When Should I Use the No Contact Rule and For How Long?

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How the no contact rule benefits guys after a break up

Are you thinking of employing the no contact rule after a breakup? Trying to weigh the pros and cons of taking such a drastic action? Searching for reasons to cut your ex off?

If the answer is yes, you wouldn’t be alone. Conventional wisdom holds that in the immediate aftermath of a split, the best way to get over a lover is to go radio silent.

But is that really a smart idea? Moreover, does the decision to cut off contact encourage healing – particularly for men? The honest answer is yesin certain situations – the no contact rule a wise choice.

Can we speak man to man for a moment? Here’s the deal. A lot of people think guys have an easier time (emotionally) when it comes to breakups compared to women.

The reality is most of us are devastated when a split happens, leaving a giant pit of our stomachs that is painful and palatable.

But because we are guys, we tend not to talk about how we’re feeling, even though we desperately want to.  And so, to cope, some of us isolate or enter a place of denial.

You know what I mean about denial, right?

That’s when you put on a bullsh-t game face and act like nothing is wrong. But when alone in the privacy of your home, you secretly blame yourself for what happened and feel miserable.

On an intellectual level, we realize that the break up was the best decision because it was horribly unhealthy. But on an emotional level, we find it hard to let go.

Can you relate?

As a counselor who has worked with more guys than I can shake a stick at, I can tell you from experience that ongoing communique after a split can be a good thing. Depending on the nature of the relationship, it can even help mitigate the pain.

That said, there are times when cutting off all contact is essential. You may be wondering what I’m talking about? Well, here are some simple examples:

When to cut off contact:

  • If the the relationship was emotionally abusive.
  • Physical abuse or domestic violence took place.
  • If there was a history of substance abuse where both of you partied together, making the relationship “triggery”.
  • Infidelity, particularly when the other person cheated.
  • When the other person has a history of lying to you.
  • If you know deep inside the relationship is bad for you but recognize you’re emotionally vulnerable.
  • When you’ve repeated the same “on and off” pattern with this person and neither of you can let go.

Obviously, the above mentioned isn’t a complete list however, it does provide a foundation for thought. Now here is the big thing guys so listen up:

The reason you press the no contact button is to begin the journey of personal healing.

break ups and no contact
Breaking up is hard to do

Should I use it to get an ex back?

You are going to read a lot of crap on other sites that suggest cutting off contact is a “fool proof” way to get an ex back. But ask yourself this question:

Is my goal to heal or manipulate?

The hard truth is when you use the no contact rule to emotionally trick someone into wanting you, it does nothing but keep you attached to the relationship in the most toxic way possible.

So, it’s like this – if you really want to move on (based on the criteria above), the no contact rule can be a very smart choice. The key is doing it for the right reasons.

What Does No Contact Mean?

You probably already know this but just in case you don’t, here’s what having no contact with an ex means:

  • No texting
  • No telephone calls
  • No emails
  • No personal letters (snail mail)
  • No social media interactions (messages, comments, likes, sharing, tagging, etc.)
  • No communication through friends or family
  • No “status updates” designed to grab their attention
  • No responding if they reach out to you

What are the benefits of the no contact rule?

A lot of men want to know if there are any pluses to using the no contact rule. The answer is absolutely. In fact, there are so many benefits that it is impossible to list them all on this page.

Here are seven to think about.

seven tips going back to college

1. Gives you space to heal

One of the biggest benefits of using the no contact rule is the encouragement of the healing process. And when you think about things, doesn’t this make sense?

If you are regularly in contact with your freshly minted ex, you really haven’t broken up with them. Instead, you’re just keeping the door open and inviting old patterns to reemerge.

By choosing no contact, you create space to be with your feelings and thoughts. In turn, this empowers healing over time.

2. Changes your perspective

Another plus involved with no contact relates to changing your perspective. When you are with someone intimately for a long period, it has a way of skewing your perceptions and creating blind spots.

With distance, however, that perspective changes, empowering you to see things as they were and not as you fantasized them to be.

Look guys, I know that may be a hard pill to swallow. But you came here for the real deal and not a bunch of flowery nonsense, right?

3. Opens you up to new relationships

Obviously, it’s never a good idea to jump out of one relationship and into another. That said, removing contact as an option does – in a matter of speaking – put you back on the market.

While you don’t have to start something hot and heavy with another, you can (after an appropriate time) begin casual dating.

By casual, I’m talking about non-committal. This means getting your feet wet again. Doing so helps shift that lens we talked about earlier.

Make sense?

4. Allows for new sources of validation

One of the benefits of being in a romantic relationship is emotional and physical validation.

The problem happens when a lover becomes the singular source of validation, thereby creating an unhealthy recipe for codependency.

And so, the best thing about “no contact” is this: you get to find new, healthier sources of validation. In turn, this breaks a codependent cycle and boosts your self-confidence.

5. More time for self-care

One of the things that often goes by the wayside over the course of a relationship is self-care Here, I’m talking about things like diet, working out, grooming and so forth.

That’s just the way it is. I mean it’s common sense, right? When you are attached to someone, you are less likely to focus on your needs because: 1. You aren’t looking for a mate and 2. You become super comfortable.

When the relationship collapses, and you employ the no contact rule, you immediately free up extra time to do the things you’ve been neglecting.

Want to work on your biceps? Now you can. Hoping to drop a few pounds? Well, there’s no time like the present. Thinking of growing a beard and styling like Thor? Guess what – there’s nothing stopping you now.

But none of these things can happen if you are still tethered to your ex. Why? See point one above.

6. It gives you wisdom

A powerful benefit of choosing no contact is the obtainment of wisdom. Hey, I recognize this one sounds weird but please hear me out.

When we are involved with someone else, at least at the beginning, we don’t always see the red flags that a person may be bad for us. Examples include clinginess, lying and/or being controlling. The reason we miss these signs is that we haven’t yet gained the wisdom – obtained through experience – for what to look for.

That said, when you break up with a person and stay true to the no contact rule, you allow yourself the ability to remember moments in context. In turn, this allows you to gain insight; something you can use in the future to avoid attracting the same people.

7. It makes you stronger

The last benefit I’ll list about the no contact rule is super simple: it makes you stronger.

Here’s how.

By focusing on yourself (and not on your ex) you are making the conscious choice to heal. Over time, this fortifies your resolve and ultimately, your sense of self.

When you know who you are and can intuitively identify the difference between healthy verses unhealthy partners, you become stronger.

And just as important – you also grow.

No contact – how long?

How long should I cut off contact?

If your goal is to heal and move past the trauma of a breakup, the no contact rule needs to be in effect for a long time. While there is no hard and fast rule, a minimum of six months to a year are good places to start.

What if I bump into them somewhere?

Look, I understand. It’s a small world. There are going to be times when you bump into an ex in a totally unplanned way. Examples include seeing them on the street or running into them while out and about.

But remember, no contact means no contact.

You may hear other advice elsewhere but here’s what I’m suggesting. Don’t be a jerk but also don’t engage. Nod your head to acknowledge your ex if you want. Wave back if they say hi. Smile if you want to for the sake of appearances.

BUT NO CONTACT MEANS NO CONTACT

This means no conversation, no “catching up” on recent events and no superficial talk about mundane sh-t like the weather. If you must leave the immediate area, do it.

What if contact can’t be avoided?

There are very few situations where contact with an ex is unavoidable. In truth, you probably can make some adjustments to your schedule or routine to keep the no contact rule in place.

Obviously, exceptions include working with an ex or a former lover living on the same floor as you. In those narrow situations, your options are limited.

But if we’re talking about things like the both of you having membersips at the same gym or hanging out at the same coffee shop, you can decide right now to do something different.

Examples: Go to the gym at a different time of day or join a new club altogether. Find a new coffee shop or go at another time.

Final Thoughts

Breaking up with someone is one of the most difficult experiences a person can go through. This is particularly true when exiting a toxic relationship with someone we still care about.

But if you are a man that wants to heal and allow for new opportunities, using the no contact rule may be the smartest thing you can evef do.

Just remember, cut things off because you want to move past the person. Don’t do it try and win them back.

About Brian Tomasio 7 Articles
Brian Tomasio is journalist specializing in men's topics. He enjoys writing about love, relationships, and wellness focused issues. Hailing from Norwalk, CT, he's a certified hypnotherapist. His interests include outdoor activities, strength training, and men's grooming. Follow him on Facebook