If you’ve recently gone through a break-up, you might be wondering how to handle things now.
How long should you wait before contacting your ex? Should you be the one to call or text them? Or is it for the best to totally cut all ties?
You may be tempted to reach out to your ex, but it’s important to take time to heal emotionally before you try to mend the situation.
At this stage, the power of silence after a breakup can be just what you need.
The no contact rule in a nutshell
The no contact rule after a breakup is simple, but far from easy to do.
It says that for a set amount of time you shouldn’t have any contact at all.
That means no texts, no phone calls, and no connecting over social media. And hopefully, it goes without saying, you also shouldn’t see each other in person either.
This period of time gives both of you a chance to reflect on things and get back on track with your own lives.
It also helps you avoid getting hurt again by giving yourself space to think about what happened and what you want now.
How powerful is silence after a break up? 17 ‘no contact’ tips
1) Give it enough time to work
The no contact rule isn’t a miracle cure, it takes time to work. How long should you stay silent after a breakup?
Most experts say you should wait a minimum of 30 to 60 days before you talk to your ex again.
But if you’re looking to totally heal, you might even need much longer. It’s not unusual to take a big break from your ex of six months or even a year.
That way any friendship you build is less likely to be based on leftover feelings from the relationship.
If you feel like no contact isn’t working, chances are you haven’t given it long enough yet. Healing takes time.
No contact is about giving you the space to process your grief and have a better idea of where you want to go from here. You can’t rush it.
2) Don’t try to fix things
If you’ve been trying to convince your ex to change their mind and come back to you, then you’re only going to end up hurting yourself more.
Even if you want them back, there’s a strong risk you will only come away looking needy. If you keep chasing your ex, you’ll only push them further away.
You’ll find it much easier to move on when you stop focusing on why things went wrong and instead focus on moving forward.
Even if deep down you don’t want to move on right now, you just want them back, it’s still for the best. The more you try to fix things, the less work they think they need to do. The more available you seem to them.
They say you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. If your ex thinks they can get you back at the click of their fingers it’s difficult for them to realize what they lost.
Your silence is powerful as it shows you have boundaries and are not at their beck and call.
3) Remember the bad times
The truth is never exclusively good or bad. Real-life is usually full of both ups and downs.
Your relationship obviously had plenty of downs, or you wouldn’t have split up. But we can have a tendency to look back on the good times after a breakup and miss those times.
But now is actually the perfect time to recall all the shitty moments. It will help you to stay strong. We tend to cling onto relationships for the wrong reasons.
We don’t want to be alone, or we feel sad that we have to let someone go. But they are not good enough reasons if the relationship wasn’t working.
Thinking about the bad times will remind you of the reasons why you broke up in the first place.
Try replaying the moments that your ex hurt you, made you cry, made you angry, disappointed you, and let you down, etc.
You might even want to write it all down and return to it every time you need strength to stay away from your ex.
4) Get plenty of support
When you’re feeling vulnerable and sad, it’s easy to fall into negative thinking patterns.You may even feel like you’re losing control and that everything is falling apart around you.
Talking to someone who really understands how you feel can help you see things differently. It also reminds you that you’re not alone.
You’re allowed to feel upset. A friend or family member can be the perfect person to lean on when you need some extra TLC.
Arrange with a buddy to call them instead whenever you are tempted to reach out to your ex.
They can also help you to understand why you’re feeling the way you are, and keep you strong when you have moments of weakness.
If you’re having trouble talking to anyone you know, there are still plenty of people willing to listen to you. Chat rooms and online groups can be a good way to talk to strangers who can offer comfort and advice.
Sometimes we all need a little extra support. This is definitely the case after a breakup.
5) When you feel like you want to give in, do this…
As soon as those pangs of heartache really kick in, it’s tempting to start texting or calling your ex right away, but doing so could make you feel worse in the long run.
The real power of silence after a breakup is that it’s all about swapping short-term gains for the bigger long-term rewards (we’ll talk more about this later). But it will require willpower.
At some point, you are going to feel like you’re not strong enough to say goodbye. And you will want to reach out to your ex.
It’s to be expected. That’s the power of grief. In the moment you just want it to stop. It’s almost inevitable. In those moments, rather than give in, buy yourself some more time.
Rather than rush into anything and risk undoing your hard work up to now. Just commit to 24 more hours.
I always do this when I’m feeling emotional and tempted to do something I know probably isn’t a good idea. Waiting at least one more day until you make your decision means you aren’t rushing into it.
It gives you time to get your motivation back and for the strong craving to speak to your ex to pass.
6) Hold on to your dignity
One of the best things about silence after a breakup is that it helps you to hold on to your dignity.
Emotions are powerful things and they can make us lose our heads. When you are heartbroken, it’s much easier to do things you end up regretting.
Leaving them long voice notes saying nasty things you don’t really mean. Drunk calling them in the middle of the night. Writing passive-aggressive comments on their social media when you see them out with someone who you don’t recognize.
There are 1001 potential breakup pitfalls that can end up robbing us of our self-respect. Dignity is your best friend right now. No matter what outcome you want.
If it’s to move on without your ex, then showing your self-worth and boundaries is the way to go. Even if you hope to reconcile, then now is definitely the time to prove what a class act you really are.
Desperate acts will only push your ex further away. So how can you get your ex back?
In this situation, there’s only one thing to do – re-spark their romantic interest in you.
I learned about this from Brad Browning, who has helped thousands of men and women get their exes back. He goes by the moniker of “the relationship geek”, for good reason.
In this free video, he’ll show you exactly what you can do to make your ex want you again.
No matter what your situation is — or how badly you’ve messed up since the two of you broke up — he’ll give you a number of useful tips that you can apply immediately.
Here’s a link to his free video again. If you really want your ex back, this video will help you do this.
7) Remember the best revenge is no reaction
There are a few universally common feelings that we all go through after a breakup:
- If our ex has hurt us we want them to suffer.
- If our ex did something wrong we want to give them a piece of our mind.
- If our ex cheated, we want them to pay.
- If our ex broke up with us we want them to come crawling back.
- If our ex has lost us we want them to miss us terribly.
But we need to remember that being mad at our ex isn’t going to fix things. It’s a stressful energy that will you far more harm than it ever will your ex.
If they broke up with you, it’s natural to want to lash out at your ex. You may even want to tell them exactly how much you hate them.
But this is only going to make things worse. Your anger won’t change anything, and it will certainly not bring your ex back.
The power of silence after rejection can be your best strategy. Non-reaction — aka silence— is one of the best ways to say it all, without needing to say anything.
It shows the cheat that they’re not worth your time and energy. It shows the dumper that you will survive just fine without them.
What does silence do to an ex?
Your ex will get the message loud and clear from your silence that they do not have power over you.
Oddly enough, this can be a far stronger “punishment” for your ex than getting mad or sad and letting them see how much you care.
8) Know that they’re bound to miss you too
Even when you realize you need to focus on yourself, it’s hard not to think about your ex. You can end up torturing yourself wondering what they’re feeling and thinking. Questions like:
Here’s the thing:
You are never going to be able to get inside someone else’s head, and trying to will only drive you crazy. No contact is designed to support you to stop thinking about them all the time, and start thinking more about yourself.
But if it does offer you some comfort, then know this: Your ex is bound to miss you.
Regardless of how it ended, regardless if it were you or them who did the dumping. Regardless of whether they ultimately think the split was for the best or not.
Unless they are a total narcissist, it’s almost impossible to cut off all your feelings and move on in an instant. Breakups are never easy for anyone.
This time apart may make them reconsider and regret the split, or it might not. Only time will tell. But giving them the space to miss you is the only way to find out whether they end up regretting the breakup.
9) Delete their number
Don’t totally trust yourself? If you’re worried that in a moment of weakness you might fold and text or call your ex, then delete their number asap.
Avoiding temptation is harder when it’s so easy to reach out these days. But if you were on a diet, you wouldn’t have your cupboards stocked with tasty treats that are hard to resist, would you?
Think of it the same way.
If it feels too big of a step to get rid of their number completely, then write it down and give it to someone you trust to take care of, that way you know it’s not gone forever. But you are less likely to do something you regret right now.
10) Work on yourself
Shall we be honest?
Plenty of us turn to the no contact rule with mainly our ex in mind. We want to provoke a certain response from them.
Perhaps we hope the power of silence after a breakup will hurt our ex or make them come to their senses. The pain we feel means we want to punish them. And we hope ignoring them is a way to do it.
But the true power of no contact after a breakup is so much more than that. It’s about doing what is best for you.
This is time that you can use to help your own healing and growth. Breakups disrupt our lives. But that is why they can be a good time for self-exploration.
Maybe it’s as simple as reading some self-help books. You might want to take a course. You could decide to have therapy to work through any personal issues or relationship patterns that seem to keep popping up.
Looking to yourself right now is the best way to make sure you go on to have happy and healthy relationships in the future.
11) Lean on routine
Routines are important. They provide structure and stability to our daily life. Without them, we’d probably lose our minds.
Never has this been more the case than during a messy breakup. Refusing to get out of bed or staying up all night drinking is only likely to make things worse.
It’s the boring things like plenty of sleep, making sure you exercise, and eating enough nutritious food that will support you right now.
So embrace routine to find some stability and normality. Make sure you stick to it. Don’t try to change things around too much whilst you’re already feeling all over the place.
Just focus on getting back into your normal routine. That’s where you’ll find the strength to move forward.
12) Spring clean your surroundings
True story: 5 minutes after my ex moved out of the apartment we shared together I totally swapped around two of the rooms.
I turned an office into a bedroom and the bedroom into an office. Why? I wanted it to feel like my place and not our place. And you know what? It worked.
It actually helped me visualize a fresh start.
Our environment can make a big difference. Shifting a few things around, or having a clearout can be helpful after a breakup.
At the very least it’s useful to clear up any visible reminders of them from your space. That means putting away pictures, items they bought you, or things that remind you of them.
It will only trigger you during the no contact stage and make it harder. So if you need to, put it somewhere else until you’re ready to deal with it.
13) Indulge in some feel-good self-care
It’s important to remember that everyone needs to care for themselves too. After a breakup, you’ll probably find yourself going through some tough emotional times.
This is normal, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to enjoy life as best you can. Spend more quality time with friends and family, take some time to indulge in your hobbies, and do whatever makes you happy.
After a breakup, it’s especially easy to end up feeling lonely and isolated. So find joy wherever you can but make an effort to take care of yourself.
Maybe that’s eating a pint of ice cream and watching your favorite comedy. It could be calling up your friends for a night out. Or even a long hot soak in the bath followed by an early night.
It’s important to allow yourself to grieve, but wallowing in self-pity never did anyone any good.
14) Write it down rather than texting your ex
Journalling is a great tool for processing emotions. You can use a notebook or even just a few sheets of paper.
The idea is simple: write down all your thoughts and feelings. When you are tempted to text your ex, turn to journaling instead.
If you feel like you have things you need to say to them, write them a letter but don’t send it. It’s more for you than them.
Journalling is a powerful daily tool to use, but it can also be incredibly therapeutic after a breakup too.
It’s been proven to help you clarify your thoughts and feelings, help you to heal faster, and recover from trauma.
You can write about anything you want. But here are some ideas:
- Write about how you have been feeling lately.
- What problems you had in the relationship.
- What did you learn from the experience?
These questions are not meant to judge you. They are simply designed to help you process your emotions.
It might be challenging at first, but over time, you’ll find yourself getting better at writing. And eventually, you’ll start to notice that you’re actually feeling less angry, sad, confused, etc.
And remember, you don’t have to share these writings with anyone else. It’s your own private thoughts.
15) Dare to be honest with yourself
Whilst we’re on the subject of honest reflection, now is the perfect time for some soul searching.
It’s super tempting to lie to ourselves. Especially when we think the truth might keep us from what we want.
When you’re going through the grief of heartbreak, you just want it to stop. But that can mean you’re prepared to tell yourself fibs or overlook things that you probably shouldn’t.
Take this time and space to be honest with yourself.
If your ex broke up with you, why would you reach out if they’ve said they don’t want to be with you? Are you only setting yourself up for more pain trying to get their attention?
If you were wronged, why would you continue to contact your ex? What good does it do you?
If you broke up with your ex, then what are you be looking for by staying in touch? Is it selfish to deprive them of some time and space to get over you?
Do you still love them? Or do you just miss having someone around?
Don’t let yourself off the hook. Look honestly at what you’re doing. Ask yourself why you’re doing it. Then decide whether it makes sense to carry on.
16) Don’t cheat in these little ways…
No contact with your ex is pretty clear. But the rules can have a few grey areas and it’s easy to end up cheating yourself.
After all, technically speaking silently stalking their social media isn’t exactly contact. Setting up a fake profile to watch all their stories means they’ll never even know.
Like your teachers probably said at school: cheating is only ever cheating yourself in the end.
Reaching out to their friends to try and get close to them or talk about your ex is another big no, no. Similarly, with mutual friends, try to avoid talking about them.
Finding out anything about their life right now is going to make it so much harder for yourself. No matter how curious you are or how much you think you want to know, trust me, you don’t.
Looking at their life from the outside is not going to give you a real picture of what’s going on for them anyway. Remember that social media is not an accurate portrayal of life.
Besides, imagine if you found out something painful right now. You do not need that. So don’t be tempted to cheat and try to spy on them in subtle ways because you think they won’t find out.
17) Stay focused on what you stand to gain
Here is your no contact rule mantra: “I will focus on long-term rewards over short-term fixes.”
The power of silence is all about doing what is best for you now and in the future. But that doesn’t mean what’s best for us is always going to feel good in the short term.
When you find yourself doubting the method remember its benefits:
- Stops you looking desperate
- Gives your ex the opportunity to miss you
- Give you time to heal
- Gives you space to get clarity and work out what you really want
- Creates the best environment to help you move on and even meet someone else
Just like the old cliche we roll out when it’s time to hit the gym — “no pain, no gain” applies to the no contact rule too.
Just remember that reaching out to your ex does not avoid pain, it just delays it. Read that again.
Eventually, you will find yourself in the same situation again and be forced to start the process over again.
Can a relationship coach help you too?
If you want specific advice on your situation, it can be very helpful to speak to a relationship coach.
I know this from personal experience…
A few months ago, I reached out to Relationship Hero when I was going through a tough patch in my relationship. After being lost in my thoughts for so long, they gave me a unique insight into the dynamics of my relationship and how to get it back on track.
If you haven’t heard of Relationship Hero before, it’s a site where highly trained relationship coaches help people through complicated and difficult love situations.
In just a few minutes you can connect with a certified relationship coach and get tailor-made advice for your situation.
I was blown away by how kind, empathetic, and genuinely helpful my coach was.
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