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 advice on “no contact” goes against the advice out there.
The difference is that while most encourage emotional distancing and avoidance, I encourage emotional connection, communication and healthy attachment. At the end of the day, it’s not how well you do “no contact’ that persuades your ex to come back. What will persuade your ex to give things another try is how well you connect, communicate and emotionally bond.
“No contact” does the very opposite of connecting, communicating and emotionally bonding.
1. “No contact” communicates the wrong message about what you want
I tell my clients: Before you do anything ask yourself: “Why am I doing this?” “Why am I behaving this way?” “How will my actions right now help/hurt me later on?”
If your actions are the opposite of what you want, chances are they will hurt you later on.
- If you want your ex back and behaving like you do not want him/her back, you are hurting your chances.
- If what you want is closeness but behaving like what you want is distance, you are hurting your chances.
- If what you want is to show your ex that you still love and care about him/her but behaving like you wouldn’t give a rat’s ass, you are hurting your chances.
- If you want to show your ex that you have changed, but acting like the same old passive aggressive, manipulative, cold hearted, angry and vindictive you, you are hurting your chances.
2. “No contact” takes away your control of the situation
Who has more control of a situation: the one who has the power to act or one who only can react to what the other person does? The one with the option of doing whatever they feel like including reaching out when they feel like it or the one who waits to be contacted? The one who controls whether or not there will be contact or the one who has given up that control?
What I am saying is, when you cut off all contact you are giving up the power to act. It’s like shutting all the doors, windows, vents, chimneys (all access your ex would use to get to you), and expecting your ex to burst open the door and come begging you to take them back. Good luck with that!
3. “No contact” damages the very foundation of a relationship; trust
No contact as a strategy to get back your ex is designed 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 insecurities against you? Would you feel it as “love”?
Once you use someone’s fears against them, it will be very hard for that person to trust that you will always have their back no matter what.
The fear that you will use their fears and insecurities against them or that you will distance when they need you the most will make your ex cautious and unable to fully open up emotionally. Even when your ex comes back because they felt rejected and abandoned or felt you were pulling away, they will leave again because the reason they returned was not because of you. They returned because of them, how it made them feel.
So before you do “no contact” ask yourself: “Why am I doing this?” “Why am I behaving this way?” “How will my actions right now help/hurt me later on?”
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 or distance in order to ‘feel better’. In fact the opposite is true, being in touch makes securely attached people ‘feel better’ because it allows them to directly deal with whatever is making them not feel good, instead of running away from it. Staying through an emotionally trying situation (especially one you created) when everything in you is telling you to run (attachment avoidance) is what builds emotional resilience.
Almost all securely attached individuals maintain some level of contact even those that don’t intend to get back together. If contact ceases, it does so organically and not by a forced “no contact rule”.
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. Go ahead, Google it.