Why Is the No Contact Rule so Effective? (2023)

The no-contact rule is a way of cutting off all communication with an ex for some time, so you can recover from the breakup and allow space for each other to heal.

However, this can be a challenging method, especially since we can easily stalk and check up our exes via social media.

But, why is the “no contact rule” so effective? Here are some experts’ insights.

Table of Contents

  • It means acceptance of the break-up
  • It also allows one to heal faster over time
  • It serves as an action plan to adhere after a break-up
  • It stops the damage
  • It forces your ex to face their decision
  • It makes your ex miss you
  • It separates you from the others
  • It shows that you’re a good listener
  • It breaks addiction
  • It allows you to remember what it’s like to spend time with yourself again
  • It helps the body and mind reset after a romantic relationship ends

One of the main reasons why so many people find it so difficult to get over their ex is because they really don’t want to move on. There is some part of them that secretly hopes for a magical reconciliation and a happily ever after ending.

Many romance novels and movies use a storyline whereby two people meet, fall in love, breakup, and find their way back to each other. A lot of people consider this type of love story to be the most romantic of them all.

It means acceptance of the break-up

The “no contact rule” is so effective because it means a person has accepted the fact the relationship is over. Putting away mementos, blocking phone numbers, email addresses, and unfriending an ex on social media are catharsis actions.

It also allows one to heal faster over time

It’s harder to get over someone or have them get over you if you’re still in contact. Your future lies ahead of you and not behind you. In order to move on you have to want to let go.

Never offer or accept friendship as a consolation prize.

Oftentimes the person ending a relationship will suggest being “friends” in order to keep themself from feeling like the “bad guy”. They really don’t want to be your friend. Their hope is you will freak out less if you know on some level the end isn’t really the end.

Being friends generally gives the hurt person false hope that there could be a chance for reconciliation if they stay close.

In some instances, exes might find themselves having sex. The hurt person believes they’re getting back together while the ex sees it as just sex.

Once you realize your ex saw the sexual encounter as a “friends with benefits” scenario you are likely to feel used and hurt again.

It’s unrealistic to expect to go from being red hot lovers to being instant platonic friends resembling siblings. Your ex is the last person who can help you get over them and vice versa.

(Video) Why The No Contact Rule Is So Effective

Beware of the zombies.

Almost everyone has an ex who figuratively speaking refuses to die. Every few weeks or months like a zombie they pop up out of nowhere.

They contact you claiming they just wanted to “touch base”, “check in on you”, or they saw/heard something which reminded them of you.

Their timing is impeccable. Just when you started to relax and move on you find yourself playing another round of “whack-a-mole”!

Avoid the friendship guilt trap.

Sometimes the stronger you become the more determined your ex is to get in contact with you. It’s not because they want to get back with you but rather they need to prove to themself they could get you back if they wanted to.

Some exes will use tactics such as mailing cards, sending you gifts for your birthday, texts, or emails to get a response from you.

You are under no obligation to acknowledge receiving gifts, cards, texts, or anything from someone who dumped you or hurt you! Odds are once they verify you still have a soft spot for them they will go back to being distant and disinterested in you.

There are also those exes who take the no contact rule personally. They refuse to believe you are using it to heal and move on with your life. They’ll say if they ever meant anything at all to you, you wouldn’t cut them out of your life. Others claim the no contact rule is immature.

It is a common misnomer to believe by staying connected to an ex proves you’re mature or the bigger person. You have nothing to prove!

The best friendships between exes usually occur after a large gap in time whereby both people have found love and happiness with new mates. One day, they bump into each other and exchange email addresses and decide to touch base from time to time.

When you’re at the point where seeing or hearing from your ex no longer stirs up any emotion is when you’ll know you are truly capable of being friends. The opposite of love is not hate. It’s indifference.

Related: How to Accept a Breakup You Didn’t Want and Move On (24 Great Tips)

Dr. Kim Chronister

Why Is the No Contact Rule so Effective? (2)

Licensed Clinical Psychologist

There is something researchers call the “Scarcity Principle.” It means that we value what is scarce. Take for instance water and toilet paper for example. When do we value it…when it is in full supply or when it is difficult to find? We value what is not readily available to us.

Let’s use the example of when someone is taken for granted and dumped. The person who did the breaking up likely thinks that they can have the other person back at any time.

(Video) Why Is The No Contact Rule So Effective?

It serves as an action plan to adhere after a break-up

It is up to the person who was taken for granted and broken up with to re-establish respect (if they want their ex back) by not being available (at least until the other person misses them and makes a real effort to also get them back).

No contact, in my opinion, should typically be at least sixty-six days in duration. The reason for this time frame is because studies show that it takes sixty-six days to form a new habit. Therefore, the time to form the habit of not chasing the ex and truly focus on one’s own self-development would be at least 66 days.

Related: How Long It Takes to Get Over Someone After a Breakup?

There are at least two goals of no contact. One is to get an ex back (if that is truly what you want) and the other is to fully heal and get over the ex.

Instead of passively waiting for you to heal or for your ex to come back, you are able to view “No Contact” as an action plan that something you can commit to and adhere to after a breakup.

To use the no contact rule, a person refrains from contacting the ex romantic partner. It’s responding with dignity, maturity, and strength which are all very attractive qualities.

Sometimes, the “fight or flight,” response within us will explode and we will act in desperation to get our ex back even if our actions make no sense. We will beg, plead, cry, yell, and maybe even buy gifts to try to win them back after being dumped.

The problem is that none of these things address the reason for the breakup and, therefore, don’t work except in rare cases where an ex feels sorry for you or is tired of the whining and takes you back temporarily until he/she can work up the nerve to break up with you again using a method where escape from you is easier.

The no contact rule provides the best hope if you can focus more instead of on a hopeless effort to force something right now.

It stops the damage

If you respond with calm and poise when your ex breaks up with you, you let the relationship stand on its own.

It forces your ex to face their decision

Awkwardly sticking around, trying to use blunt force emotion and fit pitching, even if you think you are calmly discussing things only makes your ex want to be out of the relationship.

It doesn’t allow him/her to truly face the consequences of what they think they wanted. You simply put them on the defensive as they continue to have you present instead of absent.

It makes your ex miss you

Seduce them with silence! Assuming your relationship was a good one – that is, you didn’t fight all the time, get caught cheating, or call their mother a witch to her face, then the good from the relationship will begin to resurface in your ex’s mind.

By giving your ex space and by disappearing – which is what they requested – you give them something to compare the relationship to and that is not having it.

It separates you from the others

You contrast yourself with everyone else by being the one who showed strength, self-respect, and respect for your ex. Separating yourself from the others almost always makes your ex question their decision – if you stay strong and stay away until your ex comes to you.

(Video) The "NO CONTACT" Rule Explained (How To Do It CORRECTLY)

Make yourself a stark contrast to the others out there by using the no contact and the odds go way up that your ex will want you back and will come back to you.

It shows that you’re a good listener

You can demonstrate to your ex that you possess the qualities they are looking for in a partner in that you are a good listener.

Instead of acting selfishly by awkwardly hanging around being annoying, you listened to what they had to say and responded by giving them what they said they wanted.

Katie Dames

Why Is the No Contact Rule so Effective? (4)

Relationship Expert, Feely Feelings

It breaks addiction

Relationships create a cycle of oxytocin in the body, which is known as the love hormone. Physical touch and other forms of affection release oxytocin which makes you feel good. This hormone is related to serotonin and dopamine which are the drugs associated with an addiction high.

The no contact rule helps to ease the pain that you feel from the lack of oxytocin. It’s for this reason that the no contact rule is so effective in helping you get over your breakup. You’re essentially going cold-turkey from the oxytocin you were used to receiving.

It allows you to remember what it’s like to spend time with yourself again

For those who were in a relationship that really sucked all their time and energy, the contact rule can be a great way to give you time to focus on yourself.

Whether that’s hanging out with friends, traveling, or just using your space wisely, the no contact rule gives you the freedom that you might have been missing in your relationship.

Related: What to Do After a Breakup

It helps the body and mind reset after a romantic relationship ends

Have you ever heard that removing someone from your life impacts the brain in the same way that discontinuing an addictive drug does? This is because our systems get so used to interacting with another human being that it can feel impossible to stop contact, even if you are the one to end things.

If you want to truly move on from the relationship and into a new, beautiful future, having a period of no-contact with your ex is the most effective way to do it.

(Video) 7 Reasons Why The No Contact Rule Works On Everyone

With each day that passes, you will become more used to life without your ex. The beginning will be hard, but if you give into texting back, asking for chats, or feeling like you need to check in on the person, you remain connected. The door to a new beginning will only remain cracked open.

Want closure? The other person can’t give it to you. You need to give it to yourself. A relationship ends for one reason: it wasn’t working.

Looking to maintain contact or discussions with your ex in order to get to some magical point of “having closure” is a losing game.

The time after a break-up is your opportunity to look inward for strength and learn how to show up for yourself.

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Why does the no contact rule work so well? ›

The “no contact rule” is so effective because it means a person has accepted the fact the relationship is over. Putting away mementos, blocking phone numbers, email addresses, and unfriending an ex on social media are catharsis actions.

Why is no contact the best way? ›

The No Contact rule is so effective because it allows you to sit with your grief and wounds and not plug up any holes or feelings of brokenness with someone else, as sex and grief coach Breeshia Wade, explains.

How do you successfully complete no contact? ›

How to Master the 'No Contact Rule' — the Ultimate Breakup Tool
  1. Write a letter to yourself.
  2. Give yourself room to grieve.
  3. Make a list of the bad things your ex did.
  4. Start a self-care list.
  5. Have a breakup buddy.
  6. Work on yourself.
  7. Start a new hobby.
  8. Give yourself some structure.
25 Sept 2022

How accurate is the no contact rule? ›

The success rate of this rule is usually almost as high as 90% because the person who has broken up will inevitably contact you for one of two reasons. First, they may be missing you and feel guilty, and second, they miss having the power over you and are curious to know how you are doing without them. 2.

Why silence is powerful after breakup? ›

There is no easy way to deal with a breakup, but remaining silent actually speaks volumes to your ex. After all, actions speak louder than words! By staying silent, you're telling your ex that you're strong, resilient, and independent. You're relying on yourself — and no one else — for your own happiness.

How long is no contact most effective? ›

The no-contact rule refers to cutting off all contact with an ex following a breakup, and it's the best method for moving on from an ex. No contact should last for a minimum of 60 days, and it includes no texting, no calling, and no interacting on social media.

What no contact does to a person? ›

Going 'no-contact' with someone you spent a lot of time with and planned a future with can be painful. A woman experiencing the stages of no contact is likely to feel angry, sad, and lonely. While a woman is likely to feel sadness in the early stages of no contact, she will quickly get over her ex as time goes on.

Why is no contact so effective on men? ›

The no-contact rule male psychology forces him to recognize his loneliness. After a breakup, if you stop contacting him, he will feel free and enjoy this phase as much as he can. But, with time, the loneliness and guilt pang will start to kick in.

Will no contact make them miss me? ›

Because the truth is, during no contact with your ex, they will start to miss you no matter what. What they do with that feeling is dependent on their personality. If you were dating an incredibly stubborn person, it might take months before your ex gives in and reaches out.

Does no contact work on everyone? ›

Some people may be asking, “Does No Contact work?”. While everyone's ex is different, the No Contact Rule does increase the likelihood of your ex missing you and wanting to come back. In essence, it will show them that you are not available for them whenever they want you and that you have your own life to live.

How do I stop thinking about my ex during no contact? ›

  1. Distract yourself so you're literally too busy to even think about them. ...
  2. Establish some boundaries with yourself. ...
  3. Give yourself some time to feel sad, or mad, or angry, or literally whatever. ...
  4. Understand that you may still have lingering feelings for this person, and that's okay. ...
  5. Indulge in alllll the self care.
23 Mar 2021

What to say after ending no contact? ›

End contact with them politely but clearly.

Hope you're doing well. I've been thinking a lot this past month, and I'm ready to say goodbye to you and move on. I wish you all the best.” “This break helped me process what happened and helped me realize I'm ready to move on.

What no contact does to a woman? ›

Simply put, the female mind during no-contact rule is more likely to struggle with negative feelings. Your ex will be a mess for a while. Crying, grieving, feeling anxious, and even entering a depressive phase. It can be overwhelming for her to come to terms with the idea of leaving behind a shared life with you.

What happens after no contact for 30 days? ›

What Happens After The 30-Day No Contact Rule?
  1. Make the no contact rule permanent or long term.
  2. Try to work things out.
  3. Or move on with your life, yet remain cordial or friends.
  4. Give your ex more space.

Does absence make the heart grow fonder after a breakup? ›

It's long been taught by the book of love, but now scientists suggest that absence truly does make the heart grow fonder, particularly when it comes to intimacy.

Does silence make the dumper miss you? ›

Radio silence simply refers to the act of being distant from your partner in order to make him come back to you. When done the right way, it allows your ex to miss and crave you more. It reaffirms and reawakens the feels he has for you, compelling him to come back.

Is ignoring an ex the best revenge? ›

Some people may think that ignoring your ex is the best revenge. This allows them to wonder about you since they don't see you checking up on them, and you may be fine without them. In general terms, having no contact at all for at least 30 days after a breakup can give ignoring your ex the best chance at working.

Can silence heal a relationship? ›

Research indicates that both men and women use the silent treatment in relationships. However, clear and direct communication is essential for healthy relationships. Using the silent treatment prevents people from resolving their conflicts in a helpful way.

Do they ever come back after no contact? ›

Yes, they can. People find their way back to their ex if they realize how much they miss her. This may happen if you spend much time together during your dating phase. Also, if he keeps seeing something that reminds him of you, it may be hard to let go.

How long does it take for a guy to realize he messed up? ›

Men often go through an emotional state called “Dumpers Remorse” after the woman finally goes away. This state hits after one month to six weeks after the man passes through the initial happy phase after a breakup. He starts to give away signs he knows he messed up the whole thing from that time.

How long does it take for someone to reach out after no contact? ›

While 30 days is a good rule of thumb, everybody is different. Some people move on really fast after a breakup, while other people take a long time. If 30 days pass and you still aren't ready, it's totally okay to extend your period of no contact.

How do you accept a relationship is over? ›

The first thing you need to know is that accepting that a relationship is over will take work. It won't be easy.
How to accept your relationship is ending: 11 effective tips
  1. Allow yourself to grieve. ...
  2. Share your feelings. ...
  3. Stay productive. ...
  4. Write about it. ...
  5. Amp up the self-care. ...
  6. Make new routines.
29 Apr 2022

Why do men move on so quickly? ›

“There are likely several reasons for this,” she says. “Men are not reinforced or socialized for emotional communication the same way as women, relationships may often have a different functionality for men, and men at a certain younger age may not feel the same pressure about family planning and marriage.”

What goes through a guys mind during no contact? ›

He will usually feel emotions like uneasiness or even anger, and begin checking his phone more often to see if you've read his messages. Along with the feeling that you're being rude or inconsiderate, any lingering feelings he has for you will also begin to surface.

What part of no contact is the hardest? ›

What Is The Hardest Day Of No Contact?
  • Immediately after you start it.
  • Limited no contact breaks.
  • The day/s where you aren't hearing from them.
  • When the roller coaster impact goes into effect.
12 Jun 2022

Does no contact work on an emotionally unavailable man? ›

Most of the time no contact with an emotionally unavailable man or woman works because it gives them the space and the time they need to think about themselves and their relationship. Often dumpers do come back because they have had the time to reflect on their actions and emotions.

Does no contact work on stubborn man? ›

In fact, most say that their ex is uniquely stubborn – more so than other exes or other people. While I'm not suggesting that you are wrong in thinking that your ex boyfriend, ex girlfriend, or spouse is stubborn, this trait would not negate the impact of The No Contact Rule in the vast majority of cases.

How do I make him scared of losing me? ›

How To Make A Guy Realize He Is Losing You
  1. Let Him Know That You Are Prepared To Walk Away. Save. ...
  2. Do Not Let Him Take Away Your Efforts In Vain. Easier said than done! ...
  3. Prioritize Yourself. ...
  4. Remind Him That He Is Not Your Only Option. ...
  5. Make Yourself Busy. ...
  6. Go For A New Look. ...
  7. Take A Break From Replying. ...
  8. Do Not Try To Please Him.
28 Nov 2022

What is he thinking after a week of no contact? ›

After several days, he'll wonder what you're doing and why you're silent. It's common for most men to expect (or hope) that their ex will be the one to break the ice, and he'll worry when you haven't called or texted in a week. He'll be obsessed with trying to figure out what you're thinking.

How do I know no contact is working? ›

If the messages they're sending you change from sweet to angry, you'll know that the no contact rule is really working. When they still can't get ahold of you, they'll probably realize that you're not going to come around, and they'll get sad about what they've lost.

How do you let go of someone who doesn't want you? ›

  1. #2. Admit To Your Feelings. ...
  2. #3. Give Your Wounds Time To Recuperate. ...
  3. #4. Never Blame Yourself. ...
  4. #5. Share Your Feelings With Someone. ...
  5. #6. Cut-off All Ties With This Person. ...
  6. #7. Fall In Love With Yourself And Look After Yourself. ...
  7. #8. Try Some Physical Exercises. ...
  8. #9. Think Of The Positive Aspects.
30 Jan 2021

How do you know your ex is thinking about you? ›

If your ex is trying to contact you, or maybe even trying to speak to you at weird hours, then it might be a sign they still think about you. Another big sign is social media. If they somehow didn't get rid of you, whether, via an unfriend or a straight block, it might mean that they miss you.

Is it best to cut off all contact with an ex? ›

Taking a step back and giving yourself space by cutting all means of communication to win back your ex and clearly analyze your situation is most often the best way to go!

How long does it take for an ex to reach out? ›

Without any prompting, expect to hear from your ex any time between 8 and 75 days. There is almost always the intent and desire to reach out to your ex.

How do you know your ex will never come back? ›

Key Pointers. Your ex may not be coming back if they show signs of complete avoidance. Blocking you on social media platforms, enjoying life without you, and not showing interest in your current relationship are a few signs. Focus on yourself and move on instead of holding on to them.

How do I know my breakup is final? ›

One of the biggest signs a breakup is final is when one of you, or both of you, feel like you just can't do this anymore. It's been so emotionally and physically taxing that you just feel like you have nothing left to give to this relationship.

Does absence increase attraction? ›

Does Absence Really Make the Heart Grow Fonder? It turns out, there's actually some truth to this phrase! A study published in the Journal of Communication found that couples in long-distance relationships have more meaningful interactions than those who see each other every day, leading to higher levels of intimacy.

Can Breaking Up strengthen a relationship? ›

Although ending a relationship can be painful, a separation can give a couple space to work on personal issues that have been harming the relationship. 'It can help individuals reassess their priorities, helping them to know more about what they would like to get out of a relationship,' says Fredrickson.

Can couples get back together after months apart? ›

Regardless of the nature of your question, know that ex-couples getting back together after a breakup are more common. Some couples may get back after a few weeks or months, while others go apart only to find a way to be together after years of living separately.

Does the no contact rule work more than once? ›

Not totally, but instead of 100% effective, it'll be around 90% effective. The next time you break it, you lose another 10% of effectiveness, and so on all the way down to zero. Each time you have to restart because you failed, No Contact will lose effectiveness.

What do psychologists say about no contact rule? ›

No-contact rule female psychology says that cutting off all contact after a breakup is the best decision. This allows both of you to clear your heads, and either move on from the relationship or decide to work things out and come back together.

Why does no contact rule not work? ›

Yet, you wonder: When does No Contact not work? That all depends on a few factors; having the wrong intention, specific situations, when you aren't very dedicated, and when you refuse to nourish yourself first. It isn't easy to decide whether to use this rule or not and whether that will work for your situation.

What are men thinking during no contact? ›

“No contact” could make him question what he thought he did right. He'll doubt everything from his attractiveness and bedroom skills to his jokes and romantic gestures. He might fixate on every little error he made while you were together, adding to his feelings of regret and insecurity.

Will a guy miss you during no contact? ›

Because the truth is, during no contact with your ex, they will start to miss you no matter what. What they do with that feeling is dependent on their personality. If you were dating an incredibly stubborn person, it might take months before your ex gives in and reaches out.

What if he doesn't contact me after 30 days? ›

If 30 days have passed and your ex has not reached out to you, then you should give him or her their space. Every break up is different and no written rule says that it's a 30-day cap. Some people can go for 3 months with no-contact.

Does no contact rule work on everyone? ›

Some people may be asking, “Does No Contact work?”. While everyone's ex is different, the No Contact Rule does increase the likelihood of your ex missing you and wanting to come back. In essence, it will show them that you are not available for them whenever they want you and that you have your own life to live.

How do you tell if someone regrets breaking up with you? ›

Here are some of the signs your ex regrets dumping you.
  1. They begin to communicate with you.
  2. They apologize for the breakup.
  3. They show more affection.
  4. They discuss issues in their present relationship.
  5. They try to atone for past mistakes.
  6. They show pessimism when you tell them someone else is involved.
  7. They stalk you.
8 Jul 2022

Is the no contact rule the best option? ›

Conclusion. The no contact rule is an excellent tool that can help a lot in getting an ex back, getting over a breakup or removing a toxic person from your life. It's quite straightforward if you want to move on from a breakup or remove a toxic person from your life.

Will no contact work if he lost interest? ›

Only then do you create an environment where an ex wants to revisit things with you. So, if that's the function of your no contact rule then yes, the no contact rule can work if he lost feelings for you. It can work on a lot of levels.

What comes after no contact rule? ›

Take the Conversation to a More Personal Medium

You should strive to get more and more personal with them. If you are just emailing them immediately after no contact, you want to be texting them after a couple of weeks. If you have been texting for a few weeks, you should be trying to get on a phone call.


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