What Is the ‘No Contact Rule’ and Does It Really Work?

The European Journal » What Is the ‘No Contact Rule’ and Does It Really Work?

You don’t need me to tell you that break-up’s suck. Whether you’re the person being dumped or the person doing the dumping it’s never easy. However, it is always a little easier to be the one that leaves rather than the one who wants to stay.

Being left, when you wanted to work it out, is a heartbreak like no other. You dreamt of a life together, a family perhaps, moving to the country together, and that’s been ripped away from you.

So I get that you may want to scream into your pillow and ugly cry whilst watching the notebook with a big tub of ice-cream, however, there are a few things you can do to protect yourself and your heart from further pain. One thing that many people turn to is the ‘no contact rule.’ 

What is the ‘no contact rule?’

Simply put, the ‘no contact rule’ means you cut all contact from your ex after your breakup. But how do you implement ‘no contact’ with your ex? Well, not only do you cut communication, but this also means that you unfollow them on social media too.

You need to delete their handle and resist that urge to check on them, especially after a few wines whilst listening to Celine Dion on repeat. This extends to their family too. So, you might want to delete their social media too. If you can’t bring yourself to delete their number in your phone, save them as something offputting to help you fight that urge.

By having no contact with your ex this will give you the much needed time to focus on your healing and do some self-care. You need to make sure you focus on your recovery during this phase rather than obsessing over trying to make your ex miss you.

Several outcomes will come from this approach to the break-up. 

  1. Your heart will heal, you will grow and develop. You will decide that you’re over your ex and you’re happier without them.
  2. Your ex will miss you, be confused at the lack of contact and want you back. 

Whichever path you choose, after following the ‘no contact rule’, you’ll be in a much better headspace to make an informed decision. 

On a personal level, I’ve been the girl who messages at 4 am, telling them I miss them, the one posting things on social media deliberately trying to get their attention – and it’s never worked…not once. I’ve also practised the ‘no contact rule’, and it worked. After 4 years together, I cut ties with my ex. No calling, no messaging, deleted all social media and his family and focused on me.

I threw myself into work learnt some new skills and focused on my friendships. After a month, my ex would continuously contact me to try and win me back. But, at that point, I had closure and was ready to move on to a new chapter in my life. But you may find that you are now in a place where your ex would add value to your life again.

Using the ‘no contact rule’ to move on permanently

You may already know that you don’t ever want to get back together. Perhaps if they’ve cheated on you, or if you know the relationship is toxic. The ‘no contact rule’ is perfect for this. Because although you may be angry at them, it doesn’t make it any less difficult to move on.

Especially as time progresses and you start to romanticise the better times. It’s important to stay strong when cutting contact with an ex. You never know, once you get the closure you desire, you may even become friends after. 

Using the ‘no contact rule’ to get them back 

However, many people turn to the ‘no contact rule’ as a way to get their partner back. And there is a strategy and psychology behind it. If you’re in this situation, you are probably wondering ‘does no contact work?’ Well, it’s been tried and tested with great success, so, we are going to explore how you can get your partner back. 

The 5 stages your partner will go through during the no contact phase  

When you’re going through the process of no contact with your ex, you should be focusing on yourself and your healing. But you should also know the stages that your partner will go through. The ‘no contact’ after breakup psychology can be segmented into 5 stages. 

As they are the ones that initiated the break-up, they will likely feel a huge sense of relief. They had probably been toying with the decision for a while and a weight has been lifted by finally getting it over and done with. And without any contact from you, they can get some peace to think about it, with no onslaught of questions and guilt-inducing begging. 

After a couple of weeks of silence. They will start to get confused. They will expect you to have reached out, to try and get back together and to keep communication open. 

This may eventually turn into obsessive thinking. They will be so confused as to why you haven’t contacted them. It will get to a point where their thoughts will be completely occupied by you.

At this point, they will either try and reach out to you or will try and grab your attention via social media posts. It is important not to reply to them at this stage. 

There’s a good chance that your partner will then be hit by grief. This is because at the beginning they felt like they were in control, and now they are not, so it hits them hard. They will start to believe that their ex is gone for good. 

At this point, they will be looking for reconciliation and will do everything to get in contact with you. It is now up to you whether or not you want that. If you do, then, you may be stronger than ever. Or perhaps you’ve healed and decided you’re better off apart. They will now need to go through the stages of no-contact to get to that level. 

There are many things that people will do when they are experiencing no contact from their ex. Whilst at first they may pretend it doesn’t bother them, they will eventually start to get curious and confused. They’ll start looking you up to try and make sense of why you’re not contacting them.

They may even get into a rebound relationship just to prove to you and themselves that they don’t care. You’ll see signs that ‘no contact’ is working when they start to reach out to you to try and rekindle things. 

How long should you do the ‘no contact rule’? 

There is no real answer here. It could take weeks or even months for you to receive that first text after the ‘no contact rule.’ You just have to do it until you feel healed and at peace with yourself. Then you’ll be in the right space mentally, to deal with your ex when they come knocking on your door again. 

One of the main takeaways is that you need to do this for yourself. If you and your ex end up getting back together and that’s what you want, then that’s great. But you have to use this time to work on yourself.

The process is going to be tough, you’ll go through every stage of anger, denial, bargaining, depression and eventually acceptance. Whilst you’re going through this, you must ensure that your happiness and wellness is your focus.