If absence makes the heart grow fonder, could no contact help get your ex back? The answer to that depends on what you do during and after no contact. So, after I recap what the no contact rule is and why we do it, we’ll get to the good stuff. Yes, we will look at what you should be doing during no contact and after, to best help you get back with your lover.
In a hurry? Feel free to jump to:
What to do after no contact (click to skip.)
Otherwise take your time and read on ↓
- What is no contact? [+ important considerations]
- 6 reasons to go no contact
- A caveat (my caution for you)
- Get your ex back by fixing root causes
- Have compassion for yourself
- Do not follow rash emotions
- What to do after the no contact period ends?
- How to initiate contact?
- Send a text
- What to text?
- What to text your ex-boyfriend?
- What to text your ex-girlfriend?
- What about email?
- What about a letter?
- Build a connection!
Let’s begin with a recap of what no contact means and why it’s done.
Psst: Pick a good reason-why as the wrong why can kill your chances for good.
No contact: What is it?
The no contact rule refers to the act of taking a strategic break from your ex for a calculated duration of time. That’s the short version.
On the surface, it is simple to follow.
You stop contacting your ex via any medium (belly-to-belly, text, call, social media, email, etc.)
Life is complex though. It may not be possible to commit to 100% radio-silence (you might live, work, or study together.)
Also? You do risk making matters worse if your ex believes you are doing this as some kind of game or tactic you read online.
No one wants to be manipulated.
In general, though, taking a step back after breaking up is the smart thing to do.
Sure, it isn’t magic. And there’s no mystery about what is happening when you do it (though there is more to it than many realize.)
But it is effective.
Whether YOU will have success or not with your ex after no-contact depends on your situation. And on what happened between you both.
But to a more significant degree?
Your chances hinge on the choices you’re about to select, and the steps you take.
While there’s a slew of factors to consider in the post-breakup stage, and it’s impractical to prepare for them all?
A period of no contact is almost certainly the recommended first step.
While you won’t save some relationships, the ones you do save almost always follow a retreat of some kind.
For how long?
A few days is not enough. And a few months is likely too long. If you read enough articles on this, you will see the same duration given over and over: 30 days.
That’s a long time when you miss your partner like crazy!
Yet, and it’s difficult to say of course, but if I had only a few minutes to advise a friend, I’d say the same (a month.) But, if you wanted a precise answer, email me!
Let’s look at why we go through this in the first place…
Why go no contact? 6 reasons:
There are many upsides to a strategic retreat.
Here are 6:
- It allows you to heal, to cool down, and to compose yourself. It is one of the first steps given after a breakup for a reason. Do not overlook this one. It is easily one of the best reasons.
- It creates a void for your ex to miss you, to wonder what you’re up to, and for curiosity to play-out as it often does. Which isn’t the most important reason (by far) though undeniably a nice side benefit.
- It is damage control. No contact means no bad words spoken, no arguments, and no planting “reasons to hate you” seeds in your ex’s head. This reason alone is a no-brainer to give your ex space.
- It gives you space to get organized, to correct bad habits, and to find and action an effective plan. Mega important! What you say and do after no contact ends, affects your chances of saving the relationship. And WHO YOU ARE (how you changed through this time away) is what can seal the deal or put an end to things for good.
- It puts the power back in your hands, which you lost at the breakup point. When you choose to retreat and take a time out to consider your options, you show control. When you do no contact correctly, it is a demonstration of power.
- It might COMPEL your ex to contact you first. Which isn’t a big reason to go NC, but like reason #2, it’s a nice benefit if it happens. (Imagine they call you first because they couldn’t go another day without hearing from you?)
There’s a lot we can discuss at length from the 6 points above. But for now, it is relevant you heed number 4. That is, “to get organized, to correct bad habits, and to find and action an effective plan.”
In fact, reasons #1, #3, and #4 are the top three reasons to start no contact in my experience.
Psst: Notice there is no mention of dating other people? That’s because it’s not healthy to do right after breaking up. It’s not worth the risk of complicating your later stages of reconciliation either (which it tends to.) Stick to enjoying the company of friends for now.
OK, let me give you a caveat to all of this…
After getting your ex back: A caution
Imagine you get your ex back after no contact. For no other reason than because couples reunite “all the time.”
Sure. But only if you put in the effort to edit or remove the bad habits and tendencies that caused the breakup.
Many don’t do this.
If you’re not careful, you risk repeating easy-to-avoid mistakes. The kind that turn a relationship sour.
As with all areas of life, if you do not learn from the past, it is going to repeat on you.
That means the exact kind of mistakes that lost you your ex in the first place will happen again!
And after all the pain, plus the effort to get back together, can you imagine how disheartening that would be?
This is why at the start of this article I said no contact was “part of the relationship recovery process.” Because —and this is my caution to you today— by itself, it is unlikely to be enough to get them back and keep you together.
If your ex comes back and you’re not prepared, you risk entering a relationship that is doomed to fail all over again.
What’s worse than breaking up? Doing it twice.
To put it simply, you broke up for a reason. And no matter what steps you take next with your ex, if the original cause of the breakup remains unresolved?
Your relationship is toast.
Maybe not right away. Who knows? But it’s fair to say it’ll only be a matter of time.
And that, I’m sure you’ll agree, would be awful.
So please don’t take any shortcuts here.
The mistake I see is the heartbroken guy or girl turning a BLIND eye to the reasons they were dumped in the first place.
Don’t let that be you.
The pain you’re experiencing is hard. You don’t want to go through all this effort to get back together after NC, only to lose them all over again. Because you both failed to resolve the bottom-line cause.
OK. That’s enough “squeezing lemons.”
Get your ex back after no contact by removing root causes
Sometimes addressing the original cause of the breakup is the best route to getting your ex back.
If it’s not clear to you, go spend some time to figure out why you both broke up in the first place.
Hint: The first thing that comes to mind may not be “it” but write it down on paper. Then see what else comes to mind. And write those down. Once you have a few ideas, dig deeper into each one. You might find a root cause that explains a few of the surface issues you identified.
Once you isolate the problem —or problems— you must ask yourself:
- “Can I solve this problem?” — Sometimes it may not be possible. You may have to agree to disagree (learn to live with the problem,) or accept “what is” and move on. Which isn’t easy. You will be biased toward fixing things and may not see things clearly. Watch out for that.
- “Am I prepared to fix this problem?” — If you can mend the problem, that does not mean you’re willing to. So you must be honest with yourself. Sometimes the fix is simple; for example, it might be a silly habit you need to lose or even a new habit you need to form. But if it isn’t simple, what then? You need to be open and honest about this.
All of the above hinges on two things. One, that you can determine why you were “dumped” in the first place. Two, that the reason is something within your power to resolve (and that you want to.)
Be compassionate with yourself: Your most important relationship
When we lose the one we love, we lose hope and are thrown into chaos.
The emotional pain from losing our lover, plus the dark thoughts of how we may never be happy, are relentless.
Then there is the fear that our ex will replace us with someone.
Yes, our own thoughts can hurt us the most.
If the above has been your experience, it is normal and not a sign that there is anything wrong with you.
Annoyingly, it’s at this challenging time where having strength and control is needed.
Every word you say, and every action you take, can make the difference. Whether you have a blissful “make up” or lose your ex for good, keeping your cool is critical.
This is why I tell you to take full advantage of this time to get your head clear and emotions under control. You can’t do much in life without a clear head. If you neglect the relationship you have with the man or woman in the mirror, your ex will notice!
Nurture your mind and body…
Making improvements to yourself in the areas that matter will help stack the odds of success for you.
Remember: After a breakup, no contact gives you the opportunity to regroup and make peace with the way things are.
Accepting the way things are frees up your mind to adjust and prepare for the next phase of your life.
Don’t rush this.
Don’t follow rash emotions after the breakup
Your ex is someone special to you. Someone who gave your life meaning and direction. As such, you will be more than willing to dig deep and do all that is within your power to be with them again.
While it is incredible what you can do when so much is at stake, please ensure you don’t let your rash emotions guide you. If you are not careful, they will take you off track.
When in doubt, don’t follow your emotions. They’re not a good guide and can lead you down a path of regret.
I like how Morty Lefkoe of the Lefkoe Institute puts it, when talking about the role of emotions in decision making:
Here’s the thing about reason and emotion. What makes sense rationally will continue to make sense forever. The logical answer doesn’t change from day to day.
On the other hand, what you feel today you are unlikely to continue to feel forever, no matter what the feeling is. Feelings come and go. What makes rational sense does not.”
It is better to say nothing than to say the wrong thing. In this high-emotion time, you are more likely to put your foot in it.
It pays to “wait and see” than rush and risk making matters worse.
You’ll need to summon willpower to follow my advice. I get that.
Following logic over emotion is one of the hardest battles we humans have!
You have to fight your natural urges.
But the reward for using that willpower is a higher probability of being a couple and staying that way.
Keep that in mind.
Now let’s look at:
What to do after the no contact period ends?
After a period of no contact has passed, it will be time to reach out to your ex.
Study this image for “big picture” clues of the work ahead:
When I coach my clients through this process? Whether their ex is in a rebound relationship or a long-distance relationship. The image above shows the way!
(Yes, the devil is in the details, but still.)
How to initiate contact after no contact period
When it’s time to reconnect?
You want to build up the connection you have slowly and take care not to provoke a swirl of bad emotions in your ex.
You need to approach this like a breakup expert would. Subtle at times, treading lightly. Then bold at other times. But always raising the good-feelings.
Because it’s easy to overdo this.
The first time you reach out, your goal is to get a feel of things.
In other words, you want to assess the health of the connection you have with your ex.
How hot or cold are they with you? How responsive?
To do this you have to “stick a fork in it” and find out by finding out (like you might do to find out how hot or cold a pie is!) Because knowing what to do after no contact follows knowing how hot or cold your ex is.
Once you have your starting point, you… start right there. No jumping ahead.
It’s an iterative process.
You need to gauge the feedback and move accordingly.
Start by sending a text
I recommend sending a text message for this. A text is less intrusive than a phone call or a video-call. And both are less invasive than meeting face-to-face.
When I say “less invasive,” if they’re not ready to hear from you, it’s less stressful to ignore a text message than a phone call.
There is less pressure involved with a text conversation. We don’t have to reply straight away. We can get to it later when we’re not busy. You can’t say the same about calling!
A text gives your partner space to consider their response (if any.) And you want to give them space.
What to text after no contact?
This is not complicated.
The first text you send after no contact should be something easy to reply to if they want to respond. And easy to ignore if they don’t want to answer.
Give them a choice and make it easy.
I don’t recommend trying any tricks to “force” a reply. Forget that. Nothing clever here. Because the whole point is to gauge how they really feel about you. Not to trick them into a reply.
As such, the content of the message you send is not as important as some think. So long as it is natural (authentic) and fits the context of your situation.
Your goal is to get an idea of how hot or cold they are. Nothing more.
What to say to your ex boyfriend?
I don’t know your ex-boyfriend or why your boyfriend broke up with you. But, I do know that all men crave admiration. So you could pick something true that you admire about him, and let him know with a simple message.
Men love women who believe in them. Be the girl who celebrates his talents, values, and successes. Let him feel recognition, and he will warm to you.
A simple example:
“I always admired your achievements, you know?”
Just replace “achievements” with a specific feat, or mention a strong character trait for better results.
What to say to your ex girlfriend?
I don’t know anything about your ex-girlfriend or why she broke up with you. Yet as sure as the sun will rise in the east, women will crave appreciation. So you could do a lot worse than pick something you appreciate about her, and let her know!
The fact is, women notice men who notice their beauty, taste, and individuality. So, be the man who enjoys seeing what other men do not, and is not afraid to tell her. Make her feel special, and she will warm to you.
Knowing that all girls want to be understood, why not tap into this truth? It would be smart. So ask yourself what you appreciate about your ex-girlfriend and put it in a message.
A simple compliment about her appearance can be enough to start.
“You have a beautiful smile, you know?”
But delving deeper to her rarer, lesser-spotted qualities is better.
What about email?
Text is the right tool to use, but email could work. Email is non-confrontational and relaxed. And that is what you want as the first contact after NC.
Sending a letter is different. A letter is better when you have something important or meaningful to say. Like an apology. When you need the personal touch, and texting won’t cut it, consider a handwritten letter.
Building the connection
When you contact your ex, you will find out how willing they are to communicate with you.
If they do not reply, you know they are not ready to talk. And need to wait longer.
If you have anything to explain or apologize for, consider doing so with a letter.
If you get a reply, you have a basis of connection which you can build upon.
It is vital you build up this connection slowly. You do not want to trigger a negative reaction!
Less is more.
At the start, we want to take a “reading” of the situation. And do so with minimal contact (always looking to reduce the risk of fallout.)
This means taking tiny steps rather than bold ones!
You need to “test the water” and proceed according to the temperature.
It wouldn’t be a good idea to bring up the heavy subject matters. Do not mention the breakup or the relationship in your first half-dozen conversations.
Keeping things light and easy is key.
Remember that what you say and do must depend on what signals you get back.
If your ex does not want to talk, take the hint. They might need more time, so the smart thing to do is give it without resistance.
Be gentle and level-headed with your approach.
Going from no contact to jumping to where you were is a bad idea for sure. Right?
You must treat this process with respect.
Don’t push your ex into “talking about things.”
Don’t ask them to discuss “it.”
Just remember though:
While what you say, and how you say it, is crucial?
You are more likely to say the right thing and do the right thing if you do the proper work on yourself beforehand.
Most people ignore this. And that’s a huge mistake.
You have to get YOURSELF back first to have the best chance of getting your ex back.
Nobody talks about that. Or not nearly enough.
Put it this way?
If your ex boyfriend or girlfriend thinks the reason you want them back is because you can’t be happy otherwise, look out! They will run a mile. Because any hint of that is a big turn off.
Improve your mood so you agree that while you PREFER to save the relationship, you don’t NEED your ex to be happy.
Though you may be hurting, thinking you can win back your happiness no matter what happens with your ex? Trust me, this positive attitude changes things for you.
This is a compelling state to reach. Demonstrating signs of confidence when meeting up will help improve your chances.
With that said and out the way —
Strive to have a conversation without discussing the breakup or the chance of making up.
That’s the smart way.
It shows strength when you don’t talk about what you want at every moment!
Yes, this means you need to have patience. And not have an “all or nothing” mindset, because that leads to more disappointment.
If you pressure yourself to make quick headway with your ex, you will pressure them in turn. And no one wants pressure.
It is a fragile process. So proceed accordingly…
Think baby steps.
It is likely your ex will be as uncertain and apprehensive about being contacted, as you are about making contact!
Think of it like this:
After no contact, there is a gap that stands between your ex and you.
And your goal is to close that gap.
Keep in mind that this gap is not just physical. It is emotional and mental as well, which is to be expected after the breakup.
You want to consider the gap at every step you take if you are to get your ex back after no contact.
Slow progress is still progress, after all.
But don’t worry. The slow and steady approach won’t take years to realize or anything silly like that. The journey can even be fun. The reality is you are improving the relationship with the most special person in your life.