Cool Off Period Vs No Contact (Self-Preservation Vs Relationship)

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 difference between taking some time to cool off (or time-out) and “no contact”.

1. Me Vs We

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 “we”.

2. Rules Vs Cooling down

The person doing ‘no contact’ has a set number of days for doing ‘no contact’.  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 so they can try to resolve the issue as soon as possible.

3. Disingenuous Vs. Genuine

The person doing ‘no contact’ has ulterior motives and hopes that by doing “no contact’ their ex will miss them and want them back. This is why they ask, “Is my ex missing me?”, “Will not contacting my ex make them think of me?”, “How long before my ex contacts me?”.  Someone cooling off is not concerned about their ex is missing them because cooling off isn’t about making an ex miss you.

4.  Self-preservation Vs preserving the relationship

This is probably the biggest difference of all. The person taking time to cool off cares about how their actions affects their ex. 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.

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 the relationship”, some of them can not see the difference. They are so into “me” that they can not see how thinking of me only negatively affects a relationship (whatever is left of it).

It’s the ability to differentiate between “thinking about me only” and “thinking about the relationship” that separates the emotionally mature and emotionally competent, from the emotionally immature and/or emotionally toxic.

It’s the ability to differentiate between “thinking about me only” and “thinking about the relationship” that that separates a good partner from someone you should be weary about.

Most of the time, it’s the ability to differentiate between “thinking about me only” and “thinking about the relationship” that improves our chances of getting back together.

You should be dumped if you do not care how your actions affect someone you are in the relationship with. And your ex should not take you back if you do not care enough about “the relationship” (or the potential of one) to want to preserve whatever is left of the “we”.

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  1. says: Gem Worden

    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!

  2. says: Lea

    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!

    1. says: Love Doctor, Yangki Akiteng

      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.