You want contact but your ex doesn’t want contact, doesn’t think it’s a good idea to stay in contact and has asked you not to contact him/her, what do you do?
When your ex says “don’t contact me” for some time, there two most critical steps that work to your advantage.
1. Don’t get upset and don’t act like “whatever, I don’t care” either.
Instead phrase your response in such away that your ex knows that you don’t just care about you and what you want, what he/she needs and wants is just as important to you, may be even more so. You need to make it clear that you’d rather stay in contact but if no contact for a while is what he/she wants, you are willing to forgo what you want for what they way.
Just by doing this, you have earned yourself some good-will points… you’ll need them later.
2. Ask your ex how much “time” he/she needs.
Asking your ex how much time he/she needs requires a little more tact because you can easily come across as needy or still unable and/or unwilling to accept the break-up. This is why it’s important to first accept your ex’s request not to contact him/her.
Asking your ex how much time he/she needs is important for two reasons.
If he/she doesn’t reach out to you, you want to know when it’d be okay for you to initiate contact without coming across as needy, pushy or putting pressure.
You want to know where your ex’s boundaries are. In my opinion, this is the most important to ask your ex how much “time” he/she needs.
Not everyone feels comfortable communicating his/her boundaries, and if you don’t ask, they’ll never tell. You only find out you’ve violated a boundary when your ex responds not-so politely or acts mean towards you. That’s why it’s necessary not to get a better sense of where your ex’s boundaries for contact are.
Whether it’s for you to know when to reach out, how much is too much contact, if you are falling into the friend-zone or if you even have a chance, knowing where your ex has drawn his/her boundary for connection with you is very important. It’s not only a sign of respect but of maturity as well.
A good idea of your ex’s boundaries also protects you in that you know when it’s okay to reach out, or if you should reach out at all.
Say for example, if you ask how much time your ex needs and he/she says “I don’t know”. It’s up to you now to work out what you think is reasonable time before you contact your ex. Some exes need two days, some need two weeks, some need two months and there those that need two years without contact, depending on why they need time away from you, and/or what they need the “time” for.
Does he/she need time to heal, to work on an issue, to work on his/her career, to get over an ex, to finalize a divorce, to be clear on what he/she wants from a partner, to get completely clean from alcohol or drug habit, to pursue his/her spirituality. The reasons why an ex needs “time” are many.
Some exes also say “I don’t know” because they really don’t know, and others say “I don’t know” to mean “never”. If you don’t ask, you will never know why they need time away from you, and/or how much time they need.