Does no contact work after a breakup? The short answer is yes. After all, the no-contact rule after break up is a time-tested psychological strategy used to move on from one’s ex, or so we have been told. They say that if you go cold turkey on your ex, take some time to process the breakup alone, and allow yourself to really grieve, then the heartbreak is much easier to deal with.
But is it really that simple? We hear something as straightforward as this and are filled with doubts. Like us, are you too now thinking:
- How long should you go no contact for this to work?
- And how does it work?
- Does it work the same for everyone?
- Is the impact of the no-contact rule permanent?
To answer these questions, we consulted psychotherapist Gopa Khan (Masters in Counseling Psychology, M.Ed.), who specializes in marriage and family counseling. She talked to us about the no-contact rule psychology and its benefits and her experience with clients to whom she advised following the no-contact rule. So without further ado, let’s dive right in.
What Is The No-Contact Rule?
If you chanced upon this piece and are wondering what in God’s name is the no-contact rule, allow us to give you a little initiation into the concept. The no-contact rule involves cutting off all ties with your ex, after a breakup, as a healthy way to grieve, cope and heal. There isn’t exactly a number to a no-contact rule success rate that we can use to analyze and understand its efficacy. But this route is undoubtedly logical after a messy breakup and here’s why.
If you keep in touch with your ex, directly or indirectly, keeping track of their whereabouts, you will find it difficult to forget them and move on, what with the constant reminder of your life with them. If they are constantly on your mind, how do you plan on getting them out of your mind? That’s where the no-contact rule comes in handy.
The no-contact rule psychology is similar to the cruel but effective strategy of ripping off a band-aid. There isn’t any scope for less contact or more contact. Only No Contact!
Related Reading: How To Get Through A Breakup Alone?
Remember: When nursing a heartbreak, most people are tempted to use this as a way of winning back an ex. If that’s the intent, you may find yourself wondering, “Will no contact work to get my ex back?” or “Does no contact work to get ex-girlfriend back?” or “Will my ex-boyfriend come back after no contact?”
But is it healthy to play mind games to attract someone back into your life? Is it worthwhile to focus on someone else’s response and not your own healing? This is a form of manipulation and will do neither you nor your partner any good. Just because the no-contact rule has made someone’s ex miss them so much that they came back, doesn’t mean you should approach it with the same intention.
Does No Contact Work And How?
We have good news! The contact rule always works. Plain and simple. Let us explain how. To begin with, your ex who broke up with you may contact you for two reasons. First, they may be missing you and feeling guilty. And second, they miss having the power to control you and are curious to know how you’re doing without them.
But what’s more interesting is, even if they don’t contact you, no contact allows you to naturally take the course that is best for you. Remember the saying “if you love someone set them free”? If they do not come back, “they were never yours”. Or, maybe during the course of no contact, you realize that you are better off without your ex.
Gopa shares with us an incident. “A woman I was counseling had been dumped by her partner and wanted to practice no contact to win him back. The man, eventually, started missing her and came back. But, by then, the woman wasn’t sure that she wanted her ex back. Even though she had followed this rule to get him back, she had now changed her mind. She prolonged the no-contact period just to be sure of how she truly felt about the relationship and if the man was genuinely regretful. As far I know, they didn’t get back together,” she says.
Isn’t that story helpful in more than one way? But how can you make the no-contact rule work for you? Well, for it to work, you must ensure the following:
- Both partners have to accept and commit to it
- You must lay down strict boundaries with each other and start respecting them
- Ask the people around you to respect your boundaries too and to not “update” you with information about your ex
- Do not stalk your ex on social media. Remember you have to get them out of your mind
- Do whatever is needed to eliminate the possibility of contacting or seeing or hearing about or chancing upon your ex
Related Reading: 5 Signs The No Contact Rule Is Working
1. Does no contact work on men?
The no-contact rule male psychology tells us that when you go cold turkey on a man, he may take some time to truly let it sink in. Speaking to Bonobology about the male mind during no contact, psychotherapist Dr. Aman Bhonsle said, “While experiencing the no contact rule, the man might go through anger, humiliation, and fear, sometimes all at once.” This may also lead to aggressive behavior, which you need to be prepared for.
To understand how a man may respond to no contact, you have to be mindful of the fact that men tend to focus less on heartbreak at the very beginning. They don’t allow their emotions to surface and focus on embracing their newfound “freedom”. The impact of the breakup hits them later (say a few weeks) and that’s when they start thinking about their ex. They look for distraction in the form of rebound relationships soon after. It is after a period of 6-8 weeks that most men really let the breakup sink in.
As per this Psychology Of No Contact On Male Dumper study by the DatingTipsLife website, 76.5% of male dumpers regret dumping their girlfriend within 60 days. But, instead of using this information to get your man back, use it to predict his behavior and prepare yourself for a response that is best for you.
2. Does the no-contact rule work on women?
Unlike men, women have an immediate desperate response to a breakup. The initial stages are full of anxiety, grief, and heartache for most women. During this time, it is much easier for them to want to stalk their exes or plead with them to come back or let their partner back in their lives. With time, a woman becomes much more resilient. If you are a woman, know that the no contact rule female psychology tells us that it will only get easier and better with time.
“A woman, who was in an abusive marriage, reached out to me for help. She was a homemaker and couldn’t leave because of the children. But she finally mustered the courage and moved out of her 15-year-old marriage. She had thought that she would never survive without her husband when she had just started. It became easier for her over time,” says Gopa.
This is a 30-day no-contact after breakup rule success story because her husband hounded her with phone calls and text messages, found out her address, and started threatening her to move back in with him. But the no-contact phase had given her the courage that she never had before. For the first time in her life, she stood up for herself and changed her life completely.
3. Does the no-contact rule work if you were dumped?
Out of the two partners, usually one decides to pull the plug on the relationship while the other is left to deal with that decision that they could not control. The person who is breaking up has already gone through the process of breaking up mentally. So, it’s easier for that person. But for the partner who is dumped – be it a breakup or a divorce – this comes as a shock. They naturally take a longer time to heal from it.
If you have been dumped, you might feel the urge to plead with your partner to take you back. You might think that going no contact will make them miss you and rethink their decision. But looking at this option with an ulterior motive of enticing your ex back into your life only shows that you may be suffering from codependency issues and low self-esteem.
There is no guarantee that your ex will want to give the relationship another shot. In most cases, as the dumped partner, not much is in your own hands other than safeguarding your mental health and starting the healing process. This is why no contact is your best bet.
4. Does the no-contact rule work if you are married?
The no-contact rule can be helpful if you are married and have been witnessing a phase of marital crisis. Taking some time off might be invaluable for people on the verge of divorce. They can decide to go for counseling or therapy after the no-contact period is over and even realize that they might have a chance together. And that is not a bad thing.
Even if a person wants to permanently move away or cut off ties or legally divorce a toxic person who is negatively affecting their mental health, is abusive, or is an addict, then it is imperative that they put a full stop to the relationship and not look back. So, the no-contact rule works even when one is trying to stay away from an abusive relationship and a toxic ex.
Related Reading: Hope You Are Not Doing These 10 Funny Things After a Breakup…
5. Does the no-contact rule work in long-distance relationships?
Sometimes the plain phenomenon of “absence makes the heart grow fonder” works for people during turbulent times in their relationships. Living in the same place makes it difficult to get out of your head and look at your life objectively. Look at this story Gopa shares.
“A married couple came to me because they felt their marriage was on the rocks and were wondering if relationship counseling could help them save it. Then after a few days, the man found a new job that required him to relocate. They decided to use this as an opportunity to practice no contact in their relationship. It helped them put things into perspective. They didn’t interact for months and realized all the relationship mistakes they had been making. So after around six months, they mutually decided not to file for a divorce.”
Other than allowing people to get back together, distance also gives couples an opportunity for a clean break and truly judge if they actually are happy with each other or just together through force of habit and codependency. Long distance in such cases may help a broken couple in moving forward instead of getting an ex back. Taking that opportunity to change cities for work may be a good idea if you want to forget your ex.
Related Reading: 7 Things No One Tells You About A Breakup
How Long Is The No Contact Rule After Break Up?
Different relationships call for different no-contact timelines. Usually, post-breakup, both partners take some time – usually ranging from 6 months to a year, depending on how emotionally attached they were – to get over each other. But as a rule of thumb, experts often advise a minimum no-contact period of 30-60 days before resuming it, only if needed, to be able to get some perspective on the breakup and truly heal from it.
The initial first few months are difficult, even more so if you share a class or the same workplace and see each other every day. But with time, it becomes increasingly easier to follow the no-contact rule because the mind accepts the fact that the relationship has ended.
Practicing the 30-day no-contact rule (some even suggest 60) gives a person the window to deal with this sudden, major life change, spend time in peace understanding what they want, and then decide their future course of action. As difficult as it may be to hit ‘Block’ on their Instagram profile or delete their number from your phone, you will thank us later when you realize the amazing benefits of blocking your ex and practicing the no-contact rule after a recent breakup.
Should Everyone Practice The No Contact Rule After Breakup?
Everyone can benefit from the no-contact rule in one way or the other, considering the rule allows you the time to think, and the perspective, just the way a relationship coach does. But, that being said, there are different types of breakups as there are different types of relationships. And going no contact may not be a possibility for everyone.
There are a few scenarios where the no-contact rule after breakup can be not only difficult but impossible to practice. The following couples will have to find their way around this rule, and be creative with their boundaries, to avail its benefits:
- Co-parents: Snapping all contact may not be feasible in case of a marriage breakup with kids in the picture. This can be the toughest possible kind of breakup because most couples are busy dealing with custody rights, visitation rights, a crazy amount of paperwork, etc. Such couples don’t have a choice but to keep in contact with each other. These circumstances are extremely distressing. In such cases, the only way out is to take other steps to get over an ex while also displaying utmost maturity in maintaining a healthy functional equation with them.
- Coworkers/Classmates: After having broken up with someone, if you continue to see them at college or work, it gets hard to get over them. With very young couples, it gets even more difficult since their immediate society doesn’t acknowledge their relationship as serious and therefore treats the breakup too as non-serious. Such couples must be even more diligent to make it clear to their peers that they are practicing the no-contact rule and that they expect co-operation
In cases of marriage, divorce puts a seal of finality on the separation. However, in the case of romantic relationships, breakups pose a different challenge of blurred boundaries and there can be plenty of push and pull afterward. Sometimes people break up and get back together again multiple times. And those relationships can turn very toxic and your best bet at getting out of them is to limit contact as much as possible.
Related Reading: How to Move On When You Are Still In Love With Your Ex?
Tips To Help You Go No Contact With Your Ex
Gopa shares her experience with advising her clients to practice the no-contact rule, “I tell my clients to avoid contact with their exes. However, most of them stalk them on social media. Or they try to find out details about each other’s lives through mutual friends. Some exes still meet each other in college or at the workplace. As you know it’s hard to get over someone you see every day.”
In today’s world going no contact is not easy. At all. There! We said it. Here are a few things that may help you on this journey:
- Think of the why: First thing, keep your intention clear and strong. When you start missing your ex and find yourself going down the same rabbit hole of longing and yearning, asking yourself, “What do I want to achieve from this?” will help you
- Keep it about yourself: DON’T make this about your ex. You are going no contact to save yourself the trouble of resisting their thoughts when they are constantly on your mind and not to play mind games with them
- No social media: Do not let them access you in any form. Do not make it easy for you to reach them when you are feeling weak. Block them. Delete their number from your phone
- Focus on other relationships: Taking away your attention from your ex to other important people in your life can be very helpful
- Self-care: This is the time to focus on your happiness and engage in some TLC and self-love. Read more. Pursue an old or a new hobby. Exercise. Eat better. Travel. Rearrange your furniture
- Stay away from rebounds: Treat this as a fair warning that by distractions we do not mean rebounds. Try to stay away from distracting yourself by jumping into new romantic relationships. It’s not fair to you or to the new person in your life
- No contact means you stop contacting your ex and cut them off completely for a short time, say 30-60 days, until you feel ready and have confidence to make decisions that are healthy for you
- Doing this is important because it helps you stop thinking about them all the time, putting you in a better mental state and making getting over your ex a lot easier
- Using this rule to manipulate your ex into coming back is not healthy. You must be honest with your intentions for it to help you in the long run
- No-contact rule works for everyone, even though it can be difficult for married couples, now seeking separation, who co-parent or have other dependents and additional liabilities. It can also be difficult for coworkers and fellow students for whom spending time together is non-negotiable
- To stay strong in this journey you must think of the why and keep it about yourself
If you still haven’t made up your mind about whether you should practice no contact with ex-girlfriend/ex-boyfriend, or are worried, “Does no contact work?”, then take your time to understand what you really want. It may be hard to distance yourself from your ex, but it can still be the best thing for you. Keep an open mind and think of your well-being and you’ll know what to do.
But until then, we highly recommend steering clear of your ex if you can. If the breakup has been especially difficult for you and you are finding it difficult to manage your emotions during this period, do not hesitate from consulting a separation counselor. Should you need to get in touch with one, Bonobology’s panel of experts is here to help you.
The success rate of this rule is usually almost as high as 90% because the person who has broken up will inevitably contact you for one of two reasons. First, they may be missing you and feel guilty, and second, they miss having power over you and are curious to know how you are doing without them.
Usually, it’s a minimum of 30 days to 60 days. It can extend up to a year too. But since there’s no hard and fast rule on how long you should remain out of contact, you should probably stick to it for however long it takes to work.
Yes, no contact after breakup helps to process the grief and put things in perspective. You will be in a better emotional space to judge if you want to move on or if you want to get back with your ex if they contact you.
A lot of people ask, “Will no contact work if he lost feelings for me and I want to bring him back?” This can go either way depending on the situation. A lot of time, the dumper ends up contacting the dumpee after the no-contact period. This is natural as the dumper may feel powerless.
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