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.

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.

What to Read Next

No Response Can Still Be A Response

By Chris Seiter | 2 comments

What To Do When Your Ex Goes Back To Their Ex

By Chris Seiter | 0 comments

How To Handle Loneliness After A Breakup

By Chris Seiter | 0 comments

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.

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

  1. Avatar

    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

  2. Avatar

    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

      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

  3. Avatar

    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

      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

  4. Avatar

    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

      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

  5. Avatar

    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

      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

  6. Avatar

    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.

  7. Avatar

    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?
    Thanks!

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      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

  8. Avatar

    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

      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.

  9. Avatar

    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

      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,

  10. Avatar

    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…

  11. Avatar

    Ayat

    March 4, 2020 at 11:41 am

    My fiance left me beacuse I had surgery to remove a tumour after 7 months of engagement and we were supposed to get married in a few months. I was so angry that I sent him after one day of breakup a really long msg scolding him for what he did instead of standing with me !!
    I felt calm after taking out what’s inside my heart and blocked him .. but it never ends, if i talk for days it will not express my disappointment in him.
    What should i do 🙁

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      March 7, 2020 at 8:19 pm

      Hi Ayat, so someone who is unhappy with you looking after your HEALTH over getting married does not love you the right way! Postponing the wedding so that you can be healthier is so much more important than anything else! If you want him back then reach out but I would look at the situation that he is just being very selfish

  12. Avatar

    Meg

    February 28, 2020 at 8:47 pm

    Hi, I’ve been in no-contact for 3 months. We had been together a few years during uni. My Ex didn’t reach out to me on my birthday, and yesterday he didn’t reach out to congratulate me for passing med school! Why wouldn’t an ex reach out on these occasions (particularly the latter in which my ex was such a huge part of that journey). I am working on myself and my confidence, and have learnt sooo much post-break up, but this has kinda hurt.

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      February 28, 2020 at 9:53 pm

      Hi Meg in situations like these exes dont reach out because its “awkward” but the fact that something amazing has happened for you and you are focused on the fact he did not reach out to you is why you need to read the Ungettable materials and apply them to your life. You just passed medical school you should be on cloud nine right now! Go and celebrate with your friends and family

  13. Avatar

    depressed

    February 28, 2020 at 4:18 am

    After i finished my NC, I texted him on saturday evening. he texted back the next day and we had a good short conversation.
    I texted him again on wednesday, which he replied to 1.5 hours later. I texted back, and he replied the next day again. His messages were short yet in a positive way with emojis and lol’s. After 2 or 3 more messages from each other were exchanged, he stopped responding. It’s been 24 hours now and I know he’s ignoring me intentionally.
    I heard that he met this girl at the bar on saturday night. Maybe he’s talking to her? He’s been very active on this social media app(that is not IG or FB. pretty much only he and i use. our friends don’t) since the breakup but it entirely stopped after he met that girl… I don’t know what to do from here now

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      February 28, 2020 at 9:32 pm

      Hey there, Read about the being there method if he gets into a relationship so you know what to do, but keep with the texting plan Chris talks about in his articles and videos

  14. Avatar

    Jenny

    February 27, 2020 at 1:08 pm

    My ex and I had been together just over 6 years when he broke up with me in September. Overall we had had an incredibly happy relationship, having got together when we were just 20, we grew together and often talked and planned for our future (marriage, children etc) on a regular basis with no question that we wouldn’t spend the rest of our lives happily together. The last year has had a few challenges and I lost myself t and took this out on the relationship, becoming someone who wasn’t very nice and didn’t treat my partner in the way he deserved. He finally reached breaking point and broke up with me which was the shock I needed to realise my own behaviour and take action to understand about why I had behaved in that way. 
    We were broken up for 4 months, during that time I underwent immense personal growth and can see now that I needed that time and space to work on myself. During this time he also started a new very intense job that takes up the majority of his time. Although we were broken up we both clearly found it difficult to cut one another off and on average we ended up speaking briefly over message or catching up over coffee every 3 weeks (with periods of total silence in between). He could see I had changed and was in a much better place and we spoke about wanting there to be a future for us but he was clearly also wrestling with the fact he was enjoying his new found independence and was still very hurt from the breakdown of our relationship. His personality meant that he put immense pressure on himself to come to some conclusion about what we should do because we knew that neither of us were moving on and were still in love yet we weren’t together either. In January after having had a long ‘thinking period’ he told me that he didn’t feel at all ready to but that he thought it was now or never to give the relationship another go. He was incredibly hesitant and kept stressing that he didn’t really feel ready and wanted to go very slowly. I said that I didn’t think it was right to give it another go unless he was definitely ready but he insisted that he felt we needed to come to a conclusion and the other option of cutting each other out and moving on was not something he wanted either. 
    For the next 4 weeks we started trying to get back into the swing of things while still moving slowly. We only saw each other x1 a week and made sure to plan something nice for that day. When we were together it was lovely and I could tell we were both happy, but I could also sense a lot of hesitation and fear from his side. On several occasions we had honest conversations and he admitted that he was finding it tough to get back into the routine of talking each day and wasn’t feeling as he felt he ought to be. I continued to fight for it and told myself things just needed more time to adjust and that slowly his walls would break down, however after one final conversation in which he told me he knew he wasn’t giving himself to the relationship in the way that he should be and didn’t know why / knew that I was the one putting all the effort in, I realised in that moment that I couldn’t continue as we were, with me trying to carry the relationship and being anxious about him cutting it off at any moment. I told him I thought we should stop and he admitted that he agreed and said that he clearly hadn’t been ready and it had been too soon for him to try again. We both sat and cried for hours and spoke about how we didn’t want this to be the end. He said that not being together didn’t feel right but that he was confused because being together right now didn’t feel as it should either. After we had left he text me saying how deeply sorry he was for putting me through this and that it was clear he is very confused at the moment and that he would understand if I didn’t want to but perhaps we could catch up in a few days and see how we are both feeling about the decision. In a move that was very unlike me, I took a strong stance and replied saying that I had given everything I could to the relationship and so want it to work but have realised I can’t do that single handed. I told him to take some serious space and time to work out whether this is worth fighting for the way I believe it is and that I didn’t want him to speak to me unless he wants to give something to the relationship. That was nearly 18 days ago, he didn’t reply to my message and neither of us have messaged since. He is a deeply sensitive guy and very respectful and I know the thing that hurts him most is the idea of how he is hurting me, with that in mind I have no idea whether he hasn’t messaged because he doing as I asked and is taking time and space to think, or because he has realised he is much happier without me and is therefore not contacting as I asked because he doesn’t want the relationship.

    I know that I want to be with him and I truly believe in our relationship, but I also understand that he has to come to a decision himself and I cannot influence or change that, he needs space and time to focus on himself and figure out what he wants. What I want to know is whether given all these circumstances you would still recommend reaching out to him after 30 days or whether you think I should leave it completely for him to message me which could take months or more but I think he eventually will if only for practical matters such as exchanging things. I am continuing to focus on myself and am throwing myself into things and am truly enjoying life and am open to meeting other people but I know that what we had during out 6 years and what we could have again was so great and don’t want to totally give up on that or him. What would you advise? 

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      March 12, 2020 at 11:03 am

      Hey Jenny, if you want to follow ERP process yes I do recommend that you reach out after 30 days no contact, but make sure that you are taking this time to work on yourself too. Read the posts about being Ungettable. Try not to focus on the past, even though you had a happy 6 year relationship, make sure you do not hold on to that as the break up shows something went wrong. When you get in touch again treat it as if you are getting to know your ex for the first time again. Using this as a guide to how emotionally controlled you need to be when texting again. You are not going to pick up where you left off