Estimated reading time: 11 minutes
The No Contact Rule is something that we are all familiar with post-breakup.
What is the No Contact Rule?
The No Contact Rule is defined as a set period of time in which you do not contact or respond to your ex whatsoever. It’s where you go radio silent.
You use the no contact period to grieve your relationship and as progress is built, you start to view your ex in the light of reality, as opposed to the filter of potential. Not every breakup requires that you go no contact, but I have found that it is always necessary to implement after the breakup of a toxic relationship with an ex who lacks boundaries.
Does the No Contact Rule work?
I think that the No Contact Rule is one of the most effective ways to level the playing field and regain your power after a breakup. Many resources online (literally) sell it as a way to get your ex back. I have two issues with this…
- If it takes someone having to lose you to: be honest with you, value you, and recognize your worth… the relationship is never going to work. Why reduce yourself to a set of car keys that someone only realizes how important and necessary they are only when they are lost?
- If you implement the No Contact Rule with your ex just to get him/her to react, freak out, and want you back… you are essentially communicating with your actions that you are okay with your “soulmate” equating a lack of narcissistic control with genuinely desiring you.
I define the No Contact Rule as a way to resurrect your backbone, build unconditional confidence, win your breakup (without minimizing it to a game whatsoever), and attain classy revenge without having to disembark from the dignity, standards, and self-respect that you are trying to rebuild. It is a direct flight to indifference and will solidify your One That Got Away status only if you do it right.
I hate referring to it as a “rule,” because it just adds to this stigma of feeling more like a formulaic prison sentence that has to be applied for some desired result, rather than what it truly is:
Something that anyone with a shred of dignity, unf*ckwithability, confidence, self-awareness, and self-love would naturally do.
The No Contact Rule is about making the decision to fold in light of having your own back; in spite of your libido, head, and heart being in a state of trigger. Your triggers will fear-monger you into believing that the person you are in no contact with is the sole supplier of your emotional oxygen.
Why is the No Contact Rule so effective?
Cutting contact allows you to create your own closure so that you can heal, deal, and regain control over your emotions. It allows you to process your feelings and ultimately decide how you want to proceed.
This isn’t about some “30/60/90-day plan,” or a certain formula. And it should never be about eliciting a reaction or being immature, hurtful, spiteful or mean.
The No Contact Rule is about choosing to fold after witnessing how someone has unfolded. It’s waving your white flag to all of their red ones.
And like I’ve said, going no contact is the best One That Got Away, white horse Jedi move you can ever make. You are gracefully accepting through your actions that this person cannot give you what you want and deserve – whether that be honesty, respect, consistency, maturity, answers, commitment, etc.
And as great as it all sounds…
Whether you’re the one implementing no contact or you’re on the receiving end of it – the No Contact Rule can also break your heart and mind f*ck you MORE than your actual breakup.
In the past, going no contact after a breakup made me obsess over and question everything to the point of emotional suicide. It was a nonstop tug-of-war. I exhausted everyone around me with a set of ears. And when I had nowhere to turn, I’d always humiliatingly return to the relationship graveyard at the expense of my dignity.
Nowadays, if I make the decision to cut contact with someone, I never feel bad about it because they handed me the scissors. I no longer base my worth on someone handing me scissors. That’s on them. What am I supposed to do with scissors? Put them in my pocket and risk further injury? Scissors are meant to cut – not to put in your pocket so you have a license to feel sorry for yourself or throwback in an attempt to cause pain. View people’s heartbreaking & disrespectful behavior as the gift that it is and always will be: Scissors to cut yourself OUT of their bullsh*t.
Whether it’s with an ex, a friend, or a family member...
Being in no contact can provide a perfect storm for you to act upon the normal fears and anxieties associated with cutting someone off who in many cases, you still see a future with.
- You want your ex to know how much he/she has hurt you.
- You want them to feel enough genuine remorse that they own up to what they really did and apologize.
- You want them to realize what they’ve lost.
- You want them to take accountability so that you can be friends again and possibly, eventually go back to the way it was.
- You want to know that they haven’t forgotten about you.
- You need affirmation that you aren’t as discardable as their actions/inactions and deceit have made you feel.
- You don’t want to come across as immature or mean for implementing the No Contact Rule.
- You want to know what to do because you’re in no contact and… your ex JUST TEXED YOU.
You want to know if you’re really even doing the right thing by implementing the No Contact Rule.
So many wants and what-ifs.
It’s time to simplify.
What you need to know about going no contact with an ex…
How long should you implement the No Contact Rule?
There’s really no set amount of time. I’m still in no contact with people from years and years ago. I don’t make a concerted effort to not call them and I’m never thinking about it. I’m just living my life.
If you’re fresh off a breakup and you want to know how long to implement the No Contact Rule, understand that contact should only be re-established when you’ve healed and there is a genuine desire for reconciliation on the other person’s end (as opposed to panicking because they’ve lost their narcissistic air supply).
You should never telephonically, technologically, or physically chase after anyone who participated in your dishonoring.
If you feel like communicating with your ex in any way would cost you or be a betrayal to your instinct… stay in no contact. The sky won’t fall. It boils down to whenever YOU feel good about it.
But what if my ex texts me? How do I respond if I’m implementing the No Contact Rule and they ask me a direct question?
If your ex reaches out to you, it can really mess with you and also be passively manipulative and downright, selfishly cruel. Especially if you’re still dealing with the heartbreak and sense of loss associated with their absence. The best way to disable your triggers and make sense of what to do is to establish what kind of contact it really is.
There is a difference between selfish regret and genuine remorse. Not all contact from your ex is indicative of genuine remorse, wanting to reconcile or make things right on any level – even as friends.
After a breakup, you are at your most vulnerable. It can be really hard to discern if the contact from your ex is them throwing you crumbs or taking a step toward wanting to reconcile in any way, with consideration of your feelings and awareness of what they did.
Basically, any kind of contact from your ex that does not clearly communicate the intent to listen to you, to make things right (without knowing if you’ll even be open to it), to apologize, and to reconcile is crumb throwing.
Examples of crumb-throwing texts: “I’m sorry,” “I miss you,” “Hope that you’re doing well,” “Hi. Please let me know if you’re okay,” etc. I also have a huge problem with exclamation marks. Whenever you get a “hey!” or a “hi!!” it just reeks of disingenuous, “I’m-going-to-pretend-like-I’m-doing-well-and-keeping-the-convo-light-despite-the-fact-that-I-hurt-you-and-was-a-complete-piece-of-sh*t.”
The thing is, if you take your nerves/insecurities/emotions out of the equation and examine it logically, NONE of these lame forms of chain-yanking express any genuine remorse or desire to work on making things right, taking a step forward, reconciling or awareness of what they did to cause to you to implement the No Contact Rule on them.
Remember this: The No Contact Rule is a time for you to heal. It’s a time for your ex to experience the reality of your absence and the consequences of their actions, inactions, and decisions.
Hearing from you allows them to feel: 1) an ego boost 2) like you’re still an option 3) less guilty for what they did/didn’t do.
So how do you respond?
First of all, you don’t need to. If you get crumbs thrown your way in the name of a chain-yanking text and DO want to respond (I am against this but if you feel like you have to)… Always be kind, polite, and extremely short. End it. Don’t keep the conversation going.
It shows that you’re living your life, moving on and that you place a high value on yourself and your time. It also shows that it’s going to take more than a few indirect texts to be in communication with you. When you hold yourself in high regard, crumbs will never be able to validate you because you’re already validating yourself.
Your ex wanting to know how you’re doing, who you’re doing, or what you’ve been up to makes no sense when they made decisions that caused a fracture in your relationship. And if you’re on your way and healing, their behavior during no contact can actually affirm why you want to remain in it.
If someone truly wants to make things right, reconcile and apologize, believe me when I say they will be empathetically direct about it and won’t stop at a few lame texts.
No contact is Hard… What if they think I’m being immature or rude?
First of all, there’s nothing rude or immature about cutting communication with someone who hurt you. In fact, it’s about the most mature thing that you can do and the surest way to command respect. You’re doing something that 99% of the population can’t (speaking with your actions).
A few years ago, an ex texted me that he missed me and that “life just wasn’t the same.” I took the bait and this is what I’ve learned along the way: Missing someone does not equal wanting them back, being genuinely remorseful, wanting to apologize (first and foremost as a friend), wanting to reconcile, being selfless, and empathizing with you on any level.
Your ex made decisions in the relationship with you that came with the risk of losing you. Let them know through your silence and absence that you acknowledge (instead of excuse) those decisions. And let them live with it.
When you choose to remain in contact with your ex in an effort to numb your fears and insecurities, you are basically communicating to your ex that he can find much better than you.
How? If you can’t walk away from someone who disrespected you, then you are not someone worth having for more than a momentary doormatting session.
This isn’t about game playing at all. It’s about not being desperate and setting your own standards. The right man/woman will appreciate it.
No matter what, always put yourself, your well-being, and healing first.
Take good care of your heart and stop going back to an ex who has broken it before, by responding to crumb-throwing, chain-yanking texts. This kind of communication is an insult to your intelligence and instinct.
Your disgust needs to outweigh your desperation.
Will applying the No Contact Rule make my ex realize what he/she has lost?
Remember, If someone has to completely lose you to recognize your value, worth, and irreplaceability, that’s like adding insult to injury.
It will only flatter you if you suffer from low self-esteem.
Plus, you’ll never feel good about being with someone that you had to pull the communication plug on for them to “snap into shape.”
You’re not running an emotional daycare center.
There are PLENTY of adults in this world who can stand on both intellectual, emotional, and empathetic feet. Take your focus off the emotional bed sh*tter that your ex has proven to be.
This isn’t about having a lack of experience in serious relationships, it’s about having a lack of honesty, empathy, respect, and humanity.
Don’t be so desperate that you derive value from orchestrating emotional operas.
Can we still be friends after no contact?
Slow down. IF friendship happens, it happens when you’ve both healed and they’ve proven to be worthy of and interested in genuine friendship. if they are toxic, forget about it.
To give you some perspective, I’m good friends with only one of my exes.
I want my ex to know how wrong what they did was and how much it hurt me. Will implementing the No Contact Rule do this?
If you have to literally spell it out for someone how to empathize with you, be honest with you and apologize…
HOW is that sexy? HOW can you respect that?
And without empathy or respect, there.is.no.relationship.
If you realize this, you will become the type of person that exes lose their minds over.
Ultimately, you have to do what’s best for you. What will NEVER be best for you is engaging with anyone who can’t see your value. Not because you don’t have any, but because they can’t see their own.
Live your life, be kind, and be your own best friend first.
x Natasha Adamo
For access to The No Contact Contract, an in-depth course, click here to become an Emotional Mastery Member. If you’re looking for more personalized, one-on-one help, you can work directly with Natasha Adamo here.