Cool Off Period Vs. No Contact

Question: Yangki, I want to begin by saying this is by far the best relationship blog out there. I had to say that so that my next comment in taken within context.

Personally, I think that when emotions are high the chances of making significant progress with your ex is almost non-existent. Communication under these circumstances is likely to make the situation worse rather than better. It may be necessary to have a cooling down period. What do you think?

Yangki’s Answer: I agree 100%. In some situations, it may be necessary to take time to “cool off” before attempting to resolve an issue.

BUT… there is a BIG DIFFERENCE between taking some time to cool off (or time-out) and “no contact”.

The person cutting off all contact is only thinking about “me”. By erasing any and all lines of communication they are erasing any and all traces of the connection they have with their ex; they are erasing any and all traces of “us”– whether that’s their intention, or not.

The person taking time to cool off is mostly concerned about the relationship. They understand that their decision to take time off from trying to resolve an issue is not a decision to completely remove any traces of what is left of the relationship or even of their ex, but to preserve what is left of it. They care enough about the relationship to want to preserve whatever is left of  the”us”.

Another difference between taking some time to cool off and “no contact” is that with cool off period there are no “rules”. The person taking time to cool off is not counting “how many days in no contact” because to them it’s not about “no contact”. It’s about calming down their emotions and returning to try to resolve the issue as soon as possible.

But the biggest difference of all is that, a person taking time to cool off cares about how their actions affects their ex (the other part of “us”). They do not just cut the other person off and/or ignore any attempts by the other person to reach them. Because their biggest concern is preserving the relationship, they will do everything in their power to make sure that their actions do not damage what they are trying to preserve.

They are not asking “Is my ex missing ME?”, “Will it make my ex think of ME?”, “How long before my ex contacts ME?”; or posting photos of how wonderful their lives are or pretending to be happier than they have ever been because they are not trying to negatively affect their ex. In fact they’ll be concerned that such photos will negatively affect the relationship or their chances of getting back together.

It’s that ability to take care of “me” and “us” (at the same time) that separates the emotionally mature and emotionally competent, from the emotionally immature and/or emotionally toxic.

And it’s the ability to take care of “me” and “you” (at the same time) that separates a good partner from someone you should be weary about.

Most of the time, it’s the inability to take care of “me” and “you” (at the same time) that caused the break-up to begin with.

When I try to explain to men and women doing “no contact” or strongly leaning towards it the difference between “thinking about me only” and “thinking about us”, some of them can’t even see the difference. They are so into “ME” that they can’t see how they are negatively affecting “US” (whatever is left of the relationship).

You SHOULD be dumped if you don’t know how to be in a healthy mature relationship where “us” is more important than “me”. And your ex should NOT take you back until you learn how to take care of “you” without negatively affecting the relationship (the “us’).

Related: A Break from Your Ex Vs. Break from Getting Back Together

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  • Hello Yangki, thank you very much for your articles, they really help. I’ve listened to a lot of coachs preaching for no contact but I think it’s weird.

    I do believe than a cool off period is necessary.

    My ex broke up almost 2 months ago. After I tried to communicate about our issues and asking him to work it out he said “I’ll take some time for myself during the summer and we’ll assess the situation in september, maybe we should not throw away everything”
    So I’m in a forced “no contact” but I’m using this time to improve myself, my anxiety and needy behavior. And get less emotionnal about the break up because I miss him terribly.

    Do you think 2 months is too long for a cool off period? Won’t it be disrespectful of him if I try to contact him earlier?

    Thank you!

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    • Yes. 2 months is a very long time for “cool off period”. This is more (as you mentioned) a “forced no contact” situation, in which he is the one doing ‘no contact’ and you are respecting his wish.

      If he specifically said September and you agreed to it, it will not reflect well on you to break that ‘agreement’.

      In my Dating Your Ex book, I recommend trying to negotiate ‘forced no contact’ (also see article: ‘Force No Contact’ – What To Do When Your Ex Wants ‘No Contact’).

      Sometimes an ex will tell you it’s okay to reach out once in a while (or give you specific situations and/or how many times a week). It seems that this is not what happened in you case, so wait until September.

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  • Hallelujah! I am so glad I found your website! You talk complete sense. So many people make out that a break up should be treated like some sort of game! You made me realise that it’s not a game, far from it, and saving what is left of the relationship and moving forward is way to important to be trying to manipulate someone. Thank you!

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