Today we’re going to talk about the No Contact Rule, and specifically what happens if you fail it – can it work a second time? Or a third..?
As a bonus, at the end of this article I’ll give you my three best tips for NOT breaking a No Contact Rule, because successfully completing a period of No Contact is the best way to start the process of getting your ex back.
But first of all, if you’re considering trying to get an ex back and you haven’t already taken my free quiz, check it out! I’ve designed the quiz to tell you what kind of chance you have of getting an ex back. It’s an approximate number, so don’t take it as a guarantee of any sort, but it can be helpful to know what you’re up against. You’ll also receive free advice on the best way for you to move forward.
If you are implementing a No Contact rule to try to get your ex back, make sure you know exactly how the process works, to give yourself the best chance of success.
Check out my comprehensive guide here: The No Contact Rule: The Definitive Guide
Alright, lets get down to the details.
Will The NC Rule Work The Second Time You Try It?
The short answer is
YES it can – but it will lose some of its impact
We have found through our own independent research that 8 out of 10 people who use the No Contact Rule to get their ex back will fail their period of No Contact.
What does failing the No Contact Rule consist of?
Quite simply, it means that during the No Contact Rule period, you contact your ex, or s/he contacts you, and you reply.
(If contact with your ex is inevitable because, for example, you work together, you should be adapting the No Contact Rule into a Limited No Contact rule – see here for more details on that.)
What does this mean in detail? Here are some examples of common situations we see in my Facebook support group, which has nearly 3,000 members, all at various stages of the Ex Recovery Program.
These are all failures of the No Contact Rule:
- You text him because it’s his birthday
- You go somewhere you know he might be and ‘bump into’ him
- A family member (his or yours) is ill and you want to talk to him about it
- You check his social media or stalk a potential Other Woman
- You ‘Like’ one of his posts or a comment on a post
- He appears unexpectedly and you have a conversation beyond the absolute minimum
- You think he’s been dating someone else and you want to tell him how upset you are
- You’ve had a few too many drinks and send him a Snapchat
- He texts you a positive message like “I wish I could see you” and you reply
- He texts you a negative message like “Why are you ignoring me? Stop being childish” and you reply
- He sends you a neutral message like “Hey” and you reply
- A friend tells you he’s desperate to speak to you, so you message him
- You talk about him or the breakup with a mutual friend or one of his family members
- I’ve used ‘he’ here because most of my clients are women, but this all applies to any gender!
For all of these situations you do not contact.
You don’t reply, and you don’t initiate.
If forced to speak to him face to face, reply to him in an upbeat tone, but don’t ask any questions (not even “How are you?”) and cut the conversation off as soon as possible without actually being rude.
You are too busy being the Ungettable Girl and working on yourself. You are also doing what he most likely said he wanted and not bugging him.
This might seem harsh, but hey – he broke up with you, right? (Or if you broke up with him, remember the reasons, however hard that is when you’re dying to get back with him.)
The idea is to get him wondering why you’re not contacting him, so if it’s his birthday and you’d usually message him – radio silence will really make him wonder. This is when the No Contact Rule is working, so don’t sabotage it!
Remember that the No Contact Rule period doesn’t last forever. Don’t make it longer by having to restart.
Genuine reasons to break the No Contact Rule?
A lot more complicated.
If you live/work/go to school together, or have kids together, check out how to work the Limited No Contact Rule.
There is also a list of factors which, when several are combined (e.g. he’s initiating contact, he asks to get back together) might mean you can break No Contact. These are listed in the Ex Boyfriend Recovery Pro book, which gives you the definitive word on how to play this.
Just because eight out of 10 fail their first No Contact Rule does not mean you can be blasé about it. This just shows you how hard it is to get through an extended period of not contacting the person you probably used to speak to every day.
Your best chance of getting your ex back starts with a meticulously planned and executed No Contact Rule
However, we’ll assume you’re reading this because you’ve caved in and broken your No Contact Rule. You’ve contacted your ex, or you’ve responded to him reaching out to you. We have a pretty strict protocol for what happens if you do this.
First things first – yes, you need to restart. Yes, from day 1. Yes, this sucks.
You have to do this for the process to be effective.
And what happens if you break the NC Rule five times, six times…can it still be effective? Think of it like a chart. Let’s say you try a No Contact Rule and get through it successfully. Your period of No Contact is going to be as effective as it possibly could be – let’s call that 100% effective. You’re going to get the most out of it that you possibly can.
But let’s say it’s the second time you’re doing No Contact, because you broke the first one. Then it’s going to lose a little bit of its effectiveness. Not totally, but instead of 100% effective, it’ll be around 90% effective.
The next time you break it, you lose another 10% of effectiveness, and so on all the way down to zero.
Each time you have to restart because you failed, No Contact will lose effectiveness.
And by this, I mean that it will lose some effectiveness both on your ex and on YOU.
Your ex needs time to get over the negative feelings that recent contact with you has involved. Even if the breakup wasn’t a bad one, it’s not a positive thing he will want to dwell on.
Men tend to ‘fight or flight’ – if you contact him before enough time has passed, you’re likely to argue, and more negative feelings will be stirred up (fight). Or he’ll do something like block you, to run away from those feelings (flight).
Staying in No Contact gives him time to calm down, to remember the good things about the relationship, and to miss the closeness you had.
If you break No Contact and restart, you don’t give him this chance to recover.
However, and this is a really important part of the No Contact Rule that people often forget when emotions are running high and they’re just desperate to get their ex back – No Contact also allows you to get over that negativity yourself.
You’re likely to be upset or downright desperate, with your emotions all over the place. This is not a good time to be in contact with your ex. It is, instead, the perfect time to focus on yourself.
Forget what he is, isn’t or might be doing according to social media. Forget texting him and waiting in vain for a reply. Spend time on yourself – your interests, your other relationships, your work, your health. As the No Contact Rule period goes on, you will become stronger and more in control.
Some people even find that they decide they don’t want their ex back at all, because they have (re)discovered what a great person they are and don’t feel they need them in their lives.
So stick to your No Contact Rule 100% for the beneficial effect it will have on your life, with or without your ex in it. Make this your number one priority.
I’m now going to give you my three best tips to do just that (and a bonus one, because I really want you to succeed here!).
Tip Number 1: Change Your Exes Name In Your Phone
It’s best to think of this as your first line of defense. Essentially, if you go into your phone and change your ex’s name to Do No Contact or something similar, every time you’re thinking of reaching out to him or considering responding to him, you’ll have a reminder that you are in No Contact.
Try re-naming your ex to:
- Do Not Respond
- Ex-Boyfriend – Do Not Contact
- Crazy Ex Boyfriend
- No, Just No!
- Not Going to Help
- Forget It!
- The Dreaded Ex
Whatever works for you!
Now if he reaches out to you by calling or sending a text message, you have a simple reminder to not reply. If you are tempted to reach out to him, this reminder will also make you pause for a second, which just might be enough to stop you breaking your No Contact Rule.
It’s effective, but not as effective as tips two and three.
Tip Number 2: Block Your Exes Phone Number
Tip 2 is the extreme end of the spectrum. Essentially, what you’re doing here is you are blocking your ex’s phone number to remove any temptation to respond to any message that may come in, or to reach out to your ex.
Doing this limits you somewhat, because one of the interesting aspects of the No Contact Rule is being able to know if your ex is reaching out to you. But if you know that you’re the type of person who will definitely respond no matter how much I tell you not to, or anyone else tells you not to, maybe blocking that number is a good idea.
Note that you are not blocking your ex forever, just for the extent of your No Contact Rule period, so either 21, 30 or 45 days. After that, you unblock so you can move on to the next stage of the process.
Tip Number 3: Erase Their Number And Give It To A Trusted Friend
Think of this as the in-between tip.
You are going to give your ex’s number to a trusted friend, and then erase it from all your devices. Instruct that friend to give you the number back when you have ended your No Contact Rule period.
You are still going to have to have some emotional control here – you have to not respond to any numbers not in your phone book. But you also know that you have that trusted friend to hold you accountable.
Those are my three best tips for staying true to the No Contact Period. And here’s a bonus tip:
Bonus Tip: Unfollow Your Ex On Social Media
The No Contact Rule doesn’t, of course, end with direct contact. You are also not allowed to look at your ex’s social media, or that of his family. This includes commenting on his or any of his family’s social media, not even to wish them happy birthday, not even a sorry-for-your-loss message. Radio silence.
The best way to ensure you stick to this is to unfollow your ex on all the social media platforms you share.
How to do this? Various platforms offer various different ways to avoid seeing anything to do with your ex. The main ones are Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook.
On Instagram, go to your ex’s profile, click the Following button and choose to Mute both stories and posts.
In Snapchat, go to Settings and Mute their story and put Message Notifications on Silent. Avoid, avoid, avoid the Snap Map feature, and if you really can’t stop checking where they last were, you might have to Remove Friend…
On Facebook, go to their profile page, click on the three dots top right and Unfollow. You won’t see their posts in your feed any more, and you can’t watch their Stories.
Why do this? The pain of seeing him (apparently) getting on with his life, not missing you, maybe even hanging out with another girl, is not worth it. This is one of the hardest parts of No Contact to stick to, so make it easier for yourself so that in your moments of weakness, you can’t easily give in to the temptation.
A major part of the No Contact Rule is working on yourself, distancing yourself from the pain and negative emotions currently associated with your ex, and regaining your emotional stability.
Stick to your No Contact Rule no matter what!