectifying the behavior (s) or attitude(s) that might have led to the breakup.

Forgive and Forget

It's a difficult undertaking to forgive your ex or yourself as the cause of the breakup. However, this is an important step to take as it's one of those elements that'll assist you in healing and recovering from your break up.

Forgiveness doesn't mean you're in agreement with your ex having hurt you. It doesn't mean you condone what he/she did to you. It doesn't mean you give him a foothold to hurt you again. Forgiveness is for your benefit; not his/hers unless he/she asks for your forgiveness.

Forgiveness is for your benefit because it's the door through which the negative emotions find their way out. It entails opening the doors of your heart and letting the emotions fly away.

Simply, forgiveness is accepting your ex hurt you (or you hurt your ex), and being determined not to hold a grudge or hatred towards him/her (or yourself).

When you forgive; try to forget.

Remember, if you don't forgive your ex, you'll never heal and recover from the breakup.

Let It Out

Have someone to share what you're feeling. Don't suffer alone. Your loved ones and/or friends are a reliable support since they want the best from you.

If you don't feel comfortable in confiding to your loved ones or friends, you can always seek professional help. You can also join social groups that help people overcome their breakup.

Jot Down

How are you feeling following the break up? Are you making any progress? What lessons have you learned from the breakup? What can you do to alleviate pain, and ensure you've recovered from the breakup? These are some of the things you should note in your notebook, journal, or even on your smartphone, tablet, iPad, or even a laptop.

Enjoy Your Life

Don't close yourself in your closet for a longer period. Go out and feel the beauty of the world. Visit an animal orphanage, a national park, or a reserve. Meet with friends. Watch movies. Listen to inspiring songs. Go and play with your friends. Read a book. Walk down the street. Engage in your hobbies. Exercise (at home or a gym centre). Enjoy your favourite food. Play with your pet, or get one.

In short, find anything that will positively distract your mind from thinking about your ex, and the failed relationship all the time. Find an a pleasurable-healthy activity that will help you appreciate life, and the world you live in (even though it's full of heartache, there's still enough to behold). You can even volunteer.

Closing off, "NC is a means of mentally, emotionally, and physically distancing yourself from somebody so that you can gain perspective, grieve the loss of the relationship and take back control of yourself and rebuild your life so that you can move on. You give yourself space and time to do this by eradicating/limiting all of your contact with the other person so that you can face the loss without the disruption that will otherwise set you back and potentially keep you stuck in a cycle of unhealthy behavior." (Natalie Lue, author of The No Contact Rule)

The Power of No Contact After a Breakup

Closing off, Natalie Lue, in her book, 'The No Contact Rule' states, "NC is a means of mentally emotionally and physically distancing yourself from somebody so that you can gain perspective, grieve the loss of the relationship and take back control if yourself and rebuild your life so that you can move on. You give yourself space and time to do this by eradicating/limiting all of your contact with the other person so that you can face the loss without disruption that will otherwise set you back and potentially keep you stuck in a cycle of unhealthy behaviour."

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

Question: Should I do no contact if it was a 2-year relationship and she broke it off because of constant fights? If so, how long do you recommend for no contact?

Answer: I apologize for taking long to respond. You are right. You should exercise the No Contact Rule. A month is preferable but you have to let her know you won't talk to her for a month. Since two years is a lengthy period, a month is preferable so as to gain the benefits of this rule.

Question: My boyfriend stopped contacting me out of the blue. I have sent text messages and I can see he has seen them but does not reply. Two weeks later, I sent him another text asking for a reason for disappearing on me, I need closure. It has been a month, nothing. What can I do?

Answer: Your boyfriend has used a method known as the silent treatment. This is when a person either doesn't care or doesn't have the courage to tell his partner he has ended the relationship. Don't mind him again. Move on. Wait after two weeks, a month is preferable, then contact him through text. Ask him if he doesn't want to continue in the relationship he should tell you so you can move on with your life. If he responds or doesn't, wish him all the best and thank him for everything. I advise that even if he gives an excuse for his silence after you've contacted him, you should not get back with him. During this period of no contact, don't think about him. Do your own thing. Unfriend or block him from your social media accounts, store away his number or delete them. You have to move on even though it hurts. Life has to go on.

If he cared he should have responded but lack of response shows how he doesn't mind you. Thus, you shouldn't worry yourself about him. But don't forget to forgive him. I have written an article about forgiveness, no contact rule, and how to heal & recover from a breakup. You might want to check on them.

Question: My girlfriend broke up with me because she said she wasn’t mentally in the relationship anymore. What does that mean?

Answer: It means she has given up being in the relationship with you. She does not feel she has the energy, the will or desire to be in the relationship anymore. She wants a break from the relationship. She is tired of being in the relationship and does not feel she wants to be in the relationship anymore.

Question: My girlfriend said she’s not in love with me. We had no drama, cursing nor fighting. I was good to her. Do you think no contact will win her back?

Answer: No contact is a 50-win or a 50-lose game. It is as if you are playing wild-card game or poker. You don't know if there is a chance of getting her back or not if your main idea is to try to win her back. You can try what is referred to as "Limited Contact." Do not contact her for a week to test the water. If she is not bothered with your silence then you will no longer she no longer has any feelings for you. You would have exercised no contact which runs for a minimum period of two weeks but in your case, it might not work properly because she said she no longer loves and you haven't done anything to cause it. It might be good to not contact her for a week and try to reflect on what might have led her to utter such a statement. It might be something not related to you. Is she seeing another person or does she have a second opinion of you?

Question: Should I initiate No Contact? Our relationship was 3-years old but she broke up with me because she didn't have feelings for me anymore. After 20 days of having broken up, we had a little fight. Do you think it will work?

Answer: It might work because it appears there is an issue or problem that led to the breakup. No contact will enable both of you to distance yourselves from each other, have some peace of mind and heart. It will enable you to reflect on the relationship and what you need to do to save the relationship. After ending NC find an appropriate way of asking her to meet each other with the intention of solving the issues which during the NC you saw are contributing to the fights. You should approach her in a manner it won't create another fight.

Question: Is it a good idea to keep in touch by telegram with my ex-fiance while he has blocked me just on WhatsApp?

Answer: It isn't a good idea to keep in touch with your ex. The problem with keeping in touch is that you would have those thoughts that you wish things were different, you wish you were in relationship (or married to him by now) and other 'I wish it was different' thoughts. You will find it hard to move on, and you might break down or even become depressed.

Keeping in touch isn't bad but it should be after you have healed and you have moved on with your life.

I wouldn't suggest you keep in touch with your ex in whatever manner.

Question: I broke up with my boyfriend of 2 years and 5 months because he has no job at all for almost 2 years. He is always telling me to just trust and support him but I feel hopeless that he will get a job. I broke up with him for the thought of maybe he will change and realize things. It's been 2 months without communication at all. He deleted his old facebook account and made a new one and I was blocked in that new facebook account. What should I do?

Answer: It seems your boyfriend didn't want to look for a job knowing you would cater for his needs. You did the right thing to break up with him after noticing he wasn't doing anything to get a job e.g. searching for a job.

I would suggest you move on with your life. You have tried to get him back but he doesn't want to. It's obvious he's still angry at you. You didn't end the relationship for the wrong reasons. You wanted him to realize the importance of looking for a job but it appears he was comfortable in the situation he was in with you.

Move on. Don't bother to contact him. If he didn't realize your worth, you can't force him to understand how you assisted him financially.

Question: How long should I go no contact after the end of a 13-year old relationship?

Answer: In your case, you will need to go no contact for more than one month because you were in a lengthy relationship. I would say between two to three months so as to heal and recover from the breakup.

If your intention is to reunite with your ex, a month would be sufficient.

Question: What if your ex is also doing no contact?

Answer: It will depend on the reason why your ex is doing no contact. If he exercises no contact to heal and recover, and move on then there is no chance of reuniting with him. If his intention is to get back with you then there is a chance of getting back together.

It's difficult to know why a person is doing no contact. It will become a deadlock when the person doesn't want to get back with you.

You will have to wait for more than a month to contact them because the majority of them employ no contact for a month. By then, you will know whether you're a lucky one or not.

When your ex contacts you when you're doing no contact, it's better to break the rule and receive the call or reply to his text. If you don't receive his call or reply back you'll lose the chance of ever reuniting.

Question: It was my ex-crush. She came back to me after she was ignored by the other guy. I accepted her. We were together for one month before things got worse when her parents got involved. She then broke up with me saying she has no feelings for me and all she had for me was comfort. But the moment we were together, there was so much love and bond. I don't know if I will get over her. Is it possible to move on from this relationship?

Answer: If you intend to get her back, it will depend on whether her reason for ending the relationship was genuine. This is especially the case when she said she had you for comfort. It might be true or not. Maybe she didn't want you to know she did love you.

Her parents got involved and she listened to them. It might be difficult trying to get her back in such a situation.

If you intend to move on, it is the plausible thing to do because it's uncertain whether she did love it you not, and giving in to her parents not wanting her to be in relationship with you.

It is possible to move on. It's difficult to believe you can get over the breakup. Since the relationship was one month, you'll heal and recover quickly.

I wrote an article on how to heal and recover from a breakup: Steps to Healing and Recovering from a Breakup

Question: My boyfriend left me because he thinks that I won't be happy with him and I deserve a better guy but the fact is that I love him and he loves me too. I haven't contacted him for the last 2 weeks. Till now no sign from him. Will it really work? We had a relationship of 2.5 years.

Answer: You shouldn't continue with the no contact rule for long in your situation.

From your description, he feels unworthy of you. He feels you're better off with another guy. He might be suffering from low self-esteem or you're quite a beauty or something about you that makes him feel you deserve a better guy; not him.

You need to convince him that you're okay with him and it does hurt for him to tell you that. You chose to be with him thus he means a lot to you. There are many things that can make an individual end a relationship because he/she feels unworthy or fit to be in a relationship with another person.

Don't carry the no contact rule for long. It might register in his mind you've accepted his proposal thus the end of the relationship.

Plan on how you'll convince him that you love him as he does love you; and you're happy to be with him and he means everything to you. Something quite striking about you makes him feel that way.

Question: My ex is very angry at me and she left me because I'm immature. Will she come back?

Answer: The probability of her coming back is slim. It will be very difficult because she sees you are not mature in a relationship.

Why don't you work on yourself by improving the things you are lacking? Don't do it to show off but for your own good. Who knows, she might come back when she notices the changes?