Is Cutting Off Contact With Your Ex Immature?

why-is-cutting-off-your-ex-to-control-your-feelings-immatureQuestion: Yangki, you say cutting off all contact is immature and you want people to stay in contact with their ex. But some experts including myself know that you control your feelings by not letting them be exposed to the things that trigger them. Cutting off your ex and choosing to not engage with him is a way of controlling your emotions. I think this is more mature than being emotionless. Don’t you think?

Yangki’s Answer: First and foremost, I want to make it very clear that my stance on ‘no contact’ is not an attempt to stop anyone from doing ‘no contact’ or convince anyone to stay in contact with their ex. I believe adults have the right to make their own choices about their lives and relationships — and should own up to the consequences of their choices.

This site exists to offer advice to men and women:

1 Already convinced that ‘no contact’ is not for them and not the way they want to go;

2. Who feel strongly against ‘no contact’ but don’t know why it feels “wrong” or what else to do.

In other words, it’s not my job to convince you to stay in contact with your ex. People who have tried “convincing” NC believers that ‘no contact’ is unhealthy (or immature) will tell you it’s time consuming and a waste of time. Someone has to want to stay in contact with his/her ex (on his/her own) or at least understand why it’s important to maintain contact if you are planning on getting back together.

My job is to help people who want to stay in contact with their ex do it in a way that’s healthy and mature, and will make their ex want to try a relationship again.

Now, do I think ‘cutting off all contact’ is immature? No, if you are choosing to disengage from your ex and move on with your life, and the only way you can do that is by cutting off all contact.

Yes, if what you really want is connection and a relationship. Not only is it immature, it’s also counter productive.

One of the characteristics of emotional maturity is being able to control our emotions and consciously choose our actions and responses.

It’s the ability to 1) remain calm in the midst of discomfort or unpleasantness, 2) be cool-headed in the midst of chaos, unwanted surprises or provocation and 3) respond in ways that bring us what we want without negatively impacting someone else (taking away their respect, dignity, security, sense of belonging etc).

Emotional maturity is also being aware of our emotional triggers but not letting our emotional triggers dictate our actions and responses.

As an “expert”, you may already know that “emotional triggers’ are about the past. They are learned responses from our past controlling our present and dictating our future. If you don’t learn new responses, you will continue to react to new experiences/situations with old responses. Most of those old responses were learned when we were young and immature and don’t work well in situations where an adult and mature response is required — and more appropriate.

By avoiding things that trigger our emotions (which is what you and the “experts” you mention are suggesting), you are stunting your own emotional growth because you are not learning any new responses. You are doing everything possible to keep status quo and as a result not growing emotionally.

Are there instances when choosing to not engage with your ex is helpful?

Yes. If you are not able to remain calm, cool-headed and not react to emotional triggers. In other words, if you have not reached a certain level of maturity. In many instances, not being mature enough to communicate and connect in a mature and healthy way is one of the reasons the relationship didn’t work.

If you have reached a certain level of maturity on the other hand, there is no need to disengage because there are no “emotional triggers” running wild that you need to avoid.

I think this is what most people want to be able to do. Not to avoid or hide from emotional triggers, but be in control of how they act or respond to any and all situations.

Learning to consciously choose our actions and responses (in any situation) not only renders our emotional triggers powerless, but also ushers us towards emotional growth.

Choosing to stay in contact with an ex doesn’t mean we are emotionless or don’t feel emotions. It means that we are consciously choosing our actions and responses (and not reacting to emotional triggers or hurt feelings).

That is maturity, don’t you think?… 😉

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2 Comments

  • It takes real courage to stand up for what’s right when it’s not the most popular thing to do. I know this first had because everyone told me that we need space and time part after a break and even our counsellor told us we needed not to contact each other for 3 weeks. We didn’t see the need to be apart at any point in our relationship and haven’t felt the need to. We worked out our issues by staying in contact and communicating openly. As it turns out she wanted to start a family and wasn’t sure I wanted the same, and I on the other hand did not communicate that I wanted to take things further but thought she wanted to take it slow. Without talking out our issues we may not be engaged today. So everybody reading advice from experts, if you need space from each other by all means go for it, but it’s not mandatory in order to get back together or be happy together. Communication is always best.

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    • Good for you for doing what’s right for your relationship and staying in contact and communicating openly…. and congratulations on your engagement… 🙂

      The problem I think for most people is not that they don’t want to communicate, they don’t know how to communicate in ways that are healthy and relationship building. So they avoid communication altogether.

      In most cases, inability to communicate well is why the relationship ended in the first place, and unfortunately avoiding communication (no contact) does nothing to improve communication skills.

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