The no-contact rule definitely helps if you’re trying to move on from a nasty breakup or the damaging on-again-off-again dynamic. While it works differently with every individual, the no-contact rule male psychology does tend to work a little differently than women’s. Does no contact work on men? Will no contact make him move on or miss you more? What goes on in a man’s mind during no contact?
If these questions have been on your mind since you hit the block button across social media platforms and messenger apps and are trying to figure out just what he’s going through, there are certain unique components of the no-contact rule male psychology that you can look into. The male mind during no contact, just like anyone else’s, will be a mess of emotions he’s going to have a hard time dealing with.
How exactly it all unfolds doesn’t have to be a mystery, however. With the help of psychotherapist Dr. Aman Bhonsle (Ph.D., MBA, PGDTA), who specializes in relationship counseling and Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, we take a deep dive into how men respond to no contact and all you need to know about it.
The Male Mind During No Contact
The no-contact rule is a post-breakup period where you cut off all contact with your ex, in hopes of trying to move on or even to get them back into your life. If “how does the no-contact rule affect a man?” has been on your mind, you might be left racking your brain, tempted to contact him to figure out what he’s thinking.
But since that would literally defeat the purpose of the no-contact rule, we’re here to help you out by telling you what might be going through your (ex) man’s mind during this period of no communication. Speaking on the subject, Dr. Bhonsle says, “While experiencing the no-contact rule, the man might go through anger, humiliation, and fear, sometimes all at once. Depending on the time of day, the man could feel any of these individual emotions or all of them together.”
There you have it – a clear insight into what goes on in the male mind during no contact. So, if the main question keeping up at night was whether he is even thinking about you or is he going about life as if it’s business as usual, you may find some solace – as twisted as that is – in the knowledge that he is agonizing just as much over this sudden lack of contact as you are.
The stages of no contact for a man are not far off from how anyone would handle being neglected and disregarded. No-contact rule male psychology can’t just be covered in a summarizing text, however. To get into a bit more detail, we list the components below.
No-Contact Rule Male Psychology – 7 Things To Know
Much like the five stages of grief, there are multiple stages of no contact for a man. These emotions, often destructive or harmful, may arise altogether or individually, in no particular order. After all, surviving a heartbreak isn’t too easy. The male mind during no contact is a testament to this fact.
“How do guys feel when you cut them off? That question gave me sleepless nights after I dumped my ex, Caleb, and it looked like he couldn’t care less about us not talking at all,” Jollene told us. “It had been about three weeks, and I’d often see him laughing around campus. His attitude made me feel like I never mattered much to him, but I tried to focus on my own improvement.
“One day, Caleb’s best friend texted me to give him another chance, claiming he had been inconsolable since we broke up. That’s when I realized that the no-contact rule male psychology works a lot differently than I thought it did. He tried his best to not seem vulnerable, but apparently, he had been feeling crushed inside. The day he texted me at 2 am asking how he hurt me was when I knew he was just running away from his emotions. Of course, I didn’t respond,” she adds.
Do you find yourself constantly wondering what he thinks when you don’t contact him? Do questions like “does no contact work on a stubborn man” weigh on your mind? Does even thinking about “will no contact make him move on” make your heart sink? If so, a clearer understanding of the inner workings of the male mind during no contact will definitely help make this period somewhat easier for you.
To put your mind at ease about how does the no-contact rule affect a man, here are 7 components that should tell you all you need to know. Keep in mind, that while every guy reacts differently after a breakup, these are emotions they most likely will go through at some stage during the process.
Related Reading: 8 Things To Do When An Ex Contacts You Years Later
1. The humiliation of being cut out
The humiliation men feel when ignored/cut off might be a bit more exaggerated than what women feel. Among the initial responses, it’s quite possible for him to be shocked and feel humiliated immediately. He’s unwanted is what he thinks when you don’t contact him, and those thoughts trigger feelings of hurt, humiliation and even anger.
Dr. Bhonsle sheds light on the topic, “What essentially happens is a state of humiliation ensues. He feels like he’s been cast aside, like a bad habit, as if there’s something about him that’s repugnant and repulsive to her. Regardless of what he may or may not have done, no one likes to be treated poorly. Hence, the humiliation of being cut off can hit hard,” he says.
No-contact rule male psychology often revolves around his pride. When it is challenged, he may just put on a hard exterior and appear as though he is on board with your decision and is okay with it. This is one of the vital men vs woman breakup differences that governs the way he feels after the breakup as well as how he deals with those feelings.
2. The bargaining stage
One of the stages of no contact for a man is the bargaining stage, where, in a desperate attempt to make amends, he may say whatever the female wants to hear at the moment. Some men may not be able to deal with the sudden scarcity of communication and may resort to desperate tactics in an attempt to get what they now realize they long for.
Does no contact work on a stubborn man, you wonder? If you want to see if the no-contact rule is working, the degree of his bargaining stage will be a good indicator. You may see a 180-degree shift in his attitude and a readiness to do whatever it takes to win you over again.
Dr. Bhonsle says, “Immediately after humiliation, some bargaining may ensue in an attempt to crawl back into her life. He may even try to beg his way back into her life by upselling to her and saying things like “I’ll be a changed man”, “I’ll do better” or “I will change for you”. This, in turn, leads to more humiliation, since ‘change’ isn’t that easy to come by.”
3. The no-contact rule male psychology entails anger and establishing stereotypes
The male mind during no contact is fraught with pain and hurt, which often manifest in the form of anger and negativity. Just like everyone else, men start generalizing and putting women into a certain category in their minds after a rough breakup. They’ll start to display worrisome signs of trust issues by saying things like “no woman is trustworthy”.
The degree of anger depends on each individual, but the feeling of anger is something almost every man will experience. Dr. Bhonsle says, “Being at the receiving end of the no-contact rule can also lead to anger and resentment. In the long run, anger can lead to building stereotypes, which will lead to biases. If in the future a new relationship becomes possible, the man may enter into it with biases based on the fact that he was rejected.”
It leads to a vicious cycle of humiliation and rejection,” says Dr. Bhonsle about the dangers of the stereotypical mentality men can resort to. “He might be putting himself into a loop. The next woman might say, ‘He’s a bitter, angry and frustrated individual’, which, in turn, leads to more rejection or even experiencing no contact again. Since dealing with rejection isn’t easy, It then becomes a vicious cycle of suffering,” he explains.
Related Reading: How to Move On Without Closure? 8 Ways To Help You Heal
4. A feeling that he has to “prove” his love
No-contact rule male psychology can also often be shaped by what he has seen around him growing up. When on the big screen, the chronicles of depressed, alcoholic, and heartbroken men have been romanticized since forever, some men may also be led to believe that that’s something they must go through to prove their love.
As a result, what he thinks when you don’t contact him is that he needs to do whatever it takes to make you see how much he loves you and woo you again after a breakup. Dr. Bhonsle says, “A lot of movies show men putting themselves through turmoil because of a woman. So, a lot of men may start believing that going through turmoil is a part of the process of being a man as if it’s a way to prove how authentic their love is.”
Explaining how this flawed philosophy almost never works, he adds, “It’s actually quite pathetic to grovel and not move on because you believe that’s what you need to go through. Just because it’s in the movies doesn’t legitimize it, it just popularizes a damaging notion. Your chances of recovery are hurt by that kind of destructive and self-pity-filled behavior.”
5. The fear of loneliness and losing love
How does no contact work on men? Well, in most cases, it serves as a reality check of what their life might look like without you. So, will no contact make him move on? Not necessarily, and definitely not immediately. Once the bargaining doesn’t work and the realization sets in that the no-contact rule isn’t a gimmick employed by you for a couple of days, a sudden panic along the lines of “Why am I still single? I’m going to die alone” may take hold.
At this stage, the male mind during no contact is gripped by the fear of the unknown and a desire to gravitate toward the familiar. “Once the fear kicks in, it can lead to some pretty bad decision making in terms of self-respect. By giving a person what they want only to withdraw its availability, a scarcity mindset will kick in and they’ll start acting in desperation,” says Dr. Bhonsle.
Of course, the bargaining stage and this stage may happen simultaneously, as Dr. Bhonsle pointed out early on. In most cases, it takes a bit of time for the male to get to this place since the realization that they have lost something tends to hit them later as well. So, if you’ve been asking yourself something like, “Is 7 days of no contact enough for him to want me back?” unfortunately, there’s a very real possibility that it might take longer than that in your case.
6. Experiencing depression
Understandably, men respond to no contact by going through a mourning period as well. As one of the five stages of grief, this is to be expected from someone when they’ve been hurt unexpectedly or even if they saw the breakup coming. The question of “Does no contact work on a stubborn man?” answers itself when you see him hitting the rock-bottom of emotional turmoil and grappling with sadness and depression.
“You can distance yourself from someone without being disrespectful,” says Dr. Bhonsle, arguing that the use of the no-contact rule can be disrespectful and hurtful. “The ideal way to do it is to not ghost the person and disappear in the wind. You could say, “I’m no longer interested in continuing our association and I want to move on.” The more direct you are, the easier it is for the man to also lick his wounds and move on. However long that takes,” he adds.
So if you’re wondering how does the no-contact rule affect a man, know that there definitely comes a stage when he’s wallowing in self-pity, depressed about the whole thing. Thus, no-contact rule male psychology isn’t really the hardest thing in the world to crack.
Related Reading: The Right Way To Use Power Of Silence After A Breakup
7. Moving on and turning the tables
In his stubbornness, a man might just end up using the no-contact rule himself. This might be due to multiple reasons. Perhaps he has moved on and does not wish to communicate with you further, or he has come to the conclusion that you’re not a good fit for him.
Dr. Bhonsle says, “We disassociate with someone because we deem them to be a threat to our way of life. Perhaps, he realized that she was bad-mouthing him, manipulating him, gaslighting in the relationship, or just being nasty.” In the psychology of no contact on a male dumper, you might often see him using this tactic. Once he’s made his mind up, the no contact from your end will be retaliated by no contact from his end as well. A game of cat and mouse, so to speak.
If you’ve been wondering, “Will no contact make him move on?”, or, “Will no contact work if he lost feelings?” once he reaches this stage, the answer is yes. The distance, the pain, and angst caused by the no-contact period may make him see that he’s better off without this relationship.
That’s especially the case when he has already crossed the bargaining and the “fear of dying alone” stages. When his desperate attempts at winning his ex back don’t work out, he may either work on self-improvement or let the grief dictate his behavior. Which option he pursues depends on his personality and perseverance. Once he begins to heal, he starts to pick up the pieces, rebuild his life, and move forward.
What Is He Thinking During No Contact?
Now that we’ve broken down the no contact male psychology for you, you know exactly what stages and emotions he’s going to go through, how his mental health might fluctuate, and the potential ways in which he may avoid or tackle his issues. However, one question may still linger in your mind: “How do guys feel when you cut them off? What’s going on in his mind, and when does he start going through these stages?”
Something similar plagued Cathie’s mind, who couldn’t stop thinking about her ex only a day after she told him she will not be contacting him. “The hardest day of no contact was the day after I hit the ‘block’ button on all his profiles. A few days later, I couldn’t help but wonder what he was thinking. I knew the no-contact rule male psychology works a bit differently, but I still couldn’t figure out exactly what’s going on in his mind.” If, like Cathie, these questions keep you up at night, let’s get you some answers so you can get your beauty sleep again.
Day 3 of no contact: What is he thinking?
You’ve pulled the plug, he’s sent a few texts and a few days have gone by. He’s come to terms with the fact that you’re not going to reply to his messages or pick up his calls, and the realization of what you’re doing may just set into his mind. For most guys, this is not the hardest day of no contact by any means. In fact, they may still be upset, or even sort of relieved that he doesn’t have to have difficult conversations with you anymore or worry about getting closure. That is, of course, if he was the dumper.
Here’s what may be going through his mind after 3 days of no contact:
- He may be happy about the fact that he doesn’t have to have distressing conversations with you anymore
- He doesn’t have to answer for any wrongdoings, which will give him temporary happiness
- He may still not entirely believe that you’ve initiated no contact and may be waiting for you to come around
- He may be upset that you’re not answering his calls or returning his texts
- He might try to avoid his feelings by telling himself that you’re going to come around again
Day 7 of no contact: What is he thinking?
When a week goes by, the no-contact male psychology shifts up a bit. This may be around the period of time where the stages Dr. Bhonsle mentioned above start coming into play, starting with either humiliation, denial, or anger. If you came here hoping to find the answer to the question, “Is 7 days of no contact enough to win him back?” the answer depends on the pace of how he experiences the stages of no contact.
If he’s still in the denial stage, a week is definitely not enough time. If he has reached the bargaining stage just a week after you call it quits, there may be hope to rekindle your relationship after this short period of time. To play it safe, however, we’d suggest giving yourself – and him – more time to reflect on your feelings. Here’s exactly what he might be thinking about a week after no contact:
- Denial may turn into anger and he may be upset with you for not contacting him
- In other cases, denial may turn into humiliation and he may become insecure
- If he has been experiencing the stages rather quickly, it’s possible he may already be at the bargaining stage
- In most cases, men tend to take longer than a week for the grief or humiliation to completely kick in
What is he thinking after 30 days of No contact?
When a month has gone by, he’s most likely fluctuating between the bargaining stage, the “fear of dying alone” paranoia, wanting to “prove” his love to you somehow, or maybe letting his rage take over him. However, if he wasn’t interested in continuing the relationship with you at all and has started his moving on process, he may have begun some sort of healing after a month.
Will no contact work if he lost feelings? If by “work” you mean getting him back, then the answer might not be what you want to hear. Here’s how the no-contact rule male psychology works after about a month:
- If he wants you back, he’s going to try and “prove” his love for you
- He may say anything the female wants to hear in an attempt to win her back
- He may be upset at the humiliation he’s experiencing
- He’ll make desperate attempts to get you back
- He’ll begin healing if he was never interested in any sort of reconciliation
The no-contact rule male psychology can be a complex assembly of emotions that even the man will have a hard time understanding. The lack of closure is what really gets to most since it’s troubling to not know the reasons behind the sudden discontinuation of contact. Now that you have a better idea of how men respond to no contact, hopefully, you have put to rest any questions that were on your mind.
While making a man move on is definitely one of the components of male psychology during no contact, there are also plenty of other steps/emotions he will feel and most likely get fixated upon. Chances are, the hurt and confusion you cause him by suddenly disappearing will stunt his moving on process.
A stubborn man may be harder to crack, and he may initially put up a nonchalant display as though your absence doesn’t bother him, there will come a time when it eventually will. How he chooses to act on those feelings/display them is entirely up to him.
If your ex has completely lost feelings for you, the chances of the no-contact rule working are slimmer than its usual high success rate. To make sure, you can keep an eye out if the no-contact rule is working or not. If he starts to frantically contact you after a few weeks or maybe even a few months of cutting out all communication with him, there’s a big chance that he may be pining for you.
Let him try to communicate with you, and when the time is right, ask him what he thinks is going on in his mind. If the period of no contact has done you both any good, you’ll be able to have a conversation about it with more clarity. However, if the no-contact rule does not work in this scenario, it’s a sign you need to move on with your life as well.