CL Grant has authored many relationship books, including "30 Day No Contact Rule," "The Reality of Being the Other Woman," and "Ex Addict."
What Is the No Contact Rule?
The No Contact Rule is simplicity itself: it just means not having any communication with your former romantic partner for a specified period of time. This includes:
- No telephone calls
- No text messages
- No instant messaging or emails
- No contact via social media
- No "accidental" meetings
- No contacting your ex's friends or family
- No stalking
Going no contact is particularly useful after a relationship's breakup, especially if you were the one who was dumped or betrayed. It can also be used to detach yourself from a narcissistic or abusive partner.
Of course, if you and your ex-partner have children together, then you will inevitably need to discuss issues regarding your kids. While this type of dialogue is unavoidable, you should do your very best to keep these interactions to a bare minimum. The same rule applies if you have joint business or business interests.
Nonetheless, if you are prepared to implement no contact, then there are significant benefits to be gained.
On This Page
- What Is the No Contact Rule?
- Why Use No Contact?
- 7 Reasons Why the No Contact Rule Works
- No Contact Gives You Time to Grieve
- You Can Wallow in Self-Pity
- No Contact Prevents You From Demeaning Yourself
- You Can Regain Perspective on Your Life
- No Contact Lets You Reconnect With Yourself
- It Allows You to Set Healthy Boundaries
- No Contact Gives You Time to Reinvent Yourself
- What Is the Goal of No Contact?
- Why No Contact Fails to Work
- How Do I Go No Contact on Social Media?
- What If I Break No Contact?
- Is No Contact the Same Thing as Breaking Up?
- Is No Contact the Same Thing as the Silent Treatment?
- How Long Does No Contact Last?
Why Use No Contact?
All relationships are not created equal. Thus, it is not uncommon for one person to be more emotionally invested in a partnership than the other. When relationships end, one partner will typically harbor feelings for their ex and struggle to come to terms with the separation.
When this happens, the distraught party is often likely to want to maintain contact with their former lover, even if it delays healing. One of the main dangers with continuing to see your ex is that this stops you from moving on with your life. Even when you find a new partner, research confirms that the new relationship will feel less rewarding if you continue to try to talk to your ex and that you will likely feel less committed to your new partner as a result.
Dr. Tara Marshall of Brunel University in London, in a study entitled Attachment Styles and Personal Growth following Romantic Breakups: The Mediating Roles of Distress, Rumination, and Tendency to Rebound, concluded that the best way to recover from a split was to avoid all exposure to an ex-partner, whether that be face-to-face or online communication.
By continuing to contact your ex, you are not only exposing yourself to extreme distress, but you are also adding fuel to the fire of your longing for reconciliation, hindering your emotional recovery, and sabotaging your future relationships.
7 Reasons Why the No Contact Rule Works
- It gives you time to properly grieve the death of your relationship.
- You can let yourself wallow in self-pity (that's the first stage of recovery).
- It prevents you from demeaning and embarrassing yourself unnecessarily.
- It enables mental clarity and puts things back into perspective.
- You can reconnect with your independent life and self.
- It allows you to rediscover the distinction between you and your ex and set healthy boundaries.
- It is an opportunity to recover, redefine, and reinvent yourself.
Each of these benefits is described fully below.
1. No Contact Gives You Time to Grieve
When a relationship ends, the heartache can be so traumatic that it mirrors the grief you might experience following the death of a loved one. After all, you have suffered the loss of someone whom you loved dearly, even though technically your ex is still alive.
Read More From Pairedlife
Coping with a breakup can be excruciatingly painful and harrowing. Betrayal, humiliation, bitterness, bewilderment, anger, depression, anxiety, and panic are all perfectly normal emotions to experience. Even the most rational-minded individuals can be pushed to a breaking point.
Grieving takes time and the process cannot be fast-tracked. If you had suffered a serious injury in a motor vehicle accident, you would not expect to be recovered within a matter of days. In addition to receiving emergency medical care, you may well be expected to undergo a period of rehabilitation, and there may well be emotional trauma to contend with. The same is true for mending a broken heart. Emotional healing can take just as long—if not longer—than some physical wounds. You will not feel better overnight and must allow yourself time to rest and recuperate.
There are several phases to the grieving process, and you need time to allow nature to take its course and work through these stages in turn.
The Grieving Process for a Relationship
The grieving process for a relationship can be broken down into different stages. The following are the three main phases you will experience.
Stage 1: Shock, Denial, and Numbness
This is when you will be at your most vulnerable. You won't believe it's true. You will let your heart rule your head and hold onto false hopes of a reconciliation.
Stage 2: Fear, Anger, and Depression
After a period of time, you will eventually come to realize that your relationship really is over. For several different reasons, this can also be a rather destructive phase. You may want revenge on your ex. You may also have a tendency to over-divulge information about your relationship in an attempt to portray your ex in a bad light. (Believe me, you will come to regret this at a later date.) Moreover, you may wish harm to befall your ex. Or, which can sometimes be even worse, you may turn all of these negative feelings on yourself.
Stage 3: Understanding, Acceptance, and Moving On
Eventually, you will progress to the acceptance phase and begin to come to terms with your loss. Whilst you may still feel sad about what has happened, you are more likely to have come to accept what you cannot change.
"One of the hardest things you will ever have to do is to grieve the loss of someone who is still alive."
2. You Can Wallow in Self-Pity
Have you ever watched the opening scene in the film Bridget Jones' Diary? Still in her pajamas, smoking a cigarette and drinking a glass of wine, a forlorn Bridget is lip synching to the song "All By Myself." She then proceeds to check her answerphone, only for it to tell her, "You have no messages."
Anyone who has ever suffered a breakup will no doubt be able to empathize with Bridget's character. Well, just like her, you have permission to throw your very own pity-party. Lock yourself away, wallow in self-pity, cry your heart out, and totally indulge yourself. Take the time you need to get your ex out of your system.
Nevertheless, whilst we all deserve a little self-indulgence from time to time, there will reach a point when you really must get your act together. So, after a few days, you need to put on a brave face and get on with your life. Hence, if you haven't made it out of bed for several days, then make today the day when all that changes.
3. No Contact Prevents You From Demeaning Yourself
Rejection and desperation can make you do silly things like calling, texting, and begging your ex to take you back. You might begin obsessively checking your messages to see if he or she has been in touch. If they haven’t, it makes you feel a million times worse. You may lash out at your ex—aggressively or passive-aggressively—or you may try to hurt yourself by neglecting your health or indulging in misery. Your mind goes into overdrive and you begin to imagine them out partying while you are confined to your bedroom, heartbroken. Worse still, they may have moved on with their life and found themselves a new partner. Contemplating these thoughts sends you into an even deeper state of despair.
When you are in such an irrational state of mind, you are inclined to do things that, ordinarily, would never enter your head, like overindulging in food or alcohol to drown your sorrows, drunk-dialling or texting, repeatedly driving past your ex's home or place of work, stalking them, or even worse.
In the long-term, maintaining a dignified silence will save you from a considerable amount of embarrassment.
4. You Can Regain Perspective on Your Life
Following a breakup, it is perfectly natural to be in such mental turmoil that you do not know which way to turn. Creating space between you and your ex can help improve your mental clarity and enable you to solve your problems more effectively.
Writing down your thoughts in a journal will also help you to put recent events into perspective. Don't worry about what you write, just get all of your thoughts out of your mind. Transferring your feelings and problems to paper helps free the mental clutter in your head and leaves you with a greater capacity to think clearly.
Without any external influence, you can begin to reassess your life by asking yourself questions such as:
- Who is the most important person in my life?
- Who are the people who are always there for me?
- What irritating habits did my ex have?
- What did my relationship prevent me from doing with my life?
- What new opportunities does your breakup give me?
- What five things am I most thankful for today?
- What five things am I going to achieve today?
As you gain perspective, you will begin asking yourself other questions that are specific to your personal set of circumstances, things you never allowed yourself to ask before. Gradually, you will begin to realize who and what is most important to you. Often, we tend to forget about our family and close friends whose loyalty and support we take for granted. People suffering from a serious illness may simply be grateful to wake up in the morning. So start appreciating your life and be truly thankful for all that you have.
5. No Contact Lets You Reconnect With Yourself
Let's be perfectly honest: we are all more than capable of getting into a rut with our relationships. We tend to give up hobbies, that we once so enjoyed, in order to spend time with our partner. Friends, that we were once so close to, have long since disappeared off the radar.
Well now, you have time to do whatever you want. Ring up those old friends and reconnect with them. By all means, let them know that you are going through a breakup, but don't solely use them as a shoulder to cry on. Rekindle old friendships and begin doing those hobbies that you once so enjoyed.
6. It Allows You to Set Healthy Boundaries
While it is important to set healthy boundaries in all aspects of your life, boundaries often become blurred within relationships, especially when you are feeling vulnerable. When your self-esteem is low, you are more likely to let your boundaries slip. This is often due to fear of rejection or abandonment. However, it is important to remember that healthy boundaries can protect you, both on a physical and emotional level.
Boundaries are all about being treated with respect and letting others know what you are—and what you are not—prepared to tolerate. From time to time, your ex-partner may test these boundaries. For example, if your ex sends you a drunken text at 2 a.m. asking you to pop over to see him, is that treating you with respect? Do you honestly believe that he is desperate to have a deep and meaningful conversation with you? My guess is probably not and you should not let your relief at hearing from him cloud your judgement.
Use the period of no contact to draw up a list of relationship boundaries. When enforcing these boundaries, be assertive but remain calm. You do not need to apologize or justify your reasoning to anyone.
7. No Contact Gives You Time to Reinvent Yourself
One positive aspect about being single is that you have more time to focus on what you want: You can do what you want, dress how you like, and eat what you want. So spend that extra time focusing on and improving yourself.
- It's time to take that spin class you never had time for or pull your bicycle out of the back of the garage. Walking, yoga, dance—find an activity that makes you feel good. I don't suggest cosmetic surgery (although if you find Botox and fillers appealing, then go ahead), but start with baby steps—possibly a new hairstyle, new makeup, and a wardrobe overhaul. If you are unsure of how to go about this, then simply book a consultation with a specialist.
- Also, take a good look at your home. Clearing clutter can be extremely therapeutic. If your ex has left any belongings hanging around, make sure you box them up and put them out of sight. Why not examine your finances while you're at it? What steps can you take to improve these, so that you can feel more secure with your life and your future.
- Finally, there is nothing to stop you from embarking upon new activities and hobbies, no matter how outrageous they may seem. Now is the time to do that crazy thing you always wanted to do. I know of a woman in her seventies who, following the death of her husband, took up belly dancing. Try to step outside of your comfort zone a little. Trying something that you think you cannot do and it will give you a great sense of achievement.
Also, the harder you focus on yourself, the less time you will have to think about your ex. Whatever happens following your breakup, you need to make sure that time does not stand still for you.
"No matter how you feel: Get up, dress up, show up, and never give up."
— Genevieve Rhode
What is the goal of no contact?
There are some critics who believe this method is nothing more than a manipulative mind game for scorned ex-lovers. In part, this is true, since many embark upon no contact with hidden false hopes and expectations for reconciliation.
Many mistakenly start no contact with the wrong attitude. Instead of viewing it as a healthy way of recovering from a breakup and helping yourself become stronger, they become obsessed with getting back together with their ex. Some even start to think that the goal is to punish their ex. Losing sight of the goal—which is healing—will only lead to more pain and heartache.
Don't get confused: The goal is recovery, not reconciliation. In order for it to work, it is vital that you stay focused on why you're doing it. To clarify, no contact is not...
- a game
- about punishment or revenge
- about getting your former partner back
- about making your ex jealous
It's about refocusing on yourself and getting your individual life back on track.
Why isn't this rule working for me?
There are two main reasons no contact fails to work:
- You forget the purpose. The rules exist for a reason. They are there to help you rebuild yourself. Sitting at home for 30 days, wallowing in self-pity, is not going to cut it. You must take positive steps to reinvigorate yourself and your life.
- You break the rules. Maybe you reached out to your ex. You tell yourself that you really had to, but you kid yourself. You tell yourself that a little interaction doesn't count and that you can resume no contact where you left off, but you can’t. Sporadically breaking no contact is probably the worst thing that you can do. If you don't say true to yourself and follow through on your initial plan, no contact probably won't work for you.
If you want no contact to work, it might be smart to read 7 Dumb Mistakes People Make After No Contact. Being aware of the mistakes will help you avoid them.
How can I do no contact on social media?
Hopefully, most adults should know by now how ugly, awkward, and painful it can be when someone uses social platforms like Facebook or Twitter to air their relationship problems. Don't do it. In fact, if you are in contact with your ex on any social media, you need to take some extra steps to extend your no contact to the internet.
- Temporarily hide or unfollow your ex's posts. Every platform has a way for you to unsee the posts of a specific contact without breaking contact with them entirely. Do a quick Google search to find instructions for all of your social media platforms. You can decide later if you want to unfriend or unfollow them permanently.
- Refrain from broadcasting any details of your breakup. You don't have to lie about it, and you certainly don't have to keep it all bottled inside you, but instead of making grand announcements about your new relationship status, dramatic posts about your pain, or posting selfies of your recovery, find a real-world friend to talk to in the flesh.
- Don’t use social media to take revenge, make your ex jealous, hurt their feelings, or try to get them to love you again. Whatever you do, do not rant, drunk-post, whine, brag, gloat, stalk, or look at photos of your ex.
- Take a break from using all social media if you can't control yourself.
- If you need to see a therapist, then do. Don't use social media as a cheap alternative to therapy.
What if I break no contact?
No contact means no contact. Although some contact might be permissible under an extreme circumstances (like if something scary happens to your shared child), contacting your ex because you can't find your favorite sweater violates the rules. If you break no contact, then you really need to start again from the very beginning.
Is no contact the same thing as breaking up?
Just as a separation is not a divorce, going no contact is not quite the same thing as breaking up entirely. Sometimes, it follows a tentative breakup, but sometimes it's not entirely clear if you have broken up or not. Regardless, if it's going to work, you both need to understand what "no contact" means and what its purpose is. That means the terms should be spelled out before you break contact. Tell them exactly what you're doing, why you're doing it, how long it will last, and why.
Is no contact the same thing as the silent treatment?
No, it's not: No contact is not the same thing as the silent treatment. Why? Because it follows a break in the relationship, because you are doing it to heal yourself rather than punish another, and because you are being completely transparent and up-front about your motives. No contact is a powerful tool for healing, but the silent treatment is a form of punishment or abuse. Read 7 Facts About the Silent Treatment in a Relationship if you want to learn more.
How long does no contact last?
For most, 30 days is enough to gain perspective, although those who have been in a relationship for quite some time might need longer—even 60 days—to detox and clear the mind. However, if you have an addictive personality and fail to take positive steps to move forward with your life, you may find yourself pining for your ex, many years after your breakup. Always remember that by implementing the no contact rule, you are adopting a strategy to help heal yourself.
- Field T. Diego M. Pelaez M, et al (2009). Breakup distress in university students. Adolescence, 44: 705–727. [9 April 2016]
- Rodriguez, L. M., Øverup, C. S., Wickham, R. E., Knee, C. R., & Amspoker, A. B. (2016). Communication with former romantic partners and current relationship outcomes among college students. Personal Relationships, 23: 409-424. [9 April 2016]
- Marshall, T. C. (2012). Facebook surveillance of former romantic partners: associations with postbreakup recovery and personal growth. Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, 15(10): 521-526. [9 April 2016]
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: My boyfriend dumped me, and now has a new girlfriend. I'm totally heart broken. What should I do?
Answer: You should implement no contact and allow yourself time to heal. Read through the rules again and make sure you follow them. Give yourself a little time to grieve, but then you have to begin planning for your future.
Question: My boyfriend asked me to give him space to figure out his feelings between me and his ex. He said he wants to be with me without thinking of anybody else. Should I wait for him or should I move on? Does the no contact rule mean removing him from my social media accounts?
Answer: While your boyfriend has been honest about still having feelings for his ex, it is unreasonable to keep you dangling by a thread. Yes, you should give him space, but you also shouldn't put your life on hold.
Undertake a modified form of no contact as regards your social media accounts. Don't block or unfriend him, but unfollow him and make a pact not to look at any of his social media profiles. Furthermore, maintain radio silence and refrain from posting anything on your social media account.
Question: My girlfriend broke up with me seven days ago. I was obsessed with contacting her for the first six days. However, she told me she needed some space. Yesterday was my first day of no contact, and it was painful. My birthday is coming up in four weeks time. What advice can you give me in case she texts me to wish me happy birthday?
Answer: Firstly, continue with no contact. Your ex has already explained that she needs some space and will begin to feel emotionally suffocated, if you don't respect her request.
Also, it is best not to focus on receiving a text from her on your birthday. Instead, make plans with family and friends to keep yourself busy on that day. If your ex does contact you on your birthday, then you can acknowledge the message in the same way as you would anyone else. However, don't reply straight away. Ideally, leave it until the following day. You should be so busy that you won't have time to check your texts in any event.
Question: I had a relationship with a lady for a year. Everything was okay until three months ago when she became difficult to deal with and made excuses not to meet with me. I recently realized that she's been dating another guy behind my back. I dumped her a week ago, but she maintains that she still loves me and we should maintain contact. What do you think I should do?
Answer: You need to give yourself some space to process what has happened. Your ex is asking you to stay in touch for her benefit, not yours. She is essentially playing the 'friends' card and, in doing so, is keeping her options open. Remember, most cheaters don't regret the cheating, they just regret getting caught.
Follow the no contact rule for 30 days then assess how you feel about your ex then. I'm not advocating that you don't forgive your ex, but you do need to set boundaries and ask yourself if you deserve to be treated with more respect.
Question: My girlfriend broke up with me a few days ago, but keeps messaging me. I want to start the no contact rule. What should I do? I don't want to tell her I want to start the no contact rule because she might think I am being childish?
Answer: You don't say why your ex is messaging you, but I guess it is not to get back together.
You do not have to mention the no contact rule. If she contacts you again, just politely let her know that you would appreciate some space to gather your thoughts and move forward with your life. If she messages you again, after this, then it is reasonable for you not to reply.
Question: My girlfriend of 4 months broke up with me 3 weeks ago. I tried to do no contact, but texted her after 2 weeks saying that I hoped that she was doing well. She responded with a cold, "thanks, you too." Is there still hope? Do I have to re-start the no contact period?
Answer: Yes, you should restart no contact from the beginning. However, you need to remember that this is all about you reaching a place where you feel emotionally stronger and able to live your life without her.
Question: My boyfriend broke up with me one week ago. I think about him constantly, and wonder if he is as sad as I am. How can I stop using all my energy on him?
Answer: You can do this by following the no contact rule and putting all of your energy into yourself.
Question: How will I know if my ex still has feelings for me? He keeps saying that he still wants to be in contact with me, yet he has already moved on and is dating another woman. How will I know?
Answer: The fact that he is dating another woman should tell you everything that you need to know. Saying that he wants to stay in touch is just a way for him to keep his options open. Stop wasting your time and move on.
Question: My girlfriend dumped me by text nearly two weeks ago. I asked her if we could meet for a chat to try and sort things out. Everything had been going really well until a week before she broke up with me. Should I forget about her and try to move on?
Answer: You don't say if she responded to your request to meet up. I guess that she didn't.
Do you really think that someone who dumps you by text is worthy of your love? I certainly hope not!
As you say, forget about her and move on. It's her loss.
Question: After six weeks on the no contact rule, my ex contacted me with a link for a depression app. Should I respond to her ?
Answer: No. It seems a rather passive-aggressive way of making contact with you.
Question: Is it possible to live another life happily after a breakup?
Answer: Absolutely! It's important to focus on the positive aspects of your life and keep as busy as possible. You are now in a position to take advantage of the many opportunities that life has to offer. Set yourself 100 goals that you want to achieve. Don't hold back: let your imagination run wild! Then focus on achieving them, one at a time. You'll amaze yourself with what you are capable of achieving.
Question: Two weeks after our breakup my ex texted me to thank me for a gift I sent her. I replied and tried to enter into dialogue with her. She replied once but didn't respond to my second text. The following day, I sent her another short text. Have I messed up again?
Answer: Yes. Why would you want to send her a gift? The beauty of no contact is that you can recommence it at any time. So, start again today and remember that no contact means exactly that!
Question: I went 3 years no contact with my ex. However, we now have limited contact. I still feel the same way about him and know I still love him. I'm unsure if this is the type of contact I want with him. Do you think it's best to stay clear or have contact and remain polite?
Answer: Many people mistakenly believe that no contact simply means ignoring your ex. It doesn't. It is about rebuilding yourself and becoming emotionally stronger. While it is not uncommon to have some feelings for your ex, you clearly want more from him than he is able to offer.
Maintaining contact with him appears to be hurting you. Stay clear and move on with your life.
Question: My boyfriend cheated on me earlier this month. At first, I would call, text and message him constantly. I have now completed no contact for four days. No phone calls, messages or texts. Nothing. Do you think that the no contact rule could still work? What if he is dating the girl he cheated on me with?
Answer: No contact is about wiping the slate clean so that you can forget about your initial reaction to the breakup. However, no contact is there to help you get through the breakup as painlessly as possible. It is not a tool for punishing your ex, nor should it be used solely with the aim of getting back together.
You are only four days in. There is a long way to go. Also, don't forget that there are several elements to no contact. You need to focus on yourself.
Finally, if your ex cheated on you, why would you want him back anyway? Sure, it hurts, but have some self-respect. You deserve to be treated far better than that. It's his loss, not yours.
Question: I'm three months into my no contact rule. I forgave my ex twice and twice he hurt me. I am determined to recover from this. My question is why is he on my mind when I don't want to think about him?
Answer: As irritating as it may seem, thinking about your ex is perfectly normal. As your partner, he played a significant role in your life. When you broke up, it left a void. You are in the throes of grieving not only for him, but the life you had together, and the future you thought had. Acknowledge these thoughts and then let them go. The sooner you accept and come to terms with your breakup, the sooner you will be able to move on.
To help overcome this period of 'grief,' you must keep yourself as busy as possible. This is an essential element of no contact. If you find yourself thinking of him when you should be sleeping, download some free relaxation apps and focus on them instead. You need to identify solutions that work for you, but stick to a routine and fill up your diary with positive activities.
Question: My ex dumped me after 13 years but keeps texting every couple days to ask me if I'm okay. I have told him that I need my space and will reach out when I am ready. He says he can't stop caring about me instantly but is dating someone new. Should I ignore his texts or respond in a certain way? I just want to move forward with my life.
Answer: This is a classic case of your ex wanting to keep his options open. It also sounds as if you haven’t given him the ego boost he expected, by begging him to come back to you. So well done you!
Despite the situation, you have adopted a mature approach and explained why you don’t want any contact with him at this time. You don’t owe him any further explanation, so don’t respond to these wholly unnecessary text messages.
He is simply looking to weaken your resolve and it is vital that you don’t allow him to manipulate you any further. Re-read the article for guidance and block his phone number. It is also advisable to block him on social media sites also.
Question: My ex and I broke up last week, and I tried pleading with him today, but he says the feelings just aren’t there. Will the no contact rule work?
Answer: It depends on what you expect the no contact rule to do.
Reading between the lines, it seems that you want to get your ex back. While this is perfectly natural, it is not what no contact is about.
The no contact rule is all about you. It will work in the sense that it will help you emerge from a breakup as painlessly as possible. It's about making you emotionally stronger. By all means, start no contact, but please re-read the article to gain a better understanding.
Question: I am in the no contact period but only two days passed. My ex has already contacted me on the phone and we had a conversation that lasted for one hour. We only spoke about things in general and didn't discuss our breakup or anything related to it. Is it fine to talk when he was the one who called me?
After that, I was feeling compelled to text him and was left feeling confused as to whether to contact him or to let him contact me.
Answer: You need to think carefully about this. Unless your ex had a specific reason for calling you, there is no justification for you to spend an hour on the phone chit-chatting with him. As you have discovered, this has only served to leave you feeling extremely confused.
You need to question his motives for calling. If he had rung to say that he was extremely sorry, didn't want to break up with you and could you meet up to discuss what had happened, then fair enough. That is logical. However, he didn't do that.
My advice would be not to contact him and to refrain from any further conversations that serve no useful purpose. You are still in a vulnerable state of mind and the last thing you need is to be kept dangling on a piece of string. This only gives you false hope.
Good luck with this.
Question: My ex dumped me and said I didn’t enhance his life or make it better. I want to get back together with him. What should I do?
Answer: Firstly, you need to successfully complete at least 30 days of no contact.
If, after this period, you still feel the same way, then you should follow the steps outlined my article 'How to Contact Your Ex After the No Contact Rule': https://hubpages.com/breakups/after-no-contact-rul...
Question: I found out that my ex-boyfriend had an emotional relationship with a girl at work. When I broke up with him, he had sex with her. Knowing what I know, should I stop talking to him for good? I feel like he wants the other girl, and he hasn’t shown any interest in fixing the relationship.
Answer: Many people believe that you have to have sex to commit adultery. This is not true. As you have highlighted, being unfaithful to your partner has many disguises, and this includes forming an emotional attachment to someone else.
Even though you broke up with him, this is one occasion when you can and should implement no contact. Your gut is telling you that he wants this other girl, and he hasn't shown any interest in getting back together with you.
It's time to let him go and move on with your life.
Question: What happens if we are both doing the no-contact rule? My husband cheated and says he feels bad that he hurt me. He said he needs help and time to figure out his mind. He claims he doesn't want to lose me. However, he has not contacted me and I haven't contacted him. What if we are both following the no-contact rule? Can that harm us even more?
Answer: It is usually the injured party who adopts the no-contact rule, as a means of recovering from the breakup. You husband has admitted cheating and advised you he wants some space to figure out what he wants. This is why he has not contacted you.
You should also be using this time constructively, to consider how you feel about his infidelity. Do you truly believe that you can forgive him and, if so, will you ever be able to trust him again? You also need to consider any underlying problems in your marriage and determine if these may have led him to stray.
If you do decide to reconcile, I strongly recommend you both attend marriage counseling, to help you overcome your husband's cheating. In the meantime, use the time wisely and ask yourself if you really want him back.
Question: My boyfriend broke up with me one week ago, moved out and left the key. However, he has now messaged me to say he left a few things behind. He wants to come back when I am at home and wants to watch a movie together. What should I do?
Answer: Gather any remaining belongings of his together and put them in a box. Ideally, leave them with a mutual friend for him to collect. Alternatively, tell him that you will put them in the mail.
Question: My girlfriend and I broke up after nine years. Her family did not like me. The relationship went downhill fast, once we got engaged, eight months prior to the breakup. I was verbally abusive as I tried to push her away. I screwed up and made every breakup mistake possible, including yelling and cursing at her whole family. She was barely responding to me, so I started the no contact rule seven days ago. I've heard nothing from her yet. Do I have a chance getting her back?
Answer: No, not unless you address the issues that caused your breakup. It sounds as if your ex had a lucky escape.
You need to seek impartial professional advice and question the following: Why didn't her family like you? What changed after you became engaged? Why were you verbally abusive? Why did you push her away? Why did you blame her family and behave aggressively towards them?
On the face of it, you appear insecure and controlling. Emotional abuse is often worse than physical abuse. You need to seek professional help to determine why you behaved as you did, and also, how you can prevent the same behavior occurring in the future.
Question: Should I tell my ex about the no contact rule? So we are both aware of it?
Answer: Yes, if you are still communicating with your ex, it is sensible to let them know that you need to take some time out, to gather your thoughts. Remember, no contact is all about you and is not a means of punishing your ex.
If you are not in contact, there is no need to let them know, as it will have no immediate impact on them.
Question: I have six kids with my ex, and we had been together for twenty years. He went straight into a new relationship with another woman the day he left me. It's only been two weeks since this happened, and I can't even think about the no contact rule. I know we won't get back together, but I still need to see and call him. How can I start the no contact rule in my situation?
Answer: I'm sorry to say this, but I doubt very much that your ex started a relationship with another woman on the very day he left you. In reality, he has probably been involved with this woman for some considerable length of time. You don't walk away from a 20-year relationship and six kids at the drop of a hat. Please don't allow yourself to be in denial over this.
When children are involved, you obviously need to have some contact with your ex. This is typically referred to as a modified form of no contact. So, the only communication that occurs relates solely to the welfare of your children or any joint financial matters that you have. Nothing else.
All other conditions stay the same. Don't make excuses to contact him and certainly don't use your children as pawns. Twenty years is a long time, but focus on the new opportunities that this affords you.
Question: Two weeks before we were due to get married, my fiancé called it off following an intense fight. We love each other very much, but every time we see each other, it ends in a fight. There is a lot of hurt and resentment on both sides. He still wants to marry me but wants relationship counseling first. However, I feel that I need some space in the hope it sheds light on everything. I want to do 30 days no contact. What do I do if he calls me to go to counseling before the 30 days is up?
Answer: In fairness, your fiancé does appear to be adopting a mature and responsible approach to your relationship. He doesn't want to throw away what you have and is prepared to take steps to make it work.
Equally, you want to take some time out to think things through.
Your situation is more suited to a modified form of no-contact. If you want, you can attend the counseling sessions while maintaining no-contact outside of these times. However, your counselor may advise differently. If you feel strongly about waiting for 30 days, then you should let your fiancé know this, and ask him to make an appointment after this time.
Question: I successfully applied no contact for 20 days. He contacted me, but I didn't reply. Now 8 days have passed since he last sent me a text. I feel I'm ready to re-engage and want to talk to him. I'm in agony in case he doesn't want to get back together. Also, how do I initiate contact?
Answer: What you need to remember is that 30 days no contact is an average duration to recover from a breakup, assuming you have followed it correctly in the first place. Your question implies that you are not emotionally strong enough to re-engage with your ex. You clearly recognize the trauma that his rejection will cause you and this indicates that you are still in a vulnerable state of mind.
I would not recommend you initiate contact with him just yet. Let it run for another few weeks and reassess how you feel then. If he contacts you in the interim, and you feel strong enough to see him, then that has to be your decision. However, please consider how you will feel if he gives you the, 'let's stay friends' spiel, or alternatively, breaks the news that he is seeing someone else. While couples do reunite, don't pin all of your hopes on this happening.
Question: I believe no contact makes you bitter. All it does is bring out the worst in people, and doesn't heal at all. What are your thoughts?
Answer: Bitterness and resentment arise as a consequence of the breakup. No-contact detaches the individual from the person whose actions precipitated these toxic emotions. Its purpose is to heal and rebuild self-esteem. Time is often the greatest healer, but taking positive steps to accelerate the healing process can be extremely beneficial.
Question: I broke up with my boyfriend a few days ago. I didn't have any intention of breaking up with him, but he had been secretly seeing and texting another woman. This makes me feel insecure, and I really want him to commit to our relationship and minimize contact with these other women. I even asked him to put our photo in WhatsApp to reassure me, but he simply ignored me. What should I do? Should I implement the no-contact rule? I am totally lost.
Answer: You don't say how long you were together, but it is clear that you want to be in an exclusive relationship, whereas your ex does not. He's not ready to commit and you need to accept this. If you don't, you will continue to feel insecure and potentially worthless.
Your ex is neither ready nor willing to give you what you want. Use the no-contact rule to rebuild your self-esteem. In time, you will find someone who is worthy of your love.
Question: Can you still do no contact rule after a year of breakup, even if you have been talking in between?
Answer: Yes, no contact can be used any time you need to get over your ex.
Question: My ex-boyfriend broke up with me earlier this year. Chatting with him on Whatsapp was giving me false hope that maybe, he would want me back, so last week I told him to block me and delete my number. He did it, but now I regret my decision and feel horrible. Is calling him to unblock me a good idea?
Answer: No, is the simple answer to your question.
As you say, you maintained contact with your ex in the hope of getting back together. This is a common mistake which only serves to prolong the pain of the breakup, as you have experienced. The reason you feel horrible is because you are feeling the anguish of the breakup, all over again.
By asking him to block you, you were in effect giving him an ultimatum. You wanted to see if he would actually go through with it. Sadly, he didn't choose you. You also handed him control, by asking him to block you, instead of taking that step yourself.
One of the benefits of the no contact rule is that it stops this type of 'false hope' behavior. At least you've been honest with yourself, about why you kept in touch with your ex. Nonetheless, it is now time to forget about any chance if a reconciliation and move forward with your life.
Question: I had not had any contact with my ex for over a year. Then out of nowhere he shows up. I still love him, but he has a new girlfriend. I want so much to stay away from him and forget all about him. What can I do to make sure he stays away from me?
Answer: There's not a lot you can do to make sure he stays away from you, but YOU can take steps to stay away from him. In short, you follow the no contact rule. Often, an ex makes contact out of curiosity and not to get back together. He has a girlfriend. Focus on yourself and make every day count.
Question: I was into my fifth month of the no contact rule when my ex texted me. I got excited and texted him back, and we ended up meeting. Why does he keep texting me and how do I make him stop?
Answer: You don't say what happened when you met up, but it would appear that he didn't ask you to get back together with him.
It sounds as if he is just making sure that he can reel you in, whenever he wants. He clicked his fingers and you went running. He may have been at a loose end or in between girlfriends. If he genuinely wanted to get back with you, then he would have said.
If you want him to stop texting, then you have several options: don't reply to his texts, block his number, or change yours.
Question: I have unfollowed my ex on Facebook. Should I unfriend too?
Answer: Ideally, yes. Accept that it's over and this person no longer has a part in your life.
Question: I’m the bad one in the relationship who hurt him, but can I still do this no contact?
Answer: Yes. However, the person who instigated the breakup usually does this automatically. If you have no intention of getting back together with him, then you should leave him alone.
Question: I was following a "no contact" rule for 4 days after my breakup and on the 5th day, she contacted me. I did not reply, but after 2 days, which is today, I called and chatted. Was it a mistake?
Answer: In short, probably yes. Unless you are following a modified form of no contact, which is essential if you have children together or perhaps joint financial assets, there is absolutely no need to contact your ex.
The main issue for you is how you feel right now and whether or not the conversation gave you false hope. People reconcile all the time and no contact is not suitable for each and every breakup. Nonetheless, what you need to ask yourself is: why you chose to follow no contact and what you hoped to achieve in doing so. If you still consider that it is the right option for you, then you'll need to start again from day 1. Good luck!
Question: My ex cheated on me with another woman in our sports club. The club means a lot to me and is a big part of my life. This makes no contact tricky. What should I do?
Answer: Ideally, you should not frequent places where you know he may be. However, I appreciate that this appears to punish you for what he did.
Firstly, ask yourself how you would feel if you saw your ex or the other woman at the club. If you do not feel emotionally strong enough, then give the club a wide berth for now.
When you are ready to go back, avoid times when he is likely to be there and try and take a friend with you for moral support.
Question: After breaking up with my girlfriend, I used the no contact rule for one month. My ex recently joined Facebook and commented on a photo my friend posted of me. She wrote,"never mind." Should I be the first one to make contact now?
Answer: You shouldn't make contact on the basis of that comment alone. You are reading too much into it. Also, your question is a little ambiguous as it is unclear which one of you initiated the breakup. If it was your ex, then ideally, you should let her contact you. In the meantime, stop focusing on social media posts and start enjoying your life!
Question: I had four dates with a nice man I met online. On the fourth date, he said he wanted us to go our separate ways. I said ok. However, he keeps looking at my online dating profile. Why is he doing this?
Answer: He may not be doing this deliberately. Perhaps he has a tab on his web browser open, with your profile on it and it registers that he has been looking at your profile, when he hasn't. Maybe he's checking to see if you're still online and looking for another date. Who knows? Either way, it doesn't matter. He was mature enough to tell you that he didn't see a future for the two of you, now you have to be mature and let him go. If it bothers you that he is looking at your profile, then use the dating site's security options to block him.
Question: I have two kids who are staying with my wife. Can I contact her about the kids? Should I call her or message her or just use the kids as a proxy? The children are aged 8 and 4.
Answer: In these circumstances, which are quite common, you cannot avoid contacting your ex about the welfare of your children. Therefore, you need to adopt a modified form of no contact. This means only contacting your ex to arrange access to see the children or to discuss any matters regarding their welfare. Don't use excuses to make contact just so you can speak to her or check up on her.
Your children are far too young to act as go-betweens. In any event, it is never a good idea to put them in this position. It places undue pressure on them at a time when they are trying to come to terms with the breakup of their family.
Question: I'm on my first day of the no contact rule. I want to get back with my ex, and so I am trying to revive her feelings for me. What should I do if she calls me?
Answer: As a general rule, no contact should only be used as a last resort, and shouldn't be put into effect after every single disagreement. It is perfectly natural for couples to argue and to work their way through their problems. No contact should never be used to punish your ex, and it is unclear if this is why you have chosen to implement it.
Remember, no contact is all about helping you heal during the breakup process, after dialogue has ceased.
Without knowing more details about your breakup, it is difficult to advise you. You are only on your first day, yet are anticipating receiving a phone call from your ex. This suggests that you don't think the breakup is permanent.
If you are maintaining no contact for the right reasons, then my advice would be to stick to this. However, if you feel that you and your ex can talk through your differences, then this is usually the best course of action to take.
Question: He left me two weeks ago, and our wedding is in May. We have known each other for 40 years, and have lots to sort out. How can I go 30 days no-contact with the wedding date so close?
Answer: In short, you can't. If he's left you so close to your wedding day, then it sounds as if he is having second thoughts about getting married and may want to call everything off. However, it's unclear if you are assuming that the wedding will go ahead as planned.
You need answers. If the wedding is to be cancelled, then you will need to commence the cancellation process as soon as possible. Give yourself a week or so, to come to terms with this, then you will need to reach out to him to agree what needs to be done and who is going to do it.
Question: I have had no contact with my ex-girlfriend for seven weeks. She rang last night to have a go because her friend is not speaking to her. Is it an excuse?
Answer: Quite possibly. I'm uncertain as to why she holds you responsible for her friend's actions. Nonetheless, people make up all kinds of excuses as a reason for contacting their ex.
Question: My ex boyfriend and I work in the same office and I am in the no contact period. I will have to see him every day. I am avoiding him completely. Is there anything in particular that I should keep in mind?
Answer: Yes. You must maintain a professional attitude at all times. The last thing you need is to lose your job. Ideally, don't discuss him, or what he did, with any of your work colleagues and never, ever, discuss personal matters during working hours. Focus solely on your work.
This may also be the impetus you need to look for a new job or undertake training, with career advancement in mind.
Question: Following my divorce 1 year ago, 3 months later I tried the no contact with my ex-wife, which did not last long. I still help her with day-to-day stuff and she texts me all the time, sending me pictures of our daughter or asking me to come over to help her with stuff around the house. Should I stop doing that? She says she doesn’t want to reconcile but she wants to be good friends with me.
Answer: You have a daughter together and it is vital that you maintain a dialogue with your ex. You should also assume your share of the childcare responsibilities. It's a positive sign that your ex is sending you photos of your daughter so that you are still actively involved in her life.
What I'm a little concerned about, is you "doing stuff around the house." If it's for your daughter's benefit, then all well and good. If it's not, then you need to consider saying no. Your ex cannot cherry-pick which parts of you she wants and doesn't want. Keep yourself busy and don't rush around there at a drop of a hat unless, of course, your daughter's welfare is at stake.
Question: My boyfriend of 1.5 years broke up with me recently. He wants to do no contact. Unfortunately, we are co-captains of a co-ed team together, and we play all of the same sports. We’ll be seeing each other up to four times every week, and traveling to camps and tournaments together several times a year.
How is this even going to work? What should I do?
Answer: Firstly, I'm surprised that your ex says he wants to maintain no contact. Typically, it is for the person who has been dumped. What exactly does he hope to gain from it? Unless you have been stalking him, which doesn't seem likely, then it's an unusual step to take.
You are in an awkward situation, and you shouldn't feel pressurised into giving up your sporting activities. You will need to carry out a modified form of no contact. This is usually what people do if they work together, have children, or have joint financial assets.
Keep contact to an absolute minimum and only speak to him if it is absolutely necessary. Same rules apply. Don't stalk him and don't make excuses to speak to him. It's going to be difficult as you will see him on a regular basis. Unless one of you finds a different team, that's all you can realistically do.
Question: Me and my wife broke up last year although we kept in touch. She says she wants to fix things but something does not add up. I want to introduce the no contact rule. Should I tell her or just cut links between us?
Answer: This is a tricky one as you do not say if you have children together or any joint financial assets or liabilities. If you do, then you will need to adopt a modified form of no contact.
As you have been keeping in touch with your ex, it would only be polite to let her know that you want a clean break for a short while. Explain that this is something that you need to do for yourself and is not intended as a punishment for her.
Question: My ex-boyfriend and I go to the same school, and I'm trying the no-contact rule with him. Will it work? Will he come back?
Answer: You don't say how old you are, but if you are still in school, then you really shouldn't be dwelling on this. Dating is a process of trial and error. It helps you discover which character traits you like and which you don't. You will have dates with other boys and also experience more breakups. It is all part of life.
With regards no contact, it will be difficult as you are likely to see him in school. You should also not be doing this because you think it will get him back. No contact is all about helping you get through the breakup.
If you are hurting, minimise contact with your ex and hold your head up high if he walks past. Focus on your studies, your family, and friends. Don't dwell on the past. You have a great future ahead of you.
Question: My ex-girlfriend has a new partner. We broke up a month ago. Should I implement the no-contact rule?
Answer: Yes, if you are still struggling to come to terms with your breakup. Your ex has moved on and you need to find a way to do the same.
© 2011 C L Grant