A Rundown On The No-Contact Rule Stages

Breakups and Scars | |
no contact rule stages
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If you have recently broken up (no matter whether you are the dumper or the dumpee), you will be struggling to get back to normal life. This is where the no-contact rule comes in and helps save the day (or month or year). If you go through all the no-contract rule stages, we promise that things will change.

What is the no-contact rule? Well, the stages of no-contact demand that you cut off all exposure and association with your ex in your life. Yes, everything. No calls, no messages, no ‘accidentally’ bumping into them, no endless checking on their social media, no reading old letters, and no wishing them on birthdays or anniversaries. You also make sure you remove every sign of your ex from your life. This could mean giving away all gifts and not revisiting places with a lot of joint memories.

These no-contact rule stages may sound harsh but it is one of the best ways to get over someone and get your life back on track. And hey, if your ex keeps calling after you’ve cut them off, the ball is now firmly in your court and YOU get to call the shots. What could be more empowering than that? 

A Rundown On The No-Contact Rule Stages 

The stages of grief after breakup and no-contact rule include denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. These stages of no-contact are not necessarily linear. It is very possible that you swing back and forth between two stages for a while, before moving on to the next. This is the time to be compassionate and let yourself feel all the emotions. The pain of the breakup is temporary and with time, it will be a thing of the past.

Related Reading: A Rundown On The No-Contact Rule Female Psychology

Stage 1: Denial 

This is often the worst stage of the no-contact rule. You can’t believe that your relationship has failed and that it’s over. 

  • The worst part: Your mind may try to trick you into thinking that you can still stay in touch once in a while. Do not believe your mind
  • How to cope: Stay strong. Stay busy. Rally your friends around. Do what needs to be done to stay away from your ex and stick to this no-contact rule no talking stage
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Stage 2: Anger 

Anger is a really powerful stage of the no-contact rule. This is when emotions move away from ‘why me’ to ‘how dare.’ 

  • The worst part: When you feel angry, you start to question all the negative parts of your relationship and no longer see it through rose-tinted glasses. Some believe that of all the stages of no-contact for a man, this one is exceptionally tough. When anger sets in, the no-contact rule talking stage can be particularly difficult. Not being able to contact your ex and yell at them can be tough, we understand
  • How to cope: We suggest writing your feelings down in a letter and then burning the letter. The important part is letting yourself feel the anger and emotions at this stage 

Stage 3: Bargaining 

This no-contact rule stage is tricky. You may convince yourself that a tiny text message won’t do much harm. Or that your break-up is temporary. Or that accidentally meeting your ex, is not your fault.

  • The worst part: Just keep this in mind – if you give in to these bargaining tactics, you return to square one of the no-contact rules stages. Do you really want to do all the hard work again? No, we thought not
  • How to cope: Stay away from your ex at all costs. This is the stage when the real healing happens and you don’t want to jeopardize this

Related Reading: How To Get Through A Breakup Alone?

Stage 4: Depression 

It is during this stage of the no-contact rule that the sadness sets in. You finally begin to understand that it’s really the end. That the breakup is not temporary. And you may feel depressed and unaccountably sad.

  • The worst part: Do not attempt to drown these feelings in other addictive behaviors such as smoking, drinking, and meaningless one-night stands
  • How to cope: It may be worthwhile to speak to a professional at this stage of the no-contact rules. A therapist can help you make sense of your overwhelming feelings and slowly get your life back on track

Stage 5: Acceptance 

Finally, you wake up one day and realize it’s been ages since you obsessed over your ex. Acceptance is the goal stage of the no-contact rule stages. These are some clearest signs the no contact rule is working:

  • You are busy in your new life 
  • You finally feel better after the breakup
  • You don’t spend your day wondering what your ex is doing 
  • Your confidence has returned
  • You may even have started dating again

Never underestimate the power of time on your ex as well. They too may be reconsidering their decisions and want to reach out. And while the stages of no-contact for your ex might play out differently, this time around, the terms of reconciliation will be up to you. 


How Long Do Stages Of No-Contact Last?

There is no hard and fast rule about how long the stages of no-contact should last. If your relationship was long or intense, you may need a longer time to heal and recover. That said, relationship experts do suggest a minimum of at least 21 days to a month without any contact with an ex. This can go up to 90 days or even a few months, if you still feel pain or anger or are struggling with low self esteem and confidence. Following are the very broad timelines for different types of relationships and the no-contact rule stages: 

  • If your break-up was friendly and mutual, you may need 21 to 30 days to heal 
  • If you and your ex were together for two months or more, take 60 to 90 days of no-contact. It’s important to give yourself time to heal and get into a routine without your ex
  • If your break-up was nasty or extremely abrupt, allow yourself 90+ days of no-contact. If your ex reaches out to you before this time, simply tell them that you are still processing your feelings and need more time
  • If this was a toxic relationship or there was abuse involved, we urge you to cut your ex out of your life indefinitely. While you heal and recover from the trauma, talking to a trained professional is essential as well
  • There may be times during the no-contact stages that you need to get in touch with your ex. Maybe you have kids together or there is a sickness or death in the family. These are inescapable and will have to be dealt with when the time comes. However, do not view these occasions as opportunities to “get back” before you are ready

Please remember that all these are just guidelines. If you are still feeling shaky and unsure after the recommended time period, it’s absolutely ok to extend your no-contact period. 

Key Pointers

  • No contact means no-contact. No writing, calling, texting and indulging in nostalgia
  • There are five different stages of no-contact rules and each of them comes with their own set of hardships and challenges
  • No-contact rule stages are different for the dumper and the dumped
  • The stages of no-contact for a man and a woman may be felt differently in terms of intensity but the end result is always the same – self-empowerment
  • Never underestimate the power of time on your ex. Time heals all wounds AND makes the situation clearer

After months of mood swings and haywire emotions, you may finally reach a stage of rediscovery and self-confidence. When the focus finally shifts away from your ex and back to you, is where the real magic happens. You finally have the skills required to either return to a healthy relationship with your ex or with someone new. Make yourself go through the no-contact rule stages to win the most important person in your life back – you!  


1. Which stage of the no-contact is the hardest?

Make no mistake, the first day of no-contact rule is always the hardest. The truth of the matter is going ‘cold turkey’ from another person can be very, very tough. You go from talking to them all the time to having no-contact at all. This can be disorienting, scary, and make you feel very lonely. We understand. Make sure you have friends or family with you during all the no-contact rule stages to ensure you don’t revert and reconnect with your ex. You’ll find yourself getting more and more used to not speaking to them as time passes. Just be patient.

2. Is no-contact hard for the dumper?

The no-contact rule stages are hard for both the dumper and the dumpee. The stages of no-contact for your ex are rarely similar to yours. The dumper does not necessarily go through all the stages of no-contact at the same time. While there will be a time of grief, anger, pain, and sadness in their lives, it will rarely be as all-consuming and exhausting as those felt by the dumpee. What will happen though, is that sometime during the 2 – 4 month mark, the dumper will start missing you and they may reach out. When they see you moving on in life and not needing them, it’s pretty much guaranteed that their ego will kick in and wonder what they are missing out on.

3. How to know if it’s over?

Always remember that you call the shots when to start or stop the no-contact rule. The power is firmly in your hands. But the longer you stay away from your ex, the better your recovery. Going through all the stages of no-contact, also helps you understand why your relationship ended. If at the end of the no-contact rule stages, you still feel your relationship is worth it, go ahead and reinitiate contact with your ex. 

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