7 No-Contact Rule Mistakes

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:

  1. Panicking
  2. Putting your life on hold
  3. Thinking there are no more rules
  4. Setting a deadline
  5. Demanding answers
  6. Having a rebound relationship
  7. 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!

See results

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.

He Told Me To Date Other Guys

Dear Lucia,

I’ve been dating my former boss since 2005. There is no subject he cannot talk about, but he is not very nurturing for me emotionally.

I often got the feeling there were other women. When I would be at his place the phone seldom got answered, unless the caller ID showed a man or a relative’s name. Our last time together was Super Bowl Sunday and not one phone call since. I got angry because he was flirting with someone at the party.

Now he drops me a note saying he plans to call, yet the call has never come and I refuse to call. His last words were: Go date another. I won’t be what you want.

All I want is his love and respect. He can keep the gifts and horrible trips where he would completely ignore me.

Where did I go wrong? Why can’t I get him out of my system? I am shocked he could just walk away so easily with no feelings for me. Why does he do this? Broken spirit.

Dear Broken spirit,

I’m so sorry to hear about your situation.

The question is not: Why does he do this? The question is: Why do you do this? By blaming him, you are saying that you have no power here and are therefore a victim. Yes, you are a victim – of your own behavior.  Let’s look at the warning signs you chose to ignore:

1. He is not emotionally nurturing: One of the great benefits of being in a relationship is that this is where you go to be emotionally supported and nurtured, especially if you didn’t get it from your parents when you were growing up.
2. Other women: When all the signs were there that you were not the only one, why did you stick around?
3. He told you to date others: Someone that loves you would never say this to you.
4. He ignored you on trips: Someone that loves you is elated to be on a trip with you and doesn’t ignore you.

Why did you choose to ignore all these red flags?  If someone came along and treated you well, would you know how to handle that?

You’re hooked on being mistreated like a junkie is hooked on heroin. He can’t respect a woman that would stick around no matter how he treated her.  Of course he doesn’t respect you. You don’t respect you.

Where did you go wrong? When you realized he wasn’t there for you, both emotionally and physically but still stuck around.

The best thing he ever did was tell you to, “Go date another. I won’t be what you want.” At least he was telling the truth that time.

I would suggest you run, not walk, to a therapist to figure out why you are keeping yourself from being in a healthy relationship. Otherwise, you’ll end up alone or, even worse, in another bad relationship.

He Ghosted Me!

Dear Lucia,

I recently started seeing a guy. At first, he was the best. He would text me every other day, and if he had an unexpected day off from work, he would call and ask me to do something.

About a week ago I could feel him pulling away (he wouldn’t text back so quickly or instead of returning a call right away, he would e-mail me when he got home). I texted him on Sunday to say hello and that we should get together this week. He wrote back: Sounds great! That was his standard response when we were going to do something. I haven’t heard back from him since.

We went out for about 4 weeks and luckily I didn’t have sex with him. I wasn’t really into him, but I thought, “I’ll give this guy a chance because he’s so nice.” 

I am really disappointed in his behavior. If he doesn’t want to see me anymore, I would have expected that he call me or something, not just flake out altogether. He was a real gentleman from day one and now this. Candace

Dear Candace,

This proves my theory that those who are willing to rush in will be just as willing to rush out. I know the movies and tv have us brainwashed to think that it’s romantic when someone we hardly know starts to text every other day and want to spend all their free time with us, but it’s generally a big, red flag. They’re more in love with the idea of love than the actual person, because it’s too soon for anyone to really know who they’re dealing with.

You said you’re not really into him so this is more about your ego being bruised than anything else.  The only thing you can do now is to pull back and if you do hear from him, give him less of your time.  If he wants to see you more often, he’ll have to earn it.  Don’t make someone a priority when they only see you as an option.

I Want To Marry My Cheating Boyfriend

Dear Lucia,

I recently caught my boyfriend of 6 years cheating when I found a receipt from a short stay hotel. I believe it is the same woman he was seeing when we were having problems in the past. We obviously worked things out and he said he wasn’t dating her anymore but did speak to her from time to time. When I recently found the receipt I said its over and he cried and begged. I love him so I accepted and stayed.

I am 34 and he is 38. I want to eventually get married, have kids and buy a home. His goals are to move up in his field, buy a home, have kids and get married. We are working on getting a place to rent so we can split bills in order to save money for a home. We’ve discussed marriage in the past and he stated he eventually wants to marry me. He hasn’t proposed yet but says he fears losing me.

I love him and panic at the thought of things not going well but his cheating has lowered my self esteem. Shelby


Dear Shelby,

You said you worked things out, but apparently you didn’t.  If he’s messing around before marriage, when he’s supposed to be putting his best foot forward so that you’ll accept a proposal, how will he behave after you’re married?

When a man wants to marry a woman, he will usually propose within 2 years or less.  You’ve been with him for 6 years without a proposal and he still doesn’t know when he wants to get married, or so he says.

It’s interesting how you listed your priorities.  You wrote that you want marriage, kids and a home.  You also wrote that he wants to move up in his field, buy a home, have kids and get married.  I don’t think it’s a coincidence that you put the two priorities in that order.  It would appear you’re not on the same page.

Moving in with him would be one of the biggest mistakes of your life. Living together is a convenience, marriage is a commitment. Do you want a convenience or a commitment? Studies show that couples that move in together before marriage have a higher divorce rate than couples that don’t. On top of that, his goals are the exact opposite of yours. His priority is his career and he’s willing to have kids before marriage. How do you know that he would even marry you if you had a child together?

If you still want him, you need to do the following:

1) Get to the truth as to why he cheated. If necessary, go to counseling.

2) When you are certain that the cheating issue has been dealt with sufficiently, tell him that you “love him and want to be his wife and if you don’t receive a proposal and a ring within 3-6 months (you choose the length), you will move on.” Yes, this is an ultimatum. Though not generally recommended, you’ve already wasted enough time with him. You must be mentally and emotionally prepared to follow through.

3) Actions speak louder than words. If he doesn’t propose, stop seeing him. Don’t accept any excuses. When he calls you, keep the conversations light and short. Tell him you’re busy and have to run after 5 minutes.

4) If he wants to see you, it has to be because he has a ring for you. If not, there’s no point.

I know you won’t want to do this, but I believe you have no other choice. Let’s see how much he really fears losing you. Staying with a man who cheats and doesn’t want to get married would lower any woman’s self esteem.

The only way to have high self esteem is to impress yourself with the courage to make the right decision, even when it’s the most difficult thing in the world to do.