I tell my clients that, if you want to let go of your ex, once and for all, you must go ‘no contact.’ And the first thing that I usually hear back is ‘ugh.’
What do I mean by ‘no contact?’ Blocking them on your phone, unfriending and unfollowing them, staying away from places you might see them, not letting them sneak back in through any back doors.
In the old days, when we broke up with someone, it was much easier to let them go. We didn’t have access to an assortment of social media platforms where we could check up on our exes. We couldn’t google stalk them. We couldn’t text them when the urge struck. Unless we ran into them somewhere, they would truly be out of sight.
And out of sight means out of mind. And out of mind helped us move on.
I know things are different now but the need to move on is the same so, if you want to let go of your ex, ‘no contact’ is essential.
#1 – You will go back to Day One.
The number one reason to go no contact is because, with every point of contact that you have, you go back to day one, to that last moment you saw them, that moment that you walked away in incredible pain.
I use the analogy of trying to quit smoking. When you decide to quit something, you go cold turkey. You take it day by day and as the days past the pain of the loss gets less and less. And then, one day down the road, you decide to have one cigarette. And it’s hard to have just one cigarette. Before you know it, you are smoking half a pack a day, knowing that soon you are going to have to go through the pain of quitting all over again.
Similarly, if you are getting a little bit better each day, even if you miss your ex, looking at them on social media or sending them a text, will set you back to the beginning, back at the bottom of the mountain that you had made good progress scaling.
And you don’t want that, do you?
#2 – Memories can be painful. And compelling.
If you want to let go of your ex but are struggling to do so, memories are things that might be holding you back.
Unfortunately, after a break up, what we usually hold onto is the good memories and not the bad ones. The good memories were wonderful times but reliving them constantly makes it hard to move on.
Social media and our phones are full of opportunities for us to rekindle those memories. There are Instagram posts of your trip to Mexico and FB messenger text streams from when you were first talking. Your phone contains selfies of everything that you ever did. And you want more of those memories because you they were so wonderful. So, you reach out.
I believe that going no contact means getting rid of those opportunities to rekindle memories, getting rid of the pain that those memories can lead to.
Unfollow them on Instagram, unfriend them on Facebook and file away those selfies to a place you can’t easily access them.
If you don’t relive those memories, in whatever form, healing will be quicker and less painful.
#3 – Closure is a myth.
I 100% think that closure is a myth. I believe that closure is just one more opportunity to be in your person’s presence and perhaps convince them to give you another chance.
If you are in contact with your person, the inclination, for either one of you, to try to get some closure is greatly enhanced.
And what will that closure do? It will open up old wounds that need to be hashed out. Tempers might flare and hurting things might be said. Being in the same personal space as your person might lead to intimacy which will only cause more confusion. You might walk away from it more devastated than you were before.
Yes, yes. I know the mention of sex might have made you pick your head up and smile but, really, sex with your ex is fraught with complicated emotions and, while it might feel good in the moment, the repercussions can be huge. Talking can do the same – only cause more pain than you were feeling before.
So, don’t seek closure. It will only set you back in a big way.
#4 – Yo-yoing makes things worse.
For many of my clients, they are broken up with and left devastated only to have their person reappear in their lives. Day, weeks or months after a break up their text alert goes off and there is their person, saying ‘hi.’ That ‘hi’ can lead to more communication, doing things together, intimacy and raised hopes. More often than not, however, their ex, ultimately, pulls back again, walking away and leaving them feeling worse than before.
And, often, this precise series of events happens over and over, leaving my clients confused and devastated, full of false hope and unwilling to let go.
How bad does that sounds? Worse than where you are right now? It is worse. I can promise you that.
If you don’t go ‘no contact’ then the chances of yo-yoing occurring are greatly enhanced. Any opportunity that your ex might have to contact you, or even if you contact them, the more likely it is that you will go down that rabbit hole that will, ultimately, only cause you more pain.
#5 – You will destroy your self-esteem.
I am sure that you are thinking that there is no way that your self-esteem can be worse than it is right now. Your relationship has ended, for whatever reason, and it has left you questioning yourself. So, how can reaching out or stalking them make things worse?
Imagine this. You text your ex for whatever reason and they don’t text you back. How will you feel as you sit there waiting, gradually accepting the fact that you aren’t important enough to respond to? Or you do some innocent stalking on Instagram and see your guy with a cute blond. Or his parents, who you loved, post a picture of all of them together at the summer house.
Will any of those things make you feel better about yourself? Instead of just feeling sad, might you feel abandoned, replaced or forgotten? And what will all those feelings do to your self-esteem.
On the other hand, if you do resist the temptation to text or stalk, you will take back your power. You will choose to put the past behind you and only look forward. And that, more than anything, will help you rebuild your self-esteem so that you can move on and be happy.
‘I am serious,’ I tell my clients, ‘If you want to let go of your ex, you will have to go ‘no contact.’ If you can’t do it, you will have no chance of getting past the pain and moving on.’
So, how does one go no contact? How does one fill that empty space left by the person who left?
I encourage people to just take it day by day. If you think to yourself that you will never talk to your ex again, you will be completely overwhelmed, but if you tell yourself that you aren’t going to reach out to them today, that seems reasonable. And if you take it one day at a time you will eventually just have done it.
That’s what I did with my ex. For years we had gone up and down, trying to break up and yoyoing back and forth. And then, one day, I decided to go no contact. After a few days, he reached out, as was our pattern. And this time I didn’t answer him. He tried again a few days later. I didn’t answer him. Now, here I am, 4 years of no contact, madly in love with someone else and so thankful that I had the strength to do it!
You can too!