By Chris Seiter

Published on June 16th, 2022

Today we’re going to talk about how guys really feel when you cut them off via the no contact rule.

I think there’s a natural assumption that by cutting a guy off after a breakup they will immediately miss you and have these nostalgia based feelings that cause them to act desperate to get your attention. It’s not that, that won’t happen but it’s unlikely to occur in the way you expect.

That’s what this article is going to do. It’s going to take some time to show you what we’ve seen from real life men and how they react to when you cut them off.

We’ll talk about,

  • The Reactance Factor With Cutting Them Off
  • How They’ll Actually Enjoy Being Cut Off At First
  • The Difference Between Men And Women Processing Breakups

Let’s begin!

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Understanding The Reactance Factor When Cutting A Guy Off

For the past ten years we’ve focused a lot of energies into understanding the nuances of breakups both in,

  • How to get an ex back
  • How to get over an ex

What no one seems to ever want to acknowledge is how both goals essentially start from the same place, implementing a period of no contact.

Officially, our definition of no contact is as follows,

The no contact rule refers to a period of time where you cut off all conceivable communication with an ex after a breakup. The intent of this tactic should NOT be used to make your ex miss you but instead should be used to rebuild your own life so that you outgrow your ex. By doing this, the no contact rule can have the added benefit of making an ex miss you

Now, I’ve talked about no contact a lot throughout this website. In fact, to date I’ve written over 96 articles on the topic. So, pretty much everything that I’m going to talk about here I’ve already talked about in another article so feel free to skip over it if you feel like you’ve already heard me talk about it.

A lot of times the assumption for most people who use a no contact rule is that an ex will become very anxious and upset about the fact they are being ignored and that, with enough time, the ex can actually grow to miss you.

There’s actually some scientific research to back up this idea.

You see, the no contact rule framework revolves around the psychological component of reactance.

According to Wikipedia,

Reactance is an unpleasant motivational reaction to offers, persons, rules, or regulations that threaten or eliminate specific behavioral freedoms. Reactance occurs when a person feels that someone or something is taking away their choices or limiting the range of alternatives.

By implementing a no contact rule you can actually trigger the reactance to occur because essentially a no contact rule in and of itself is you removing a freedom away from your ex.

They can no longer talk to you, right?

So, they are a lot more likely to respond in a way to try to get that freedom back. That’s the fantasy of “ignoring a guy” anyway.

But what if I were to tell you that based on what we’ve seen in the field that isn’t what occurs at all.

A recent poll in our private facebook group asking our clients who completed a no contact rule how often their exes actually reached out to them revealed that the vast majority of exes don’t reach out during no contact,

So, what gives?

Why The Concept Of Reactance Is A Quiet Slow Burn

The misconception that I’d like to combat here is that your ex is going to respond in this super positive way when you cut them off.

Our research has shown that they probably won’t respond at all, not for a while at least.

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We think this is because most of the exes we’ve studied are avoidant by nature,

And individuals with an avoidant attachment style value their independence highly. So, there’s this almost euphoric feeling after a breakup for an avoidant.

They feel happy to have gained their independence back.

In a weird way you’ve given them what they want, space.

But this is a good thing because if you want those “reactance” based reactions from your ex then space needs to be had. Take a look at this graphic,

This is the hamster wheel prison that an avoidant is caught in.

Take special note of stages six through eight.

  • They are happy they left the relationship
  • Then they start to feel kind of lonely
  • Then they feel bad for themselves, “why can’t I ever find the right person?”

So, where does the reactance factor come into play. I think that only happens when an avoidant starts to feel like they’ve actually lost something.

Remember, initially they feel like they’ve gained something, their independence.

And the mistake most of our clients make is they don’t give their avoidant ex enough time to actually process the breakup to feel that loss. Instead, they opt to try to “fix the relationship” which in the end just serves to remind the avoidant of why they wanted to leave in the first place.

So, psychologically reactance for an avoidant isn’t probably going to kick in until this stage,

But this is precisely why we aren’t seeing exes “reach out” during a no contact rule. It’s because they are still in the midst of the stage before that one.

Only after they “feel” the breakup and are brought back to the nostalgia of the relationship will they feel like they can reach out.

Still though, you have to give them that time and for many of our clients that’s a lot to take on faith.

Of course, since we are talking about guys here I figured it would be interesting to add in another element that doesn’t get talked about a lot.

Looking At How Men Handle Breakups Compared To Women

Yesterday I wrote an articled that looked at who had an easier time getting over breakups, men or women.

Here was my ultimate conclusion,

On the surface level it may appear that men get over breakups quicker than women but that’s not necessarily true. Research has shown us that they have a different way of processing grief than women.

And that’s sort of what I’m arguing here.

Actually, I guess I’m talking on the breakup advice community and disagreeing with them or simply pointing out that they are using an outlier to seduce people into quick results.

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“Cutting a guy off will immediately make him miss you and he’ll reach out begging for you back.”

This is the lie.

And it’s a seductive one like I said.

Their argument hinges on “reactance” but I’ve just shown you that “reactance” usually doesn’t happen until later and when you look at how men process breakups that just becomes clearer and clearer.

Researcher, Craig Morris, had this to say about how men handle breakups,

“The man will likely feel the loss deeply and for a very long period of time as it ‘sinks in’ that he must ‘start competing’ all over again to replace what he has lost — or worse still, come to the realization that the loss is irreplaceable,” he said.

But it takes time and that’s the part no one tells you about.

And their ability to process the grief isn’t linear. It’s messy. Sometimes they move on to someone else. Sometimes they have one night stands to stave off the grief. Sometimes they push you out of their mind for months or years.

The toll will come though if you are patient. Well, it’ll come unless one unfortunate thing happens.

Unless you let your anxiety take over.

Unless you constantly blow up your exes phone

Unless you act unbelievably desperate

Unless you aren’t able to get emotional control.

It may seem small but you handling the breakup the right way actually improves your odds of your ex having that nostalgia period you want them to have.

So, to be clear cutting off an ex usually works to get the results you want but it takes a lot more time than you are probably expecting.

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