Your ex cuts off all contact, unfriends you, blocks you, and won’t respond to texts or take your calls. It’s like they’ve suddenly disappeared off the face of the earth. No warning. No explanation. What do you do?
Granted, different people deal with break-ups differently. But this is someone who said they loved you, and even promised to love you forever. Someone who, called you “babe”, introduced you to friends and family as “my…” and had you in their future. Your person.
What do you do when you ex cuts off all contact, unfriends you and/or blocks you?
1. Ask yourself why your ex cut you off
It’s possible that you were being overly emotional, unreasonable, needy or threatening, and your ex (rightfully) feels that cutting off all contact is the only way to get you to stop; and for your ex to protect themselves from you. You can’t fault someone for trying to protect themselves from drama, unreasonable behaviour or being harassed with texts and calls.
2. Assume they want nothing to do with you
If you go to the house of a friend you had a falling out with. They see you coming and lock all the doors, windows and drew down the blinds. It is reasonable to conclude that they don’t want you there. They want you to leave. Similarly, when your ex cuts off all contact and blocks all access for you to contact them, assume they want you gone. The only self-respecting thing to do is leave them alone. Don’t keep trying to contact someone who is sending you a clear message. You lose their respect.
3. See it for what it is, manipulation
If withholding attention, affection or love (silent treatment or cold shoulder), or trying to make you feel anxious, jealous, clingy or desperate is something your ex has a habit of doing or has done in the past, “no contact” is just more of the same.
You know what they say: “You teach people how they treat you.” If you take back someone who thinks it’s okay to punish you for ending a relationship that didn’t meet your needs, was deeply troubled (too many arguments and fights) or that was simply moving too fast for the level of commitment you were ready for; you are only re-confirming to them that withholding attention, affection or love works.
If refusing to continue a dysfunctional dynamic does not make your ex want to change; you know that the behaviour will continue if you get back together. You can’t change someone else. The only person you can change is you. Saying “NO!” to emotional manipulation and/or abuse is taking care of your own emotional health, and cleaning up your emotional energy. You will be more ready for a relationship where you will be treated with the respect, affection and love you deserve.
4. Give your ex a chance to change their mind about cutting you off
If you still have feelings for your ex and can find a way to somehow reach out to your ex even if they cut you off.
My advice is reach out at least 3 times depending how you feel. The first time you reach out, tell them that you understand if they need space or a clean break to move on. But if there’s any hope of any kind of relationship in the future, cutting you off is not helping. The message it sends is that they do not want anything to do with you. If that is the message they’re sending, you get it. Sometimes no response is a response in itself. But if that’s not the message they’re trying to send, you want to hear directly from them.
If your ex doesn’t respond, take it for that it is. No response is a response. It’s best that you both move on.
5. Let your ex be the one to reach out first
Many people doing ‘no contact’ actually want contact, they just want you to contact them first. This makes them feel that you miss them and still want them. If you want your ex to know you miss them and want them back, reach out first. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who reached out first. What matters is that you have a secure, healthy, and lasting relationship.
But if you try to reach out more than 2 times and your ex completely ignores you, and doesn’t even respond to tell you they want space, or don’t want you to contact them, avoidant or not, that’s downright disrespectful.
Stop contacting them. Leave them to contact you first. The more you keep contacting them, the more they feel ignoring you is what makes you want them. If they want you back, let them reach out first. You’ve done your part, the ball is now in their court.
6. Respect your ex’s request not to contact them
If your ex directly and clearly says they do not want you to contact them; respect their request and don’t keep contacting them. If they say they want ‘space or time”, ask them if that means they do not want you to contact them. If they say yes. Respect their boundary, and not contact them.
Not everyone ex who cuts you off all contact is doing it to get you to miss them or manipulate your feelings. Some people believe “no contact” is the best way for them to heal from the pain and move on. You may not like that this is how they choose to move on, but respect their wish. Some day you’ll want someone else to respect yours too.
7. Move on
Your ex cutting you off and ignoring you may actually be a good thing in that it allows you to move on.
It is time to start the process of moving on yourself.
Fair? Probably not. Heartbreaking? Yes. Healthy? YES! This is what someone with a secure attachment style would do. They try what is within their power to change, but if they’ve done their best and an ex is still won’t respond; they move on.
Availability and responsiveness are key to a secure relationship. If someone can’t even do that, the relationship is unsafe.