Is It Wrong to Do No Contact?

Question: I’ve read many of your articles and answers and I think n/c if used properly is way more powerful than you give it credit for. When I broke up with my girlfriend April 09 I went straight n/c for 4 months. No texts, no email, no letters, no phone calls, no asking friends how she was doing, no checking her Facebook page, no information, no anything. It was very difficult for a while but it got easier with the passing of time.

Then out of nowhere she texted me! She wanted to talk and see if we can work things out. This week she again decided she needs to figure out if I am the one for her. I’m letting her do what she wants but I’m going back to n/c.  I’m confident that she’ll contact me again. No Contact is hard but I believe it works well. I’m sticking to n/c.

Yangki’s Answer: I understand where you are coming from, and that my stand on “no contact” goes against the advice out there.

Almost everyone else out there is advocating emotional distancing and defensive detachment, I am advocating emotional connection, communication and healthy attachment because at the end of the day, it’s all about how your ex feels about you and about the relationship that persuades them to come back.

I tell my clients: Before you do anything ask yourself: “Why am I doing this?” “Why am I behaving this way?” “How does my behaviour make my ex feel?” “How do my actions right now help/hurt me later?”

What has this got to do with ‘no contact’? Everything.

There is the right reason and wrong reason to use no contact, if you must use it at all.

The wrong reason is to use no contact as a strategy for getting back your ex.

Not only is it wrong because it’s not about love, but about trying to trigger the fear of rejection and/or abandonment in someone who already has these fears and likely to act on them.

How would you feel if someone uses your own insecurities against you? Would you feel it as “love”?

Even when your ex comes back because they felt rejected and abandoned, they will leave again because the reason they returned was not because of you. They returned because of them – their fears, their insecurities, their issues.

It’s also wrong for you trying to get your ex back because what you are doing is shutting all the doors, windows, vents, chimneys (all access your ex would use to get to you), and then sitting by the door and checking the windows and vents hoping that your ex will burst open and come begging you to take him/her back. Good luck with that.

My experience over the years is that when someone says “I had to do no contact”, they are telling me their situation is most likely hopeless. By the time “no contact” is the only option, the relationship is most likely too damaged to try and get back together. People in relationships that were generally good and healthy, and people who had a no “too much” drama break-ups see no need to cut off their ex. Almost all of them maintain some level of contact, even those that don’t intend to get back together. There is just no need for abruptly ceasing all communication. If contact ceases, it does so naturally, over time. Not by a forced “no contact rule”.

But it gets worse — and many people doing “no contact” don’t even know this.

“No contact” damages the very foundation of a relationship. It takes away emotional security– that trust that you will always have your ex’s back no matter what.

What it does instead is create anxiety, distrust and power-play. Things that not only hurt your chances of getting back together, but damage your relationship.

Don’t just take my word for it. Do a Google search and see how many people actually heard from their ex, how many of those got their ex back, and how many of those sustained the reunion beyond a few weeks/months.

You said yourself  that you got your ex back using NC, but in the same breath admit that you broke up again after a short period of time. Now you’re back to NC. Why go though all that pain just to break up again? It doesn’t make sense unless one is addicted to high stress and misery.

If you have to cut contact every time you break up, you might as well cut your losses and move on (see my article: The TRUTH About No Contact No One Tells You)

The right reason (if you must use no contact at all) is for you to distance yourself from your ex so that you can move on — move on to a relationship with someone else.

Use no contact only for your own emotional health, and only if you really need time and space to heal and see things from an outsider’s perspective. Sometimes it’s good to give each other a little space, but realize that it’ll not necessarily make the other person want to come back into the relationship. It may even make them realize they’re better off without you. They get used to not having you around and that becomes their new normal. You coming back to their life interrupts the new normal, and people in general do not like uncertainty. How can they be sure you will not be gone again?

This is just my humble opinion based on years of experience reuniting couples. But when all is said and done, it’s your life, your decision. You do what you believe is right for you.

Just don’t ask me, “Should I do “no contact”? How long should I do “no contact?”, “What do I say to initiate contact (after NC)?” “Where do I go from here (after NC)?”

If you feel completely stuck after “no contact” or your ex does not respond after several attempts to re-establish contact, chances are you may have done too much damage to the relationship by doing “no contact”. So before you go “no contact” ask yourself the important question, “How do my actions right now help/hurt me later?”.

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208 Comments

  • There are several reasons why No Contact has been appropriated by narcissists. For one, it’s easier using No Contact if you never attached in the first place. If you were never emotionally invested in the relationship, it’s easier to walk away. Narcissists also have a desire to punish those who fail them, criticize them, trigger their shame. On the surface, No Contact may appear to be warranted and people support narcissist’s convincing claims; but beneath their pretense of self-protection is hostility, aggression, and varying degrees of sadism.

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  • Unless someone is in an abusive relationship, please throw the no contact rule out the window. It’s the biggest bunch of horseshit in the dating and relationship game EVER!!!!

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    • I agree with you 200%, on everything…

      What most people don’t realize is that the “No Contact Rule” is mostly a North American thing. I talk to people all over the world, and some people are really confused as to why an adult who wants a relationship with their ex cuts that same person off for 21, 30, 60 or 90 days.

      I think it has a lot to do with how we each learned to respond or react when we do not get what we want, or are told “not now”.

      Some people can easily take it in stride but others find it really hard to emotionally deal with rejection, perceived or real.

      And many “experts” instead of helping people deal with rejection is a healthy and positive way encourage them to react in a very unhealthy way. Truly sad!

      All you have to do to see the damage of such advice is look at the quality of relationships in different parts of the world. Our North American relationships are really messed up…. it’s all about manipulation, power-tripping and me, I and myself.

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  • I am really grateful for this site and the emotional depth it brings to relationships and breakups. I personally have never understood no contact, many have tried to explain it to me but no matter how they twist it, it still sounds unhealthy to me. The purpose of dating someone is to see if you can actually spend the rest of your life together. If for whatever reason, you find that you can’t be together as a couple or spend the rest of your lives together, well, that’s life. It doesn’t mean you can’t still find value in that person as a friend. He or she probably knows you better than anyone else in the world. Why wouldn’t you want to have someone who has wonderful insight into who you are in your life?

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    • Thank you for your kind words. That’s the way I see dating/relationship too. Unfortunately not everyone has the same understanding of dating and/or relationships. Many take dating/relationships as trying to find someone to “make me happy ” and when that “happiness” is taken away, they lash out in all sorts of ways. The saddest part of all… these same emotional reactions to the end of a relationship creates a cycle of unhealthy attachments and relationships. It then makes sense to cut someone off… they’re not only disposable, they’re a painful reminder of the unhealthy attachment/relationship.

      That’s a world away from “someone who has wonderful insight into who you are”.

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    • Which is healthier…

      1) Detaching to allow the other person space to be him/herself OR

      2) Learning how to stay connected and still allow each other space to be yourselves?

      I’d think the later because it’s about balance… independence and interdependence.

      Personally, I wouldn’t want to be with a person who can’t balance connection and independence… and goes from one extreme (too much contact) to another (no contact at all), and then back again. I’d be weary of someone like that.

      If you decide to cut me off, then be consistent… and stay cut off.

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  • I ignored an ex boyfriend for over 1 year and I regret it. It tore apart the relationship and allowed room for someone else to come in between us. May be it works for needy men but it did not work for my ex who is secure and confident man. But if I were to do it again. definetly not going that route again. For all you who still have a chance, keep the lines of communication open.

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  • I was doing no contact not because I was playing a game, I was honestly trying to move on. He sent me several texts wondering why I have ignored him but I did not respond. But after two months I still wasn’t over him, so I sent him a text. I did not say I missed him or anything, just asking how he is. He replied asking what I want. I asked him if we could talk and he said he’ll think about it. I understand that I pushed him away but can I get him back?

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    • Sometimes it happens that you think you want to move on, and then realize that you don’t. He may be too upset to want anything to do with you, but it is also possible that he just fears rejection from you.

      Try writing him a heart-felt email telling him you were trying to move on and didn’t handle it the right way. Make it clear that you are not trying to justify your actions, but that you want him to know you are sorry. Don’t ask him to give the relationship another chance or tell him how much you love him. One, he’s not open to hearing it, and 2) it’ll look like that’s the only reason you are “apologizing”. There are no guarantees that he’ll respond, or that if he responds it’ll be the response you hope for. The email is just you trying to reach out to him as open and vulnerable as you can be — without coming across as begging to be taken back.

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  • Okay, this is cold water on my plans. I was going to do nc for 60 days then contact her. She dumped me because she thinks I am a control freak and use emotions to manipulate her. She’ll think not contacting her is manipulation.

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  • Heres another reason why No Contact is just plain foolish-

    How would you feel if during the no contact period this person dies? Things happen.

    Would you want to live the rest of your life regretting this foolishness?

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    • Regret? I don’t think so!

      They’d probably be thinking… he/she died thinking about me… he/she must have died because he/she missed me so much… he/she was going to contact me but death stopped him/her… if he/she had not died, we would be back together!

      That’s how narcissistic we’ve become.

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  • Ive been wanting to contact my ex but chicken out. I feel like he should contact me first since hes the one that broke up with me, but I know hes so stubborn and wont. We were together for five months and have been in no contact for two months and a half.

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    • That’s a decision YOU have to make. If you do decide to reach out, be prepared for the fact that he may not respond… you were together for 5 months and no contact for 2.5!

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  • @Brenda. I would like to take credit but it is Yangki’s advice and approach that helped me get my ex back. I was like you, I was reading all the advice and everybody was saying no contact then I found her blog and bought her book. Her approach is about love and communicating throughout the process. That’s basically what I did and got back my ex.

    I hope it works out for you too.

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