When it comes to reasons to NOT go no-contact after a break-up; I have heard it ALL. I’m often fascinated at why abstaining from communicating with the person who is the source of pain in a person’s life is so hard for them to agree to. As I learn more and more about break-ups, however (including my own), I’m starting to actually get it. And, each of my “a-HA” moments further instills in me the confidence in recommending a no-contact period with your ex following a break-up.
[Note: I understand that if there are (shared) children to consider or assets to be dealt with that some contact may be necessary. I’m not going to address these dynamics in this post, but do want to recognise that I do get that no-contact isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution.]
Why no-contact it is so hard
Numerous studies, both scientific and empirical, have shown that breaking regular contact with a person is as difficult as breaking regular use of an addictive substance. Add to that the research that has been done on addictions people have to other people (yes, it’s a thing), and it’s no wonder that stopping contact can be so challenging. Despite the fact that this person has caused you immense amounts of pain and that the relationship is doomed, that little ‘ding ding’ on the phone with his/her text coming up releases chemicals and a relief that is very powerful.
This is also why you need to stop. NOW.
Why no-contact after a break-up is so vital – for everyone
The basic fact that is true about all break-ups is that it has happened because the relationship wasn’t working. It’s time to start building an amazing future without your ex, and you can’t do that if you are spending hours coming up with zinger text messages or waiting for his/her next call or text. It’s just not going to happen, not any time soon, at least.
If you are experiencing pain or heartbreak right now, there is NOTHING that your ex can say or do that is going to aid you in your healing. I know that a lot of women are looking for closure after a break-up, want to put her ex in his/her place, or want to let her ex know how much pain he/her have caused. I SO get it, and I also know that none of these things is really going to bring peace or launch you into the next phase of the healing journey. That’s all you.
Now, I do hear a lot that people feel compelled to maintain contact with an ex is out of concern for the ex themselves. While on the outside this sounds like a noble thing to do, the same principles apply. Even if you were the one to call it off, that does not mean you will not have a hard time breaking the habit of communicating with them every day. Furthermore, if you really care about him/her, think about giving them the opportunity to heal and move on, which is going to be very hard to do if you are checking on him/her, answering the texts or emails, and generally keeping him/her on the hook.
How to make no-contact a success
So, how to do it? First of all, as far as time apart goes, I highly suggest committing to at least two months of no-contact with your ex. You can do it! Once you get over the initial shock, you may find that the time goes by faster than you ever imagined.
Second (and this can be hard, so stay strong!), make sure that your ex knows that you want a no-contact period. No need to explain yourself, just let him/her know it’s what you need right now and ask them to respect it.
Next, it’s time to erase all signs of this person from your phone. This means deleting the number, unfollowing her/him on all social media platforms (you can always add your ex back after the no-contact period ends), and blocking her/his number.
Then, start taking it one day at a time. Fill your newfound time with nourishing, productive, and indulgent activities; and start kicking some post-break-up booty.
To help yourself stay motivated I highly recommend coming up with a reward for yourself, or as break-up guru Zoë Foster Blake calls it, your break-up trophy. What’s the thing that will keep you motivated to leave your phone alone? It could be a trip, a new pair of boots, a subscription box membership, or anything else that is a big, huge treat to yourself.
It pays off, I promise
I know that this is super difficult, but I can also promise you that it is super worth it. Imagine how strong you are going to feel in two months when you have kept your resolve. Imagine how much you can accomplish in two months! And, if you do decide that it is important to talk to your ex after two months, imagine the position of strength that you will be able to approach the conversation and situation from.
(All of that, plus you will be removing a major distraction from your life as you work to move on from this relationship, and, let’s face it, you will be removing a major temptation when it comes to sex with the ex or thoughts of getting back together during this highly vulnerable time.)
So, delete that number, get out your Google calendar, and start focusing on YOU.
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Great advice, I might share this with some of my friends who still haven’t learnt this lesson. It is true that breaking contact with someone can be the most difficult thing you could ever do but once you get past it (it is true that time heals all) you will look back and realise it was for the better!
Great article, thanks for sharing!
Thanks so much for reading and letting me know it was useful! It’s hard to stop the contact at first, but I think after the first 10 days becomes much easier, PLUS – you start to see the benefits!