how to get back with your ex after no contact ends?

they say “absence makes the heart grow fonder,” which might be why you cut contact in the first place. but can you reunite with your ex afterwards? surely, yes. it comes down to the decisions you’re about to make.

let’s look into this.

in a hurry? feel free to jump to:

what to do after no contact (click to skip.)

otherwise take your time and read on ↓

according to a study by bevan, cameron, and dillow (2003) featured in psychology today, one effective strategy for patching things up with an ex is setting the right scene. this means inviting your former flame to a place they love, creating a positive feeling for a heart-to-heart. but what’s my take on this?

let’s begin with an important point:

what you did during no contact affects your chances

what you did during no contact will play a role in determining whether you are successful in winning back your ex. after all, you can learn from your blunders during this reflective period. you can raise your value. the break gave you a chance to put the past behind you, improve yourself, and come back stronger in the dating world.

(i have been working with breakup clients since 2011; i speak from experience.)

let’s say you were resentful, angry, and spiteful during the time you were not in contact. when you finally contact your ex, there’s a good chance they’ll notice these “qualities.” that’s why you must use the time apart to calm down and be more open-minded. that way, your chances of reconnecting later are higher.

relatedly, the more problems you can fix before contacting your ex, the better. let’s look at that now.

—remove the root causes

sometimes addressing the original cause of the breakup is the best route to getting another go at the relationship.

yes, really.

if it’s not clear to you, go spend some time figuring 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 can ask yourself:

  1. “can i solve this problem?” —sometimes it is not possible. sometimes we 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.
  2. “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.)

—don’t follow rash emotions after the breakup

your ex is someone special to you. they 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.

however?

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 most intense negative emotions while you are feeling said emotions. wait a day or so and see how things look. this is a simple way to not go 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” rather 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.

i’m not even sure we ~can~ eliminate emotions.

they are part of our hardware.

but we ~can~ recognise when we are flooded with emotion.

we ~can~ recognise when we are strongly in the grips of a potentially destructive emotional state.

that’s when to step back.

here, 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.

what to do after no contact? a lady throwing her hands up in the air

now let’s look at:

what to do after no contact?

your first goal after no contact is to test the waters with your ex. there’s no way around the fact that after ~nothing~ must come ~something~ and that means contact. and of all the ways to make contact, a non-live approach will be the least risky (e.g., a text message.)

we want to see if your ex is okay with hearing from you.

are they cool about that

how hot or cold are they with you? how responsive?

you have to find out by finding out…

and for doing that, i advise sending a message they will be least provoked to receive.

(with bonus points for making them smile.)

you can’t control how they feel about you. but, you do influence their feelings by the content of your messages.

for example, if you can get a neutral response with your opening message, you can then work on raising their sentiment toward you (to some degree of warmth.)

the idea here is to build up the connection, slowly.

always raising the good-feelings.

with this, the measure of progress is how good you help them to feel.

not just when you communicate but also when they think of you “in the gaps.”

study this image for “big picture” clues about how your choices can raise or lower your “likeability”:

illustration of steps leading to making up

illustration of example steps one can take to affect how “liked” you are. success is found by making incrementally right moves.

when i coach my clients through this process, the image above gives an idea of what lays ahead. whether their ex is in a rebound relationship or a long-distance relationship. we want to do what is in our power to raise the positive feelings.

(yes, the devil is in the details, but still. it’s an iterative process. you need to gauge the feedback and move accordingly.)

—start by sending a text

as i say, to test the waters with your ex, i recommend sending a text message. 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. of course, if you are unsure about texting, you should read my comprehensive guide on when you should and shouldn’t text your ex to put your mind at rest.

bottom line? a text gives your partner space to consider their response (if any.) and you want to give them space. and in this day and age, sms is still a natural go-to choice for casual conversation.

—what to text?

this is not complicated.

the first text you send should be easy to reply to if they want to, and easy to ignore if they’d rather not.

“behold, a message from your handsome/pretty/witty ex. are you still as attractive/driven as i remember? 👀”

a good text message will demonstrate finesse with a dash of plucky.

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.

—if you’re texting a guy?

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.

—if you’re texting a girl?

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.

for example:

“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.

—a letter?

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 apologise for, consider doing so with a letter.

if you get a civil response, it is an opportunity to build upon the connection. when communicating with your ex, aim to proceed slowly and to enjoy the process.

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.

for example:

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.

ok.

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 this gap at every step you take, to ensure you close the distance between you. even a tiny improvement is worth it.

slow progress is still progress, after all.

but don’t worry. the slow and steady approach won’t take years to realise 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.

tip: every interaction should feel good for your ex. good-feelings is how you move closer to winning your ex back.

after getting your ex back: a caution

imagine you get back together for no other reason than because couples reunite “all the time.”

great, right?

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?

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 no contact, only to lose them all over again. because you both failed to resolve the bottom-line cause.

ok. that’s enough “squeezing lemons.”

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About the author: i’m a relationship coach specialising in breakup recovery. i’ve been doing this for 12+ years helping thousands worldwide. i created the Breakup Dojo, a popular program with over 1,000 members. i’ve authored several in-demand breakup recovery products, drawing from my deep fascination with psychology. i also publish the “ex-communication” newsletter that’s packed with actionable advice to over 10,000 subscribers worldwide.