What Should You Do After No Contact?
Hi. I cover a lot of ground in this article. If you are in a hurry, feel free to jump ahead to:
What to do after no contact (click to skip.)
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They say "absence makes the heart grow fonder." Which is one reason to not contact your ex in the first place.
If you're wondering if you can get your ex back after no contact wonder no more: NC is a useful — often crucial — part of the relationship recovery process.
There's a caveat.
In this article, we will look at what that caveat is, recap what we're doing here, and talk about what to do after no contact to get back with your lover.
- 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
Let's begin with a recap of what NC is and why it's done (hint: pick your WHY carefully, the wrong why can kill your chances for good.)
No contact 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 literally hold back from contacting your ex via any medium (belly-to-belly, text, call, social media, email, etc.)
Life is complex though. And it may not be possible to commit to 100% radio-silence (e.g., you might live, work, or study together.)
You also 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.
Psst: Could NC ruin your chances? Yes. It is possible. If you want to learn more then click here →
In general, though, taking a step back after breaking up is the smart thing to do.
Sure, it isn't magic. And there's certainly no mystery about what is happening when you do it (though perhaps 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 next.
Now, while there is a slew of factors to consider in this post-breakup stage, and it is impractical to prepare for them all:
A period of no contact is almost certainly the recommended first step.
So while some relationships can never be repaired (nor should be,) the ones that are will almost always be followed by 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 again: 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 better and more precise answer, email me!
Now let's look at why we go through this in the first place...
There are many upsides to a strategic retreat.
Here are 6:
- It allows you to heal, to cool down, and to compose yourself. 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 DO and SAY after your no contact duration ends will directly affect your chances of saving your 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 invariably 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 just might COMPEL your ex to contact you first. Which isn't a big reason to go NC, but just 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 I'd imagine.. just from the 6 points above. But for now, I feel it especially relevant that 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 in my experience.
Psst: Notice how there is no mention of dating other people? That's because it's not healthy to do that so soon after, and not worth the risk of complicating your later stages of reconciliation (which it tends to.) Just stick to enjoying the company of friends for now...
OK, let me now give you a caveat to all of this...
Imagine you get your ex back after no contact. Perhaps for no other reason than because couples reunite "all the time."
Sure, but only if you put in the necessary effort to edit or remove the bad habits and tendencies that caused the breakup in the first place.
And sadly, many don't do this.
If you are not careful, you risk repeating easy-to-avoid mistakes that will turn your relationship sour.
Just as with all areas of life, if you do not learn from the past, then it is probably 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 you've been through, plus the effort to get back together, can you imagine how disheartening that would be?
This is why at the beginning of this article I said that 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 to you and you are not prepared, you will be at risk of re-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 all too often is the heartbroken guy or girl turning BLIND to all the reasons they were dumped in the first place.
Don't let that be you.
The pain you're experiencing right now is hard enough. 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."
Sometimes addressing the original cause of the breakup is the best route to getting your ex back.
If it's not apparent to you now, 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 nonetheless. Then see what else comes to mind. And write those down as well. Once you have a few ideas, dig deeper into each one, and you might find a root cause that explains a few of the surface issues you identified.
Now, once you isolate the problem — or problems — you must ask yourself honestly:
- "Can I solve this problem?" — Sometimes it may not be possible, in which case 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: that you can correctly determine why you were "dumped" in the first place, and that the reason is something within your power to resolve (and that you want to.)
When we lose the one we love, we lose hope and are thrown into chaos.
The emotional pain from losing our lover, combined with the dark thoughts that we may never be happy again are relentless.
Then there is the fear that our ex will replace us with someone else.
Yes, our own thoughts can hurt us the most.
If the above has been your experience, it is quite normal and not a sign that there is anything wrong with you.
Annoyingly though, it is right at this most challenging time that having strength and control is needed.
When every word you say and action taken can be the difference between a blissful "make up," or losing your ex for good, keeping your cool is critical.
This is why I strongly advise you to take full advantage of this time while following the "no contact rule" to get your head clear and emotions under control. You can't do much in life without a clear head, and if you neglect the relationship you have with the man or woman in the mirror, your ex will notice!
Nurture your mind and body...
Doing so, along with making improvements to yourself in the areas that matter most, helps to stack the odds of success for you.
Remember: going no contact after a breakup is really about giving yourself the opportunity to regroup and make peace with the way things are.
Accepting the way things already are frees up your mind to then adjust and prepare for the next phase of your life.
Don't rush this.
Your ex is someone very 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 together with them again.
While it is incredible what you can do when so much is at stakes, please ensure you don't let your rash emotions guide you. If you are not careful, they will quickly take you off track.
When in doubt, don't follow your emotions! Certainly not blindly. 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:
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 than ever before to put your foot in it.
It pays to "wait and see" rather than rush in and risk making matters worse.
You'll need to summon much willpower to follow the advice here. I get that.
Following logic over emotion is one of the hardest battles we humans have!
You literally have to fight your natural urges.
But the reward for demonstrating that willpower is a much higher probability of being a couple again and staying that way.
Keep that in mind.
Now let's look at:
Clearly, after a period of no contact has passed, it will be time to reach out again.
Study this image for "big picture" clues of the work ahead:
When I coach my clients through this process, whether they are dealing with an ex in a rebound relationship or even 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 again?
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. Subtle at times, treading lightly. Then bold at other times. But always carefully 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 first 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 kind of have to "stick a fork in it" and find out by finding out (just 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.
I recommend sending a text message for this. A text is less intrusive than a phone call or a video-call (which in turn are less invasive than meeting face-to-face.)
When I say "less intrusive," what I mean by that is if they are not ready to hear from you, it is less stressful for them to ignore a text message than it is 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.
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 actually not terribly important, 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?
Guys want to be admired. Therefore you could pick something true that you admire about him, and let him know with a simple message.
"I always admired your achievements, you know?"
What to Say to Your Ex Girlfriend?
Girls love to be appreciated, so speaking to that would be smart (what did you genuinely appreciate about this women?)
That said, a simple compliment about her appearance can be enough.
"You have a beautiful smile, you know?"
What About Email?
Text is probably the right tool to use, but email could work as well. Email is generally 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 perhaps. When you need the personal touch, and texting won't cut it, consider a handwritten letter.
When you contact your ex, you will soon 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, then consider doing so with a letter.
If you get a reply, then you have a basis of connection which you can build upon.
It is vital that you build up this connection slowly. You do not want to trigger a negative reaction!
Less is more.
At the start, we just 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. So I wouldn't recommend you mention the breakup or the relationship in your first half-dozen conversations.
Keeping things light and easy is key.
Just 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.
Always be gentle and level-headed with your approach.
Going from no contact to jumping straight back to where you were is a bad idea for sure. Right?
Therefore 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?
As you will now appreciate, you are more likely to say the right thing, and do the right thing after you put in 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 only reason you want them back is that you won't be happy until that happens then you won't succeed. They will run a mile. Because any hint of that is a big turn off.
Working on yourself done right is awakening to the knowledge that while you may PREFER to save your relationship, you don't NEED your ex to be happy.
Even though you may be hurting, thinking you can win back your happiness regardless of what happens with your ex? Trust me, this positive attitude completely changes things for you.
This is a compelling state to reach. Besides, demonstrating signs of confidence when meeting up later will help improve your chances every single time you touch base.
With that said and out the way (again?) —
You should strive to get a conversation going without mentioning the breakup or the possibility of making up WAY before you go there.
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 invariably leads to more disappointment.
If you pressure yourself to make quick headway with your ex, then you will also pressure them in turn. And no one wants pressure.
It is a fragile process. So proceed accordingly...
Think baby steps.
It is likely that your ex will be just 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. Actually, the journey can even be fun, as the reality is that you are improving, day-by-day, the relationship with potentially the most important person in your life.
These SEVEN dead giveaway clues tell you what your chances are:
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"My girlfriend and I broke up last week. I followed your instructions and we are back together" — Erick Nelson
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