I’m always looking for ways to help as many people as possible clarify what’s going on in their relationship dynamic. A question and answer discussion on my post Ex Came Back With No Contact – NC Works [NOT!] inspired me to shade a little more light on a common dynamic in many “get back ex” situations.
Bruce: NC worked for me. I went NC for 3 weeks without any contact with her. After I felt much better and more confident, I contacted her. After two days she replied. I asked if she wanted to get together in the next week or so to just catch up and she said sure. The next day to my surprise I got a call from her. We talked briefly and I cut the conversation short. She told me she has a boyfriend but I kept it cool. I didn’t call her again for 3 days and she again called me. She said she told her boyfriend about me and he was cool with it. She also said she was happy that she and I are taking again. It’s been over 8 weeks, I’ve never initiated contact in any way, all contact is initiated by her. I’ve maintained a stance of NC. So the NC does work. I just wish I knew if I am getting anywhere with her. She’s going with her boyfriend to France for 1 month. She always wanted to go to France. I told her to send me pictures and she said sure but added “are you sure?” Why would she ask that?
My Answer: Because the pictures will be of her and her new boyfriend — in France! Have you considered the fact that she might be thinking you’re now “just friends” and her being happy that you’re talking again means to her that you’ve accepted the breakup/moved on?
This is the problem with “no contact”… people spend so much time and energy on “no contact” as if it’s what gets an ex back.
Bruce: So what do you advice me to do?
My Answer: I have no advice… I have none because I don’t know how you get someone back without contacting them. By leaving all the contacting to her, you’ve put all the power to ACT in her hands and all you can do is REACT to what she chooses to do. Because she is the one who has the “power” to act, she’s decided to go to France with her new boyfriend but all you can do it WAIT for her to return and contact you… It’s up to her to decide if she wants to send you photos or not, and when she returns she decides if she wants to contact you…or not! She owns you… and you seem very happy with that.
Beats me why you (or anyone who wants an ex back) would give your ex the power to decide what she wants to do with your life. May be it’s just me… I want to be the one who decides what to do with MY life. That includes contacting someone when I feel like it and not contacting them when I don’t…
Why am I highlighting this exchange?
Because many people make this same mistake of thinking that they have it all figured out and all they have to do is let the other person initiate contact — and voila! One day their ex is back.
If in the relationship and/or after the breakup you did most of the trying to initiate or maintain contact, going no contact and then coming back and letting the other person do the initiating may seem like you’ve turned the tables around. But is it?
If you believe just mere contact — e.g. who initiates contact or good spacing of your contacts — is what’ll make you attractive to your ex, you will find yourself spending so much time trying to do “the right amount of contact” but getting the exact opposite result.
1) One day your ex seems so interested and the next, he/she disappears… then reappears again… and so forth.
2) Your ex is initiating all the contact but it’s annoying you because you feel like your ex is treating you like a ‘friend” — and may be he/she is.
3) After weeks or even months of steady contact, you ask your ex if he/she wants to give the relationship another try but he/she says they’re not sure, not ready or don’t think it’ll work.
What I’m trying to say here in many words is, once you make “contact” the central piece in your efforts to get your ex back, you’ve already lost the battle. I know this from experience. I can be telling a client what they need to do to get their ex back, and in the middle of my advice they ask “so when should I make my next contact?” or “I want to know what’s the right amount of contact… once, twice…a week?”. They never heard a single word I said about what’ll get their ex back. And sure enough, a couple of weeks later I get the dreaded email, “Things didn’t work out…”
And I’m sure when some of you clicked on this post, you did so expecting some “rule” on “the right amount of contact”. Some might have even quickly scrolled to the end, just to see what’s best… contact once or contact twice a week. This is exactly the problem.
There is no such thing as the “right number of times” to contact your ex. The type and amount of communication with an ex depends on individual circumstances. In some situations, the number of times you contact your ex means little when it comes to getting your ex back. And in some relationships it means nothing more than a power-control trip — just to see who has control over who.
Pouring all your time, energy and emotions in “the right amount of contact” blinds you to all the cues and opportunities to move things forward. But even worse, it prevents you from seeing the red flags that say, “don’t waste your time here… move on already.”