Why No Contact Is Crucial - And When Is It A Mistake

Almost every couple that successfully got back after a breakup went through some kind of No Contact period, where there was no (or minimal) interaction between them.

After sending the Message of Connection, it is important to hold space for your ex as they take time to process your words and have room to heal. During this period of no contact, you should avoid initiating any sort of contact with your ex. No calling, texting, Snapchatting, Facebooking, Instagramming, etc. You may be tempted to text or call in the middle of the night when you’re feeling alone and vulnerable or if you have a bad history of drunk texting. In that case, it can be helpful to temporarily remove your ex from your phone or any chatting application.

No Contact

Doing the No Contact Period provides time for:

  • You to focus on improving yourself.

  • Your ex to forget about the negative thoughts and feelings about you.

  • Getting yourself into a more emotionally stable state before reengaging.

  • Proving that your ex’s desire to break up is taken seriously.

  • Making you more intriguing by creating a mystery about what you are doing.

The standard time period for how long the No Contact Period should be is 30 days. But this will highly vary depending on your situation. The duration can always change as new events unfold. For example, the No Contact Period should be broken if your ex initiates within that time.

Why You Shouldn't Skip No Contact

# Don't 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 someday.
  • 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.

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 be 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. How quickly the trust gets broken (almost instantaneously) makes it hard not to continue communicating in the same style that’s been exercised and encouraged for months, years, or even decades.

Playing Strategically Helps Avoid Mistakes

# 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-interest.

You already play strategically in most of 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 perfectly fine for starting one.

Does NC Always Work?

NC is a tactic. It is hurtful if:

  • You cheated on your partner.
  • You said or did something to greatly hurt your partner.
  • You sabotaged the relationship and said hurtful things you don’t really mean.
  • You haven’t given them the level of attention they want from you
  • You weren’t emotionally supportive

The one thing in common with these reasons is that spending time apart would only support the idea you haven’t changed.

For example, if you prioritize your work over your ex and ended up spending very little time together. Then 30 days of No Contact would just add salt to the wound. Before you decide to start No Contact, think about what situation you’re in. Think strategically.

There's a reason why basketball players only go for half-court shots when the buzzer is about to go off. It's a reasonable move for the situation - a terrible one any time else.

Whether it's basketball or love… a tactic is only useful depending on the situation.

Tactic Vs. Strategy

A strategy is made up of tactics, but they're not followed blindly, they're organized in a way that helps you decide which tactics to use and when to use them.

The No Contact "Rule" is more of a tactic, not a rule. It may work for many people trying to get their ex back, but it’s not helpful for every situation. Just like in sports, there are many tactics that help teams succeed, not just one.

Unlike basketball, football, or any other sport, there are no clear rules in love (no scoreboards either). Unfortunately, you must understand the situation you're in before knowing which tactic to apply. A good starting point in figuring out your situation with your ex, look at the reasons why the breakup happened.

What To Do During No Contact

# What to do during no contact

A No Contact period is almost always a smart idea. There are some exceptions, and the length of the No Contact period depends on your situation, but it’s still one of the most common steps we advise you to take. While it is an important step, it is also a difficult one and sometimes you need to find a healthy way to distract yourself from thinking about your ex throughout the no-contact period.

Focusing On Self-Improvement

Here are some suggestions:

  • Call friends or family on the phone
  • Hang out with friends and family
  • Exercise
  • Cook your favorite dish
  • Go for a hike
  • Play video games
  • Go shopping
  • Work on car, motorcycle, bicycle, etc
  • Start a blog
  • Do yoga, tai chi, or other less intensive exercises

No Contact is a good time to self-improve, reflect, workout, reconnect with family, etc. But, beyond that, you can spend that time more effectively by improving areas about yourselves that lead to the breakup.

I advise you to practice strategic self-improvement, which refers to improving areas of your life that help resolve the issues that caused the breakup to happen. There are many ways to self-improve and the No Contact period is long enough to make real changes. What you tell you to do during No Contact should include strategic self-improvement.

Imagine someone whose ex broke up with him because he was overprotective and controlling. After reflection, he may determine that he acted this way out of fear of being alone because she was his only friend. Deciding to hit the gym 5 days a week isn’t the best self-improvement option. A better option would be to expand his social circle and possibly go on a few dates. Working on that will help build his emotional support system and make him less likely to ruin his next relationship with the same fear. You need to play strategically. NC helps you avoid mistakes. That said, it can feel intimidating or contradictory to take time apart from the person you want to build a future with. It is common to grapple with insecurities about what this space may mean.

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, 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.

The No Contact Period is hard for many of us to go through. Especially coming right out of a relationship, you’ll have more time to yourself than you’re used to. It’s tempting to use this time in unhealthy ways, but if you focus on self-improvement, not only will you be overall happier, you’ll also improve their chances of getting your ex back. You’ll come out a better, healthier, happier person and romantic partner.

Depending on the reasons for the breakup, there are a variety of positive life changes that can be made. Some examples include:

  • Getting a better job or promotion

  • Learning something new

  • Start a fun/challenging hobby (not video games)

  • Getting in shape

  • Expanding or creating a new social circle

  • Improve in general areas your ex said you need to improve on

  • If your ex thought you had bad sleeping habits, you can work on that.

What To Do After No Contact

Once you're done with the No Contact period, you can take the final steps towards reconnecting with your ex. The goal is to re-engage your ex via text, slowly build comfort, schedule a meetup, and finally work towards restoring the relationship.

Link to Full Guide


The Best Relationship Advice For You: Want guaranteed results?

Click here to chat with a relationship coach. We have a team of highly trained relationship coaches who get you, get your situation, and help you accomplish what you want. They help you through complicated and difficult love situations like deciphering mixed signals, getting over a breakup, or anything else you're worried about. You immediately connect with a coach on text or over the phone in minutes. Just click here to start.