There are a few misconceptions about the No Contact Rule that lead you to think that never talking to your ex again is the way to do it.
The aim of the No contact rule is to find yourself and give space to your ex while keeping the distance until something changes or not.
Look at it as an escape place to simply heal yourself from the breakup.
Whether you should break the No Contact or not depends on your type of relationship, how you feel after the breakup and towards your ex, and what situation you’re in.
If you are healed and you need closure then breaking No Contact isn’t a mistake.
But, if you break it out because of your urge to meet your ex or out of anxiety then the No Contact will lose its effect and it will leave you feeling guilty, desperate, and at times pathetic.
What is considered as Breaking the No Contact Rule?
We asked two of our clients that we are helping with the No Contact rule, according to their situation, what would they describe or not as breaking the No Contact.
Of course, we changed the names for privacy reasons.
“This Saturday night, I was out with my friends and I got a bit drunk. I accidentally called her and left a voicemail saying: Hey… It’s me, Mike.
That’s was it, I didn’t say that I missed her or that I was desperate to get her back. Nothing. Well, it’s been three weeks and she hasn’t replied. I don’t think I broke the rule exactly.
Oh, and that was my 25th day of No Contact.”
“I was on my 11th day of No Contact when I accidentally met my ex in a cafe we never went to together. It was the place that my friends and I have recently discovered and wanted to try the new food.
He approached me and I just said hi, we talked a bit, then I found an excuse to join my friends, and not talk to him for the rest of the night there.
I’m afraid that my No Contact is completely ruined…”
The two situations are quite different since the factors that caused the breaking of the No Contact aren’t the same.
Mike thinks that he didn’t break the No Contact since his ex didn’t reply at all. But, yet, the No Contact is broken the moment he has slightly or ‘mistakenly’ contacted his ex.
He had a 5-year relationship with her. It is impossible to reflect on everything that happened in a 5-year relationship within 20 days only.
By breaking the No Contact rule now he has taken a step back in this process since the reason that he tried to connect with his ex wasn’t an accurate one.
That attempt to connect came out of anxiety and the interruption of the grieving process immediately makes the dumper feel less anxious and more powerful.
Whereas, Susan didn’t directly break the No Contact when her ex abruptly met her. It seemed that he has been missing her since he chose to meet her out of nowhere in someplace that neither of them frequented before.
The No Contact was indeed broken the moment they spoke to each other. But, it’s fair to call this an indirect or unwilling way of breaking it.
Mike now has to start over since he was almost at the end of his 30 days of No Contact Rule.
Susan, on the other hand, needs to continue the No Contact since she wasn’t the one who initiated the meeting and her stance towards her ex was firm enough.
Mike has given his ex a signal that he is missing her and to fix it he needed to start all over and focus on himself.
Whereas Susan was on her 11th day and it was still early for her ex and her to decide whether to go back or not since they were both picking themselves up from the breakup.
8 situations when you should break the No Contact Rule:
1. You’re healed but need some answers to completely move on
Once you have redeemed yourself and no longer hold grudges, that’s the proper moment when you should think about how to break the No Contact.
It’s understandable, it is really hard and painful to listen to the answers that your ex might give you.
Maybe he or she doesn’t see a future with you anymore, maybe their feelings have changed, maybe they’ll refuse to talk. You’re trying, and your courage should be cherished.
Yet, once you’re focused on yourself during No Contact and manage to have a clear idea of what you’re going to do with this relationship, your ex’s answers will help you move on or, at a few times, might result in reconciling.
Note: If you are still in love with your ex or you are still confused, wait a little longer until you have a clearer idea of what answers you’re asking from them.
Once you understand yourself then you’ll be able to search for the unanswered questions and then slowly move on with your life.
2. You have a child together
Having a child together and implementing a strict No Contact rule is an impossible mission since you have some mutual responsibilities.
Let’s try to think it this way and implement it like this: If you need his or her help to give your child a ride, ask it politely through a simple and short text.
“Hey Ben, could you please send Hannah to Sarah’s birthday party today?”
If your ex dwells in giving another turn on the conversation then you might not reply after that.
Now that a child is between you, try to be polite, and if your ex keeps insisting to continue the conversation, make yourself clear that you’re not interested in having such conversations whatsoever.
3. Ex reaches out first, you have no expectation
When you are healed, you gain a new perspective on your relationship.
Now you no longer depend on your ex. You are more focused on yourself and you’re realizing that your ex wasn’t the one and you gain a new perspective on how the right partner would act.
If at this moment your ex reaches out to you then you can talk or text briefly and not go into details.
It’s simple: you’re not doing this out of expectations for the relationship to go further.
Your ex is the one that technically initiated the conversation. You can break the No Contact to give your ex the chance to know where you stand now towards him/her and your relationship.
4. You need to have a final meeting with your stubborn ex
Breaking the No Contact depends a lot on how long it takes for you to heal, gain a new perspective, AND how long it takes for your ex to outgrow.
According to your situation and how long you’ve been together, you should give you and your ex some space to reflect on their decisions.
If you were in a relationship with someone who had a big ego, had low-self esteem, or was stubborn, you need to give them some time to heal.
Once you feel that all the bitterness and tension has gone, breaking No Contact won’t be a problem to clear some things while reaching out to them for one last time.
Note: It is very important that when you make this decision to know that you don’t have certain expectations towards your ex.
5. When your ex asks you to go back with them
Before deciding on breaking the No Contact rule make sure to know the reason that lies behind it and if the process of grief has ended about you.
If your ex comes back after a week or two during No Contact and just texts: “Hey, I miss you,” then that’s not quite convincing to break No Contact in an instant.
If your ex wants you back then he or she will take the time to reflect on their decision and give you space to recover from it.
You know you can start with small steps and break the No Contact if your ex:
- Shows up at your door to talk;
- Outgrows their mistakes;
- Apologizes and notices where things went wrong;
- Your ex is willing to keep it slow;
- Your ex keeps trying to maintain the relationship;
6. You and your ex live together
Sharing the same space with your ex while being in No Contact isn’t very easy.
Living together can limit the opportunity to go fully No Contact. In this case, you should consider the ‘Limited No Contact’.
This means that you can communicate shortly only in those cases that you need to get/give an answer for mutual things/activities/responsibilities that you might have.
7. You meet your ex unexpectedly
Let’s think for one moment: What if you met your ex suddenly somewhere and you can’t ignore them? Is it ok then to break up the No Contact?
No matter in what circumstances you ended things, if your ex tries to break the No Contact by meeting you accidentally on purpose then just a simple “Hi” would work. (Similar to Susan’s case.)
That wouldn’t be qualified as a mistake during No Contact if you do not extend the conversation and find a way to not be near your ex or even leave that place.
Be polite but yet let your ex know your boundaries. Thus, you notify your ex that you are still being distant.
8. You’ve been dating shortly
You might’ve heard advice such as “Do not break No Contact with someone that you have been dating for just a few months”.
Many people decide to break up after a few dates or months of dating because they are not ready to commit, don’t have strong feelings for you, feel intimidated by you, or have lost interest in you.
Instead of just waiting for answers in silence and wondering if you meant something to them, if you’re confused and not sure if you should continue with No Contact, then contact them.
Two months or a little more is a short period to have a clear idea of what your ex might have felt about you and which were the red flags in your relationship.
It’s ok to contact them if you want to give it another try.
13 tips on how to break the No Contact Rule
Breaking No Contact in specific situations doesn’t simply require contacting them first. It requires the right approach towards them to reach the aim that you have.
~ If you live with your ex, now you need to let them know about your boundaries.
- Communicate in a simple and short form.
- Talk only about your mutual responsibilities and when there is any other emergency you should be involved in.
- When you initiate a conversation, know what you want, don’t chat just to chat.
~ If your ex wants to get back with you after he/she has come to the conclusion that they see you in their future.
- Take your time to think about it, have some time to yourself before you make a decision.
- Don’t jump into decisions without making sure you moved on past your/their mistakes that caused the relationship to end.
- Once you’re comfortable you can ask your ex to meet up, have the first talk in person after the breakup and see where you stand in this relationship.
- Let your ex know if you’re not interested in going back with them; gently and politely.
~ If you want answers from your ex and meet for the last time
- Initiate a text or a call.
- Inform your ex that you’re calling them from a friendly point of view and that you have no expectations.
- Let your ex know why you reached him or her first.
- Be firm and try to give and get answers that are holding you back.
~ If you want to reach out to your stubborn ex one last time
- Start in small steps. Be interested in what emotional state your ex is in. What is their stance towards you?
- Start with interacting a little on social media or even initiating a text, make sure to let them know you’re past the breakup. Try to not give off mixed signals.
- If you feel too that there is a chance of reconciling things and start as friends first then meet in person and have a conversation.
I broke No Contact. Can I start again?
Every time you break a no contact rule there is a chance for you to start it over.
There is a small percentage of people who mastered the No Contact rule and succeeded for the first time.
But, if you break it too many times during a certain period and with the same person then the No Contact will start to lose its effect.
If you want to start again and follow the No Contact strictly you should:
1. Refocus on your self-growth;
2. Don’t be hard on yourself or blame yourself. Instead, focus on what went wrong last time, and how you can improve this time.
3. Rebuild your confidence and don’t destroy it. Don’t devalue yourself.
Pull yourself back and motivate yourself to move on with daily activities that will help focus on yourself and less on your ex.
4. Be patient. I know that you might think that you’re a few steps back with your progression now, but instead of focusing on that, you should be patient and start once again.
5. Learn to control your thoughts and urge of contacting your ex. Focus more on what upgrades your personality.
It could be anything from reading books to keep you occupied to learning how to swim so you can control your feelings and distress.
6. Cope with your emotions and don’t live in a fantasy. Try to understand what you’re feeling and how you can overcome those feelings.
Also, try to understand the fundamentals of what a good relationship is and whether your relationship has signs that it’s over for good.
7. Move forward, respect your ex’s decisions and slowly let your ex know that you’re not trying to get them back.
Well, I broke No Contact, is it too late?
It all depends on how you look at No Contact, why you started it in the first place, and what you consider as ‘breaking of No Contact’.
If you look at the No Contact rule as a tool to have internal growth during it then you shouldn’t break it until you feel redeemed.
Let’s take this as an example: If you have been using No Contact for 45+ days or more and you are at the end of it. Yet, you still haven’t gained self-confidence or a new perspective on your ex.
Thus, you shouldn’t break the No Contact rule until you fix these points.
You know that the No Contact is working when you can tell that your world doesn’t revolve around your ex. When you reach this point then you can break the No Contact because now you have the right mindset.
The mindset shift happens differently for everyone. Sometimes it takes a lot of work and a lot of time to reach that point.
It is too late if you have grown as a person and now you feel confident yet you didn’t answer any of your ex’s calls or didn’t reply to their texts.
In this case, even if your feelings have changed, it is better to communicate with your ex and let them know.
Most of the people that choose to ignore the signs and convince themselves that NC has changed them, but in reality, it didn’t, end up getting together but breaking up again.
FAQ: I am breaking no contact….
1. Can I break the No Contact to just wish my ex a happy birthday?
Breaking No Contact to wish your ex ‘happy birthday’ is a controversial topic.
It depends on which period of the No Contact Rule you are and for what reason you send that message. If one sends someone a birthday message they wait so that person can reply.
If you are not past the breakup and you have been on No Contact for a short period, you shouldn’t text your ex.
By wishing your ex a happy birthday you are trying to get them back and make them miss you, or simply remind them of your existence.
2. Should the dumpee ever break the No Contact?
You shouldn’t break the No Contact rule if you broke up on bad terms, you are not fully moved on.
But if you are all past the breakup, both of you needed a break, needed some space before reconnecting again, you have mutual responsibilities or you work at the same place then you sure can break the No Contact.
It depends on the type of relationships you had and whether there is a chance to reconcile the relationship.
Once you are all good with yourself and independent, in this case even breaking the No Contact won’t make you confused, desperate, or needy.
Take care, adjust the advice according to your special situation.