Silence. It’s something not many of us are comfortable with practicing or experiencing. But today, I’m going to tell you why silence may be the most important thing to practice after a breakup.
Now, you may be wondering what I mean by silence.
Am I asking you to go radio silent and cut an ex out of your life?
Well, let’s turn that question around, because it really depends on the outcome you want.
Do you want to move on from your ex or get your ex back?
Here’s the thing. No matter where you stand after a breakup, I believe the most important first step is always what I like to call the “No Contact Rule”.
What Is The No Contact Rule?
Now, for those not familiar with the No Contact Rule, it’s simply a period where you and your ex do not talk after a breakup, regardless of the circumstance.
That means you do not reach out to talk to your ex after the breakup for any reason and, if he reaches out to you, you simply ignore him until your No Contact Rule is over.
Here’s a video if you’re more of a visual learner.
Why is this time out or silent time so important after a breakup?
This year, I decided to take a poll to see how people were responding to their recent breakup. I was curious to hear what behaviors people engaged in after a breakup and how their exes were responding.
So, I surveyed my audience and the results were incredibly interesting.
- People reported feeling angry and frustrated.
- Others said they begged for their ex to come back.
- Some reported sleep deprivation and loss of appetite.
Most of this is, of course, a normal response.
But, one response that came up repeatedly that you might not expect is that many of them could not stop talking to their exes.
Regardless of who initiated the contact, people continued to talk to their exes.
Silence was not a strategy commonly used. But, why not?
Well, I think it’s important to make a case about why I think silence is important after a breakup.
Silence can be useful in many ways. You can use the No Contact Rule – or as some of my competitors call it, the Radio Silence Rule. Name aside, I believe it is important to apply the No Contact Rule for five main reasons.
The Five Advantages To The No Contact Rule
It’s best to view these five reasons as advantages. In other words, here are five advantages to going silent after a breakup:
- You Appear More Powerful
- You Use Actions vs. Words
- You Listen & Observe
- You Make Time to Self-Reflect
- Your Ex Will Seek Answers
I’d like to take a moment and dissect each one of these advantages starting from the top.
Advantage #1: You Appear More Powerful
So, here is ultimately what I find happens when someone engages in a conversation with an ex immediately after a breakup – they talk too much.
And they can really go from one end of the spectrum to the other.
Talking to Validate Themselves
On one end of the spectrum are people who talk too much to validate themselves.
These are people who have wrapped so much of their identity into their relationship with an ex. When that identity is threatened from a breakup, they feel a sense of urgency to immediately go back to what is comfortable.
So, they talk and talk and talk to win their ex back. But that doesn’t happen. Instead they look like a fool as they appear to be begging for their ex to come back.
Talking to Feel Superior
On the other end of the spectrum are the people who talk too much to feel superior to their ex.
These people are extremely upset about the breakup, so they look for any way possible to “win”. They appear narcissistic and arrogant by scoffing at their ex, which doesn’t do much for their personal situation.
It just makes them appear weak.
Now compare those responses to someone who just goes silent.
Someone who goes silent by practicing the No Contact Rule doesn’t appear extreme. Instead they remain in neutral territory and appear indifferent. This turns the table and makes an ex wonder if you cared about the relationship like they thought.
As a result, it makes you appear more powerful than you may feel inside.
Advantage #2: Actions Vs. Words
In the first example, I explained why talking a lot to an ex is a mistake, because often it makes you appear narcissistic or like a fool.
Words will not help you to get over an ex or win an ex back.
Actions on the other hand, just may – and going silent is an action.
Often new writers are told by their editors to SHOW the reader, don’t tell them.
This concept of “show, don’t tell” should also apply to the No Contact Rule. But what I find fascinating about the No Contact Rule is that people often feel the incessant need to tell their ex about it.
They preface the No Contact Rule with statements like, “I think we need 30 days to reevaluate our relationship”.
That is not an effective use of the No Contact Rule. It is more effective to show an ex with your actions and, instead of preparing them for it, immediately go silent.
It’s always more powerful and more meaningful when people are shown something instead of being told. told. So, what can you use this power for, you ask?
Well, that is actually a seamless transition to Advantage #3.
Advantage #3: Listen And Observe
“The most powerful person in the world is the one who listens, thinks, and observes.” Bruce Lee
It is said that God gave us two ears and only one mouth for a reason.
Often in periods of high stress and change we forget to listen and observe.
Some of the most stressful moments in life come from major changes – moving, losing a job, and going through a breakup, to name a few. Breakups are an agent of change and can be one of the most stressful moments in life.
The mistake that people make is they don’t realize that a breakup is also an opportunity to sit back, listen, and observe.
Change is also an opportunity to understand yourself and the people you have surrounded yourself with better.
You may find that a friend who is always there for you is suddenly nowhere to be found or that they are there for you even more.
But if you are obsessed with what your ex is doing, you likely will miss the opportunity to observe what is truly happening in your life.
Maybe there is something you can improve upon. Maybe you need to change who you surround yourself with or take this time to determine if your ex is really someone you want to be with.
But often people develop this one-track mind after a breakup.
They think, “I need to get her back. I need to get him back. I need to get this person back!”
As a result, the opportunity can be missed to better ourselves.
Maybe your ex is not the right fit for you. Maybe your ex says really mean things intentionally. You won’t really know the answer until you stop to listen and observe.
Advantage #4: Self Reflection
Advantage # 4 is closely connected to #3. As you listen and observe, you also take time for self-reflection.
A lot of people that come to us want their exes back and we show them the most effective way to do that.
One thing is clear from our many years of experience – you are not getting your ex back unless you do a lot of soul searching.
You need to put your ex through the ringer to make sure they are even worth getting back.
Oftentimes, getting them back will also require you to change your approach. So, if you are not able to self-reflect and assess your role in what went wrong, as well as your ex’s role, you likely will not be successful.
People are so afraid of failure, but I think that’s the wrong way to look at life. Life is full of both successes and failure for everyone.
What the “winners” don’t tell you is that they really didn’t learn a lot from winning. Sure, maybe they learned to win with class and grace, but they likely don’t understand how to keep winning.
Whereas, someone who loses learns much more.
Over the years, I’ve talked to countless people who failed at getting their ex back and I’ve told them they will learn more from their losses than from their successes.
A breakup is a loss, because it is a failed relationship. But it also gives you the chance to learn something about your ex and about yourself.
Embrace failure as an opportunity for self-reflection and for improvement.
Advantage #5: Your Ex Will Seek Answers
This is perhaps one of the most universally known benefits to applying the No Contact Rule and going silent after a breakup. It’s the fact that you leave your ex – especially if you do this unexpectedly – without any answers.
You see, what many people don’t realize is that patterns are established when a relationship is formed. Partners get used to doing things in a certain way together and having a certain pattern to their relationship.
So, an ex may be accustomed to talking with you a certain amount of times a day or receiving texts from you throughout the day. Even if your ex initiated the breakup, it may be hard to change those engrained habits and expectations after the relationship ends.
As I shared earlier, many people continue their pattern of interaction with an ex after a breakup. But if you use the No Contact Rule without any explanation, your ex is going to be reeling for answers.
Your ex will wonder things like, “where did he go?” or “why is she gone?”
They’ll be seeking answers and they will likely start reaching out to you to find the answers. They may even be angry with you, because they think you’re supposed to be friends after a breakup!
In the end, you gained power by using the No Contact Rule. You flipped the script, so that they are now the ones chasing you.