The “no contact” rule can help you get back with your ex after a breakup. This guide will show you how by giving you all the facts you need along with an “ex repelling” blunder you mustn’t ignore.
So, what’s the deal here?
I’ve helped thousands navigate a breakup, often recommending the “no contact” rule, but not always. Knowing when to apply it is key. If you don’t think about it carefully, you might lose your chance to make up with your ex.
Don’t worry; I’ll make sure you know what to do.
Let’s get to it.
Table of Contents
What Is the No Contact Rule?
The no contact rule means you don’t communicate with your ex at all for a set time, like 30 days. This includes:
- No talking;
- No texting;
- No instant messaging;
- No calling/phoning;
- No in-person visits;
- No social media interaction;
Yes, all forms of communication are off the table. Simple texts, posting on social media, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. And so on. Even “liking” status updates.
Also, I suggest not posting about the breakup online. Instead, post about other things you are doing. Not what you think about the breakup itself. Better still, share happy, upbeat updates rather than problems on your mind.
By not contacting your ex, you kind of ‘disappear’ from their view for a bit.
It is hard to ignore the one you love. You’ll really want to reach out and talk to your ex. Until recently, this person was your boyfriend, girlfriend or significant other. It won’t be easy. So you need to remember why you’re following the no contact rule.
Why Follow It?
Here are three reasons to get you started:
- It gives you time to gather your thoughts, process your emotions, see where things went wrong, and rebuild yourself;
- Taking a break gives your ex what they want: Space from you. They broke up with you because they wanted out of the relationship. If you do not give your ex what they want, you will make matters worse for you. Pursue them, and they will push you away even harder. You also risk saying or doing something you will later regret;
- It gives your ex a chance to start missing you. This can only happen after your ex feels the effects of breaking up. Which you achieve by following this rule.
Taking a break also prepares you for sorting out issues later.
There are other reasons, but the above are the main ones. Pay particular attention to #1 above all others (time to heal.)
Is It Right for Me?
The no contact rule is not always possible to follow. The first step is to find out if your situation will work with this rule.
It does not work when:
- You have kids together
- You work with your ex
- You study or go to school with your ex
- You live together
- You have an ongoing commitment with your ex that must be maintained
If any of the above is true, you need to stay in touch with your ex. Instead of blanking them, reduce the frequency of conversation. And when you do talk, be diplomatic and practical.
Some people call this limited contact.
If the silent approach works for you, the next thing to decide is how long it should last.
How Long Should It Last?
Well, a few days of no contact would be too short for most situations. Whereas a few months would be too long (with exceptions.)
But, a few weeks? That’s more like it.
As a general rule:
- 4 weeks is the standard recommended no contact duration. A month gives you both plenty of time to get back on your feet. Most experts recommend 30-days of no contact.
- At least 21 days or three weeks is a safe bet for long-term relationships.
- About two weeks is fine when it isn’t a bad breakup and the relationship is less than a year old.
- 10 days is enough for relationships that last less than a year.
- 7 days of silence can work for a new relationship (under 3 months.)
The thing is, I’ve seen many give a specific timeframe to follow: exactly 30 days of no contact.
If I had to give a one-size-fits-all answer, I’d say the same.
The bottom line is that anywhere between one week and a month is enough for most breakups.
Note: I’ve created a tool to help determine the no contact period. The no contact calculator is a quick way to figure a good timeframe to follow.
Without my calculator, I can say:
You should do this long enough to give you both space. A few days is not enough. Even one week is too short, except in certain cases (remember, breakups are unpleasant, so you must wait).
Think about it. One week means one Monday, one Friday, and one weekend.
Not enough for most cases.
One month, however? That’s more like it.
So while I won’t give a definitive timeframe backed up with statistics, the hope is that you can see how a few days is too short while a few months is too long.
(When couples reunite years later, they are not getting back together because a marathon of silence worked. That’s a different thing altogether.)
Consider this: After the breakup, your ex will be thinking more about the bad times you had. But, with enough breathing room, they will also remember the good times.
What’s the Success Rate?
In my experience, the no-contact rule plays a role in reuniting 80% of couples. This is why most success stories mention it.
In 20% of cases, not following the rule was more effective. Although in these cases, a less strict version of the rule was followed more than “not at all.”
Will it work for you? Keep in mind the benefits go beyond whether or not you get back together. As such, it does work in at least one way for everyone. And as I hinted above, you can tweak the rules to improve your chances of winning your ex back.
Whether you want to reconnect or not, this should be your first step after a breakup.
Can I Still Speak to My Ex’s Friends and Family?
After a breakup, it’s best to stay out of your ex’s circle of friends and family.
This way, your ex won’t hear from you directly or indirectly, through friends and family.
Creating a void helps YOU as much as it helps your ex miss to you (we’ll get to that later). Therefore, staying in touch with their friends and family is generally not done.
The less your ex can figure out about you, the better.
Can I Spy on My Ex?
While you could keep tabs on your ex without them knowing, don’t do it.
Don’t be a stalker.
If you want the best results, you shouldn’t do anything that could be called spying or stalking.
I even recommend you avoid checking their Facebook profile, etc. regardless of whether they’ll find out about it.
If you knew for sure they’d never find out, it would still not be a good idea. Why? Because it ruins the benefits you stand to gain when you pursue such activities.
When you realise that leaving your ex alone is more for your own good, you will appreciate the value of focusing on yourself. Spying will lose its appeal.
What to Do During No Contact?
Use every moment to close the gap between where you stand and your potential. Even though you may not feel like doing anything, you should make the most of the additional time you gain from exiting a relationship.
Most people screw this part up.
By not working on themselves.
This is a huge mistake.
If you leave dirty dishes in the sink, they’re still dirty 30 days later.
People mess up by doing NOTHING.
They sit, moping, putting their lives on pause.
You may feel depressed after a breakup and want to stay home. If true, I urge you to consider getting help.
But whatever the case, your life isn’t getting better by waiting. This is not a “no action” time.
Being passive is a big mistake. Please do not wait around watching the clock. Be active. Don’t be obsessed with your ex. Be obsessed with improving your health, your appearance, and your mindset.
You want to get to a place where you are thriving in at least one area of your life. Single or not. After all, you deserve to live your best life.
The main reason to step back is so you have time and space to think about what happened.
It’s like taking a personal or mental health day from work. Yes, it helps to get away from things for a bit. But you wouldn’t be advised to take weeks off just doing nothing.
In turn, use this time to be active and reflect on what happened. Think about what you did and see what you can improve.
Use this time to:
- Find relief and rebuild your confidence;
- Use the time to get a plan together;
- Deal with your heartbreak and any anger you have in your own time…
- Rally your friends and family to support you and keep you on the straight and narrow (it’s normal to act out of character when you feel desperate…)
Then do it. Force yourself if you have to…
This kind of questioning is not easy. It is hard to sit on your butt and think deeply like this. Yet, as with all worthwhile things, the hard work pays off.
What could you change or improve that would be better for you regardless of the outcome after no contact?
What would be better for your ex AND positive for you, too?
Focus on those things during this break. Actions speak louder than words…
Use every moment to close the gap between where you stand and your potential. Think growth. It is possible to come out of this a winner, regardless of what happens with your relationship.
Try new experiences, develop healthy habits, exercise, and kick at least one bad one to the curb.
Use the NC days and weeks to become a better you. That’s the most important thing you can do with this time. If you don’t, you miss out.
Do not sit around and do nothing.
Make a special effort during this critical phase of your life, and you will be rewarded one way or another.
You can’t lose when you take that approach.
Make these changes for yourself, and you may also help your ex want you back.
Or at least remind them what they liked, loved, and were attracted to in the first place.
So when you meet up later, you won’t be the same person they broke up with.
Don’t Forget It’s An Emotional Journey, Too
The no contact rule isn’t just a physical and communicative separation —it’s an emotional journey. It’s a rollercoaster of feelings, from the depths of loneliness to the peaks of self-discovery. It’s normal to feel a whirlwind of emotions: sadness, anger, confusion, and even relief.
Here’s the thing: It’s okay to feel. These emotions? They’re part of the healing process. But don’t let them steer the ship. A wave of loneliness might make you want to break the “no contact” rule. Don’t give in. Instead, use these feelings as fuel for self-improvement.
Find healthy outlets for your emotions. Write in a journal. Take up a new hobby. Exercise. Connect with friends. Seek professional help if needed. Use this time to grow emotionally, to understand yourself better, and to become a stronger, more resilient person. This emotional journey is tough, but it’s worth it. You’re worth it.
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No Contact Rule FAQ ↓
It seems simple: Avoid your ex.
And yet, today, more than ever, it is more than simply avoiding a significant other.
So let’s look at a few frequently asked questions in no particular order.
Is No Contact a Gimmick or Trick?
No, staying quiet is not a “gimmick” or “trick.” It is an important part of the journey and is more about giving both people time to think and deal with their feelings.
The confusion comes from some experts framing it as a magic bullet or something. Did you notice that? Relatedly…
Is the No Contact Rule a Scam?
Only when sold as a lie, e.g., “ignoring your sweetheart guarantees you’ll reunite.”
Some information sounds too good to be true. And generally, it is.
After a breakup, be cautious about claims. Especially those who pander to the hope it will be as easy as “playing hard to get.”
Remember: The goal is to improve your position before taking the next step.
What if I Break the Silence?
Don’t be too hard on yourself if you break no contact. Accept that you did, then hit the reset button.
If you give in and contact your ex, realise you’re human and that contacting exes before we’re ready is common.
The solution? If you broke the rules early, just hit reset and start again. And implement a shorter version if you made it more than halfway through.
Again. It’s hard to go cold turkey and ignore your urges, so don’t be hard on yourself thinking you failed. Of course you wanted to speak to the one you love. It doesn’t mean you’ve ruined your chances by doing so.
You just need more support to stay on top.
Remember to use your friends’ and family’s network. Work together to form a strategy to help keep you on track. Call one of your friends each day and have them remind you of what you are doing. Reach out. A good friend gives you the energy to stay the course.
Besides, the second time around will be easier.
Tip: Do you lack willpower? Avoid alcohol during this time of silence (or moderate your intake accordingly.) I often hear from men and women who broke their silence because they got tipsy.
Keep yourself busy and focus your mind on productive and wholesome tasks.
How Do I Know If No Contact Is Working?
There are a few things to consider when looking for clues that no contact is working for you.
In terms of helping you get your ex back, the most obvious sign is that they try to get in touch with you.
It does not get better than that.
And if you find your ex to be more responsive and less angry after a break, you have firsthand evidence of why it is so effective.
Another clue: If life gets easier to cope with day-to-day and anxiety levels have dropped since the breakup, you know that it is working.
Should I Give Up After 2 or 3 Weeks of No Contact?
After 2 or 3 weeks, you might wonder if you should give up and move on. After all, if you have not heard anything by now, surely that tells you all you need to know. And perhaps your friends have told you to stop waiting and give up hope?
Not so fast.
While it may feel hopeless, let my decade of training assure you: Not hearing from your ex for a few weeks is not a sign to quit. You really don’t know what your ex wants or what will happen. And after two or three weeks, that does not change. And so, it is too soon to take score.
Remember: Your job is to find out what your chances are by taking ACTION. You can’t read your ex’s mind to find out! Reaching out after no contact gives you an opportunity to gauge your ex’s interest by their response. This beats doing nothing and guessing.
When You Must Break the No Contact Rule (Important!)
There are situations where it makes sense to break the rules and stay in contact with your ex. Let me start by outlining the obvious: If your ex believes you are ignoring them because of some “trick” you read about, they will double-down on their negative opinion of you. After all, no one likes to be manipulated.
Even if you’re giving space for the right reasons, it won’t matter if your ex thinks you’re manipulating them. If your ex thinks you’re ignoring them on purpose, it will cause issues. Even if they’re a little suspicious, it can still cause problems.
The result? What you gain in one area, you lose in another. And that’s a real problem.
Of course, it is true that many guys and girls will focus on tricks and games because they want to control the situation and “one up” their ex. But, even if that’s not you? You could still use the tips from my articles in the wrong way and accidentally cause your ex-lover to think you are following a set method. Which means they will think you are trying to manipulate them back into your arms.
You do not want that. It will damage your position.
Does that make sense?
My business is 100% about giving you the best chance. If your ex gets wind of any funny business, I’ve failed you.
So, for best results, pay close attention:
Most people will tell you not to RETURN text messages or phone calls during this time because it is against the rules, but I am one of the few who knows how this can hurt your chances.
You do not want to be perceived as “petty,” do you?
This is the risk when you ignore your ex.
It is not a nice feeling to be ignored or blanked. It’s hurtful. Psychologically, it’s akin to physical pain. If your partner felt the reason they were cut off was because you decided to follow a rule you found online? Yeah… not good.
Use this time as more of a “no initiating contact” phase. Which means, if your ex contacts you, use your head to decide whether and when to respond. Besides, you are going to feel better during this time if you look at it this way.
That reminds me: I talk more about specifics of this in my free daily newsletter (not to be missed — if interested, see below.)
Please understand that while the no contact rule is useful, you still need to use your head and consider its implications.
Stay strong. Ignoring the one you love is not easy and takes real power and planning to do. But, I promise you will feel better for doing it.