The no contact rule has become very popular in the past few years as more and more people implement it in their breakups and relationships. People use the no contact rule to get an ex back, to move on from a breakup or to move on from a toxic relationship.
When I first started this website, I only talked about one type of no contact rule. You stop talking to your ex for a while and then reach out to them when you are ready. It had rigid rules and it didn’t really account for the variety of situations a person can find themselves in.
Over the past 7 years, I have come to realize that there are a lot of different situations when it comes to relationships, breakups and exes. One type of no contact rule cannot possibly fit for all those situations. As my clients contacted me about their breakups, I found myself suggesting them to try a variation of no contact rule.
Naturally, I decided to categorize no contact rule into different types so it can fit different situations. I have categorized no contact rule into 5 different types that should fit every situation perfectly.
What is the No Contact Rule?
The no contact rule is defined as a guideline that states you should stop contacting the person you are applying the rule to.
The type of no contact rule you apply depends on a few factors –
Why you are applying no contact?
Who you are applying no contact to?
And what is your current situation with that person?
If you are applying the rule to your ex because you want to move on. You stop contacting them. You stop texting them, stop calling them, stop hitting them up on Snapchat or WhatsApp or Facebook. You just vanish from their life.
The same applies if you are applying the no contact rule to a toxic relative, you stop contacting them and don’t speak to them.
If you are applying no contact rule to your ex because you want to get them back, things get a little complicated. In fact, the first 4 types of no contact rule are for someone who wants to get an ex back. So let’s begin.
1. The Definite No Contact Rule aka Radio Silence
The definite no contact rule is designed to help you get some perspective after a breakup. I recommend this no contact rule to most people who come to this website to try to get an ex boyfriend or an ex girlfriend back.
The purpose of this no contact rule is to help you heal from the breakup and get some perspective. Let’s just assume your ex is a drug that you are addicted to and the only way you can stop addiction of this drug is go cold turkey. That’s exactly what you are doing here.
You are going cold turkey on your ex. Because in many cases people are addicted to their ex and they do need a cold turkey approach to break their addiction. When you go no contact, it means
- No Text Messages
- No phone calls
- No going over to their house
- No accidentally bumping into them
- No Facebook messages or IM of any kind
- No contacting them via your mutual friends
- No status messages on Facebook (or any other social media) which are obviously meant for them
It’s exactly like going cold turkey on something you are addicted to. You don’t let even a small dose of your ex into your life. Because even a small dose can get you addicted to your ex again.
Why Do No Contact?
As I mentioned before, it’s like breaking an addiction to your ex. You have to learn to live without him or her. And no contact is the best way to do it.
You may be wondering why you should learn to live without them if you want to get back with them?
It’s because unless you learn to live without them, you will most likely be needy and desperate whenever you see them or talk to them and that will make you look unattractive to your ex. Nobody wants to be with a needy and desperate person and if you want to get your ex back or get your ex girlfriend back, you will have to become a happy and confident person.
To get more info about why you should do this type of no contact, read this article.
What to do during no contact?
Live your life. Do everything you can to make yourself feel better. Be your own best friend and take care of yourself because no one else will do it for you. No contact is the time to make yourself a happy and confident person. You have to learn that you don’t need your ex to be happy. In fact, you don’t need your ex at all. You may want them, but you don’t need them. There is a big difference between wanting something and needing something.
Of course, this change in perspective doesn’t come on its own. If you just sit around all day watching TV and eating ice cream, you are not going to feel better about yourself. That is why there are four categories of things that are mandatory during the definite no contact rule.
The no. 1 most important thing you must do during the no contact period is some physical activity. There are many reasons for this. It releases endorphins that make you feel better. It will get you in shape, which will again make you feel better. And it will show if you want to meet your ex after the no contact period is over.
I recommend some sort of physical activity at least every alternate day. You can do tons of things including
- Any type of Sports that you enjoy
Even though every cell in your body wants to stay home alone and feel miserable for yourself, you have to force yourself to go out and have a good time with your friends and loved ones. Your friends will make you realize that you are still loved and wanted by them. No matter what happens, you have your friends and family with you and that is something you should definitely appreciate.
You are also encouraged to go out on a date during the no contact period. You don’t really have to jump into a relationship right away, but a few dates will give you an ego boost that will definitely help in the long run. But going on dates is not for everyone. It often backfires if you are obsessing over your ex constantly. You find yourself comparing your date to your ex and it makes you miss your ex even more.
So, if you are obsessing over your ex a lot, don’t go on dates. Only spend time with your loved ones. Go on dates when you are feeling better and are not obsessed with getting your ex back.
The third important category of things you must do during this time is something relaxing. You are going through a hard time in your life and you are trying your best to cope with it. Why don’t you reward yourself with some relaxation? You can do a lot of things to relax; some examples are
- Yoga (serves Dual Purpose)
- A Relaxing Bath
Apart from everything else mentioned above, it’s also important to work on yourself to become a better person. It’s especially important if you and your ex broke up because of insecurity, neediness, jealousy, trust issues or communication issues. If you don’t take care of these issues during no contact period, you will never be able to get your ex back in a healthy relationship.
To read more about how you should improve yourself, read this article.
What to Avoid During the No Contact Period?
There are few things that you need to avoid during the no contact period. This section is here as a warning sign because it is very easy to fall in this trap and just spend the entire no contact period without making any progress in your life.
Obsessing Over Your Ex
You are not helping yourself if you are watching your ex’s every movement.
It’s one thing to think about your ex every once in a while, it’s another to check your ex’s Facebook page the first thing in the morning and then keep on checking it every half hour throughout the day. If you find yourself obsessing over her/him, then you need to take a step back and realize why you are doing this. A lot of people think the MAIN OBJECTIVE of no contact is that it will make their ex miss them and want them back.
You have to understand that even if your ex starts to miss you during the no contact and they contact you, they will easily pick up on your neediness and the fact that you are obsessed about them. And when they do, they will again lose their attraction.
You have to use the no contact period to stop the addiction of your ex. And as mentioned before, the only way to do it is going cold turkey. If you are checking your ex’s Facebook every day, then you must remove the source that is giving you a little dose of your ex. In this case, it’s Facebook. Delete your ex from your Facebook or deactivate your account for a month.
Indulging in alcohol, drugs, cigarettes etc.
It’s easy to cover up your pain with alcohol or drugs. But it doesn’t heal anything, and it will not make you feel better in the long run. It’s like putting bandage over a broken bone. It’s OK to drink once in a while, but if you are making it a habit, you are just decreasing your chances of getting back together. You are just replacing one addiction (your ex) with another. No ex will take you back once you become an addict.
Also, if you ever go out drinking with your friends, make sure you give the phone to your friends so as not to drunk dial your ex and make a fool of yourself.
FAQs about the Definite No Contact Rule
In this section, we will explore some of the most frequently asked question about the No Contact Rule.
How Long for No Contact?
It really depends on the type of breakup you had and how much desperate and needy you have been since the breakup. But I recommend a minimum of at least 21 days. However, if you think your breakup was exceptionally bad then you can go to 60 days or even 90 days.
What Breaks the No Contact Rule?
I get a lot of people asking me if they broke the no contact rule by speaking to their ex. In most cases, it’s best to not take any risks and just keep doing no contact. But in some cases, you may need to speak to your ex because of an event or incident. If you do end up contacting them, ask yourself the following questions to figure out if it counts as breaking no contact.
To figure out if a particular action breaks the no contact rule, you need to ask yourself these questions:
Did I just make it harder for myself to heal from the breakup?
Did my action cause me to obsess over my ex?
Did I act needy/desperate in any way?
Suppose your ex contacts you on your birthday and you reply just saying thanks. You didn’t really act needy/desperate in any way and it most likely didn’t affect the progress you have made till now.
In this case, you are not really breaking no contact.
But if in the same situation, you try to use this opportunity to speak to your ex and try to convince him or her to get back with you, you are acting desperate and needy and you just broke no contact.
What If You Break the No Contact Rule?
If you break the no contact rule, it’s best to just restart from day 1.
What If My Ex Contacts Me During the No Contact Rule?
If you suddenly stop contacting your ex, they are going to start missing you soon enough. And in a lot of cases, your ex will contact you when they miss you. What is the best strategy if they contact you?
It usually depends on the following factors. Note that these factors are sequenced according to their importance. That means factor 1 is the most important reason and factor 5 is the least important of them all.
- How much have you healed and if you are feeling confident in yourself?
- What is the reason they are contacting you?
- Whether or not you are sure about reconciling with your ex.
- Do you have the right skills and tools to solve whatever was broken in your relationship?
- How long have you been doing no contact?
Remember, your aim here is to heal from the breakup so you can reach a place where you can speak to your ex without obsessing over the idea of getting your ex back. It’s to get you to a place where you are no longer needy. A place where you are the best version of yourself. Where you have the skills and tools to fix what was broken in the relationship. Where you are You version 2.0.
Here’s an example,
Suppose your ex is contacting you with the intention to talk. They miss you and they just want to chat and see how you are doing. You feel you are ready, and you have already done enough no contact. You’ve decided that you want to try getting him back or getting her back at least once. You feel like you know what was broken in the relationship and you are sure you know how to fix it.
In this situation, you can choose to end no contact and just speak to your ex. You are probably ready to re-attract them and rebuild the connection without acting needy/desperate.
But if you are not really ready to speak to them, you can choose to do one of two things.
- Ignore them.
- Tell them that you need some space and time to heal from this breakup and you will appreciate it if they don’t contact you for a while.
If you are somewhere in between the two extremes, you can choose to do the No Initiate Rule that I talk about below.
Suppose your ex is only contacting you to talk about a legal matter or to just wish you luck for an important event in your life. In this case, you can’t really be sure if they are using this as an excuse to talk or they really just need to talk about the topic. So, you decide what to do based on how you feel. Are you confident enough to start reattracting them? If you are not 100% sure, then just speak about the topic at hand and end the conversation. Continue no contact.
I know it can be a bit confusing at times. So, if you are not sure how to react when your ex contacts you, you may want to get one of our email coaching packages.
What to expect when you start no contact?
Think of the no contact rule as a detox for your mind and soul. In the starting, it will be extremely difficult. In fact, the moment you decide to stop contact with your ex, you will have a sudden unbearable urge to call them immediately. That’s completely normal. Just remember, that urge is not because of the love you have for your ex, it’s because you mind and your soul are addicted to your ex, and you are just going through the withdrawal symptoms.
During the no contact period, your mind will try to play tricks on you. It will come in strong urges to call them or text them, to manipulative thoughts like “Just one text is not going to do any harm”, or “Maybe I’ll just check their Facebook page and say what’s up” or “What if my ex boyfriend or ex girlfriend moves on to someone else.” That’s a slippery slope. Remember, your mind will try anything to get a dose of your ex, simply because it’s addicted to it. And it is a master of manipulation. It knows all your weaknesses and vulnerabilities, and it’s going to use them against you.
But you have to stay strong. You have to understand that you are not your mind. You have to become more powerful than those urges that you feel to contact your ex. Remember, your mind is hurt and it’s going through withdrawal, you have to treat it gently but not give in to the temptations. Do everything in your power to make yourself feel better, just remember that contacting your ex is not going to do it. If you contact your ex before no contact is over, you are just going to make yourself feel worse and hurt your chances of getting back together.
2. The Mild No Contact Rule
The mild no contact rule is a type of no contact rule designed for people who are in a situation where they can’t avoid their ex. Situations such as
- When you live with your ex.
- You have a child with your ex.
- You work with your ex.
The mild no contact rule works pretty much the same way as definite no contact rule. So, if you have not read about the definite no contact rule, scroll above and read it. The Mild No Contact Rule is just a little more flexible in how and what you can speak to your ex about.
The Mild No Contact Rule has the following guidelines.
1. You only speak to your ex about important issues. You don’t initiate contact unless it’s important.
If you are living with your ex, you can speak to your ex about the living arrangement or anything house related.
If you work with your ex, you can speak to them about anything that is work related.
If you have a child together, you can speak to your ex about anything related to your children.
2. When they initiate contact, you should be polite and reply to them.
But only reply to them about the topic at hand. Don’t let the conversation continue more than necessary.
3. If your ex tries to talk about something personal, try to end the conversation immediately.
But don’t be rude about it. Be honest and tell them you need space and time. Say something like,
“I appreciate you asking but I am still healing from this breakup and I would rather not talk about it. I hope you understand and respect my boundary. Can we please keep all our conversations only about our child/work/living arrangements?”
4. If there is a conflict, figure out a way to solve it amicably.
Make sure you are calm before you start talking about it and go in only with the intention of coming to a solution. Before you go into the conversation, be clear about
- What the issue is
- Why is it an issue
- How it affects you, and
- What your ex can do to resolve it.
If you feel angry, get away from the conversation by saying something like,
“I am feeling upset about this and I would like to end the conversation here. Maybe we can talk about it later and come to a solution together.”
For example, suppose your ex is in a rebound and they introduce your child to their new girlfriend/boyfriend. It’s an issue related to your child and there is a good chance it will result in a conflict. Before you go into the conversation, figure out exactly when and how your child was introduced to rebound, why it’s an issue (because it’s not wise to introduce someone to the child unless it’s a serious relationship), how it affects you and the child (because if the child gets hurt after getting attached to the rebound, you get hurt as well), what can your ex do to resolve it (to wait and make sure that he is serious about his/her new partner before introducing them to your child).
If the discussion gets heated, don’t get angry and don’t yell at your ex. Instead, just acknowledge that the discussion is getting heated and tell your ex that you want to stop this conversation and pick it up later when both of you have had time to think about it.
5. Don’t be scared to take serious action if your ex is being unreasonable.
A lot of times, an ex likes to play games or do things to get a reaction out of you when you are doing no contact. Sometimes they post stuff on social media or say things to mutual friend. If you are doing mild no contact, they may try to do something that affects something important to you, i.e, your house, your child or your career.
For example, if your ex is doing something that is making it hard for you to work. You should first try to speak to them and resolve the conflict. Tell them exactly what they are doing, how it makes you feel and what they can do to stop it.
If they still don’t listen, don’t be afraid to go to your boss or your ex’s boss for conflict resolution.
3. The Brief No Contact Rule
The brief no contact rule is quite different from definite no contact rule. The purpose of a brief no contact rule is to quickly figure out the reason for the breakup, work on your self-improvement and ask your ex to either meetup or to give it another chance.
The brief no contact rule only lasts for 1-2 weeks. It goes something like this,
Breakup -> Brief No Contact Rule —-> Reach out and see where your ex stands —> If they refuse, start definite no contact rule.
The Brief No Contact Rule Can Work in the following situations.
- You never acted needy/desperate after the breakup. You accepted the breakup gracefully and stopped contacting them almost immediately after.
- You never told your ex that you don’t want a breakup. That you want to get them back. For some reason, you hid your true feelings from your ex after the breakup.
- You broke up because of something that you can fix immediately or the process of fixing it can begin immediately. For example, suppose you broke up because of a toxic person in your life. May it be an ex-wife or an ex-husband. If you can remove that person completely from your life within this period, you can reach out to your ex and ask them to try again.
- Your ex has been contacting you constantly and they show strong signs of wanting to get back together. Signs that show that your ex regrets breaking up.
Here are a few guidelines for the brief no contact rule.
1. The purpose of the brief no contact rule is to figure out where your ex stands.
A lot of times, an ex is not sure about the breakup and giving them a slight push in the right direction may help in getting back together.
2. It’s very important to figure out the root cause of the breakup and figure out a solution for it before asking your ex to meetup or get back together.
In most cases, working on your communication skills help a lot. I highly recommend this book on communication. In some cases, you may just start tackling the big issues such as insecurity, fear of commitment, or trust issues. A good way to start is by getting therapy or a relationship coach.
3. It’s important to make progress.
You can’t make major changes during the brief no contact rule. But you can make progress. And a little bit of progress can be enough to show your ex things will be different now. Such progress includes, reading books on relationship, communication and self-esteem, starting therapy, finalizing divorce or cutting off people toxic people from your life (like a toxic ex-husband or ex-wife).
4. When you reach out after brief no contact rule, you should be honest and straightforward about your intentions to try reconciling.
But you shouldn’t ask your ex to get back together or a commitment. You should only ask them to meetup and take things slow. Instead, acknowledge that the relationship was broken and neither one of you should go back to that. Ask them to start something new and take things slowly. Emphasize that there is no pressure on them to commit and if things don’t work out, you can both move on knowing that it isn’t going to work.
5. Remember that the brief no contact rule has a very small chance of working.
So, if your ex refuses your proposal to try to get back together, don’t be surprised. Just accept his/her decision gracefully and start the 5 step plan to get your ex back or the 5 stage plan to get your ex-girlfriend back.
4. The No Initiate Rule
The no initiate rule is a version of no contact rule that applies to casual relationship breakups and breakups where you didn’t really act too much needy or desperate after a breakup. You should only use this rule if you are not extremely needy or desperate and if you think speaking with your ex doesn’t affect your emotional health in a negative way.
The no initiate rule simply means that you don’t initiate contact with your ex. You let them contact you. If they do, you reply to them, speak to them casually and you can even try to rebuild attraction when they reach out. You can do so by flirting or using methods described in this article on texting.
In a few cases, the no initiate rule can be the perfect way to rebuild attraction and connection with your ex without cutting them off completely.
Beware though, this rule is not for everyone. In fact, this rule only applies to a very small percentage of people who want to get an ex back. The key here is your emotional state. If you are emotionally healthy and speaking to your ex doesn’t affect you, you can apply this rule.
Here are a few scenarios where this rule can apply.
- You and your ex were only together for a short time and you didn’t have a bad breakup.
- You didn’t act needy or desperate after the breakup. You don’t even feel needy or desperate.
- You and your ex want to remain friendly and you are not too much invested in the idea of getting them back.
- You are dating someone else and you see your ex as just another option.
While you are doing the no initiate rule, you should still do everything else that you are supposed to do during the definite no contact rule. That includes physical activities, social activities, relaxing activities and self-improvement activities.
When you are doing the no initiate rule, you don’t really have a hard deadline if your ex contacts you regularly. You can choose to end it and contact your ex whenever you feel like the moment is right.
How do you know the moment is right to end the no initiate rule?
When you are sure that you want to give it another shot with your ex. And you are not just saying that because you miss your ex. But because you have thought about it and you realize that you and your ex can have a great relationship.
You can also choose to end it when you realize that you don’t want to get back with your ex and you only want to stay with them as a friend. When you choose to end it this way, you should only get back in touch with them as a friend and treat them as a friend. If you are not ready to treat them as a friend, take some more time or consider doing definite no contact rule.
You can also choose to turn the no initiate rule to definite no contact rule if you think speaking to your ex is messing up your emotional health or is preventing you from healing and is affecting your self-improvement.
5. The Indefinite No Contact Rule
This is the type of no contact rule that is very simple and straight forward. You stop contact with the person you are applying the no contact rule to. And you do it indefinitely. That means you shouldn’t be planning to contact this person ever again.
When should you apply the indefinite no contact rule?
Like I said before, the type of no contact rule you apply depends on 3 things.
Why do you want to apply indefinite no contact to someone?
Who you want to apply it to?
And the what.
What is your situation with that person?
Here are two most common situations when applying this rule will be helpful.
1. When you want to move on from a bad romantic relationship.
If you were in a serious relationship and it ended badly, it makes sense if you decide to move on from it. And the best way to move on from a relationship is to completely cut off your ex from your life. It’s like cutting off a drug you are addicted to. Instead of trying to wane off your addiction, you go cold turkey on it. You just cut it off, go through the withdrawal symptoms and eventually realize that the drug was bad for you.
When you cut off your ex, you will go through these withdrawal symptoms aka breakup grief. You will go through anger, bargaining, denial, depression and acceptance. But eventually, you will come out the other end stronger than ever when you have moved on.
The idea of getting an ex back can be tempting. If you feel that you and your ex had a great relationship, you may want to try to get your ex back once you are feeling better. But if you get back in touch with them you risk getting hooked on the drug again.
But isn’t this website about getting your ex back?
Yes, it is. In fact, I recommend people get back in touch with their ex after they have healed from the breakup and are feeling more confident in themselves. I don’t recommend indefinite no contact in most cases of breakups. But it makes sense in some cases.
- When you were in a toxic relationship and it took a toll on your self-esteem.
- When you tried to get them back using my methods and it didn’t work.
- When you applied definite no contact and realized that you are better off without your ex in life.
In all the cases I mentioned above, there is once common factor. Your ex was not right for you. In few cases, it makes sense to keep your ex as a friend. But in majority of the cases, it’s better to just cut them off and move on.
2. When you want to remove a toxic person from your life. It could be a relative or a friend.
A toxic person is someone who just brings you down and doesn’t contribute anything positive in your life. It could be a toxic sibling, a parent or even a friend. In most cases, such a person is in your life because they entered your life when you were young, and they have been with you for most of your adult life.
To figure out if such a person is worth applying indefinite no contact to, ask yourself the following questions.
- If you could go back in time and replace this person with someone else, someone who is emotionally healthy, would you do it?
- Have they shown any signs of wanting to learn and grow? Do they recognize that they can be toxic?
- Are you just keeping them in your life because you feel guilty for leaving them?
- Are you in a situation where they have the power to affect your life in a negative way?
The answers to these questions should help you figure out if removing that person from your life is the right decision for you.
How to apply the indefinite no contact rule?
In most cases, it’s best to let that person know that you are going to cut them off from your life completely and ask them to never contact you again. If you do this, you should expect a backlash. For most toxic people, everything is a game, and everyone is manipulative. So, they might think you are doing it just to hurt them and they might do something to hurt you back.
But whatever they do, stick to your words and don’t let them contact you again. If things get difficult, don’t be afraid to get help or involve authorities. Remember, it’s best to remove this toxic person from your life so that you, your loved ones and the people who are dependent on you can lead a healthy life. So you don’t continue this chain of toxic behavior that is passed on from parents to children, from lovers to lovers and from friends to friends.
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. It gets a little bit complicated when it comes to getting an ex back. Hopefully, the 5 types of no contact rule I mentioned above should fit your situation. If it doesn’t, comment below and we will try to get back to you.
Take this quiz to figure out which no contact rule you need to implement in your situation.