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How to Use the “No Contact Rule” After a Break Up

How to use the “no contact rule” effectively after a break up

What is the no contact rule all about?

no way no exes

Out of sight and out of mind

After a breakup, your thoughts tend to always be stuck on your ex. Every time you think about your past relationship, you drudge up a whole mess of emotions and thoughts that do more harm then good. The policy of no-contact with your ex helps you overcome post-breakup depression and get your life back on track. Whether you’re interested in getting back with your ex or just want to move on, the little trick can do wonders.

How does it work?

No contact refers to your ex and it means that you have absolutely nothing to do with them for a period of a few weeks up to a few months. In some case, people take it to an extreme and never speak to their ex’es again!

Not speaking to your ex usually involves the following:

  • Don’t answer the phone when they call
  • Don’t return messages
  • Don’t follow your ex on facebook, twitter, myspace or any other social site
  • Don’t ask your friends for updates on your ex’s behavior or social life
  • Don’t email, text or otherwise message your ex
  • Starting the no contact policy after a rough breakup

Regardless of how your relationship ended, it’s generally a good idea to let your ex know that you don’t want to speak to him or her for a bit. This is important because it forces you to stick to the rule and it gets inside your ex’s head and makes him or her think about you (more on this in a bit).


no contact rule note

Handwritten or email – Doesn’t matter, but get it done!

What most people do is they write a nice little note, letter or email to their ex-significant other. Here’s a basic template:

Hi xxxxx,

I just want to let you know that I agree with our breakup. As great as things were, we both need to go our separate ways. It’s probably best if we don’t speak to each other for a little while, so please don’t be surprised if you don’t hear much from me over the next few weeks.

Signed xxxxx

Now, if you’d like to leave the door open for fixing up your relationship, then it’s really best to include the first line or something similar. Letting your ex know that you’re okay with the separation shows that there’s no hard feelings on your part. Please notice that the example letter is pretty polite and straightforward. No matter how badly your relationship ended, it’s generally a good idea to be the bigger person and show some respect in your letter.

However, if you absolutely hate your ex and just want to move on, then you can skip the letter and just start being mysterious.

Starting up your period of no communication

First, get in the habit of not answering your phone if and when your ex calls. In some cases, you may want to delete or block his/her number. This approach is a bit extreme, but if you hate your ex OR are prone to drunk-dialing, then it’s probably a good idea.

Second, if you use Facebook, then you want to log in real quick and remove your ex’s notifications from your status updates. If you don’t want to get back together, then just delete your ex. However, if you want to keep your options open, just hide the updates so you don’t seem them unless you go to the profile page.

Another thing about Facebook: it’s really tempting to check out the latest news from your ex. DO NOT CHECK. It’ll defeat the purpose of what you’re trying to do, which is get your own life back on track. Plus, it’s downright stalkerish. Are you a creepy stalker? No! So don’t check it.

Third, if you have mutual friends with your ex let them know that you don’t care about what your ex has been doing and they shouldn’t share any gossip or updates with you. News that comes through the grapevine will hurt…and it hurts bad! Sometimes, finding out that your ex has a new love interest or went on a date feels like breaking up again. Avoid gossip and you’ll slowly get some piece of mind.

Finally, if you have any physical items that your ex gave you, then it’s time to deal with them. If you just want to move on, then go ahead and throw the stuff out, burn it, sell it or do what you want. I mean pictures, mementos, gifts, whatever makes you think of him or her. However, if there’s some stuff you might regret tossing in a week or a couple of months, then box it up and hide it somewhere. Send it to your parents or friend’s house for safekeeping.

And that’s that! No phone calls, messages, gossip or items that will make you think about that last failed relationship!

Exceptions to this Guide

There are instances when a meeting with your ex will be unavoidable. Maybe you still live together or in the same building, maybe you have children together or maybe you have to do a project together or you work in the same building. There are tons of valid reasons why you’d run into your ex. Here’s how to handle it:

Smile, look good and be polite. No matter how much you might still hurt, you want your ex to think that everything is going perfect for you. You don’t want any pity and you want your ex to think that you are the boss!

Keep conversation short and to-the-point. No gossip, no updates, no nonsense, no hanky-panky: all of these things can get you into emotional trouble and undo any progress you’ve made.

Another, more extreme option is to have a friend handle any necessary contact with your ex. If you need to pick something up from his apartment, ask a friend to go get it. There are divorced couples who don’t even want to see each other when their children change hands: they wait inside the house or in the car. Quite frankly, I think this sort of behavior is a bit too much. It’s much healthier emotionally to just be polite and deal with the meeting like an adult.

Wrapping it all up

The no contact rule is just one tactic that can be used to help you get over a rough breakup or set the stage to get your ex back. There are a few other tricks that we’d love to share with you, so have a look around on the site or sign up below for our video-minicourse and we’ll explain them to you :)

Got a question or comment about your particular case? Drop us a note in the comments and we’ll help out as best we can.

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3 Responses to “How to Use the “No Contact Rule” After a Break Up”

  1. walter says:

    what if the ex left you for another?

  2. Mike G. says:

    Best “No Contact” advice I’ve found anywhere. Just the – letting your ex know you won’t be – is the part that seems to be important. I guess I could just say I’m taking some time to focus on work and get my head in order.

  3. Johhny says:

    OMG, this article is great! How can I get your videos? I need some more advice on this stuff, but it almost looks like there’s a pretty good chance it’ll work for my ex. she’s falls into all of the stereotypes you explained here and I bet that I could get back together with her as long as I play the cards right.

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