By Chris Seiter

Updated on February 8th, 2021

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 Are Your Chances of Getting Your Ex Boyfriend Back?

Take the quiz

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:

  1. You Appear More Powerful
  2. You Use Actions vs. Words
  3. You Listen & Observe
  4. You Make Time to Self-Reflect
  5. 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.

What Are Your Chances of Getting Your Ex Boyfriend Back?

Take the quiz

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.

What Are Your Chances of Getting Your Ex Boyfriend Back?

Take the quiz

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.

What Are Your Chances of Getting Your Ex Boyfriend Back?

Take the quiz

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.

What to Read Next

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

43 thoughts on “Here’s Why Silence Is So Important After A Breakup”

  1. Randy M Sonkin

    August 9, 2022 at 4:05 pm

    What does one do when your ex has your personal possessions and they want them out of their house? I don’t want the possessions back and I dont want to end the no contact.
    I want to continue with zero contact so I would like to ignore her request.
    8 1/2 years together, the relationship ended July 5th. The silence has opened my eyes on just how controlling my ex was during the relationship. Also I don’t think she really respected me.

    1. Coach Shaunna Nicol

      August 15, 2022 at 8:31 pm

      Hi Randy you are not breaking NC if you collect your things – you just stick with the collection be civil keep it as short as possible. If you do not want them back then you could also tell her to donate / throw them away.

  2. Gwen

    April 5, 2021 at 1:19 pm

    Does no contact work on short term relationships? Me and him, we dated for one month getting to know each other. We talked two hours everyday, and the connection was so deep that he told me he never had deep conversation with someone like this before, even his closest friends… You guys, our connection was very beautiful, we found out we had the same birthday, taste of music, even liking arts and talking about them. He treated me like a princess
    Suddenly, a month after, his dad “had cancer”, he wasn’t in a good position, I gave him space and time for two days and then we finally called he was thinking “I realized i don’t have romantic feelings for you”
    I thought to myself, maybe we were too rushed…that’s why he think like that. And the timing just wasn’t right..
    Age was an issue too, so I brought it up, he said he is not looking for a woman more capable of marriage, or something like that…
    And I thought to myself again “why are we talking seriously when we’ve only talked for a month?”
    So anyway, I was very positive, and a little sad and we talked about our last song.. and how it hurts when I hear it again..
    So I let him go.. There was nothing else to look, if he wants me, he won’t be like this
    THe ending of our connection was light…a bit heavy because the connection was beautiful, but I remained my composure to the point that he said “maybe from time to time let’s talk” and told him very silently that “maybe someday, I need to move on…”
    THe goodbye was really sad….
    But the reason why I did that is to propel fear in him..
    I am doing No Contact. It’s Day 2.
    The question is: will it work on a dating phase only for one month but deep connection?
    I am planning to buy the book as well.
    I need to know.. please

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      April 8, 2021 at 10:08 pm

      Hi Gwen, yes NC can work on short relationships but I would suggest that you follow either 21 or 30 day NC. If you are planning on buying the pro then know you will also have the support of our Private Facebook group where there are many like you in your situation who can support you through each and every day.

  3. Lucy

    February 23, 2021 at 3:17 am

    I have been in a relationship for 4 years, now we have been split about 6 months on and off totally all the time. It has totally taken its toll on me and I have hit a wall. I acted out and kicked off which I majorly regret after a drink making a total and utter fool of myself. I apologised but he no longer wants anything to do with the situation. I’m stuck. I said sorry and I’ve been through a hell of a lot since the last month and he knows this. If I stop talking to him anf go NC is it likely he’ll eventually forget and talk to me even as friends ? I feel so deflated

  4. Michelle

    November 4, 2020 at 6:33 pm

    I was in a relationship for 2.5 years and unfortunately during this time I became depressed, highly emotional and very mean to him (I didn’t get help and things only got worse – but I am now working on these deeper issues) and of course there were good times but my sadness is highlighted. He has always been patient and supportive, offering suggestions and ideas but unfortunately I’ve been so sad that I pushed and pushed him away. A few weeks ago he broke up with me, he was upset and said he has had enough (which I understand). We did have to speak while he moved out but I avoided seeing him in person. When he said he was out and I came home, he still left some of his belongings but I guess he will get that at some point (as these are valuable items) and he forgot to return a key, and did express this breakup/leaving is “very hard”. It is now 7 days into no contact and believe me its super hard, moreso thinking he’s moving on with someone “better” than me and feeling guilty for how I was in the relationship. What if he asks to pick up his belongings? Or says anything? – I feel ignoring may make his views of me even worse? *And I know I am in no position to be in a relationship, I need to work on myself fully first.

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      November 4, 2020 at 7:45 pm

      Hi Michelle, yes you are allowed to answer if he asks for his belongings back, but you need to avoid having the relationship or break up conversations with him, avoiding these emotional topics is going to leave him wondering why you are doing so well since the break up. You admit you need to work on yourself, and the most important thing right now is that you do what is best for you, if your ex does reach out you need to NC him for 45 days.

  5. Wellington Fernandes

    September 26, 2020 at 10:16 pm

    Wow I love this, I learnt a lot from here.
    No contact rule is the best.

  6. Mike Dean

    September 7, 2020 at 1:07 pm

    I start the no contact rules the last 4 days with my ex but we have a kid and she’s posting quote on ig to hurt me our relationship was bad for a long times because we were never able to forgive each other from our mistake from the past she think I don’t have anymore love for her and is not true we had so many frustration that make me hide my feeling

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      September 7, 2020 at 3:56 pm

      Hey Mike start following the program starting with limited no contact and spend some time working on yourself

  7. Maa

    August 11, 2020 at 7:00 am

    Should I still practice the No Contact Rule even after contacting him after the breakup?
    I was soo broken so I contacted him,should I still practice the No contact rule?

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      August 11, 2020 at 1:54 pm

      Yes you should still do the No Contact rule at least for 30 days

  8. Jess

    May 13, 2020 at 3:11 pm

    My ex and I were together for 2 years planning to get engaged and married. It has been nearly 4 months since the break up and 2 months of no contact. He broke up with me because of cultural differences, not fitting in with my family, and constant arguments. He has not contacted me. What should the next steps be?

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      May 20, 2020 at 2:45 pm

      Hi Jess, you start with a NC for 30 days and then reach out to your ex. You do need to take on board his point. Is he going to be accepted into your family for who he is as a person, his culture / your culture differences? If it is causing arguments and nothings seems to be changing then maybe this isnt going to work long term

  9. Ozi

    April 21, 2020 at 3:55 pm

    So Educative.
    Thanks to the writer…

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      April 21, 2020 at 10:55 pm

      Thanks for your comment Ozi

  10. Daniela

    April 8, 2020 at 11:48 am

    I dated a lovely guy for 6 weeks and everything was going absolutely fine. Then he broke it off with me telling me that he is too scared to be in a relationship and that he never was in one actually; whenever things develop, he backs away. I told him to take a few days to think about it, if he truly wants to break up for good. He agreed, took those days, and then he came back saying the same, that it’s better to call it quits. And again, I managed to convince him again to take some time to think things over. We were in contact though here and there and in the past few days I felt that he was sort of opening up. However, I lost patience and confronted him, asking if he is really doing some thinking about us or just being nice when communicating, and demanding to see each other face to face and talk about things. We met up and it was really lovely. We held each other and it was clear and said by both of us that clearly there’s something between us. I told him that I don’t want to end it. He said that I have to stop pushing him, because at the moment, he feels very trapped. We parted with me saying that I will give him the space that he needs and I will not contact him, to respect his wishes. I am now wondering how long should I let the no contact go on for, considering we have only dated for 6 weeks and he already tried to break up with me three times, this last being the third. I am wondering if there is still a chance to put the negativity aside and get him to open up to me, and I am scared that too much no contact will drive him away. Any piece of advice would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      April 17, 2020 at 3:21 pm

      Hi Daniela, it sounds that he is afraid of getting into anything real or serious, so I would NC for 30 days and spend that time working on the information about being Ungettable, using social media to show how happy and great you are doing with life right now. And when it is safe to do so, start dating other guys casually when he realises that you are not going to be single for him to decide when he is ready it will force him to either get into a relationship, or will show you he is not going to give you what you want from him so you would have to move on

  11. Sofia

    March 30, 2020 at 4:53 pm

    My ex and I had been in long distance our whole 6 month relationship. It was all such a whirlwind as I was travelling for some of it, followed by moving cities and starting a new job, but we were so in love and he told me I was the one. We never argued, but we were both quite sad about the situation. Recently he has told me his feelings have changed (gradually over about a month). I would love for this just to be a combination of 1) the loss of the honeymoon period, 2) long distance 3) his job being very stressful and perhaps 4) him realising he wants a bit of independence (he has not really ever been single)… but I just don’t know. In a few months I am moving back to near where he lives (not just for him I promise!) and would love to see if he falls in love with me again. I am exactly 1 week into NC and it is just the hardest thing I’ve ever done.. I would love to know if he misses me. I know I have to be patient but I worry so much that I have lost him, he is perfect for me and when things were good with us they were amazing. I really want reassurance – which I know is silly asking for because you guys don’t know him or what he is thinking ! I think I just needed to vent x

  12. Nikki

    March 28, 2020 at 5:30 pm

    Hi Shaunna – no and no. I ended the call before it got to voicemail and he did not pick up. Am I okay to just continue the NC I am on then? In the past I would call intentionally (not butt dial like this time) but then hang up once I realized he wasn’t answering so I’m worried he’ll think it’s that again?

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      March 28, 2020 at 9:00 pm

      Hi Nikki so I would go to a 45 No Contact if you gnatted him a lot after the break up just to extent the fact that you are working on your emotional control so that he can see you are working on yourself to be more positive and focus on the holy trinity in that time

  13. Nikki

    March 28, 2020 at 8:08 am

    Does butt dialing your ex during NC mean you have to restart if you don’t reply to them when they reach out afterwards?

    Also, I am almost 3 months post BU and have been consistently texting/calling with my ex besides for a couple 2-3 day streaks of not talking…is all hope lost?

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      March 28, 2020 at 4:14 pm

      Hi Nikki, did you speak to your ex when you but dialed? Did he answer the phone call? If either of these answers are yes then you need to re start

  14. Nihan

    March 24, 2020 at 11:23 am

    My boyfriend and I dated about 2.5 years and he broke up with me saying that he was feeling distant from our relationship and he didn’t have feelings for me for the last 2-3 months. I accepted and tried to move on. After 10 days of no contact, he called me in the middle of the night, saying that he wants to get back together because he can’t think of a life without me and he cried, told me he missed me; however the next morning he says he is not sure about his feelings and needs time. We didn’t talk for another 5 days then he came to my neighborhood and we saw each other because there was something he needed to give me. Then we got into his car, he was driving me home, suddenly he stopped and kissed me. We talked and he said he doesent think he can live without me and we should really consider getting back together, then I suggested to take things slower to see if we can start again, we agreed. He teased me, made jokes to me and we laughed. After I got home, he texted me and said “I meant everything I said, but when I’m alone I cannot be sure about what I want, when I’m with you, I wanna be with you but when I come home I just don’t understand my behaviour, I really think I need more time.” Then I said “I don’t know what to say, I’m also not sure about getting back together because we didn’t really have the time to think about it. The breakup is really new, so we need some time before deciding whether it is a good idea or not. I had fun today, I think we are compatible and we had a great relationship but if we start again now, we will struggle because time hasn’t passed.” He agreed with me and he wanted to put a “pause” to this conversation. It was 2 days ago and we didn’t talk since. Was I too harsh on him and blocked our chances together in our last conversation ? What should I do next and why is he so confused about this ? Will he come back ?

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      March 31, 2020 at 1:32 am

      Hi Nihan no you did not ruin your chances you showed that you have respect for yourself because he is back and forth as he is afraid to lose you but is clearly not happy right now. I suggest you work on becoming Ungettable and using social media to show him you are doing great and he is missing out on you. If he calls upset about wanting to be together, I suggest that you tell him you want to take it slowly and start dating first. Getting him to invest more time in building a new relationship with you. You do not be intimate together until you have been together for some time

  15. anny

    March 19, 2020 at 12:24 pm

    my husband n I got married two years ago.and had a child.there has been changes in his attitude so time ago ,I suspected him cheating with his ex and other ladies we sorted it out but in October last year,he called that he doesn’t want to be with me anymore n he has moved on.he even block me on Whatsapp and calls 5months now.he is not ready to listen to his parents or anyone else trying to talk to him.he has refused to divorce me too but always say we broke up.what should I do ?I need advice please

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      March 20, 2020 at 11:00 pm

      Hi Anny so you need to work on becoming Ungettable, do not beg for your ex back or reach out to him first, I am assuming that he is seeing your child. Use this windows of contact to look amazing and appear to be going out or just getting home from somewhere when he arrives. Let him wonder that you have moved on with your life

  16. Sad

    March 12, 2020 at 11:16 pm

    We had a “perfect” relationship. It was supposed to be casual, but we were really into each other. We had previous plans in the beginning, and would spend weekends apart, doing our thing with friends and always texting. After about a month or so we became inseparable. I share a house with my sister and her family. He had the same arrangement. I had been single for 15 years and happy like that. He left an unhappy marriage that he always called an unhealthy relationship about 6 months before we met. After about a month, he asked me to be his girlfriend, I said yes. A month later he told me he was in love with me, I didn’t say anything, I wasn’t. He said he was going to make me fall in love and he did. The perfect boyfriend. Brought me to meet mom, she baked a cake for my birthday. She sent me the sweetest Christmas card saying how happy she was to have such a wonderful girl in his life. 3 months later he broke up with me over the phone, we never ever had an argument before. I was floored and desperate and I kept asking for answers. This was 3 weeks ago and I got all the break up cliches in the book, he turned my head upside down. I haven’t said anything in 4 days now. Last text was I will come talk to you this weekend.

  17. Vanessa

    March 10, 2020 at 3:52 pm

    Hi, thanks for the great article!
    I’m currently in no contact. I’m 36 and my ex is 43. He broke up with me one month ago after two years of relationship. I was living with him, but moved out asap, so there was some limited no contact at first (while I was moving my stuff out, exchanging important stuff). I made sure I was looking great, stayed polite and left asap. Didn’t beg for him back.
    I’ve never initiated contact after that. Only replied twice to his messages to organize the move out. And I ignored his other messages saying he was hoping I wasn’t feeling too bad and that my family was doing ok..
    His family and one of his friends also contacted me to say they were sorry for us and wished me a happy birthday. I replied nicely.
    Now I’m going to the gym a lot and I’m seeing a therapist to feel better about myself. I’m actually even planning to go on two speeddatings the coming week.
    I miss him but I’m not even sure if I would want him back.
    Yesterday one of his close friends (the same one who wished me a happy birthday) tried to call me. I didn’t answer the phone.. but I’m not sure if that’s the right way to handle? Should I also ignore his friends and family during no contact?

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      March 12, 2020 at 1:28 pm

      Hi Vanessa, so if this friend was reaching out to you about something important they would have got in touch a second time. I would say it could have been an accident or that he was just checking up on you as you are not talking to your ex right now. If you are not wanting to get your ex back then you can talk casually to his friends, but do not overstep a boundary

  18. Fae

    March 10, 2020 at 8:15 am

    I Really NEED some advice! I have read loads about the no contact rule and I would love to try it as recently my ex bf has just broke up with me.
    however we have a HOLIDAY BOOKED in the next 5 1/2 weeks… how does the no contact rule work… if he messages me Do I reply and let him know I think we need time right now… and still do no contact or what….
    We both agreed to go away. However I want to make sure by time I go I’m confident enough to go and what ever decision happens afterwards I will be ok with….

    Advice would be helpful please!!

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      March 12, 2020 at 1:40 pm

      Hi Fae so most important thing is that you do not get intimate with your ex while away. If you are going to go, I would call and ask to make sure the room is a twin room and not a double. Working on yourself over the next few weeks so that you are at your best possible mental and physical state so that you are HAPPY with yourself and you will be fine.

  19. jazz

    March 8, 2020 at 9:09 am

    Hey there, just need some advice. I am nearly 4 weeks into no contact with my ex. I had to tell him i was not going to talk to him anymore due to constant hot and cold behaviour and attitude coming from him. Since, he has not reached out, he’s asked around about me but thats all. I just don’t know whether to reach out again, i do kind of want to let him reach out as i don’t want to feel like the only one who cares. What should I do?

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      March 10, 2020 at 10:37 pm

      Hi Jazz so if you want your ex back then you need to reach out to him with one of the texts that Chris suggests and get him talking on positive short conversations and build them up to be longer each time,

  20. Eric

    March 8, 2020 at 4:21 am

    Am so fascinated by this article…whatever is written is exactly the truth…I’ve tried it and it’s really working for me.After a six months breakup,my exgf kis now on my toes wanting us to be friends again but still am applying the No contact rule …av learned more though from the read…

1 2