“Should I try the No ‘Contact Rule’ on my ex?” This is one of the biggest questions I get asked, and today—I’m going into detail about my thoughts and experience.
Of course, like a breakup coach, you’re turning to me for guidance around the “right” things to do during a breakup. Many people wonder if this is the proper thing to do to get what you want.
Maybe you are using it to get your ex back. Or maybe you’re using it to finally move on. Is this the best decision, though? Let’s find out.
But first, let me start off with a personal story.
Back in 2010, I went through my first university breakup; we had only dated for a year, but I decided to end things. After the split, my ex got a new girlfriend, and I was so shaking. He still messaged me (back when my phone didn’t have continuous texting and I’d get 7 messages back-to-back of us fighting like cats and dogs) but I felt like I was being strung along by him.
So, I opted for the 30-day no-contact rule. I needed to get over this. It was so painful, but the only thing worse than that was knowing he was seeing someone else. (Remember, this was one of my first loves, and I would totally cry at work, that’s how hard this was on me.)
Here’s what I did. Firstly, I didn’t block him, and instead, every time he would message me (once a week) I would ignore him, and picked up my phone to call my designated no-contact buddy and chat for 5 minutes. I’d tell her how I was feeling, and then after a few minutes, I realized I was okay. Then I’d hang up.
My ex messaged me 4 weeks in a row, usually on a Friday to say, “really? no reply?” to which I wouldn’t reply.
Now that you know my short no-contact rule experience, let me share what I learned. I’ll also share if this is something you should try.
Here Were My Observations During The Course Of My 30 Day “Journey”
1. I began to get my power back.
Initially, I started the process feeling like I had no control over my feelings, but by the end of the 30-days, I felt so good. I felt like I could see my own power within. I felt lighter and happier.
2. I realized how quickly emotions pass.
This was the first glimpse into realizing that emotions don’t have to stay lingering if you make a powerful decision to be in control of them. I let myself experience the emotion as it came up (not bury it deep down), and chatted with my girlfriend about it.
This allowed it to pass, and let go of the need to message him back. By the time the emotion passed, I really didn’t have the urge to message him, and instead would delete the text.
3. I was so grateful for the support of my friend.
I realized how meaningless those 5 minutes might have been for my friend, but it gave me so much gratitude knowing that I had someone who helped me through the tough times in my life. It showed me I have an amazing support system outside of someone who didn’t want me anymore. To this day, I’m not even sure she knows how much that meant to me.
4. The hardest part was just taking action.
Once I actually made the commitment to myself to do the 30-day no contact rule, the rest was just taking what came up as it…came up. I find we can get caught up in wanting to make a decision, but not actually making a decision.
5. I realized I didn’t want him anymore after that.
Once that 30-day period was over, I realized I found so much solace in myself, along with strength and resilience, I didn’t even feel the need—or the wanting—of him in my life. I also ended up meeting a bunch of new people that same month and started life-long friendships.
So, now you know my story, and what I got out of my experience. Now you want to know, is this right for you?
Here’s My Best Guidance Around Whether Or Not This Is Your Next Step:
1. Do this for you—not them.
Don’t do the no-contact rule because you want to get your ex back; that’s just being spiteful. We don’t want our exes back out of spite, do we? We also don’t want our ex pining after us when they see what they lost.
Do this because you want to own your power, and remember what it feels like to be in control of your own life.
2. Decide when you’re feeling balanced.
Don’t jump to this decision because you got triggered by their social media and immediately have deleted them off even Venmo (true story of one of my clients). Instead, take a few days to lean into the idea, and make the call when you feel at peace with your decision.
3. Get yourself a designated buddy if you plan on doing it.
Like me, I strongly recommend replacing your need to text them with something healthy, like calling a friend or family member. As the Power of Habit says, you can’t get rid of habits, but you can replace them.
Written By Nancy Ruth Deen
Originally Appeared On Hello Breakup