using the no contact rule to get your ex back

when you break up with someone, the no contact rule can help you get back together. this page will explain how and also tell you about a common mistake you shouldn’t make if you want your ex back.

so, what’s the deal here?

i’ve helped thousands navigate a breakup, often recommending this rule, but not always. knowing when to follow it and when not to is key. if you get it wrong, you lower your chances to make up.

let’s get to it.

what is the no contact rule?

it is a practice where you cut all communication with your ex. that means no phone calls, text messages, social media messages, or talking in-person.

some people, including me, also suggest abstaining from “liking” status updates on social media.

by not contacting your ex, you kind of ‘disappear’ from their view for a bit.

why follow it?

here are three reasons to get you started:

  1. it gives you time to gather your thoughts, process your emotions, and rebuild yourself (while ensuring you don’t say or do anything you will later regret);
  2. it 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;
  3. 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.

there are other reasons, but the above are the main ones. pay particular attention to #1 above all others (time to heal.)

will it work for me?

i do not recommend following the no contact rule if:

  1. you have kids together
  2. you work with your ex
  3. you study or go to school with your ex
  4. you live together
  5. you have an ongoing commitment with your ex that must be maintained

it is better to maintain some degree of contact in the above situations.

why? because blanking your ex when you have kids together, or when you work together (etc.,) would be silly and harmful.

in these situations, it is better to reduce the frequency of contact rather than cutting it completely.

to be diplomatic and practical rather than silent.

some people call this limited contact.

those situations aside?

the silent approach will work for you.

how long should it last?

there is no “one size fits all” optimal answer to that question. however, i can tell you that a few days will be too short for most situations, and a few months will be too long (with exceptions.)

as a general rule:

  • 1 week can be enough for a new relationship (under 3 months.)
  • 2 weeks can be good for relationships that span 6-12 months.
  • 3 weeks is a safe bet for most long-term relationships.
  • 4 weeks is sensible when you have an especially bad breakup, where one or both are deeply hurt or angry.

you’ll find most experts recommend exactly 30 days. however, this is not optimal for all situations. it is more of a “catch all” answer, and i talk about the wisdom of 30-days no contact right here if you want to learn more.

a timeline showing popular no contact timeframes

no contact timeline.

note: i have a no contact calculator that will give you a safe timeframe to follow.

if you want to fine-tune things, here’s some suggestions:

make sure you cut contact long enough for the dust to settle. the more “dust,” the longer you need.

if you had a mild fallout, then you won’t need as long. same if you haven’t dated for long.

or, if you’ve dated a while, and one of you cheated or something like that… then you’ll want to give more space.

more than a week, for example…

after all, one week means one monday, one friday, and one weekend.

not enough for serious breakups or couples who’ve spent years together.

one month, however? that’s more like it. or something close to that.

consider this: your ex will be thinking more about the bad times than the good to start with. but, with time, they’ll remember more of the good times.

what’s the success rate?

in my experience, no contact or some form of limited contact plays a role in reuniting 80% of couples who reunite. this is why most success stories mention it.

in 20% of cases, not following the rule was more effective.

so yes, it works and could work for you but keep in mind the benefits go beyond whether or not you get back together. as such, it will work in at least one way for everyone. and, as i hinted above, you can tweak the rules to improve your chances further.

whether you want to reunite or not, reducing contact is a sound first step to take following a breakup.

can i still speak to my ex’s friends and family?

it’s best to stay out of your ex’s circle of friends and family if you can.

this way, your ex won’t hear from you directly or indirectly, through friends and family.

psst:

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 optimal.

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.

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.

they refuse to work on themselves.

which is a mistake.

psst: if you leave dirty dishes in the sink, they’re still dirty 30 days later.

you need to put yourself first…

don’t be obsessed with your ex. be obsessed with improving your health, your appearance, and your mindset.

start exercising, too — it is a no-brainer way to feel better.

the point is, your life isn’t getting better by waiting around.

the answer is to be active.

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.

listen:

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 while. but it wouldn’t be smart to take weeks off just doing nothing.

use this time to:

  1. find relief and rebuild your confidence;
  2. to get a plan together;
  3. deal with your heartbreak and any anger you have
  4. 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…)

what could you change or improve that would be better for you regardless of the outcome?

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.

seek out new experiences, build healthy habits, exercise, and kick at least one bad habit to the curb.

use time apart from your ex to become a better you.

that’s the most important thing you can do with this time. if you don’t, you miss out.

make these changes for yourself, and you may also help your ex to want you back.

(or at least remind them of what they liked, loved, and were attracted to in the first place.)

Warning: Do Not Try to Get Your Ex Back Until You Use This Free “Tool”…

I’ve made a free “thing” that gives you “ah ha!” tailored next step instructions to help get your ex back.

No email required.

Hey. It’s not fancy. But based on your situation, you’ll be presented with a “prescription” of what to do next.

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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.

take heart:

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.

and finally:

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.

my suggestion?

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.)

for now…

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.

Warning: Do Not Try to Get Your Ex Back Until AFTER You Use This Free Tool…

I’ve made a free “thing” that gives you “ah ha!” tailored next step instructions to help get your ex back.

No email required.

Hey. It’s not fancy. But based on your situation, you’ll be presented with a “prescription” of what to do next.

try it out! 👀

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.