You’re probably familiar with the expressions "just walk away to get them back".
or "cut her off and she will miss you" and, "get your ex back with the no contact rule".
This is something almost all relationship and breakup coaches are preaching.
But what does it mean?
For how long should you go no contact?
And most importantly, does it actually really work?!
This guide will answer all of the above, so let's get right to it.
- Chapter 1: Going no contact: The fundamentals
- 4 Reasons Why You Should Initiate The No Contact Rule
- Reason #1: Damage control
- Reason #2: Heal & Recover
- Reason #3: Restore Power Balance
- Reason #4: Invest In Yourself
- Chapter 2: Does The No Contact Rule Work?
- Why Do Men Come Back After No Contact?
- Are There Any Negative Consequences With The No Contact Rule?
- Chapter 3: How Long Should You Go No Contact?
- 30 Day No Contact
- 60 Days No Contact
- 3 Months No Contact
- Chapter 3: Breaking The No Contact Rule
- How To Prevent Yourself From Breaking The No Contact Rule
- Can You Jump Back After Breaking It?
- Now It's Your Turn!
Chapter 1: Going no contact: The fundamentals
The no contact rule can be referred to as the NC rule and some even call it radio silence, but it all means the same thing.
The no contact rule means that you mentally, emotionally and physically distance yourself from your ex to either help you move on or increase your chances of getting them back.
You might be asking yourself:
”Why would I want to distance myself from someone that I want to be closer to?”
All of your questions in due time, but let's first take a look at the fundamentals so that you get the right idea of what ‘the no contact rule’ actually means.
Going no contact obviously means no calls, no texts, no emails or handwritten letters.
It also means that you keep yourself from staying in touch through less obvious means such as:
- Tagging on Facebook or other social media platforms
- Asking around about your ex amongst common friends
- Visiting places your ex is likely to be, in hopes of you "accidentally" bumping into him
But, is a happy birthday text ok?
No! You shouldn’t send any happy birthday texts or ask them if they are ok. They should not hear a single peep from you!
When the no contact rule is done correctly, your ex will feel as though you have completely disappeared, and when he or she thinks about you, they have no clue about what you're thinking, feeling or doing.
4 Reasons Why You Should Initiate The No Contact Rule
You now have developed a better idea of what it means.
If you're really serious trying this out, with the goal to either move on or get your ex back, be rest assured.
You are in the right place.
Learning the no contact rule in depth will be one of the most valuable actions you can take towards either moving on or getting your ex back.
Now, let's dive into the details so you can navigate towards success!
To develop the right mental map that is going to succeed, you need to first be clear on the reasons why you are implementing it in the first place.
If you go down this road only caring about getting your ex back, then you risk failing and becoming even more hurt then before.
More than 90% of people trying the NC rule end up breaking it.
This is usually because they only care about one thing:
Getting their ex back.
This is not enough, this is why you have to have other reasons before you start your NC period.
Below I'm going to explain four good reasons as to why you should implement the no contact rule.
Reason #1: Damage control
Breakups are painful, emotional draining and just a bad experience for everyone involved.
Because breakups are so hard on us, we tend to lose face in the heat of the moment by acting out in ways that we will probably regret later on.
We say things we don’t mean, scream, and some even throw things...
It's never good to let your emotional side completely take over when feeling angry or hurt.
But I know, it's definitely easier said than done. When your feelings are strong, it's easy to get carried away.
And this is where the no contact rule comes to the rescue! It minimizes damage caused by the breakup.
"Damage control is action that is taken to make the bad results of something as small as possible, when it is impossible to avoid bad results completely."
You may not know this...and even if you do, it's worth a reminder....
Men hate drama more than anything! And a break up is precisely that, dramatic.
The reason men have a harder time dealing with drama compared to women could be due to the fact that men have a smaller deep limbic system than women do.
“What the heck is that?” you might be asking.
The limbic system is a part of our brain which is (among other things) responsible for how well we cope with our emotions.
That is why we sometimes hear that men (generally) are bad at expressing their emotions compared to women.
I wouldn't say men are bad though, I think slow is a better word for it as it often comes down to the fact that men need more time to process their emotions.
Hence why the no contact rule is perfect for preventing further damage to the relationship.
It keeps the two of you away from having those unnecessary emotionally draining fights after the break up that only pushes him further away.
Reason #2: Heal & Recover
As I have already stated, breakups bring a lot of pain, especially if you drag things out, making it a slow process with a lot of back and forth fighting.
It would be silly to think that this pain wouldn't have consequences beyond the immediate experience.
There in fact 7 stages of grief we need to go through before we have fully moved past a breakup.
Fortunately, silence during the healing process has some great benefits for you, in terms of getting your ex back.
Here is some valuable input - so pay attention.
Let's look closer at the two main sources of pain caused by breakups:
- Pain caused by losing someone we love
- Pain caused by emotional stress and turbulence from arguing about the breakup itself
Just before a breakup occurs, it's usually because one or both parties have the idea that the relationship is no longer worth maintaining for one or more reasons.
In order to communicate this, the reasons for breaking up needs to be brought up.
This is where things can go bad!
It's not often that you hear about someone break up with their partner because of something positive - like their insatiable love for treating their loved one to breakfast in bed! It just doesn’t work that way. The reasons for wanting to break up are always negative.
Negative break-up cycle example
When someone brings up their reasons for wanting to break up, it's often - in one way or another, connected to or about the other person.
Even if they claim it's nothing personal - and that is actually true - it's very hard to believe in the cliche, "It's not you, it's me".
This is because deep down most of us want to believe that when the love is strong enough, it can push through anything.
With that, let's do some role playing!
Let’s say that I am breaking up with you! (Sorry… but it's easier to explain the impact of the negative break up cycle in this way - trust me it's not you, it's for the sake of learning. 😉
So, I come to you and bring up my reasons for wanting to break up. You will get hurt because you love me and you don't want us to break up.
This pain can cause you to feel emotionally betrayed or attacked by me which translates to you feeling angry with me which will be our kickstarter and fuel for the upcoming breakup arguments.
These nasty arguments will be about why I am breaking up with you. So the more we argue, the more reasons will be brought up and the stronger they will be reinforced. You will become more hurt, and the fighting will just continue and continue.
Watch out for this!
The longer you stay in the negative breakup cycle, the harder will it be to get back with your ex.
So the second reason why you should go into no contact is so that you can start the healing process from the pain caused by the breakup itself - for you and your ex’s sake.
If you end the relationship with a lot of arguing he will associate you with drama and pain, so this is a time you want to lay low. It’s like the scenario of asking someone for a favor when they’re full of anger...it won’t work because it’s bad timing!
Let the both of you recover and take a breather from the negative breakup energy, you have nothing to lose at this stage, you can only gain.
Reason #3: Restore Power Balance
Power in the sense of influence and control is apart of every relationship.
A relationship that functions well often has a healthy power balance and vice versa. A bad relationship, however, is often unbalanced in this area.
So, what happens to the power dynamic during a breakup?
Good question, and an important one too! Because if you’re reading this, you might be a victim of an off-balanced power dynamic with your ex.
Let me explain what I view as an off-balanced power dynamic.
The person that initiates and/or brings up the breakup talk automatically gets the power position if the other person in the relationship doesn't fully agree on breaking up.
Even if the other person somewhat agrees on that ‘things are not working out,’ it's not the same way as concluding that they also think that breaking up is a good idea.
So, an off-balanced power dynamic only affects you if he was the main force behind initiating and/or making the breakup a reality.
Why does this matter?
Having an off-balanced power dynamic can reduce his attraction and excitement towards you.
Let me break it down for you.
When someone has power in a relationship it means that they have the ability or capacity to influence the other person in a particular way.
Remember! With power comes respect, because we respect what has a significant influence on our life (which could be a partner).
Having respect towards someone can be attractive, because it adds value to them (note that I'm talking about positive respect here, not respect based on fear).
So when there is a healthy power balance in a relationship, both partners feel an equal ability to make an influence on the other person.
Breaking up with someone on the other hand, is kind of like taking away their ability to influence them.
It's like saying "I don't care about your influence anymore,”
This is only in extreme cases, it may not be your case.
The second factor as to why this is bad is because feeling fully in-control can remove excitement for the person in the power position.
Let's say that your ex broke up with you and you are, more or less, begging him to take you back.
The begging part lets him know he's in full control of the destiny of the relationship, which can take away the feeling of excitement you get when you have to work towards something you want and then finally get it.
It's not that fun to feel fully in control in a relationship, not knowing the destiny adds mystery and excitement.
This is the third reason why the no contact works so well, it adds mystery and restores the power/control balance.
Reason #4: Invest In Yourself
I love this reason. It's the golden nugget.
In Sweden, we have a very popular chocolate box that people give as presents during Christmas and birthdays. It's the go-to when you run out of creativity.
Everybody likes it as well, because in this box you get an assortment of chocolates so there is something for everyone.
But there is this one piece that really stands out and everybody likes it the most. It has a white chocolate layer on the outside with a creamy nougat filling on the inside.
I know right, mhhhm!
Reason 4 is that piece of chocolate!
I could probably write an entire book on why investing in yourself is the best investment you can make for getting your ex back.
But we don't have time for that today, do we!
So I will just say this:
You Were My Cup Of Tea
But I Drink Champagne Now.
I love this line.
I see that as a metaphor for how personal growth can make you outgrow or win back someone by investing in yourself.
Let us picture a scenario together!
What used to be a couple accidentally bump into each other in the street one sunny day, and they hadn't seen each other for a very long time.
The girl had never been so deeply in love with anyone before she met him. But after four years, the guy broke it off. His argument was that he was looking for something different in his life and she was not it.
Despite how things ended she is happy to see him, so she calls him by his name.
- Hey Tim! How are you?
- Rebecka? I almost did not recognize you.. Wow you look.. Different, in a good way!
- Rebecka: Oh thanks, guess it's been quite a long time since you saw me last, I’ve changed a bit.
- Tim: Well whatever you’ve done, I like it! You look great!
- Rebecka: Thanks, it's nice to see you. It's been like what, three years? What are you up to nowadays? Are you still living at your place?
- Tim: Yeah, where did the time go! You know me, I love that place, I still have my job over at Jack's, the usual stuff I guess. What about you? How are you and what are you up to! I haven’t seen you around.
- Rebecka: Actually, I’m great! I decided to follow my dream to become an architect after we broke up so I studied abroad, finished my last exam this month, and next week I'm starting work at a new job. I'm just here visiting my parents for the weekend.
- Tim: Wow, that's amazing! Remember you always talked about that when we were together. But I did not think it would be something you actually would do! Guess you’ve been busy then!
- Rebecka: Yep, I'm very happy I took the leap! I think that after our breakup I realized that I'd been putting some things off that were important to me. So, I guess something good came out of the way things ended at least.
- Tim: Hey listen, I'm really sorry for the wa...
- Rebecka: Relax Tim! I'm only joking with you. I don't hold anything against you, breakups are never easy.
- Tim: Oh okay...You’re right! Hey listen, I have nothing planned right now, would you wanna grab a cup of coffee or tea somewhere and do some catching up?
- Rebecka: Ehm.. I can't really, we're having some family over tonight and I leave tomorrow morning so need to head back home. But it was nice seeing you!
- Tim: Alright, I understand. It was really nice seeing you again, I hope we can catch up some other time. Take care!
- Rebecka: Same to you Tim, take care!
Later that week Rebecka gets a text from Tim who says that she was the best thing that ever happens to him and that he was a fool for letting her go.
At this point, she does not have feelings for him anymore in the way that she used to - not because he has changed, but because she has! Her life is richer now than when she was with him.
She worked on herself, she put in the effort to make it richer and better.
And because she had grown, her taste in men also changed. Tim could feel that so he could not stop thinking about her...
Read more about how YOU can change your life for the better in my post: How to get over a breakup by improving your life.
Chapter 2: Does The No Contact Rule Work?
The no contact rule actually works, it's no hokus pokus!
The reason why the no contact rule has become so famous is that it's the most effective method you can use to get an ex back.
So the no contact rule, therefore, works as the foundation in terms of getting back with your ex after being dumped.
Many women ask: “Will he miss me if I don't contact him?”
I want to answer that by saying he won't have a reason to miss you if you stay in contact with him.
If you wan't to learn more about how to make a guy miss you check out my guide on how to make him miss you.
Why Do Men Come Back After No Contact?
So, you now know that the no contact rule works, but what is it that really makes the no contact rule work so well?
What's the psychological secret that takes effect when applying the no contact rule after a breakup?
Well, as with most things that lead to success in life, it's not only one thing but instead many things combined that leads to a successful outcome.
If I were to name the main reason as to why men come back after no contact is because you give him space to miss you.
But do note that it's not only the silence that makes a man miss you, it's just the foundation for him to start missing you.
In chapter 1 we covered the 4 reasons why you should implement the no contact rule. And here are some reasons as to why it work.
Are There Any Negative Consequences With The No Contact Rule?
There is a quote by Warren Buffert that goes like this: "If you put a police car on anyone's tail for 500 miles, they are gonna get a ticket."
What he means is - if you look hard enough, you will always find a flaw.
So no matter what, there will always be a negative consequence if you look hard enough, with everything.
But, if you’d like to know whether there are more negative consequences than positive when it comes to the no contact rule, I would answer, “Absolutely not!”
The list of positive consequences far outweigh the negatives. But what are the negative consequences?
What if he starts dating someone else during the NC?
Sure there is a risk that this might happen, I won't deny that!
But what's important to remember when we question the NC rule is: what is the alternative?
It's sure not going to work if you nag your way back into a relationship.
That might just make you come off as crazy.
And even if you do make it work, what kind of guy takes a girl back because he is tired of her nagging anyway?
You want him to take initiative, that's why you can't be the driving force behind it.
Does no contact work if your ex is seeing someone else?
Yes, to some extent.
The last thing you want to do is become the ‘annoying ex’ that he talks about with his new fling.
What's both good and bad for you is the fact that every couple has struggles and hard times.
And it's in those hard times that you want him to start thinking of you. in order for him to start missing you he needs to feel that he has lost you somewhat.
Will he forget you if you go no contact?
To some people, going no contact comes across as if you want them to forget you.
Let me reassure you.
If there ever was something there between you worth fighting for, it’s close to impossible for him to forget about you. Our emotional experiences are not that easily forgotten, so if he felt strong feelings for you when you were together, he will not forget you.
Chapter 3: How Long Should You Go No Contact?
When you have decided to give the NC rule a try, you need to make the decision on for how long. If you want to use the no contact rule to move on, read more about how long it takes to get over someone.
Does it matter how long you go NC?
Depending on your situation you might have to go longer than 30 days to even have the slightest chance of getting him back.
In order to help you find out how long your unique situation needs, I'm going to cover the 3 most commons time frames in this article.
I have created a quiz (found below) designed to help you find out what no contact period is going to work best for your situation.
30 Day No Contact
As you can see, 30 days is the minimum amount.
Now, some of you might get filled with an uneasy feeling, most likely you wish that it were more like 3 days, 5 days, or up to 3 weeks max.
But listen carefully, because I want you to take this to heart.
The no contact rule is not a quick fix and that's why it works.
It's not the "eat chocolate get slim" kind of propaganda where one never really sees results.
If you want results, be prepared to go the distance! Don't worry about the time it takes, instead - worry about your effort and determination.
30 days applies to those who feel that their breakup was fairly OK and civil.
- There was not a lot of fighting or arguing during the breakup
- You did not stay in the Negative Breakup Cycle for more than 1-3 days. (mentioned in chapter 1).
60 Days No Contact
60 days of no contact is quite a leap from 30, it's double!
This means that you have more time on your hands to make a stronger impact that will help you in getting back your ex.
3 Months No Contact
And now, for the longest one! This is my favorite, and let me tell you why.
As I mentioned before in Chapter 1, reason 4 (invest in yourself), I think that investing in one’s self is the most brilliant way you can go about getting your ex back.
This is because you will go beyond wanting to go back to the way things were - you will want things to be better than it was before!
With that, you will start to feel:
- More fulfilled
- More self love
- More excitement about your life
- More options and opportunities
This might be a hard pill to swallow, but this article is not just about making you feel good while reading these words.
My ambition for you is higher than that, and you should aim higher too.
This is going to be hard on you because going through change is hard!
But you simply can't stay where you are and improve at the same time.
This is not supposed to make you feel bad, knowing this will give you the right mindset that will help you stay motivated to make a positive change in your life - something you are aiming for when going for 3 months of no contact.
Chapter 3: Breaking The No Contact Rule
This part is dedicated to those who have tried the no contact rule but have found themselves not being able to resist temptation.
Research confirms that the number of people who give in without completing the full no contact rule time frame is estimated to be over 90%.
Why is that number so high and where do things go wrong?
This is a hard one to answer, but this is my take on it:
When we're dealing with strong emotions, such love and loneliness, it's hard to stay rational.
Our emotions take over and it becomes hard to think about the situation from a logical standpoint, so we lose the connection to the reasons mentioned in chapter 1.
How To Prevent Yourself From Breaking The No Contact Rule
The best way to keep yourself from falling off track with the no contact rule is to make sure that you really understand why it's the best decision to make.
It's when you start doubting your decision, that you start to lose motivation.
So in order to really understand why the no contact rule works, one should take a moment to explain the no contact rule to a friend.
The best way to learn something is by teaching it to someone else.
Can You Jump Back After Breaking It?
Absolutely! If you tried the no contact rule for 10 days but failed, you can always get back on the horse.
The only challenge now will be that you might have to do it for a little longer than you would have had to otherwise.
This is because the other person is now used to you becoming distant for a while but in the end, reaching out. So, the person gets used to this behavior and in order to make an impact, you now have to extend the time frame.
Now It's Your Turn!
Now I’d like to hear from you:
What do you think of the no contact rule?
Have you tried it before and how did it go?
Ask any question you might have about the no contact rule or, maybe you have experience that could be valuable to others.
Either way, leave a comment below.