Every single day I get hundreds of comments, emails and Facebook messages on my Facebook Page asking me all kinds of questions about the no contact rule. Now, when I first started this site I didn’t mind answering the same questions over and over again because for me it was mind blowing that so many people wanted advice from me.
Of course, time is a great equalizer and pretty soon answering the same questions over and over again began to wear on me.
For example, I am guaranteed to answer the following three questions pretty much every single day.
” My ex boyfriend has a birthday coming up should I break the no contact rule to wish him a happy birthday?”
” I work with my ex so how am I supposed to do the no contact rule?”
” What do I do if my ex boyfriend doesn’t contact me during the NC period? Should I just stay in NC until he contacts me?”
One of the most annoying things for me when I write about relationships is that no two relationships are ever alike. Each one is unique in it’s own way. Now, this can be an incredible thing for the two people experiencing the relationship but for me, someone who is trying to help others by looking for trends, it can be quite annoying as there are so many situations that I have to cover.
The no contact is not immune to this principle as evidenced by the many different situations that can accompany it.
In fact, I often find myself wishing there was some sort of cheat sheet I could point people to so that all their NC questions could be answered in a snap. Unfortunately, no such cheat sheet exists…
What Is The Point Of This Page?
I have high ambitions for this page.
Here is my big vision.
Imagine that you are about to embark on the incredibly hard task of implementing a period of no contact on your ex boyfriend. You understand the basic principle of no contact but midway through your no contact a situation arises and you don’t know how to handle it.
The Situation- Your ex boyfriend wants his things back from your house.
All of a sudden you are panicking because you have no idea what to do? Are you supposed to break the no contact? Are you supposed to stick with it and be rude?
That is where this guide comes in. It is my goal to put down every possible situation I can think of that you could possibly encounter during the no contact period on this page so it can serve as a “cheat sheet” or a “go to” guide that you can reference for an easy answer.
Of course, for me it’s not enough just to give you the answer. I want to explain to you why “the answer” is important so not only are you going to have all of your no contact questions answered but you are going to understand why they are answered the way they are answered.
Here are the situations I will be covering,
- What to do if you or your ex boyfriend want to get your things back.
- How to handle NC if you work with your ex.
- How to approach the no contact rule if you have a child with your ex boyfriend.
- What about if you live together?
- Can you break NC to wish your boyfriend a happy birthday?
Now, before we start dissecting these items one by one I feel it is important to mention that I want this particular guide to be completely comprehensive. So, if you can think of any other situations (that can occur during the no contact period) then make me aware of them in the comments section and I will update this page to answer them.
Yes, I really will!
I want you ladies to be involved in this process so we can create the ultimate cheat sheet for people who have questions about no contact.
A Brief Introduction
In this section I am going to assume that you have no knowledge what-so-ever on what the no contact rule is. So, since you don’t know what the no contact rule is I am going to give you a quick crash course.
The No Contact Rule- A period of time (which you select) in which you completely ignore your ex in every way imaginable. That means no texting, calling, Facetiming, Skyping or emailing.
Probably what you want to hear is how the no contact rule can help you if you decide to use it.
I have always found that examples are best for explaining stuff like this. So, lets use an example!
Lets say that your boyfriend broke up with you because you were a little too clingy during your relationship. Obviously after the break up you are very heartbroken and you take to the internet to find a way to get your ex back. Luckily you end up on my website, Ex Boyfriend Recovery, and learn about the no contact rule.
Now, if you did a good job reading my site you would know that I am a fan of the 30 day no contact rule for most cases (21 days in some cases.) So, you decide that you are going to implement a month long no contact period where you completely ignore your ex by essentially freezing him out of your life.
Lets hit the pause button for a second and look at things from your exes perspective now.
Your boyfriend broke up with you because you were too clingy. After the breakup it will probably be normal for him to feel a sense of freedom since he doesn’t feel so “weighed down” by you anymore. Of course, you did have a lot of amazing qualities outside of the clinginess and as time goes on your ex boyfriend begins to think back to those qualities.
Now, since you were clingy he is probably expecting you to contact him first after the break up. Of course, that doesn’t happen since you are abiding by a strict 30 day NC rule. By day 10 of this no contact period your ex begins to get a little antsy and decides to break the ice first with a simple little text message.
He waits and waits and waits and no response to his text message.
This has been the first time that you have ever ignored him and all of a sudden he begins to see your value.
By ignoring him you are proving to him that you know your own value and that you don’t need him to be happy.
One of the best insights I can give you about men is the fact that we all want to feel needed or wanted. We all want to believe that we are like a god in your eyes. So, by ignoring your ex boyfriend in this case you are essentially telling him that you don’t need him to survive. You don’t need him for anything and this fact is going to drive him nuts.
Remember, men want what they can’t have and the no contact rule is a strong statement that they can’t have you.
FYI, it really works.
Now that you have a better idea of what the no contact rule is lets take a look at how to handle it during some of the most complicated situations.
What To Do If You Or Your Boyfriend Wants To Get Your Things Back During NC
When you are with someone for a long time it is normal for the two of you to swap items here and there.
For example, lets say that your boyfriend has an apartment and you still live at home with your parents (no judgement here.) Lets also say that you dated your boyfriend for well over a year. Well, sometime throughout that year I am assuming that you stayed over his place for the night or left some of your things there.
Well, most likely a time is going to come when you are going to want your things back.
(Side Note: There also may be cases where he leaves things with you and wants to get them back.)
The question on the table right now is how do you approach this situation if you are in the middle of a no contact rule.
Do you ignore him if he wants his things back?
Do you not say anything if you want your things back from him?
Funny thing is that I get this question pretty much every single day on the site. So, exchanging items after a break up is a very common situation you could find yourself in if you are in the middle of the no contact rule.
Here’s what you do.
How To Handle This Situation
In my mind there are really two different approaches on how to handle this and it all depends on what situation you find yourself in.
What do I mean by that?
Well, is it him asking for his things back or is it you that wants your things back from him?
Lets start with the easiest situation, you wanting your things back from him.
What To Do If YOU Want Your Things Back
The first thing you need to determine is how badly you want your things back.
Are the items that you want back very important to you or can you live without them?
In a perfect world you would have left items with him that you wouldn’t have really cared about. A toothbrush or hairbrush would be a perfect example of this. If you have left items like this with your ex don’t worry about breaking the no contact rule to get them since they aren’t really that important.
Remember, a perfect no contact is one where you don’t have to break your silence for anything.
Of course, exceptions sometimes have to be made.
Lets say that the items you left with your ex mean a lot to you and you absolutely need them back. Well, in this case I think we can make an exception and break the no contact rule so you can get them back.
Here’s the thing though, when you do break the no contact rule to talk to your ex about getting your things don’t get sucked into a conversation with him about anything other than getting your things back. If he tries to talk to you about your relationship with him don’t engage him with it at all.
This is strictly business and the business in question is getting your things back. That is all you talk to him about.
Lets talk a little about how you should approach seeing him in person when you do go to get your things. A lot of women who want their exes back turn to jelly when they see their man. Under no circumstances can you turn to jelly. Just like the initial discussion over getting your things back this is strictly business and that business is just to get your things back.
Now, this doesn’t mean you should be rude to your ex boyfriend. In fact, you should do exactly the opposite, be extremely nice and bubbly.
Don’t let him know that anything is wrong with you or that you are even hurt about the breakup.
Now, your ex may try to bring up your old relationship in person. If he does this simply say the following to him,
“I am not comfortable talking about that right now.”
Remember, your goal is to just get your things and get out as soon as you can. Don’t linger or talk to your ex about anything else. If you ex does try to talk to you about normal stuff like the weather don’t be mean to him. You can engage him but just be really short with him.
What do I mean by that?
Your Ex: “We have been having some nice weather lately haven’t we?”
You: ” We sure have…”
One last thing before we move on. I don’t want you to hug or kiss your ex at all. You are still technically in no contact and I don’t want him to think he even has a chance with you. In fact, I want him to feel what its like to be alone without you.
Because it’s going to make him realize that being without you is not a very good feeling.
What To Do If HE Wants His Things Back
If your ex boyfriend calls you up one day and asks you if he can have his things back during the no contact rule this kind of paints you in a corner where you are going to have to break the no contact rule to give him his things back.
Why does this paint you into a corner?
Well, with the situation above you had the privilege of choosing whether or not your things were important enough to take back. If you decided that they were important then you could contact your ex. In this case your ex has already contacted you which means he has deemed his things important enough to take back.
The protocol is pretty much the same as above.
Business is business and that business is giving him his things back.
When you see him in person be super bubbly and friendly but be kind of short. Don’t engage him about your relationship with him. Just make the meeting about HIS things. After he has left with his things you jump right back into the no contact rule.
How To Handle NC If You Work With Your Ex Boyfriend
The no contact rule pretty much hinges on the fact that you are supposed to completely freeze out your ex for a certain amount of time. Of course, this “freeze out” can be quite challenging to do if you see your ex on a daily basis due to the fact that you work together.
When I first wrote about the no contact rule I didn’t really think that much about the many different situations that you could encounter if you were to do something like this. To me the concept of the no contact rule seemed pretty simple. You pick a certain time frame that you should do the NC in and you do it (meaning you freeze out your ex.)
Of course, it wasn’t until I started getting comments that I started to realize that for many people the no contact rule can be quite challenging.
In fact, one of the first comments I got pointing out a problem with NC was like this,
I really want to do the no contact rule but I might have a bit of an issue. My ex and I met through work and we still work together. Will it be possible for me to try the no contact rule since we still work together?
This situation made me think of other people in similar situations.
I mean, what if you are going to school and you have a bunch of classes with your ex so you are forced to see him?
What about if you attend a certain event for work and your ex shows up. What are you supposed to do then?
Well, here is the smartest solution I can think of.
What To Do If You Work With Your Ex Boyfriend
The first thing I would like to talk about here is what you should look like.
I think I can speak for all men when I say that we are very visual creatures. Yes, a woman needs to have a lot more than looks to captivate a man but don’t fall into the trap of thinking that how you look doesn’t matter. I know a lot of experts would have you believe that all you need is an amazing personality to make a man yours but if I am being 100% honest with you I am not quite sure I believe that.
Take one of my good male friends for example.
He once told me that he would never date someone who he thought was unattractive. In other words, he is basically saying that even if he met a girl with the best personality in history he still wouldn’t date her if he found her unattractive.
As a general rule of thumb I would just say that you should assume that any man you meet is the most shallow person ever.
So, what does any of this have to do with approaching the NC at work?
Well, you are going to be seeing your ex on a daily basis if you work with him so you really have two choices on how to approach the situation.
- You can look like the breakup is breaking you.
- You can look like the breakup is making you.
Now, just using your common sense what do you think most men are going to find more attractive?
A woman who looks like a million bucks after the breakup.
Wear your make up.
Wear your nicest clothes.
Wear your a push up bra if you have to.
If you feel you could lose a few pounds then get your butt to the gym and lose those pounds.
I want your ex to be unbelievably attracted to you every single time he sees you in person. I want him to want you in the dirtiest ways.
Because if you can get him to think of you like that AND you are using the NC rule on him he is going to want you even more and that puts the ball in your court.
How To Handle The Actual NC Part Of Working With An Ex
The no contact rule strictly states that you can in no way have any contact with your ex boyfriend during the time period you have implemented the rule. Of course, this is kind of thrown out the window if you work with your ex since you will be forced to either see or interact with him on a daily basis.
In this case I would like you to follow these special no contact “amendments.”
Amendment 1 – In the case where you are forced to interact with your ex on work
Work is business, right?
I mean, you and your ex were employed to do a job and that job was to help your company make money.
Well, in the case where you are forced to interact with your ex for work I want you to keep things strictly business. In other words, the only type of interaction you should have with him should be about work. If he decides to deviate and talk about your relationship you should simply feed him the line I taught you in the section above,
“I am not comfortable talking about that right now.”
Amendment 2- If He Talks To You About General Topics
Lets say that you do an amazing job of keeping things strictly about your work but unfortunately your ex starts engaging you on more general topics.
Maybe he asks you something like,
“Did you see that episode of Game of Thrones last night?”
“What did you do last weekend?”
If he asks you general stuff like that I don’t want you to panic.
Here are your marching orders.
I want you to be super nice and bubbly but also a little short with him. Try not to engage him in a long conversation. Be nice with your answers to his questions but also don’t make your answers very long. There is brilliance in brevity.
What To Do During NC If You Have A Child With Your Ex
This is another one of those topics that I really didn’t think much about when I wrote about the no contact rule initially.
Of course, the ladies visiting this site were quick to point out the issue with this and no contact. Before you read on I want to make you aware that I have written multiple guides specifically covering what you should be doing to get your ex boyfriend back if you do have a child with him here and here.
Ok, now that we have the pleasantries out of the way lets take a look at how you should approach the no contact rule if you have a child with your boyfriend.
The Rules Of NC Still Apply For The Most Part
Lets say that you have a child with your ex boyfriend and you have decided to use NC on him. You make it about 3 days in and then all of a sudden your ex calls you up. You stay strict on your no contact credo and don’t give in to his calls. Of course, he does leave a voicemail on your phone and curiosity gets to you so you decide to listen to it.
“Hey, I just wanted to know if I could see Chad (your child together) tomorrow?”
Now all of a sudden you are having this debate in your head on whether or not you should break no contact so you can tell your ex when he can see his son next. I mean, he still does have a right to see his son since he has been a very good father to him.
So, what do you do?
Is it ok to break no contact in this case?
The Child Factor
Listen up because this is important.
The only time you can break the no contact rule in the case where you have a child with your ex is if you have to communicate with your ex about that child.
Whether it’s who can pick him up at school…
When your ex can see that child…
Something going on in that child’s life that has to be talked about…
Much like how when you work with your ex you have to keep things strictly about work. Well, when you have a child with your ex you have to keep things strictly about that child. In other words, if your ex tries to talk to you about anything else other than that child your job is simple, DO NOT ENGAGE HIM.
The only thing I want you talking about with your ex during this no contact period is your child together because that child without a doubt is more important than you wanting your ex back (that’s my personal opinion.)
Of course, a lot of the couples with children end up living together. So, how do you approach the no contact rule then?
How To Approach NC If You Live With Your Ex Boyfriend?
Going through a break up when you live with your boyfriend has to be one of the most disheartening feelings ever.
I mean, one moment everything in your relationship is going great and the next you feel like an outsider in your own home.
So, the question on the table right now is how are you supposed to approach no contact if you find yourself in a position where you have to live with your boyfriend? Surely you and him are going to have to communicate at some point, right? I mean, is it even possible do implement the NC rule if you live with your boyfriend?
Yes it is.
However, your circumstance prevents you from following the NC rules perfectly.
Lets take a moment and talk about some of the changes you are going to have to make if you live with your ex boyfriend.
It is pretty normal for a couple that lives together to sleep together in the same bed.
Well, I don’t think this is going to come as a shock but if you break up with your ex or he breaks up with you then you can’t be sleeping in the same bed as him. That means that you or him are going to have to figure out a new sleeping arrangement.
Now, if he is a gentlemen he would probably opt to sleep on the couch without starting any type of fight over who is going to sleep where.
Of course, most men out there aren’t gentlemen and will opt to get into a massive argument on who will sleep where rather than just taking the hit and sleeping on the couch themselves. If you feel your ex boyfriend is like this don’t even engage in an argument with him.
YOU sleep on the couch yourself.
Is it uncomfortable?
However, it’ll help you avoid an argument and will make strides in showing him you are an independent woman and show him that you don’t need to sleep in the same bed with him.
Do Not Get Over Emotional
Going through a break up can cause you to experience some of the worst feelings ever.
Going through a break up where you live with the person brings a whole new level of pain.
You are going to be tempted to feel sorry for yourself, sulk throughout the house, sit in a corner and cry or even cry so hard that you can’t even function. In fact, a part of you may hope that your ex feels so sorry for yourself that he rushes over to your side and tries to make you feel better. Heck, maybe he will feel so sorry that he will ask to get back together with you.
Would you like me to explain why acting like this is so dumb?
Your ex boyfriend is probably expecting you to act like this. He is probably expecting you to sulk around the house, sit in a corner, cry and do everything in your power to try to get his attention.
That is his expectation.
If instead you walked around like the breakup wasn’t bothering you. If you acted bubbly and happy and in a good mood it is going to mess with him.
You see, he had an expectation that you would be devastated but when your behavior doesn’t match up as someone who is devastated he is going to all of a sudden think to himself,
“Wow, maybe I didn’t mean as much to her as I thought.”
Now, we all know that a mans mind is a little warped. So, somehow having a man think that he didn’t mean as much to you as he thought he did is going to make you more attractive in his eyes because deep down he wants to be the most important person in your life.
I know… we are messed up huh?
How To Handle Interactions
When you live with someone then that means that you are most likely going to have to talk to them at one point.
This causes a bit of a problem with the no contact rule which strictly forbids contact with your ex in anyway shape or form.
While you can still abide by the rules of not responding or sending texts, phone calls, facebooks or skypes to your ex the face to face contact bit may be a little hard to get around since you will probably see this person a lot until you get a new living situation figured out.
So, the question on the table is how do you approach a situation where you are forced to interact with your ex boyfriend face to face.
As a general rule I have always said that it is best to act like a respectful roommate would act.
In other words, don’t be rude or mean to your ex just give him very casual answers to the questions he asks.
For example, if your ex were to ask you if you took the trash out in person you would respond to him like this,
“I did yesterday.”
Here’s the thing though, you don’t want him to sense that you are angry or upset with him at all. You want to respond to all of his questions in a very upbeat manner without going into a lot of detail. Of course, you do live with this person so your relationship is bound to pop up at one point.
If he does bring up your relationship you simply feed him our favorite line,
“I am not ready to talk about that right now.”
If he throws a hissy fit because you won’t engage him on this topic you simply remove yourself from the situation.
- Be very respectful
- Keep the interactions you are forced to break NC for very pleasant but also short.
- Do not talk about your relationship with him.
- You still can’t text or respond to texts, phone calls or any other social media.
Lets move on to another common question I get here on Ex Boyfriend Recovery.
Can You Wish Your Ex A Happy Birthday/Happy Holiday During NC?
I literally get this question in comments and emails every single day.
“Chris, is it ok if I break NC to wish my ex a happy birthday?”
Oh, and I get this one every year,
“Chris, as you know tomorrow is Christmas. Is it ok if I text my ex that I hope he has a merry Christmas tomorrow? Even if it is during NC?”
So, I guess what most of you ladies are wondering is if it is ok for you to break a no contact rule (that you have already committed to completing) just to wish your ex a happy birthday.
Hmm… how can I get this through your head so that you understand once in for all if you can break NC just to wish your ex a happy birthday or whatever holiday is coming up.
NO…. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES CAN YOU BREAK THE NO CONTACT RULE TO WISH YOUR EX A HAPPY BIRTHDAY OR A HAPPY HOLIDAY.
Why You Can’t Break NC In This Case
There is one main reason why I think it’s dumb to wish your ex boyfriend a happy birthday or holiday during NC.
It’s actually pretty simple.
Do you realize how many people are probably wishing him a happy birthday on his birthday. I had like 100 people wish me a happy birthday on my Facebook last year. Half of these people I didn’t even know or have never even talked to before. To me, someone wishing me a happy isn’t that big of a deal.
Does it feel nice, sure.
Does someone wishing me a happy birthday dictate whether I am going to take an ex back?
So, why would your ex be any different?
In other words, wishing your ex boyfriend a happy birthday isn’t really going to help you in what you really want to have happen, him taking you back.
In fact, not wishing a happy birthday may actually make him sit there and go,
“Wait, why didn’t she wish me a happy birthday? Did she forget or something?”
When everyone zigs you had better zag.