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

Updated on March 25, 2018
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The "No Contact" rule is a popular subject for people who are going through breakups. Some writers, however, have gone overboard in trying to show its effectiveness, especially with how to use the NC rule to get your ex back.

Consequently, you shouldn't believe everything you read. You should read several perspectives on the subject and then figure out what to do. This article will look at what constitutes No Contact, how it should be done, its benefits, and what you should and should not do if you decide to exercise it.

The advice here can be effective for people who were dumped, or for those who initiated the breakup.

What Is the No Contact Rule?

No Contact means you do not initiate any form of communication with your ex nor respond to their communications. This applies in all circumstances except for when there's no way to avoid seeing or interacting with them.

If you are forced to communicate with your ex, your conversations should be as casual as possible—no flirting, talking about the failed relationship, or talking about getting back together.

Remember that NC is not a way to get your ex back or to make them miss you. Though there is a chance these things could happen, No Contact is really something you should be doing for yourself and for your own healing.

Rules of No Contact After a Breakup

  1. You do not call them (either on the telephone or through any Internet applications).
  2. You do not text them or message them (either through SMS or any social media application).
  3. You do not answer your ex's calls or reply to their texts (except in the case of an emergency).
  4. You do not stalk your ex, either in-person or on social media sites.
  5. You block them from all social media sites.
  6. You do not go places where you're likely to run into your ex in order to "accidentally" bump into them.
  7. You do not use your mutual friends in order to be updated about your ex's current status, asking if they're seeing someone else or if there's any indication they want to get back together.

As mentioned above, if there is an emergency, you might need to respond to your ex's communications or send them communications of your own. Make sure, however, that the conversation between you two doesn't drift from the issue at hand.

There are no set guidelines for how long No Contact should last. In general, it needs to be longer than a period of two weeks in order for it to be effective. Depending on the length of your relationship and how intense it was, a period of four weeks might be enough, but it might also need to last several months or even several years.

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Does the No Contact Rule Work?

That depends on what you mean. In general, No Contact is a useful tool for getting over a breakup. It helps individuals realize that the past is over and that they need to move on and learn how to live life without their exes.

In some cases, after a period of No Contact, the exes do get back together again. In this example, the period of separation would have helped them understand more about themselves and what they wanted, and with clear reflection, they could both come to the conclusion that they wanted to be together again.

However, even though there have been many articles and books written about this topic, few admit that No Contact does not work all the time. It will not help you get over the breakup immediately, and it doesn't guarantee that you will get back together with your ex. It is simply a rule, and like other rules, it can work in your favor or not. It simply acts as a guide.

What Are the Benefits and Power 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 break up or from a divorce.

When a break up happens, a person feels hurt. In fact, it has been proven that the brain treats physical and psychological pain similarly. In essence, as a result of the breakup, the brain detects a wound. In order for the wound to be healed, it needs to be treated.

Think of No Contact as initiating the healing process, acting as the white blood cells and platelets found in a human's immune system. The white blood cells fight off negative emotions while the platelets will clot the wound. Similar to a physical wound, the healing will take time. You have to be patient.

In addition, you should know that if you want to heal from the hurt created as a result of the breakup, you need to admit that you have a wound that needs to be treated. If you live in denial, your heart will continue to ache, which may lead to physical illness.

When you are no longer in contact with your ex, the images of them will begin fading day by day. Thoughts of them will begin dwindling and you will stop missing them so much. In contrast, contact with your ex would keep you from healing and will keep reminding you of the failed relationship, and that you are no longer together.

When you’re not in contact with them, you’ll be in a good place to think clearly and know what is required of you in order to ease the pain. Eventually, you won't feel pain from the breakup anymore and you'll be able to see your ex without falling apart. This also applies to your ex, who also needs time away from you in order to heal, no matter who broke up with who.

During the No Contact period, you will learn the importance of forgiveness and of dealing with negative emotions without your ex. It is very important that you heal from the hurt before you think of trying to get back together with your ex. If you're still feeling pain, then it signifies you'll continue to feel pain in the relationship.

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2. It Gives You Time to Reflect

Given that you are not in contact with your ex, it will be easier to think clearly about the failed relationship and the direction you want to head in. You cannot think clearly to evaluate or analyze the failed relationship if you’re still feeling the pain at its maximum level and if you're still holding on to some chance of being with your ex. Until the pain has subsided, it is impossible to think about the failed relationship, about your ex, about what you want, and about what to do next.

You don’t want to run back to your ex blindly and neither do you want to make hasty decisions. You want to make decisions that you will not regret later. You don’t want negative emotions to guide your thinking and decision making.

If you remain in contact with your ex, you will get confused. In addition, hurtful emotions will make it hard to think clearly and make you carry out hasty decisions.

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

No one wants to be controlled — being controlled psychologically or physically by someone else is not a pleasing thought. If your ex ended the relationship, it probably felt like they had total control over it and that you were just luggage in the back seat of the car with no power over the steering wheel and no say in the relationship.

Or perhaps you were the one who ended the relationship because your partner wouldn't let go of the steering wheel. You had been hurt too many times and couldn't endure it any longer, so you decided to end the relationship.

When you apply No Contact, you regain control of your life. If you developed low self-worth as a result of the breakup or during the relationship, NC will help you learn to appreciate yourself again. It will help you be focused and put you in a position to think clearly now that you are in control of your mind. And as long as you're in control of your mind, no one can take advantage of you or treat you any way that they want to.

No Contact is not a way to get revenge. Rather, it is a win-win strategy. You can both get distance from each other to reflect on the relationship, and you can feel good about yourself, knowing that you are in control.

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Other Benefits of No Contact and Reasons Why It's Effective

  1. It helps keep excess negative emotions from affecting your life physically, psychologically, and spiritually. When you’re still in contact with your ex, it’s hard to get rid of the negative emotions that you associate with them.
  2. It helps you relax. Though it will be difficult (especially at the beginning), the determination to keep No Contact will help you become calm. You will have peace of mind and heart.
  3. It will keep you from seeming desperate. It's not good to seem desperate or needy since your ex may try to take advantage of you or manipulate you. You could also lose the chance of getting back together with them if you annoy them. It will seem as if you don’t have a life of your own and that you need someone else to be happy.
  4. It helps you focus. You don’t want to be thinking about your ex and your previous relationship all of the time. You have a life. Be aware of your goals, ambitions, and dreams. Stop living in your ex's world.
  5. It will re-energize you. After a breakup, some people feel emotionally crippled or drained, which can affect the physical body. The distance will make space for new energy in your life.
  6. It helps you see both the positive and negative parts of the relationship so you can better judge whether or not you should get back together.
  7. 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.
  8. It will keep you from trying to convince your ex that the decision they made was wrong. That will only make you keep getting into fights with them and it will not earn you the respect of your ex.
  9. 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.
  10. It helps you erase the image of your ex. When you let images of your ex form a major part of what you think about, you are letting your ex control your mind. As long as they control it, you will not heal and you will be unmotivated to move on with your life.
  11. 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.
  12. Lastly, it helps you realize that begging doesn't get you anywhere. You’ll realize you have your dignity and that you don’t need to lower your self-worth for someone to accept you. NC will open your eyes so you can see that you don't need to beg.

How to Apply the No Contact Rule

You need to be disciplined not to contact your ex if you want to reap the benefits of employing this rule. You will have to learn to control your feelings by fighting off the urges to contact your ex. It is not impossible as long as you have made the decision not to communicate with your ex.

  • Delete your ex's number or write it down and give it to a friend to hold on to so you don't feel tempted to call them.
  • Something similar also applies to all social media sites. If you have a social media account and your ex is in your friends' list, it is better to unfriend or block them. This will prevent you from stalking them or sending messages. Blocking them will keep them from appearing in your search results. If you feel like you're able to, you could unblock them later on. You should also delete or archive their emails so you're not tempted to keep reviewing them.
  • Lastly, make sure you’re not idle. You should involve yourself in different activities to keep your mind from wandering in unnecessary places. This doesn’t mean you become so busy that you don’t have time to rest. It's true that you do need time to rest your mind and body, but you should refrain from entertaining the thoughts of your ex and the good side of the failed relationship. Pick up your old hobbies again, exercise, and see your friends.

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How Long Should I Go Without Contacting My Ex?

Generally, No Contact should not be applied for anything less than two weeks. The average period that's recommended is one month. In addition, the duration of No Contact might depend on how long you have been in the relationship with your ex. The longer the length of the relationship, the longer a person should exercise No Contact afterwards. For example, if the length of the relationship before the breakup was nine years, it will be ineffective to apply NC for a month. It will take considerable time to heal and recover.

As a guide, you can deduce that it’s time to end No Contact when:

  1. The hurt is no longer too painful because the healing process has already begun.
  2. You are able to think clearly about your relationship without hurtful emotions dictating your line of thought.
  3. You’re confident that you won’t sound needy or feel like you're crumbling when your ex contacts you out of the blue or when you contact your ex.
  4. Your ex's images do not consume a large portion of your mind or thinking.

You should be aware that there is a difference between No Contact and Limited Contact. If you contact your ex after waiting only two weeks or less, then it doesn't count as No Contact. This would be called Limited Contact. You can see more on that below.

Keep in mind that even though it's called a rule, there is no one period of time that works for everyone with No Contact. You have to determine for yourself when it's time to end No Contact, or if you should keep applying it. NC might run for months or years. In fact, it can run indefinitely.

Can You Use the No Contact Rule to Get Your Ex Back?

Some individuals do report that they've gotten their exes back as a result of using NC. Be that as it may, the figures aren’t very satisfactory. In fact, they are few. This indicates that it is not a 100-percent guarantee that NC will help you get them back.

The Internet is full of advice on how to get your ex back using No Contact. Should you follow it? You can try. If you do, however, you should know that No Contact is only one of the factors that can help you get your ex back. However, it alone will not get your ex back.

Getting your ex back is difficult, and there are many factors to consider.

If these factors are in your favor, then No Contact may work in helping you get your ex back. Even if it doesn't, however, it will help you not to be needy and desperate when you do approach your ex to talk.

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How to Know If No Contact Will Work to Get Them Back

  • Consider the length of the relationship. If the relationship was only one month long, applying No Contact will probably not work. The emotional bond was and is not strong enough. The longer the length of the relationship, the stronger the emotional bond, and the greater the chance of your ex getting back together with you.
  • How did the breakup happen? If there was a lot of drama, then it will be hard for NC to work out.
  • Why did your ex end the relationship? The reason matters a lot because your ex will stand by it, even if you apply the NC rule.
  • Did your ex end the relationship because they were seeing someone else? If so, it will be hard to use No Contact to get them back.

The best thing that NC can do is to make your ex miss you. That can only happen once you two are no longer communicating.

And in reality, NC doesn’t help you get your ex back. If you are only intending to use it for that purpose, you will be disappointed. During No Contact, however, you do gain deeper insight into the failed relationship and what happened between you and your ex.

What Is the Difference Between Limited Contact and No Contact?

Limited Contact is also known as Minimal Contact or Low Contact. This rule applies to individuals:

  1. Who are unable to go for more than two weeks without contacting their ex.
  2. Who cannot avoid communicating with their exes because of circumstances they can't control. For instance, if the exes are working at the same company or institution or if they see each other at school, they will be required to be in contact with each other.
  3. Lastly, the couple had a child together, then this will obviously mean that they will need to be in touch.

In spite the above circumstances, it is possible to implement the No Contact rule. For instance, in the first situation, you have to be determined to not contact your ex for a period of two weeks or more until you feel it is time to end the No Contact rule.

In the second situation, you can talk with your ex, but only on the necessary subjects and only as long as you don’t touch on the failed relationship and the possibility of reunion.

In the third situation, you must only call or text your ex to talk to your child or make arrangements to see the child.

Let your ex know you're exercising NC and the reason why you're doing so. This also applies to an ex that has custody of a child. In that case, you can make specific requests in order to minimize communication.

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Good Luck

Many people forget that No Contact brings out the best in you. It makes you a stronger person since you’re more emotionally healthy than you were before, you become more mature than you were before, and you are focused since you now know which steps to undertake.

You know what to do and what not to do since hurtful emotions no longer influence your thinking, and you’re able to work on yourself since you've noted what areas you need to change in your life.

It is a good step forward to getting over your relationship. I wish you good luck.

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© 2016 Alianess Benny Njuguna

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    • Ben716 profile image
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      Alianess Benny Njuguna 5 months ago from Kenya

      You should take it slow. If he doesn't want to be in the relationship because he is afraid of responsibility/commitment, he wants to be a free bird; you cannot do anything to get him back. You need to continue on with your life. Do not contact him to plead he should come back. Do the things you do, concentrate on yourself and put his image on the back of your head, that is, it's time you stop conversation with him. It will be hard. You will only hurt yourself the more you contact you. Show him you are also independent, you can function without him because the reason he gave may be true or there is a hidden reason.

      In short, leave him alone as hard it may be and continue on with your life. It is obvious he does not want to be in relationship with you, therefore he does not respect the time you have been together with him. You will find yours in the future. Move on with your life.

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      Anwesha chanda 5 months ago

      I am in relationship during 6 years...our relation is so strong...after completing diploma one day he has said that he wants to be single..can't take any responsibility..he wants to float in the flow.he'll not marry in future.....still there is no 3rd person in our relation..still we love each other bt he didnt want to get back into the relation..what should i do now??

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