What Is the No-Contact Rule?
If you are reading this article, then it is a safe bet that you already know about the principles of the No-Contact Rule (NCR). If not, then you should first check out The 7 Powerful Benefits of the No-Contact Rule. To briefly recap, no contact revolves around the premise of taking a break from your partner for a set period of time: typically 30 days. In principle, the process is extremely simple but, in practice, it requires a great deal of willpower and self-control to see it through. This means no drunk texting, calling, or stalking your ex on social media.
When used correctly, it can help ease the pain of a breakup and be a positive tool for salvaging your self-esteem. It can also be used to facilitate a reunion with your former partner, although this should not be your primary focus.
The results of no contact are largely dependent on you and the choices you make. It also depends upon how you plan to measure your success. Initially, you may think this means reuniting with your loved one. Nonetheless, you should remember that getting through your breakup as painlessly as possible is also a significant achievement.
Finally, it is important to acknowledge that some relationships cannot and should not be repaired. This is especially true of controlling and abusive relationships.
7 No-Contact Rule Mistakes
The seven most common mistakes after no contact are:
- Putting your life on hold
- Thinking there are no more rules
- Setting a deadline
- Demanding answers
- Having a rebound relationship
- Becoming friends
Each of these mistakes is described fully below. They may seem a little contradictory, since they emphasize the idea of reuniting with your partner rather than focusing on your own healing and growth, even though the focus should be on self-recovery. However, a reconciliation undoubtedly remains atop of the wish list for many. Hence, the advice is intended to cover all eventualities.
Mistake #1: Panicking
It’s Day 31. You wake up feeling totally elated. You’ve done it! You have managed to go a whole 30 days without contacting your former partner. Now you start staring at your phone, wondering when your ex is going to text or call. After all, you’ve waited patiently for 30 days, you deserve this. Then, when the phone call doesn’t come, you start to panic.
What went wrong?
Was it something you did?
Has your ex found someone else?
Do they think that you’ve found someone else?
Should you contact them instead?
If this bears any resemblance to the thoughts presently rushing through your mind, then you need to stop. Did you not learn anything during your period of abstinence? Have you really gone back to Day 1?
Whatever you do at this point, do not start drunk dialing or texting your ex. If you truthfully believe that you can contact your ex in a rational manner, and think it would be productive to do so, then there are ways that you can go about this. Conversely, if you are in an emotional and highly charged state of mind, then contacting your ex should not be on your agenda, since experiencing rejection will have an adverse effect on your recovery.
You must remember that you took this journey to help you to recover from your breakup. It was an exercise in damage limitation, a journey of self-healing and self-improvement, not a means of reconciling with your ex. Ideally at this point, you should be looking forward and not dwelling on your past. You should be so busy that you hardly ever have time to think about your old relationship. You need to be totally honest with yourself. If you are anxiously waiting for that call, then you need to consider embarking upon another 30 days of no contact.
Before making contact, you also need to consider what your ex may be thinking about your silence. There is some adverse publicity surrounding no contact, which they may have read. If they believe for one minute that you have done this to punish or manipulate them, then they are likely to feel hostile towards you. For this reason, it is far better to let them reach out to you. If you are inclined to contact them instead, then please don’t be so obvious as to do it on Day 31. Wait another week or so at the very least.
Mistake #2: Putting Your Life on Hold
The 30 days of no contact are designed to help you get your life back on track. You’ve had 30 days to create a new normal and establish a new healthy routine for yourself. Instead of thinking of those 30 days as an interruption of your life, you need to view them as an opportunity to remember what your life looks and feels like without that person. Don’t get confused and start to think that the period of no contact is an interruption of your life when the opposite is true: Your individual life is what you put on hold during your relationship, and after those 30 days are over, you get to decide if your life is truly improved by that relationship.
Mistake #3: Thinking There Are No More Rules
After spending a few days wallowing in self-pity, you were encouraged to fill up your schedule and keep yourself as busy as possible. Upon finishing the first period of no contact, people suddenly think that they can forget about the rules that they have been sticking to. It’s a bit like dieting for 30 days, successfully losing 20 pounds, and then starting to binge eat the following day. What do you think will happen? Will you maintain your weight loss? I doubt it very much. You will end up exactly where you started and possibly a little bit heavier. The same is true for no contact. Just like yo-yo dieting, you will end up in a far worse place, emotionally speaking, if you drop the new habits that you have been forming.
After completing 30 days, you should try not regress into the person you were 30 days ago. All of the new hobbies you began, the fitness regime you started, and the friends that you went out with should be maintained. Your schedule should remain as full as it did the week before. Continuing to live your life as you have been doing gives you less time to fret about your ex and more time to concentrate on the present. The only thing that has changed is your ability to contact your former partner, if you still want to. If you do, it must be done in a controlled manner and be prepared for a knock-back if they’re not happy to hear from you.
Mistake #4: Setting a Deadline
Setting a deadline rarely works. Firstly, you must be prepared to follow through with your stated action and secondly, you need to have a justifiable reason for imposing a deadline in the first place. Furthermore, your behavior may also be considered as emotional abuse. You are issuing an ultimatum in order to manipulate your ex-partner into doing what you want, when you want.
So let’s work through this using a hypothetical example. Assume that you have completed 30 days of no contact and decide to reach out to your former partner. You ponder how best to do this and decide to leave it for a few days. You then send your ex a casual text message to ask how they are.
Now answer the following question as honestly as you possibly can.
Your Ex Doesn’t Respond. What Do You Do?
- Wait. Your ex is probably busy.
- Send another text. The first one obviously didn’t get through.
- Get upset and annoyed. You demand your ex contact you by the end of the day or else they will never see you again!
Doesn’t the answer seem blindingly obvious when it’s written down in black and white and not directly about you?
Communication is like a game of tennis. Player 1 hits the ball and Player 2 returns it. Player 1 hits the ball again and Player 2 hits it back. You get the picture. The same pattern should apply to communicating with your ex. What you must not do is:
a) Bombard your ex with a flurry of messages.
b) Get really angry and issue an ultimatum.
After a week has passed, it’s fine to send a second message just to check if they received the first one. If you don’t hear back after the second contact, then you need to move on and forget about it.
Mistake #5: Demanding Answers
When couples break up, it is human nature to want closure. Typically, you will want to know:
- Why did it happen?
- Did you do anything wrong?
- Was anyone else involved?
- Have they been dating since you broke up?
Nonetheless, one of the biggest mistakes that you can make, especially in the early stages, is to demand explanations about the whys and wherefores of the breakdown of your relationship. Now is not the time to start interrogating your ex about why they split up with you. If you start coming across as clingy, desperate, or demanding, your ex is going to run a mile. Any conversation you have with them should be undertaken in a light-hearted and positive tone. Your former partner should not feel under attack. You need to demonstrate that you are more than capable of living without them.
Mistake #6: Having a Rebound Relationship
Rebound relationships are never a good idea. You may believe that you are showing your ex that you have moved on but, in reality, you are simply exhibiting signs of desperation and insecurity. You are demonstrating that you are not strong enough to survive on your own and that you need someone to cling onto.
Initially, being in another relationship may boost your self-esteem. However, this is likely to be short-lived. When such a short period of time has passed following your breakup, it is more than likely that you will constantly be comparing your new date to the perfect illusion that you carry of your ex. Rather than admire the qualities that the new person has, you will be focusing on what they don’t have. Not only will this make you feel sad and disappointed, but it is unfair on the individual that you are dating.
This is why rebound relationships rarely work. You need to give yourself time to work through your pain and open your heart to the possibility of finding love again. Substituting your ex for someone you consider as second best will never work.
If your presence doesn’t make an impact, your absence won’t make a difference.— Trey Smith
Mistake #7: Becoming Friends
Remaining friends with your ex may seem like a step in the right direction. However, if you still have feelings for them, then it is probably best avoided. Do you really want to become their confidante and hear all about their latest conquests and relationships? Furthermore, being labelled as a friend means that you are highly unlikely to ever become anything more than that.
A different type of friend also exists, and that is a ‘friend with benefits.’ Whatever you do, please don’t go there! Men and women generally perceive sexual intimacy differently. For men, it can be merely a physical act that can be undertaken without any emotional attachment. For most women, being intimate triggers emotional feelings. The two goals are simply not compatible.
Just because you broke up doesn’t mean that your ex-partner doesn’t still find you sexually attractive. Nonetheless, they do not want to be in a permanent relationship with you. Consequently, to avoid any injured feelings, deciding whether or not you want to pursue a friendship should only be undertaken once you have permanently reconciled and gotten past your romantic feelings.