Feeling abandoned and unwanted. Having to change routines that we shared for years. The “Good morning, my queen!” texts that stopped arriving. No longer having my very own person…
The most difficult part about breakups? For me, it was how difficult it was to detach and recover. I still cringe about the countless days where I could barely function — and as a single mom and business owner, that was not an option.
But focusing on mending a broken heart is not easy.
Whether you were broken up with or did the breaking up, it’s only human to fix your attention on the ex and the failed relationship after a breakup.
- Do they miss me?
- Are they seeing anyone?
- Do they ever think about me?
- Should I text?
- Didn’t our good times mean anything to them? (Proceed to recall only the good times.)
- I deserve better! (Continues thinking about and stalking the ex on FB.)
However, by depleting our brain-space with these thoughts, we quickly find ourselves unable to properly maintain the other essential parts of our lives including family & friends, work, and self-care.
For me, that generally looked like:
- Breaking out into tears in the middle of a movie date with my sweet and trusting 5-year-old.
- Not having enough funds for groceries because I didn’t have the energy to find new paying clients.
- Lacking sleep and consistently suffering from fatigue, leaving me susceptible to illness and the most insane mood swings.
I was so worn out. I could no longer find it in me to get caught up with my everyday responsibilities.
Enter the No Contact rule.
Once you stop engaging with the insanity of the toxic person, your head starts to clear and you begin to feel relief. — Sharie Stines, Psy.D.
The No Contact rule is where you don’t call, text, message, think about, or “run into” an ex. This also includes not talking to the ex’s family, their friends, and your mutual friends about them or the breakup. The purpose is to give you some room to breathe and a clean space to heal and recover.
Learning how to properly do No Contact saved my sanity. It definitely took a lot of trial and error, but I forced myself to:
- Stop checking up on the ex.
- Stop checking my phone and email ever 2 minutes to see if he called or sent me a message.
- Stop wondering who he was with because I don’t want to force anyone to be with me if they didn’t want to.
- Stop searching for ways to reunite our broken family because it was stealing time and energy away from what my little boy deserved.
The time and energy I was able to reclaim allowed me to focus on being the best parent I can be for my son, get my business back on track, make new friends, give back to my church and my community, and regain my self-worth.
I am a firm believer in doing No Contact after a breakup. And this is absolutely required to protect and recover from a mentally, emotionally, and physically abusive relationship. I can vouch for the effectiveness 100%.
No Contact — to get your ex back?
But imagine my horror when friends, family, and even coaching clients started inquiring about doing No Contact to get their exes back.
There are countless discussions and articles on the web, instructing readers how to use the No Contact rule to get an ex romantic partner back after a breakup. This is done by refraining from any contact with the ex in hopes that they will begin to wonder about, miss, and eventually reach out to them.
🙅🏻♀️ Frantically waving my arms, signaling not to move forward.
Of course, you want them to miss and wonder about you. But aside from the superficial attention you might get as a result, how will you benefit? You will always know that they thought about or wondered about you because you “set things up” that way.
While there are a few who swear by this tactic, almost every client who’s come to me after doing No Contact to get their ex back, found themselves asking:
- Why am I always the one texting him/her first?
- Why don’t they initiate plans with me ?
- Why do they only want to spend time with me when no one else is available?
- Why do I always feel like I’m left hanging?
The majority who admitted to trying NC to get their exes back reported:
- No, they didn’t come back, but I definitely found myself again!
When it comes to emotions and relationships, I strongly advise against attempting to control the situation in order to get the desired outcome. In this case, you’ll end up consistently having to manipulate the environment to get the behavior you want.
Your heart is precious. Treat it as such.
By obsessing over an ex romantic partner, you continue to make them responsible for your happiness. That leaves you in a dangerously vulnerable position where it’ll be easy to fall for anyone who appears to be a “knight in shining armor.” Making it all the more important to take your heart back and protect your space.
Your happily ever after didn’t work out, this time. That doesn’t mean you won’t get a chance at love later. And of course, it’s not impossible for people who have gone their separate ways to reconcile. But either way, you owe yourself your personal attention and care.
You need to make sure your head and heart are in a healthy state, so you can make clear choices, not desperate ones. Please don’t forfeit your right to make clear choices just to avoid being alone.
Start by cleaning out your space.
- Block the ex on Facebook, Instagram, Skype, WhatsApp, and all other social media and communication accounts you’re active on.
- Block them on your phone (my cell phone provider gives me the option to block numbers through my online account).
- Send “blocked” and “unknown” numbers to voicemail.
- Block their emails and filter their address directly to spam/trash. If they use a different email, immediately block and spam/trash without opening.
- Remove all possibilities or outgoing and incoming contact. Allowing their messages to come through and not responding is not No Contact.
- Block all mutual contacts who fake concern for you, then run back to the ex with information.
- Ask family and friends to support you by honoring your request not to update you with news about the ex, unless it compromises your safety.
- Immediately delete any communication that slip through the blocks and filters, and do not reply.
- Do not stalk the ex on Facebook or anywhere else.
- Do not drive by their house, workplace, school, etc., because you happened to be in the neighborhood.
Note: No Response is NOT the same as No Contact.
If the the ex is still able to reach you by their regular phone, email, social media, etc., you’re not doing No Contact. Simply not responding is not No Contact. That’s No Response.
Going No Response is harmful because it gives you the illusion of strength & control, when you’re still dependent on the ex for your happiness.
- Ex sent me an apology letter. They must want me back. I won’t respond and make them work for my forgiveness.
- Ex sent me hate mail. I wonder if they’re angry we didn’t work out. I won’t respond and see if they’ll reach out again.
- Why hasn’t my ex contacted me?
In all three cases, you’re still depending on the ex to provide you with a reaction and/or validation while trying to control the situation. Block all forms of outgoing and incoming communication to save your sanity.
You now have room to breathe and start healing.
Once you’ve cleared out your space, begin healing and reconnecting with yourself. Because being well-balanced, independent, and self-confident will benefit you and everyone else around you.
Here’s a small list of what this looked like for me.
- Spend more time with people who truly love and care about me. This allowed me to appreciate love and affection from people other than the ex.
- Create and defend my personal boundaries. Learning what my standards are and feeling strong enough to stand by them was truly empowering.
- Replace old routines with the ex with new, fun ones. This helped me enjoy my days instead of feeling a void.
- Do things I enjoyed before the relationship. This helped me remember that I was able to live a real life before him.
- Indulge in foods and activities I love that I gave up for the ex. I didn’t realize how much I’ve been depriving myself!
- Discover new hobbies. Finding something new to enjoy helps fill your mind with wonder and heart with joy.
- Try a new look. I colored my hair ombre pink and it was the most fun I’ve had in a long, long time!
- Join a gym. I may not lift weights, but I can Zumba like Shakira.
- Volunteer to help the less fortunate. This is a MUST. Helping others enables me to step outside of my head and see that I’m not worthless. I can contribute to making life better for another person!
It might not feel like it now, but you’re all kinds of awesome, deserving genuine love, happiness, and stability. So keep reminding yourself that You’re going No Contact for a reason. Do it properly and give yourself a chance to heal, reset, and grow.
Originally published on P.S. I Love You.