5 Signs The No-Contact Rule Is Working

5 signs the no contact rule is working
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The only thing worse than the heart-wrenching, mind-numbing, all-consuming pain of a breakup is the confusion and toxicity of an on-again, off-again relationship. If you don’t want to spend the next couple of years in the “where are we at?” dilemma, the no-contact rule is your best bet.

Snapping the chord is the only way to recover from heartbreak. It also gives your mind the chance to recalibrate and adjust to a life without your ex. The no contact rule forces you to do just that, and the new “normal” you establish in your life eventually bears fruit when you realize you’re not pining for your ex, at least not as much as you used to.

Of course, the only thing you’re going to want in the beginning is to pick up your ex’s call and spend hours talking to them, but once you get to the place where that’s not on the top of your to-do list, things start getting a lot better. But before we examine the 5 signs the no-contact rule is working, let’s delve deeper into the concept, its different stages, and its effectiveness.

What Is The No-Contact Rule?

The no-contact rule means snapping all contact with an ex following a breakup. This means you don’t call, text or stalk them on social media, but also involves cutting all ties with their family and friends. And no, you can’t contact them even if you just want to reinstate the no-contact rule.

It is simply a coping mechanism that helps you process the hurt you’re experiencing after a breakup.

The idea is to divert your attention from your ex and focus it on healing and self-improvement. More often than not, people tend to overlook the self-care bit of the no-contact rule and start obsessing with making their ex miss them. Remember that defeats the whole purpose of this exercise.

You must use this as an opportunity to grieve the loss of your relationship, get your mind in the right space and think about the future. The no-contact rule can give you the time and space you need to figure out who you’re as an individual and what you want from your life.

Even if you decide to get back together with your ex, that decision will be an informed one. Rather than a desperate move to fight off your loneliness, you will know the kind of impact not having contact with your ex has on your life. You will know whether you can move on or you realize the relationship is worth saving. That’s why it’s imperative to follow the no-contact rule timeline religiously, without allowing yourself to fall off the wagon of self-control.

Related Reading: The 7 Components Of Male Psychology During No-Contact Rule – Backed By An Expert

How long does the no-contact rule take to work?

Effective as it may be, following the no-contact rule timeline isn’t easy. When you’re lying in bed wearing your ex’s sweatshirt and staining your pillow with tears, it’s only natural to wonder how long does the no-contact rule take to work? Know that there is no set no-contact rule timeline.

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It may take you a month or two before you’re ready to establish contact with an ex without being overwhelmed by emotional baggage. Or you may decide to get back together with them after a couple of months. Perhaps, the period of no contact will make you realize that you’re better off without their presence in your life. In that case, you may decide to cut them out for good.

Before you start hunting for the 5 signs the no contact rule is working, you need to have a better understanding of how your timeline is going to unfold. Let’s take a look at the stages of no contact so you can have an idea of what’s in store for you, regardless of if you’re the dumper or the dumpee.

Stages of the no-contact rule

The no-contact rule is typically adopted by the one whom the break-up hits harder—which, in most cases, is the person who has been dumped. That said, it affects both the dumper and the dumpee. In different ways though. Let’s look at the stages of no contact rule from both perspectives, to understand how:

stages of no-contact rule
The stages of no-contact rule may include withdrawal symptoms

The stages of no contact for the dumpee:

If you are the one who has been dumped, you’re probably going to be the one who has pulled the plug on all communication and hit the “block” button on all platforms. It may have taken you your own sweet time to do so as well, but once you’ve taken that brave first step, this is how you will respond during the no-contact phase:

Stage 1 – Withdrawal: During the first few days of cutting all contact with your ex after a breakup, you will experience classic withdrawal symptoms. These can range from feeling low and dejected to experiencing mood swings and irritability, as well as panic and poor sleep.

Since this is one of the first no-contact rule stages, there is a strong denial about your partner dumping you, and you cannot begin to fathom not having them in your life. At this point, the rage or the disbelief may be enough motivation for you to cut off all contact with this person, even if it’s just to “teach them a lesson.”

However, make sure you understand that the power of no-contact rule does not lie in revenge, it’s best used as a means for healing through introspection. During this period, it’s important to keep in mind that you mustn’t let your emotions get the better of you.

Stage 2 – Dejection and Improvement: In the second stage of the no-contact rule, you will hit your lowest low before seeing signs of improvement. The sadness and despair that you have been feeling since the break-up will become all-consuming. Once the denial is subtly replaced with an overwhelming sense of grief, the psychology of no contact rule may start to seem absurd to you.

You might start to believe that the only way to heal is through continued conversation with your ex, even if you know deep down that that’s a bad idea. Depression after a breakup is something many people struggle with during this period. You may find it difficult to cope with this new reality you’ve carved for yourself since your ex is no longer a part of it.

It’s vital to resist the temptation to reach out to your ex at this stage. If they contact you, do not respond during the no-contact phase. Though it may seem like things aren’t going to get better, this is the time when your continued perseverance is going to bear fruit shortly. Relapse is the only time when no contact does not work.

It is natural to think and introspect on your life choices when you hit rock bottom. That’s where the process of improvement will take root. You will begin to see patterns of bad decisions or toxic choices that have held you back over the years. As a result, you will be better equipped to effect change in your life.

Stage 3 – Recovery: In the third and final stage of the no-contact rule, you will see some real signs of recovery and be able to think about yourself again. If throughout this journey, you have been wondering when does no contact start working, this is when your efforts will pay off.

You will be ready to venture out again, pursue new hobbies, make new contacts. The biggest difference that you might experience is that your mind won’t be constantly populated with thoughts of your relationship or your ex, you’re now capable of spending a considerable amount of time with yourself before you start thinking about what once was.

That’s not to say, however, that it’s going to work like magic. Of course, there will be days when it may be particularly harder to not think about your ex. But overall, you’ll have made progress to the point where you can focus on yourself again. Once you’ve recovered, you will be ready to start dating again. At this point, you can start focusing on the 5 signs the no-contact rule is working.

The stages of no contact for the dumper:

Most believe that the person who calls off the relationship doesn’t suffer since they decided to call it quits. However, just because they were the ones to pull the plug doesn’t mean they feel grief over what they’ve lost. They too have let go of a way of life they grew accustomed to.

The dumper has a different grief cycle during this phase since they’re at the receiving end of no-contact. The dumper goes through the following stages of no contact:

Stage 1 – Relief: Even if someone has emotionally checked out of a relationship, dumping a partner is always hard. That’s why when the no-contact rule is brought into effect, the dumper experiences a sense of relief. It gives them the perfect escape from dealing with difficult emotions and questions.

At least in the early stages, they may revel in the newfound freedom they have and may focus on moving on from the breakup at their own pace. The dumper will also probably feel a bit of guilt about having hurt their ex to the point where they choose to not be in contact with them at all.

Related Reading: 8 Things To Do When An Ex Contacts You Years Later

Stage 2 – Curiosity: After about a couple of weeks, the radio silence from the other end will stir up feelings of curiosity. This is the no-contact rule stage where the dumper will wonder why their ex hasn’t contacted them, what they have been up to and why haven’t they made efforts to get back together.

During this period, the dumper may be able to dismiss the curiosity on some days and appear unbothered. However, the longer this goes on, the more the curiosity within them is bound to grow. Especially when someone unaware of the breakup asks the dumper, “How’s your partner? When that happens, they’re going to spend a considerable amount of time pondering over the same question.

Stage 3 – Obsessive preoccupation: At the time when the dumpee is either in the phase of self-love or recovery, the dumper will become obsessively preoccupied with their ex. The question of “why their ex hasn’t contacted them?” begins to occupy their mind space, almost hauntingly.

They will either try to initiate contact on the pretext of checking in or try to start things up again. Or even use a rebound relationship to grab the ex’s attention through incessant social media posts. The longer this period goes on, the worse their attempts at communication are going to get.

Since this is essentially the bargaining stage for the dumper, they may even text their ex and make grandiose claims to get them back. If you were asking yourself, “Why is the no contact rule so effective?” it’s because right around this stage, the dumpee starts to feel more empowered and the dumper is forced to accept reality, which hits them like a truck.

Stage 4 – Grief: The person who calls off a relationship feels in control. That’s why the breakup hits them later on. When the no-contact phase has lasted long enough, the realization that they may have lost their ex for good hits home. That’s when they begin to feel grief over the broken relationship.

Thoughts like, “We’ve had months and months of no contact, what is s/he thinking?” are bound to come across the dumper’s head around this time. The grief sets in because they’ve finally had to accept that the radio silence isn’t just a temporary ploy by their ex to potentially win them back, it’s the method of moving on that they’ve picked.

Stage 5 – Letting go: At this stage, the dumper may execute a last-ditch attempt to win their ex over again and get back together. For the dumper, that’s actually one of the 5 signs the no contact rule is working. When the dumpee’s efforts all fail, they struggle to come to terms with the break-up. They will now go through the stages of no contact that a dumpee goes through.

In effect, the no-contact rule makes it hard for the person who pulled the plug on a relationship to let go and move on. When they finally do start their journey toward letting go and moving on, they may find it extremely hard to do so without closure, especially if they weren’t expecting to not be in communication with their ex.

Now that you’ve seen the stages of no contact for a woman or a man, you probably have a better idea of what you can expect regardless of what side of the spectrum you find yourself on. Though it may seem like the hardest thing to continue with in the middle of the healing process, it’s important to understand that the power of no-contact rule comes only from religiously following it.

If you break the silence even with the sole purpose of reiterating it, the stages that you go through may get a bit jumbled up. For example, if you give in to the dumpers curiosity, your period of grief can increase substantially.

No-Contact Rule Male Psychology

When considering the no-contact rule in the wake of a break-up, it is natural to wonder the kind of effect it’ll have on the man in the relationship. To understand that, you have to understand the no-contact rule male psychology. It is no secret that men and women are wired differently. Particularly when it comes to their approach to relationships and matters of the heart.

The no-contact rule male psychology works along the lines of reverse psychology. The technique of encouraging a person to take a certain action by propagating its opposite. When a woman adopts the no-contact rule, the man begins to view the break-up as a mistake and starts second-guessing his decision.

Even though the stages of no contact for a woman are largely the same as they are for a man, there are some differences in the intricacies of what goes on in their minds. The lack of contact may make him long for his ex and push him to win her over again, essentially getting back with an ex. That’s when the 5 signs the no contact rule is working begin to emerge.

Related Reading: 10 Signs To Know Your Relationship Is Over

Does the no-contact rule work on men?

The answer to this question depends on what a woman perceives as the desired outcome of this process. If you want to genuinely snap all ties, let the past bury its dead, and move on, then the no-contact rule male psychology may get in the way. After a period of no contact, “What is he thinking?” might run through your mind, and the stages you were expecting to come across might surprise you a bit.

But if you want to use it as a means to get back together with your ex, then the no contact rule works on men 100%. Wondering why is the no-contact rule so effective? Here’s how:

  • Playing it cool: He will play it cool and make himself believe that the lack of contact doesn’t bother him
  • Confusion: Eventually, your behavior will start confusing him
  • Wondering: He will try to find out what’s going on with you and why you have disappeared from his life overnight. The more you freeze him out, the more he’ll wonder
  • Anger: The radio silence will make him angry. He may even get into a rebound relationship just to show you that he doesn’t care
  • Longing: He will start missing you and longing to have you back in his life
  • Regret: Regret over letting you go takes over. He’d be remorseful of all that’s been messed up in your relationship in the past
  • Trying to get back together: He will take concrete actions to show you how much he wants you back in his life. At this point, his focus in on turning over a new leaf in the relationship

“When my best friend was dumped by his ex, Susan, he tried the no contact rule to get her back. It didn’t really work on Susan, who seemed to check up on him because she was worried about his health, but that was about it. At least it helped him move on, though,” Jackson tells us, talking of his best friend, Kyle.

“A few months later, when he broke up with his most recent partner, Gracie, she tried the same trick he did with Susan. Unlike Susan, however, he didn’t just text her to check up on her, he genuinely realized he wanted her back. Guess it works differently on the sexes!” he adds. If getting back together is what you had wanted all along, this is your chance to make it happen.

5 Signs The No-Contact Rule is Working

Cutting out a person who has been an integral part of your every day is not easy. If you’re taking this approach that tests your willpower and resolve every step of the way, you’d want to be sure that you’re headed in the right direction. When you need reassurance, look out for these 5 signs that the no-contact rule is working:

1. Your ex tries to establish contact

You have vanished from their life suddenly. That is bound to leave your ex puzzled and curious, and you’ll see them giving you hot and cold behavior. Especially if they were the one to call off the relationship and expected you to be wallowing and pinning over them. One of the clear signs that the no-contact rule is working is when the radio silence gets the better of your ex and pushes them to reach out to you. Repeated texts, calls or showing up at your door are indicators that you’re on the right path.

Azel decided to cut off the guy she had been casually dating for the past couple of months after he unceremoniously ghosted her following a “where’s this going?” conversation. Even before she had been through the no-contact rule stages, he created a new profile on Instagram and slid into her DMs.

He was apologetic and begged her to take him back. However, Azel didn’t want to act in haste this time. While she still has feelings for him, he remains consigned to the block zone and she’s using this time off to assess what exactly she wants for herself. Out of the 5 signs the no contact rule is working, this is the easiest (and the quickest) to spot.

The way an ex tries to establish contact with you might be through any of the following:

  • They text you to “check in” on you
  • They comment on your social media posts
  • They post pictures of you two on their social media
  • Repeated calling, under the pretext of “closure” or asking how you are
  • Inquiring your friends and family about your well-being and relationship status
  • Showing up at your workplace or places you frequent
  • Asking someone close to you to deliver a message to you
  • Befriending the people close to you just to contact you

2. Self-love is among the 5 signs that no-contact rule is working

The no-contact rule gives you the much-needed space to focus on yourself. The break-up ought to have been hard on you. After going through phases of anger, denial, bargaining, and depression, you’ve finally gained acceptance and begun moving on from a serious relationship. It’s one of the signs that the no contact rule is working when your well-being and happiness become your prime focus.

You commit to caring for and improving yourself. Be it fostering self-awareness about the kind of life you want for yourself or looking after your physical and emotional health better, you indulge in self-love. This paradigm shift in focus is one of the subtle signs no contact is working.

Even if you decide to get back together with your ex, you will do it with much more certainty, knowing that this is exactly what you want for yourself. If the no-contact timeline makes you realize that your ex isn’t good for you, you will be able to move on without hesitation or remorse.

As one of the 5 signs the no contact rule is working, this is how self-love will manifest itself in your life:

  • You start to focus more on your mental health instead of dwelling on the past
  • Spending more time thinking about yourself than the relationship
  • Taking efforts to improve your mental/physical health
  • Wanting to pursue new hobbies, and social activities and feeling motivated
  • Being capable of accepting your grief and working with it, not against it
  • Asking for help and feeling like you’re making progress
  • Accepting the fact that things will get better

3. You start responding to overtures by others

All that work you have done on yourself during the no-contact phase is paying off. Others start finding you irresistibly attractive. If you can respond to their overtures or at least revel in the attention without your ex taking up all your mind space, it’s a clear sign that the no contact rule is working.

You have freed yourself from the toxicity of the past. One of the 5 signs the no-contact rule is working is that you longer put your life on hold, waiting to revive your old relationship. Your mind is open to new possibilities. Even if one of those possibilities is getting back together with your ex, you’ll be able to start afresh in true earnest, without the baggage or problematic patterns of the past.

Here’s how the psychology of no contact rule will make itself apparent in this stage:

  • You’ll be able to imagine yourself with another partner
  • You will not wait around for the old relationship to come back
  • You will not be weighed down by the baggage of your past relationship
  • You look forward to the idea of a new relationship
  • You can even consider getting back with your ex after making an informed decision
  • You start to believe in yourself and manage your insecurities

Related Reading: 10 Reasons He Suddenly Stopped Chasing You – Even When You Wanted Him To

4. Your ex becomes more responsive

One of the signs that the no-contact rule is working in your favor is a sudden spike in your ex’s responsiveness. They’ll make repeated attempts to initiate contact and be the first one to respond to all your social media activity. All in the hope of making their presence felt and getting you to reciprocate.

Seeing that the no-contact rule was working for Azel, her best friend, Josie, who had been caught in a hot-and-cold post-breakup equation with her ex-boyfriend of over two years, also snapped all ties with him. After nearly three months of radio silence from both sides, her ex started making overtures to get back together with her.

“It was almost like a Phoenix had risen from the ashes. His feelings for me were stronger than ever. Although the no-contact rule timeline was longer for me than it was for Azel, it did work in the end. But I’m in no hurry to get back together, so we’re taking it one day at a time,” she says.

If you’ve been using the no contact rule to get her back (or him), this is how you’ll notice the progress:

  • They’ll try everything possible to communicate with you
  • They’ll be a lot more receptive to your needs
  • They will text or call you back immediately
  • They won’t give any mixed signals
  • They’ll tell you how much they want to talk to you again

5. Your ex wants to get back together

The ultimate sign the no-contact rule is working is when your ex does everything in their power to get back together with you. This means your absence has made them realize your importance in their life. From confusion to longing to regret, almost all stages of no-contact for dumper are driven by a need to restore the status quo ante.

Once they get to the stage of wanting to get back together, you have an important decision to make. Get back together or move on. Don’t let all the hard work you’ve done so far go to waste by letting emotions get the better of you. Take your time, introspect and do what’s best for you.

When your ex wants to get back with you, this is what they’ll do:

  • They may make claims of being a changed person
  • They’ll beg you to come back
  • They’ll ask you if you want to restart the relationship
  • They will realize that they’ve missed you and want it back
  • They’ll tell you how they think this time will be different
  • They won’t be able to stand the thought of you being with another person

This approach is the unsaid holy grail of coping with heartbreak. It makes you emotionally stronger and better equipped to deal with all the negative emotions that come in the wake of a breakup. As long as you don’t succumb to temptation, the question of when does no contact not work does not arise. However, if you’re struggling with moving on after a breakup and feel like you need some help, Bonobology’s panel of experienced therapists can help you understand how to cope with the overwhelming emotions you’re feeling.


1. How do you know if the no-contact rule is working?

When it comes to yourself you know the no-contact rule is working when you get over your grief and find yourself in a space where you want to socialize and indulge in self-love. You know it’s working when the person who has dumped you starts fretting about your silence and wants to establish contact again.

2. How long does it usually take for the no-contact rule to work?

Once you have severed all contact you will go through stages. First, there will be grief and anger. Then even if your ex tries to contact you, you will not respond and you will see your relationship from a different perspective. That’s when you will move on or if you still feel that your relationship is worth saving, you will get back together.

3. What do dumpers feel during no contact?

During no contact dumpers initially feel a sense of relief that the relationship is over. Then they start getting curious about why their ex never called. Then they start stalking the ex on social media to see how they are doing without them. Then they become obsessive about the ex but finally when they realize that they will not respond, they feel sad that the relationship is over.

4. How long does it take for an ex to miss you with no contact?

If your ex initiated the breakup, they might be relieved and enjoy their single life initially. But when the reality kicks in that you have not attempted to contact them, they start missing you. It could be a matter of a few weeks or a few months for this feeling to take over.

5. Does the no-contact rule work on men?

If you want to get back together, then the no-contact rule works 100% on men. A man would get curious about your silence, then eventually start missing you and try to establish contact with you again.

6. Will he forget me during no contact?

No, he wouldn’t. You would be on his mind. All the more because he would keep wondering if his position in your life was that irrelevant that you didn’t contact him for once. He would be nursing a hurt ego and there is no way he would forget you.

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