The truth about no contact is that it’s an avoidance coping strategy to help you move on, and not designed to get back your ex.
What is avoidance coping?
Avoidance coping—also known as avoidant coping, avoidance behaviors, and escape coping—is a maladaptive form of coping in which a person changes their behavior to avoid thinking about, feeling, or doing difficult things (Elizabeth Scott, PhD).
Avoidance coping involves cognitive and behavioral efforts oriented toward denying, minimizing, or otherwise avoiding dealing directly with stressful demands and is closely linked to distress and depression (Cronkite & Moos, 1995; Penley, Tomaka, & Wiebe, 2002).
Outside of the internet and books, this is how “No Contact” works in real life.
Scenario 1 — You don’t contact your ex and your ex doesn’t contact you either. You both move on.
Scenario 2 — You don’t contact your ex and your ex contacts you. Nice! You respond, they respond… then suddenly… they stop contacting you. You contact him/her several times but he/she never responds.
Or you have contact for a few weeks but it gets harder and harder to find things to say to each other because that connection you had has been lost. After a while contact stops.
“No contact” is designed to trigger your ex’s fear of rejection or abandonment
“No contact” triggered your ex’s fear of rejection or abandonment, but once you respond, they are reassured you still love and care about them, and don’t need to continue further contact. So while you feel excited that your ex contacted you, your ex contacting you was about his/her issues and not about you.
Scenario 3 — You don’t contact your ex and your ex does not contact you. After the No Contact period, you contact your ex 1) but he/she does not respond or 2) responds just to tell you he/she has moved on (or with someone else), or 3) responds every now and then but it’s like you are bothering him/her or something.
By cutting off all contact, you are taking yourself out of the picture
You leave your ex no option but to learn to live without you. Over time your ex’s life begins to change… your ex is meeting new friends… doing new things… going to new places…etc. You come back after your “no contact”… A LOT has happened and changed! You don’t fit into your ex’s “new life”, or someone new is in the picture.
A break-up means there is a crack in the relationship. Pull further apart, and that crack will grow bigger. You may even end up creating cracks that weren’t there before you started pulling away.
If your intention is to get over your ex and move on to dating someone new, and you feel that you can’t do it while in contact with your ex, then “No Contact” is a great way to do it.
By the end of the grieving period, you should be over the break-up, and ready to move on
The truth about no contact and the psychology behind it is that the break-up grieving process (denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance) usually lasts up to 3 months (a little more for some). By the end of the grieving period, you should be over the break-up, and ready to move on/start dating someone new.
Some people are really lucky in that they will both complete the grieving period at the same time, are ready to start dating again at the same, have done a lot of work to become “new” to their ex and their ex is attracted to the “new” person they have become. This however is the very rare exception rather than the norm.
In most cases, the dumper will have thought of breaking up a few weeks or even months before it happened, giving them a head-start with the grieving process (if they ever grieve the loss of the relationship at all). So while you the dumpee is in Stage One (denial and isolation) of the grieving process, your ex is either in Stage Two (anger), Three (bargaining), Four (depression) or Five (acceptance). By the time you go through stages 2, 3 , 4 and get to acceptance, your ex has long moved on.
If you get to acceptance and are ready to move on, that’s great. But if you get to acceptance and realize that you want your ex back, but it’s been 3 months since you last had contact, you are in for a rude awakening… one that may involve re-starting the grieving process all over!
Why the no contact experts keep telling you do more more 30 days of no contact
If you notice, many of the ‘no contact’ advocates just keep repeating “no contact” and “ignore your ex”. They tell you, “You must do 60 days of complete no contact” then contact your ex. You complete the 30 days, and reach out to your ex, and they don’t respond. You go back to the “no contact” expert, “What do I do now?” They tell you to do “30 days of no contact”. You do that to, and nothing happens. They tell you to another 30 days, then another and another. After a while you realize doing the same thing over and over…(you know the rest).
After the first 60 days of no contact, most experts know it is pretty much over, but they will not tell you. Instead they tell you “More no contact” because they hope that you will move on. When you fail to move on, they start ignoring you. If you are on a “no contact” community site, suddenly no one is “giving you advice”. Some people even become rude and angry for no reason.
The other truth about no contact experts don’t talk about is: Reconnecting after months of disconnection is a lot harder than you imagine. Most people know how hard it is, until they try to reconnect with their ex. They may get a text here and there, but nothing is ever the same.