Does The No-Contact Rule Work? Yes

By Lior

If you’re reading this, you might've learned why the No Contact Rule should work - but you’re not fully convinced.

You might ask yourself:

  • They reached out to me first, shouldn’t I respond back?
  • If I don’t contact them sooner, won’t they forget about me?
  • Won’t they find someone else during the No Contact period?
  • I learned why I hurt them, can I just send an apology text now?
  • We work in the same office, wouldn’t doing No Contact make things awkward?
  • We have kids together, how can I do No Contact, but still have to talk about our kids?

These are legitimate questions, some of which are answered in a separate lesson. But in the majority of cases, No Contact will only help. If you’re forced to interact with your ex, minimize the length of your conversations as much as possible and don’t talk about the relationship.

If you’re still doubtful, you’re making the assumption that you’re capable of figuring out a better approach. You may be right, but the odds are against you.

Mistakes People Make Who Skip No Contact

Here are the biggest mistakes “No Contact deniers” have made when they break the rule too soon:

  • Overanalyzing something their ex said and jumping to (wrong) conclusions

  • Appearing insincere or “off” because they’re trying to hold back the panic

  • Attempting to reduce uncertainty and make off-putting ultimatums

  • Asking about reuniting some day

  • Asking how they can prove they’ve changed

  • Asking about why the breakup happened

  • Accidentally or intentionally get into old arguments

  • Get overly-emotional when their ex doesn’t respond the way they hope

  • Ex is late for a meet up or changes venues last minute

  • Ex starts talking about others they’re dating

  • Ex reassures they’re not getting back together 


These mistakes are all caused by a mixture of anxiety, obsessive thoughts, and a poor understanding of why the breakup happened. The No Contact time period is your opportunity to self-improve, reflect on your past actions, and be more level-headed about the situation. With the boost in confidence and a better understanding of how you could improve, you’re much more likely to avoid these mistakes.

Why You’re Biased To Doubt

The main reason you doubt the No Contact Rule is because you think you’re not at risk of making the mistakes listed above. You may have known your ex for years or even decades and feel like you, of all people, know how to engage with them properly. Or you think your situation is unique and a generic rule can't applied.

Here’s why you’re probably wrong.

One of the biggest mistakes people make when talking to their ex is blurting out whatever is on their mind, unfiltered by whatever raw emotion they feel at the time. This often leads to making the mistakes listed above, making the situation worse and leaving them feeling even more vulnerable. Unfortunately, this mistake is so hard to avoid, it’s almost inevitable.

After a breakup, your old relationship with your ex dies. The old relationship had the level of trust necessary for allowing open and honest communication. Since the trust is broken (almost instantaneously) it’s hard not to continue communicating in the same style that’s been exercised and encouraged for months, years or even decades.

No Contact Helps Avoid Mistakes By Playing Strategically

You cannot revive the old relationship. It died after the breakup. You need to create a new one. And you cannot rely on the same open and honest communication style you’ve used in the past. Instead, Playing Strategically is your best option, i.e., using an indirect, ambiguous, yet ethical style of communication to strategically maximize one’s self-interests.

You already play strategically in most your relationships, like with new acquaintances, potential employers, business partners or dates; it’s not even an option, it’s mandatory. In these relationships, there are information gaps that prevent both parties from engaging in open and honest communication. You’d be foolish to think otherwise. Neither side collected enough evidence about whether being completely honest is against their own best interests. In these types of relationships, you have to avoid being 100% honest all the time and play strategically instead.

Playing Strategically is not the ideal communication style to sustain a long-term, trusting relationship with another person. But it’s a perfectly fine for starting one.