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.
7 Reasons Why Fearful Avoidants Do No Contact
7 Things To Do When Your Ex Cuts Off All Contact And Won’t Respond
Your content has been very eye-opening. I am confused about what to do with a dismissive avoidant ex, we were together for 5 years and close to trying IVF together to have kids.. she broke things off because she felt we had been arguing too much (I don’t entirely agree that it was as much as she says but then she gets overwhelmed quickly and easily).
I see a lot of sense on your position on no contact, but I have a couple questions:
1) What do you think to radio silence where you don’t break contact entirely or Ive more your avoidant ex, but allow them to initiate and then respond in kind, letting them take the lead – especially if they ended things?
2) Can you share your thoughts on a valid concern that a dumper like myself has, that being the one to always pursue or reach out, can send the signal to my ex that if we do get back together, she doesn’t have to learn anything or experience the breakup she initiated? I guess I’m really asking about how the dumper protects themselves when wishing to take time to resolve things and try again, but in a way that maintains one’s own self respect and send a message that I am not always going to chase or be available when you leave me? You need to know my value in your life?
This “No Contact” Vs. A “Cool Off” Period After A Break-Up and the links below the article answer your question.
You can also type “dismissive avoidant” in the site search tool and read articles and Q&A comments exclusively about dismissive avoidants and how to attract them back.
I’ve used no contact on two of my exs and now that I’m on the receiving end of it I can see why no contact is cruel and selfish. It is a revealing indication of why the relationship didn’t work. My story in short. She broke up with me after a big fight. A week later she came back saying she was sorry she overreacted. I told her we both needed time to really think about what we both wanted. This is because during the fight she said I wasn’t good enough for her and many other hurtful things. She said fine and I never heard from her again despite me sending her a couple of “hi, how are you” texts. Her refusing contact just confirms to me I made the right decision not to take her back. I should have seen the signs and recognized what they meant.
Yagnki, I have read many of your articles and some of them make sense. But on ‘no contact’ I don’t think there is anything you can say that will change my mind. ‘No contact” is the best for making someone respect you especially after you have acted needy. Not contacting her is making me strong again so that when I contact her I can show her I am in control of my emotions.
I hope you understand that all I can do is give advice. I can’t stop you from doing ‘no contact”… I do not have the desire to even try.
As we Africans say: Wear your rags to your funeral. Who am I to stop you.
I just hope for your sake, she is “waiting” for you to contact her. Some exes are not that “patient”.
I wish this article gave what steps are recommended if someone wants to keep the possibility of rekindling the relationship open. If the no contact rule isn’t recommended, then what it???
This whole site is what IS recommended. This is THE alternative to no-contact. This is the IT.
But if you are looking for some simple magic solutions like ‘no contact”, you are not going to find it here. The advice here is for mature intelligent adults who think for themselves and make their own decisions, not for people who follow “rules”.
OMG! I Loooove this site. Thank you, thank you love doctor.
I love you too… 🙂
It’s not always as simple as the no contact people tell you. Sometimes the dumped has done things to drive the dumper to the decision of a breakup. in my case I acted very needy and drove him away. I am very proud of the fact that I didn’t do no contact, I thought about it but after reading several of your articles, I chose not to. Our communications has improved drastically mainly because I don’t get anxious and become needy. Just wanted to share this with others. Thanks.
You should be very proud of yourself. It takes a lot of guts and a level of maturity to maintain contact with someone who “rejected” you.
I hope things continue getting better and better.
I asked my ex for a break and she thought I wanted to break-up, and so broke up with me. She says she wants a month of no contact to figure out what she wants. But I am so confused because there are many different opinions I don’t know what to follow and what not. Should I continue trying to talk to her or do I do no contact?
If she wants a month of no contact, give it to her. That is not the same as you doing “no contact”, because you did not initiate it and (hopefully) will not ignore her if she reaches out to you in that time she has asked for no-contact.
“No contact” is when you initiate it, cut off all avenues of communication and ignore all attempts by your ex to communicate because you are sticking to some stupid rule.
PS: It’s easy to get confused with all the many different opinions out there. Follow the advice that rings “true” or feels “right” to you.