What is the No Contact Rule?
The no contact rule is something that we’re all familiar with post-breakup. 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, emotional backbone, 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’re 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 on your own terms so that you can heal, deal, regain power and 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 in light of how someone has unfolded. It’s waving the ultimate white flag to all of their red ones.
It’s 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, 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 relationsh*t 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 really fertile ground 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’s hurt you.
- You want him to feel enough genuine remorse that he owns up to what he really did and apologizes.
- You want him to realize what he’s lost.
- You want him 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 he hasn’t forgotten about you.
- You need affirmation that you aren’t as discardable as his 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 omg… HE 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.
Here’s what you need to know about going no contact with 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 not ever 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 air supply of narcissistic attention).
You should never telephonically, technologically or physically chase after anyone who in any way, 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’s whenever YOU feel good about it. More on this below.
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? (READ THIS ONE no matter what):
If your ex reaches out to you, it can really mess with you and also be passively manipulative and down-right 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’s 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 emotionally. 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. YAWN. 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-f*cktard.”
The thing is, if you take your nerves/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 go all “no contact rule” on them.
Remember this: The no contact rule is a time for you to heal and for your ex to experience the reality of your absence and the consequences of their actions 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 I 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… 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 engaged in behavior and 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).
If you’ve responded and kept your answers very short and closed-ended, keep in mind that there’s nothing rude about that at all. You’re simply choosing to not engage in further communication with crumbs so that your ex can feel like less of a sh*t.
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 is not a precursor to wanting them back, being genuinely remorseful, wanting to apologize (first and foremost as a friend), wanting to reconcile 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 respect their 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 hurt you out of sheer self-love, boundaries, and knowingness of your value, then you are not someone worth having for more than a momentary doormatting session.
Men don’t like an emotional challenge (that’s called playing games and it’s wrong). They like an intellectual one. This isn’t about game playing at all. It’s about not being that 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 factor needs to outweigh your desperation.
Will applying the no contact rule make my ex realize what he/she has lost?
Who cares? 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. To give you some perspective, I’m good friends with 1 out of all 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 spell it out for someone 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.
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.
P.S. for my in-depth masterclass in NO CONTACT, more information can be found here.