Let’s get right to the point, because if you were in a relationship with a toxic, emotionally unavailable, or narcissistic person and despite it all, continue to miss this person during a No Contact period, the question “does he miss me during No Contact?” probably lives in your bones.
Especially around the holidays.
The answer is: Yes. Your ex misses you in the very same way he was in a relationship with you…
As with many things, to understand the answer to the questions “does he think about me?” or “does he miss me during no contact?” requires that we unpack those questions first.
You already know this, but the purpose of no contact is to remove yourself from a toxic relationship and avoid being triggered by someone who brought you pain, so that you can heal and move forward.
Should you feel shame for even asking these questions?
Does the constant, banging refrain of “Does he miss me during no contact?” mean that you are not healing?
Does the very fact that you are asking these questions mean that you miss your ex so terribly that you are actually destined to be together?
Wondering “does my ex miss me?” is normal.
If you are grasping, desperate, and obsessed for some sign that he misses you… that’s normal too. If you feel like you somehow exist a little bit less in this world or that the holidays are void of joy because you are hearing radio silence, please know that you are not crazy. You make sense.
If you were in a relationship with someone who:
- Provided you with inconsistent love, attention, and support
- Alternated between showering you with love and then ignoring you
- Never quite let you know where you stand and/or…
- Made you feel like it was not safe to be yourself and express your feelings…
Then please understand this: all humans feel pain when they feel unseen, unheard, ignored, and abandoned in a relationship. I’m willing to bet you have a lot of experience with these feelings. You’ve spent a lot of time waiting to be consistently loved.
It stands to reason, then, that missing your ex during a period of no contact and waiting for any kind of energetic flicker that this person feels one ounce of the pain you are feeling… feels a lot like the relationship you WERE in, in the first place.
If you felt abandoned and alone in the relationship, you will definitely feel abandoned and alone now that the relationship is over. In fact, if this is all you have known with regard to your ex, you are primed to feel this way.
If you were in this kind of relationship, it’s probably also true, based on your past history, that you have been primed to feel this way for a long time. Your body is now the foremost expert in waiting, grasping, and hoping for a response.
If you made the crucial and courageous decision to go no contact with a toxic person, the truth is that this period can initially feel like more of the same kind of pain. Never feel ashamed of these feelings. You are so not alone in how you feel, but please know that these waves of missing your ex are not indicators of someone irreplaceable that you have lost. They are your own soul, plaintively calling you back to yourself.
But I get it. For now, these waves certainly have the look, feel, and taste of your ex. This is why it’s important to ground yourself in the reality of how lonely, insecure, or starving for love you may have felt while in the relationship.
If you don’t ground yourself with this reality, you will waste your precious and only life. You will be waiting for someone who could not provide you with consistent love when you were in the relationship with them, to consistently miss you so much out of the relationship that they will undergo a personality transformation, see themselves as a party who has wronged someone else, and consistently follow through with anything for the first time in their life.
Now that you are out of the relationship, you are also safe to experience these feelings of loneliness because you are now doing what you can to: minimize exposure to a toxic environment that would inevitably trigger you, making you feel invisible and powerless all over again. It takes a lot of compassion, safety, protection and care for that kind, beautiful soul in you (who has been through so much and survived it all) to very, very slowly and carefully – let go.
So while you’re miserably simmering and trying to heal at the same time, your ex gets to live a dream life without you?
How do I know? I’m not a mind reader. Neither are you. What we do know is that toxic, emotionally unavailable, or narcissistic people exhibit a pattern of thinking and behaving that remains constant. They are heavily armored people who are laser-focused on the protection of their ego and self-esteem, at all times.
- They may miss you, but much like actually being with you, they don’t do it well.
- They can’t miss you like you miss them, because they are bottom line, not as emotionally equipped to experience true intimacy as you are.
- You (and everyone else) has been, and always will be, secondary to the survival of their ego. This means that while they may think about you, their pattern of perceived survival depends on superficial ego highs, instead of the intimacy and connection other people crave.
- Giving you an indication that they miss you is too expensive, and because they can generate little emotional currency, it will only be given to you if there is an egoic high to be gained in return.
As you may well know, doling out ego highs will inevitably make you feel like you are weak and disposable. Providing an ego high, even when you sincerely love someone and “get them” will never help you feel seen, heard, or safe because you will never perceive the little attention you do receive back as unique to you. It will never make you feel special, loved, or chosen. It is simply something they want; that you are eagerly available to give.
This all has absolutely nothing to do with your worth. It has everything to do with the unchanging nature of the emotionally impotent person you are dealing with.
There is a quote that is associated with Maya Angelou that reads, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
For many people, this is a beautiful quote about human relationships and intimacy. It’s a sincere, shorthand way of saying: relationships are messy, and we all say and do things that we regret, but underneath it all is that crucial kernel of connection, the memory of feeling extra- alive, profoundly happy, and safe to be your truest self in the presence of another equally unique and precious human. For people who have an ability to experience such a connection — this is what we miss, long for, and never forget.
All humans who have the ability to be emotionally intimate, miss each other in this way. If your ex gave you a measure of consistent love and empathy and if your ex was not toxic, emotionally unavailable or narcissistic — please know you are inevitably very much missed.
There is no one like you, and while you may have done things you now shudder at or regret, please know that what people remember, yearn for and miss are the intimate, connected moments when they felt at ease and loved in your presence. In this same way, if you were able to consistently connect with your ex, you may be missing and grieving the loss of someone you love, but you are not starving for closure, love, or acknowledgment. You were in a relationship where both people could experience emotional intimacy.
Does an emotionally unavailable or toxic ex miss you in this same way?
Maybe in a nostalgic mili-flicker. But this isn’t because they don’t long for you, in their way.
It’s very sad (but very defended) that traumatized people will go to such great lengths to protect themselves from feeling any negative feelings that they miss out on true emotional intimacy with themselves. They miss out on compassion for themselves when they make a mistake. They miss out on being at peace with themselves, during most moments. And they miss out on truly missing you, not because you are not missable, but because it is simply impossible feel true intimacy with another when you are completely closed off on yourself.
So what do you get instead? More of the same of what you got while in the relationship.
1. Your ex will miss the person he was while he was with you.
It doesn’t matter whether he is alone, partnered with someone who lives in a garbage can, or is posting pictures with someone who looks like a Victoria’s Secret model.
We talk a lot about this idea that emotionally unavailable, selfish, and narcissistic people will go through rounds of valuing you (showering you with love) and devaluing you (ignoring you or outright being cruel). What we don’t talk about is that this type of ex also goes through rounds of valuing and devaluing himself.
It has been said many times before, but people only know how to be in the kind of relationship they are in with themselves.
What does this mean? It means that no matter what your ex’s current circumstance, he will go through moods and cycles in which he feels either (1) completely worthless or (2) king of the world. This cycle will occur even if it seems like his life is better than it ever was before.
He will miss the person he was while he was with you when he feels completely worthless.
- He will miss the guy who was adored and pedestaled, despite his behavior.
- He will miss the guy having the girlfriend/wife experience.
- He will miss having his every whim catered to by someone whose job was to be a perfection concierge.
- He will miss the guy who was with (fill in the blank with status symbol) girl. Even if you feel completely worthless right now, trust me, whatever it is that you have that would remotely inspire jealousy in others (an amazing career, eyes, skill, education, book collection, tomato plant, fill in the blank with literally anything) is what he will think about, talk about, and may even embellish about to others, EVEN IF you would swear up and down that he has “upgraded” to a different person or seems to be living a better life.
- He will miss the guy who was with someone who he could count on to be predictable and always there for him.
It breaks my heart when I read comments or questions that ask: if these types of people typically thrive on drama, “hoover,” and always ask for more – why am I hearing nothing? And if there ARE times when he is thinking of you and missing you (in terms of how he wishes he feels about himself), why doesn’t he reach out?
He doesn’t reach out because this type of missing someone is not rooted in an emotionally intimate connection specific to you. It is rooted in a coping mechanism to manage periodic feelings of low-self-esteem-panic. If he does reach out, it will be to obtain an ego high and to confirm that you are still very much available and predictably into him.
If your ex feels chronically empty and unhappy in relationships and does not have any desire to develop new coping mechanisms, he will experience a vague hope that every remotely attractive person that he meets will finally be the right person – the one with whom he will no longer feel empty and unhappy.
Thinking about you and missing you, after the relationship is over, is something like thinking about the last fad diet he was on, while he was on it. The diet that he hoped would work, that seemed to make sense for him, but that he found he couldn’t consistently follow.
He may linger on the feelings of optimism he felt when you were together (the relationship initially felt perfect), and even the (short-lived) relief (this relationship will work because she is just perfect and makes me feel like a king) that he experienced before concluding that your relationship just won’t work.
I am in no way trying to minimize your relationship. You are obviously so much more than a wisp of hope on a fad diet. It is just important to make clear that your ex may miss the person he was while he was with you, but this is not the type of “missing” that you deserve. It is short-lived (until he swings back to feeling like a king again), inconsistent, and rooted in his own ego.
This type of missing you, even if he reaches out, will never make you feel supported, nourished, and consistently loved. It will feel very much the same as the relationship you were in because you are dealing with the very same, emotionally impotent, ego-driven person. It will again end the way your relationship ended before because this person will eventually cycle back to the same feelings of worthlessness and consciously or unconsciously blame those (at least partly) on you.
Ok, but isn’t the point of no contact (that you’re not really supposed to talk about) to get your ex to regret losing you?
2. “Does he miss me during no contact?”Your ex will miss you if he perceives you as different, glowed up, and indifferent to his absence.
If you continue to maintain no contact, you will begin to feel less powerless, less invisible, and safer to feel (all) of your feelings and to be authentically yourself. It may seem impossible and progress may occur at a glacial pace, but it will happen. If you continue to maintain no contact, you will, plain and simple, forever be the girl who got away.
But maybe not for the reasons you believe.
If you are suddenly unpredictable, unbothered, and at ease. If your ex starts hunting for an ego snack of evidence that you miss him, can’t live without him, will never be the same, but never finds this evidence. If all he finds is a level-up version (not just physically, but energetically) of the girl he used to know…
This will again inspire a stirring of that familiar vague hope that you ARE actually THE ego trophy that will make his self-esteem skyrocket for life.
Anyone who has worked through a relationship, experienced emotional intimacy, and has the ability to see the good AND bad in themselves and others understand that there is no such magical ego trophy that will make you feel great about yourself all of the time.
Regardless, if you continue to leave him alone, your ex WILL think about you because he will start to garner hope that he actually was mistaken and that you are the missing link in his miserable life. You have cycled back to being valued.
You are once again, a new fad diet. Until he once again, attempts to get emotionally intimate with you, realizes he has the same defenses, and devalues you all over again.
Don’t be the fad diet. Don’t give him the chance. Stay on your white horse. Be the girl who got away.
And if he sees you as glowed up and indifferent but never indicates to you that he misses you, please know that he feels regret, in the limited way that he can.
This means there is no such thing as “signs he misses you during no contact.” If your ex contacts you during no contact, this does not mean he or she wants to be with you in the long term. He may be looking for an ego hit, missing the guy he was when he was with you, or has cycled back to valuing you for the status and esteem upgrade he believes you can supply.
If your ex is a radio silence operator during the no contact period, this does not mean he or she does not want to be with you. It means that he is the same person you were in a relationship with – someone who only has the ability to love, support, and now miss you – inconsistently.
Going no contact with a toxic, emotionally unavailable, and narcissistic ex will change you. Going no contact with this ex will make them miss you, think about you, and regret missed opportunities for the ego highs he used to get while with you. But going no contact with this ex is unlikely to make your ex be or behave any differently from the guy you already know.
Imagine this. You are visited by the Ghost of Christmas Future who gives you a glimpse into your ex’s life, several years from now. When you see him, you feel a rush of familiarity. That familiarity is indicative of the fact that he has not changed. At all. He may be with a different partner or living elsewhere. He may have gotten a sweet new job. He may be a father, a mayor, a celebrity – but he has not changed.
There is no amount of money, status, partner, or change in circumstances that will make an emotionally unavailable person feel true connectedness or intimacy. You will see his life as an empty shell. He may have it all or he may have nothing, but in either case, you see that he is constantly grasping for the person, place, or status that will supply him with enough of a self-esteem high to get him through the next day, year, phase of life, and lifetime. You see that he has looked back on his life with regret that maybe someone or something he left behind was the life raft he missed.
And where are you in this vision? Are you taking care, taking advantage of your own precious life, becoming connected to yourself, surrounded by people who make you feel safe to be yourself, and living in the image of who you hoped to be? Or does the Ghost of Future Christmas show you an image of you, as you currently are: searching for yourself in the emotionally disordered life of someone else?
Don’t let present you become future you on the prayer that someone who was never able to consistently provide you with love and support will consistently miss you for long enough to change.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with missing your ex during the holidays and wondering how this season can pass without hearing from him. Please be kind to yourself and grieve the person who you thought he was. Please hold onto whatever joy, peace, and connectedness this season brings to you. Be kind and careful with yourself, but please also look for it – it will be there for you whenever you are ready to see it. Much love to you and happy holidays.
This post was written by Irena xx
Irena will be answering your comments and questions below
+ If you need further and more personalized help with No Contact (whether it be with a romantic relationship, a friendship, or family) please check out my intensive, No Contact Contract course. For one-on-one help, please look into working with me here.