The No Contact Rule: Why It’s Important for Your Breakup

A woman who's following the no contact rule, holding her phone and thinking about calling her ex but resisting.

You broke up. Now what? The sting of a breakup or a divorce is so stressful and emotional that it fills our bodies with adrenaline that causes us to feel disorientated and sometimes helpless. Your weekly Netflix nights, your comforting cuddles, not to mention your future plans and dreams have come to a jarring halt. How else will you fill the void in your life and in your heart?

Most likely your first reflex is to contact your ex again. Maybe go over the reasons behind the breakup more thoroughly. Buy some time. Maybe text them something funny. You think, “We can still be friends, right?” Because at least then you’re holding onto some sort of semblance of the connection that you once shared. And maybe, just maybe, you might find your way back together.

But here’s the thing: the longer you remain in contact with your ex, the harder it will be to get over them. Which is why the no contact rule is the best way to achieve the necessary clarity and healing that your breakup requires.

Not convinced? That’s normal. Humans typically resist change. You’re probably rationalizing why it’s totally okay to remain in contact with your ex. You have a history. You have their toothbrush, etc. If you still need more convincing, then here are some reasons why the no contact rule is something you should definitely do post-breakup.

What is the No Contact Rule?
Exactly what it sounds like: there is to be no communication or physical contact between you and your ex. That means no email, texting, calling, social media messaging, seeing, randomly “bumping” into each other, and, especially, no sex with your ex. This also goes for responding to your ex’s texts and messages. It doesn’t matter if they’re reaching out to you—you remain firm and silent.

How long does this “no contact rule” last? Generally, it’s suggested to try it for at least 30 days. At the end of the month, check in with yourself and your healing, and ask yourself if there’s a legit reason to contact your ex again. Usually there isn’t. But remember: this no contact rule isn’t about your ex; it’s about you getting stronger and healthier and reminding yourself how life was like before them.

How Can It Help You
So why is this rule so important? Lots of reasons…

It gives you perspective.
No contact allows you a new perspective on your relationship and the reasons why you broke up. Remaining in contact with your ex will often cloud your judgment and have you long for the good ol’ days rather than see the truth behind the issues that caused the breakup in the first place. By not having your ex in your life, you’re able to see why things broke down in the first place so you can come to an understanding, and later an acceptance, of why the relationship didn’t work so you know what to avoid in the future.

It offers you healing.
Your heart won’t be able to mend and move on if you’re constantly talking and seeing your ex. Having your ex remain in your life will probably make you think you’ll get back together. You’ll continue to live off hope rather than reality, which means your sole focus will be on how to be together again rather than the real reason behind the breakup—and there is a reason! It’s just harder to see when you’re so busy denying it and reeling from your hurt. Getting space from your ex will help you accept that it’s finally over, so you’re able to let go more and more each day, and move forward.

It allows you to have more experiences.
Being constantly linked to your ex blocks you from placing your attention and energy elsewhere, including exploring new opportunities and new people. Each time you connect and think of your ex, you are blocking yourself off from new experiences that could fulfill you in ways that your old relationship couldn’t. It’s vital that after a breakup we devote time to building ourselves up to be stronger, healthier, and happier. Talking to your ex, which will only get your hopes up or hook you into potential drama, stops you from seeing people and new activities with fresh eyes and a brighter energy.

When It’s Okay to Break the Rule
Of course if you are co-parenting with your ex, then you will need to communicate with them. However, even in that case, you should limit your conversations to strictly concerning your children. Because, otherwise, you could find yourself getting hooked into your ex’s life again and everything else that came with it. Perhaps after some time and space, you’ll be able to connect with the parent of your children in other ways, but it’s best to refrain from too much contact directly after a breakup.

And, of course, if there is an emergency situation that involves your ex, you may connect—just don’t create one for the sake of it.

Will You Get Back Together?
There are some theories floating around the Internet that the no contact rule will have your ex come chasing after you, especially if you’re a woman and your ex is a man. It follows the sentiment that a man wants what he can’t have and if he can see you thriving and happily doing your thing without him, then he will desperately want to have contact with you again because he finally realizes what he’s been missing. This might very well be true, but this shouldn’t be the reason behind you not having contact with your ex. The purpose of no contact is to heal and move forward—not to manipulate. And if you’re doing “no contact” for the purpose of winning back your ex, then you’re doing a disservice to yourself and your healing.

Breakups are tough, and the idea of never talking to someone who you loved is heart-wrenching. However, having no contact is the best way to clearly see the validity behind your breakup and will help you to break the ties once and for all so you can truly move forward. It’s difficult, and you will want to relent—don’t. No contact means you can finally take control of your life and gain the freedom you desire.

Brianne Hogan

Freelance Writer

Brianne is a Canadian freelance writer who’s been writing about dating and relationships longer than any of her relationships. She applies a “do what I say, not do what I do” approach to her articles, and believes you can find Your Person mostly when you aren’t looking. So enjoy your life, and eat lots of cheese (at least that’s her motto). Her byline’s been featured on Thrillist, The Huffington Post, HelloGiggles, Elle Canada, Flare, Awesomeness TV, among others.

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