Your Ex’s Brain During No Contact

I’ve talked about this topic before but I’m going to get into specifically your ex’s brain and how it actually responds when you’re in no contact.

After the breakup, an ex goes into a stage of relief because they’re glad to get the breakup over with and done.

And when someone begins begging, pleading, showing up, trying to get them back too early, then it delays them from going into relief. And they get frustrated, and they move further away, and they start blocking you. They start getting angry.

Remember that this didn’t happen overnight. Most of the time, 90 plus percent of the time, your ex had been thinking about the breakup for a while.

They’ve probably gone back and forth in their mind, but they have made a decision to break up with you.

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And so when they get that over with, because it’s awkward, they don’t want to see you hurt, and they just want to get it over with. Then they feel better because they got that over with, and they perceive their future being what they want.

They’re going to ride off into the sunset, maybe that’s alone, maybe that’s with someone else.

Usually, they already have plans for someone else, not specifically necessarily, but they will want to be with someone. That’s just how humans are.

So they’re already thinking, “I will find someone, and it will be great.”

So they’re in relief, they’re glad they got the breakup over with, they’re moving into their future.

While they’re in relief, you don’t notice much. You’re not going to hear from them, it’s going to be quiet, especially if you’re in no contact like you should be.

Usually, you don’t hear from them in the relief stage. Some people, however, move much faster through the stages, but in terms of how this impacts their brain, they’re going to be getting a lot of dopamine, which is the feel-good reward chemical.

They’ve done this difficult, awkward thing, by breaking up with you.

During the breakup, they were probably feeling a lot of anxiety and a lot of stress, but the dopamine relieves them of that and they usually feel better shortly after.

Your involvement in the situation can prevent that from happening.

If you’re trying to talk to them, trying to argue with them about it, constantly calling them, checking on them, asking them if they’ve felt any differently, and you’re putting pressure on them, then you keep them in that anxious mindset to where they are experiencing some stress hormones like cortisol.

Just before the breakup, when they realize they’re going to do this, they are flooded with anxiety hormones such as cortisol, adrenaline, and other chemicals.

If you keep bickering with them and not giving them the breakup, not leaving them alone, causing drama, then they stay in this high level of stress hormone production.

But if you back off, you go into no contact, you disappear, then they go into relief and they get dopamine, which makes them feel a lot better.

That doesn’t sound like what you want because you want them to regret the breakup and want you back. That’s coming, but you need them to go through the relief stage first. That’s important.

I’m going to talk more about hormonal changes when we get into stage three, but for now, they’re in stage one, which is relief.

That’s why you’re not hearing from them, and they think this is a good thing in this stage.

If you stay away, most of the time, they will go into stage two, which is curiosity.

Stage 2: Curiosity

They wonder why you haven’t contacted them, why the silence, because they expected you to chase, especially when they decided they wanted to break up with you.

A decision in their mind was made that you were less than them, and that they should move on from you to something better.

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No matter how wonderful your ex is as a person, this is the general thought that they had, and it may not even be in words, it may just be a feeling.

When they decide to break up with someone, it is usually empowering simply because they feel above the person they are dumping and dismissing.

So when something happens that calls that into question, it demands their attention, and that’s why they’re curious.

They wonder, what’s going on? Could it be that you are more attractive than they thought you were?

Could it be they made a mistake?

Why aren’t you chasing them? Because you should be, and they should be getting an ego stroke from all this.

They want to feel like you still want them.

So even if they tell you that they wish the best for you and they hope you can move on, they still want you to want them.

Who doesn’t want another human being to want them, to desire them, to lust after them?

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They feel like the Ultimate Prize, and so when you don’t act like you believe that to be the case, is detrimental to an ego, because that slaps confidence a bit, it lowers their attraction as far as how they view themselves.

They are curious why you’re doing this because it could mean that they are not as attractive as they thought.

And now we get to the hormone changes.

Your Ex’s Hormones During No Contact

It’s important to note that hormonal responses may differ and not everyone will experience the same reactions in the same way.

However, it is common for people going through a breakup to experience heightened levels of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, as well as bonding hormones like oxytocin or vasopressin.

These hormones can affect our behavior and emotions, and contribute to feelings of concern or worry about the relationship and the person who has broken up with us.

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In stage three, concern, the person who initiated the breakup may start to realize that the other person is not chasing after them or showing as much interest as they expected.

This can trigger feelings of insecurity and make them question their attractiveness and desirability.

As a result, they may start to produce more stress hormones, which can lead to the production of bonding hormones as a way to cope with the stress.

Women tend to produce more oxytocin, which can make them feel a stronger connection to the person they are concerned about and may lead them to reach out to check on them or to seek emotional support.

Men, on the other hand, tend to produce more vasopressin, which is a hormone that can make them feel more territorial and protective, leading them to take action to help the person they are concerned about.

Overall, staying away and giving the other person space can actually increase attraction, as it may trigger a hormonal response that leads them to feel more connected to you and interested in your well-being.

All of this can lead to action, which is usually reaching out to you.

They go about it different ways based on the hormone production.

Stage 4: Fear

The next stage is fear, afraid that they have made a mistake by breaking up with you.

They’re afraid that you are moving too fast, that you have already changed your mind and are already moving on.

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They’re afraid since you’re showing the strength to stay away from them, which they didn’t think you had.

In the other three stages, there was still that fundamental belief – almost like a gut instinct – that they could get you back whenever they wanted you.

It’s just something that the dumper’s mind is almost blind to.

They assume that since you are the one being dumped, since they are telling you no and your answer is yes, that you should still want the relationship and will permanently.

They view it as if you’re a puzzle piece, and the other person is a puzzle piece, and that’s how you fit together.

Now, you’re demonstrating that that’s not the case.

You are strong enough to move on, and they could actually want to be back together with you, and you could be the one to say “no.”

This is where your ex is now, the one with the love versus loss situation.

You see, when you’re dumped, you feel so much loss that a lot of times it’s not even love that’s fueling it. It’s the sense of loss.

Now your ex is in that situation. They feel the loss, and they’re going to be feeling love too.

For women, during this stage, the oxytocin is usually what is making them want to reconnect with you.

It’s causes them to want to re-establish the connection and the relationship.

If it’s a man, it’s the hormone vasopressin and it’s possible that he starts doing favors, helping you move something, he’s looking out for you, or he could just be checking on you to see how you’re doing.

It can be pretty interesting because sometimes men and women do react differently, but oftentimes the same actions can be fueled by different hormones, so it can get interesting.

But in this stage there is fear.

They are afraid that they have tossed aside someone valuable because you are acting more valuable than they thought you were. And that’s why it’s so important that you stay away.

It feels like you should be doing something, it feels like you’re missing an opportunity to show them incredible love, to do favors for them, to cry in front of them, to show them how much you hurt which means you love them and that that could do something.

We think through these things but if you can be disciplined enough to just stay away, give them the breakup, and act as if they don’t exist, you can cause these responses.

And I’m not saying that you’re like the puppet master making them experience this, but you’re giving them the consequences of what they want. It’s not your fault.

And so when some people say that it’s an immature thing to do to somebody – to give them the silent treatment, I want you to know that no contact is not the silent treatment.

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No contact is the equivalent to being fired from a job and not showing up the next day.

Nobody says, ‘Well, I was fired, but I’m gonna go into work tomorrow.’

It doesn’t make any sense.

If someone broke up with you, give them the breakup and disappear.

That’s what they think that they want at first, and you have to let them experience that if there is going to be a chance that they can realize they don’t like it.

Stage 5: Action

Now they go to the next stage, which is action. And it’s where all this fear, all this stress has made them decide that they have to do something, or else their nightmares are going to come true.

Which is that they were mistaken about how attractive you were, and now they’re going to lose you.

So it changes everything.

You’re more attractive than they thought, and now they are thinking they could lose you.

So now they’re at a similar place to where you were when you felt like you wanted to beg, plead, do favors, show up, etc.

That’s because you were experiencing stress hormones, you were experiencing cortisol, adrenaline, and either oxytocin or vasopressin, and you’re actually experiencing at least a little bit of both.

It’s just that males produce more vasopressin and women produce more oxytocin.

But if you stay in no contact and you make yourself be quiet, you will actually produce less of the stress hormone as time goes on.

Don’t get me wrong, at the start of it, you’re definitely going to feel it. But what happens is that it starts being produced in less quantity simply because you get stronger emotionally dealing with it. And so it does not produce the same panic within you meaning that less of the stress hormones are triggered, even if you still feel bad about it and you’re down about it.

But it won’t be as much, and that will actually help you day to day to feel better in time. So you will be at a different place than your ex, and that’s a lot of times an advantage for you because you can stay calm and you can stay in the moment.

So when your ex reaches out, it’s important to be prepared and not just jump back into the relationship.

emergency breakup kit

Instead, express that you’re open to taking things one day at a time.

This reserved response fuels their stress hormones and desire to reconnect.

If you respond too quickly with excitement and eagerness to be fully back in the relationship, it doesn’t feel valuable to them and they won’t have that sense of accomplishment for saving the day. And their stress-hormone production decreases significantly – which means that there is less motivation for them to work through the awkward first part of a couple reuniting.

They need to feel like they’re earning you back and still have work to do.

Get your ex back with Coach Lee’s Emergency Breakup Kit!

Things that are valuable are usually not something we can get in seconds or minutes.

Usually, it at least takes several days or a few weeks, maybe even a few months to where a couple feels back to normal and that’s where it’s so important that your ex needs to feel like they’re earning you back and that they still have some work to do.

Progress should clearly be made or else your ex could become discouraged and just quit. They need to know that you do have interest but they can sense that you’re reserved and they know it’s not back to where it was when the relationship was at its high point.

I highly recommend my Emergency Breakup Kit to give you the best chance possible of getting your ex back.

No matter what, I wish you the very best.

Coach Lee
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About Coach Lee

Coach Lee, Master of Marriage & Family Counseling, helps people save relationships. He developed the Emergency Breakup Kit, a powerful guide to winning back an ex. Get information on the Kit by Clicking Here! If your MARRIAGE is struggling, get his free mini-course on saving a marriage.

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