No contact after a breakup is for the person who was dumped and their personal development just as much as it is to get their ex back.
When You Should Not Use The No Contact Rule
First of all, let me encourage you to trust no contact. It is highly effective at getting an ex back for the reason that it allows them to truly experience the breakup.
If they truly are allowed to experience the breakup instead of you constantly contacting them and ineffectively trying to get them back in that way, then your ex can miss you and realize that he or she does not want the breakup.
It is also the mature response when someone wants to go his or her separate way.
Trying to force yourself back into their life is not mature or effective. It only makes you look immature, out of touch, and desperate.
So trust no contact even though it is difficult.
Don’t see this post as a loophole so that you can reach out to your ex.
In most cases, it will feel good to reach out, but doing so will actually push your ex further away and make a reunion less likely.
Here are examples of when you should not use the no contact rule or when you should temporarily break it.
1. When Your Ex Reaches Out To You
When and if your ex boyfriend or ex girlfriend reaches out to you, there are some other coaches who say that you should not respond.
They say that no contact means that you ignore your ex for a certain amount of time.
I have been on the phone with so many coaching clients who have done this at the suggestion of another coach and it went something like this:
Their ex reached out.
They ignored their ex.
Their ex reached out again.
They ignored their ex.
Their ex never reached out again.
Is it any wonder?
Why would your ex reach out again if he or she thinks that you are just going to ignore them?
Who needs that rejection?
Who wants to feel the embarrassment?
Your ex in that situation will assume that you do not want to talk to them and they will stop trying because they believe that you won’t respond anyway.
So if you want to ignore your ex, you certainly can, but I don’t recommend it as a strategy to get your ex back.
I have too much practical experience to do that.
If your ex reaches out to you, I’m not suggesting that you freak out and tell him or her how much you have missed them.
I’m simply suggesting that you politely respond to them if they text you.
You don’t have to, and shouldn’t, carry the conversation.
Even if you don’t believe that your ex is saying anything “worth responding to,” ignoring them will only put up a hurdle to your ex reaching out to you again in the future.
So my definition of no contact does not include ignoring your ex.
It just means that you do not initiate contact with your ex boyfriend or ex girlfriend.
For more information, see my article, What To Do When Your Ex Contacts You During No Contact (link opens in new window).
2. If You Have Children, Property, or Business With Your Ex During No Contact
One of the more obvious times when you can’t use a full, true form of no contact, is when you have kids/children with your ex.
This is also true if you own a home, property or a business with them.
You have to speak with them.
If you have children, it’s important to be co-parents and communicate if possible.
The key is to stick to discussing only things related to the children other than general small talk when you greet them.
Fight the temptation to reach out to them when you don’t have to.
It might feel good to speak to them and so the temptation might be to manufacture an issue related to your children in order to justify reaching out to them, but you only hurt yourself by doing that because the less contact you have with your ex, the higher the chances that they will miss you and see that they don’t want to be apart from you.
So if you have property or business with them, again, keep contact to necessary and related issues (also called Intelligent Contact Rule). If possible, avoid the contact complete.
If there is another way it can be handled like an assistant, a friend, or taking care of it yourself, go for that.
So if you are in no contact when you have children with your ex, exceptions must be made.
3. If Enough Time Has Passed
Some other relationship coaches insist that no contact is permanent.
That you should never, under any circumstances, reach out to your ex again.
I understand the sentiment behind their enthusiasm and even bitterness, but if getting your ex back is the real goal, I’ve got nearly two decades of practical experience that trumps allegiance to a philosophy.
Once a certain amount of time has passed, the odds drop dramatically that your ex will reach out to you.
The odds increase that your ex will move on and that he or she will find someone else.
It might just be a rebound relationship, but the more time that has passed makes the relationship your ex might get into more likely to be something deeper than that.
The bottom line is:
After a certain amount of time, you are unlikely to hear from your ex again, so you have nothing to lose by contacting them. I go over how to reach out and how to interact with them in this situation in my Emergency Breakup Kit.
The main reason I say that it’s “okay” to reach out after enough time has passed is because you don’t want to live your life wondering.
For example, I speak to a lot of people who do the dumping.
That might come as a surprise to some of you since I’m seen as an advocate for those who have been dumped, but people who do the dumping book calls with me for help getting their ex back.
That’s right, it’s not always clear to them how to do it.
Many times they are intimidated.
They don’t know what to say or if you’ll even want to speak with them.
I tell them that the ball is in their court and it might surprise you how much time I have to spend convincing them that they should reach out.
This doesn’t apply to most people who do the breaking up.
Most of the time, they know that if they want to get back together that they have to reach out, but sometimes they don’t know what to do and feel extremely anxious about it.
I’m not telling you that so that you’ll break no contact and reach out to your ex in hopes that they have been wanting to reach out but didn’t know how or were too scared to do so.
Don’t use that as a loophole!
At least, not until enough time in no contact has passed.
How much time?
Well, that’s a bit tricky.
In the video above I go into that some but basically it’s 45 days if the relationship was up to 6 months.
After a year it’s somewhere around a month and a half. And beyond that it’s 2 months or more.
If you wait those amounts, you probably risk nothing by reaching out to them.
You don’t have them after all so what do you have to lose?
In this post I’ve explained some situations when you should not use the no contact rule.
When in doubt, default to not contacting your ex.
One rule of thumb is that if your ex is interested, wants to get back together, and misses you, they will reach out to you.
As I explained above, it’s not one-hundred percent of the time, but it is in the majority of the time.
I know that each person wants to think that their situation is different and that no contact is difficult but give it your best if you really want your ex back.