By Chris Seiter

Published on July 26th, 2021

Everyone is always talking about the no contact rule, but no one really tells you that both its exact method and effectiveness are different for different attachment styles.

Today, we will talk about how the no contact rule will work based on your attachment style.

So we will go through 2 components

  1. Defining the no contact rule
  2. Looking at how it impacts different attachment styles

Let’s begin!

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Define No Contact Rule and Attachment Styles

The no contact rule is a period of time where you’re going to try to ignore your ex with the intent of outgrowing them.

This may have the added benefit of making them miss you, but that should not be the main goal.

Attachment styles are all about how we relate to other human beings around us.

This attachment theory is usually used when referring to child development; however, it also has lasting insights into how we form romantic bonds with our partners.

So overall, there are four main categories of attachment styles: secure attachment style, anxious attachment style, avoidant attachment style, and fearful attachment style.

If you want to learn more about these, I’d highly recommend using the search function on our website to check out some of our detailed guides on attachment styles.

However, if you’re short on time, here’s a quick crash course:

  1. Secure attachment style: Someone with a secure attachment style will have the fortitude to handle a breakup properly and move on. They will allow themselves time to grieve and process their emotions, but they will not beg for their ex back. A key factor for secure attachment styles is a strong sense of self that reaffirms they will be okay, with or without their ex.
  2. Anxious attachment style: Someone with an anxious attachment style is the exact polar opposite of secure attachment – they’re gonna be the ones that care way too much about relationships. They will be the ones that literally beg for their exes back, blow up their ex’s phone, show up at their ex’s work or home, etc. They often get blocked because of how obsessive they are.
  3. Avoidant attachment style: The avoidant attachment style is the exact opposite of anxious attachment. After a breakup, people with avoidant attachment styles tend to retreat inwards. The thinking here is that typically they value their freedom so much that they feel smothered in a relationship and fear their independence will be taken away. They are also wary of emotional intimacy and interdependence, so they push people away.
  4. Fearful attachment style: Fearful attachment style is one of the rarest types of attachment styles (only found in about 7% of the population). Someone who has a fearful attachment style will combine the worst concepts from avoidant and anxious attachment styles.

According to our internal research, most of our clients have anxious attachment styles, and their exes tend to be avoidant.

So the rest of this article approaches the no contact rule in those terms.

There can be other scenarios, but those are comparatively rare.

So if you’re here reading this, there’s a high chance you have an anxious attachment style, and your ex has an avoidant attachment style.

So the first thing I want to cover with regards to the no contact rule and attachment style is time dilation.

Time Dilation Based on No Contact

Time dilation is basically how you perceive time.

I think we can all agree that time for everyone on Earth is theoretically the same.

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What’s interesting is that you will experience time slightly differently based on your attachment style. Our average no contact rule tends to be around 30 days – so we tell most of our clients to ignore their ex and focus on themselves for that length of time. But that 30 days is not necessarily created equally.

Here’s the growing gulf between the two types of attachment styles.

If you have an anxious attachment style 30 days can feel like 90 days, it will just drag on forever and feel excruciating. Whereas if you have an avoidant attachment style, you’re going to experience 30 days as 10 days – it’s not long enough.

Someone with an anxious attachment style wants results right away, and they experience time in extremely slow detail. In contrast, an avoidant will quickly experience time during no contact rule because it’s not enough time for them to feel nostalgia after a breakup.

This is why typically, it takes longer than you would expect to win an avoidant ex back.

Understanding Why Most Exes Won’t Reach Out During No Contact

This time dilation concept of how anxious and avoidant people experience no contact differently might also give us insight into why most exes don’t reach out during the no contact rule.

We recently polled people in our private support group -a collection of individuals who have come through our program and successfully tried to get their ex back – and asked them if their exes reached out to them during no contact.

Here’s what we found:

64% of people trying to use a no contact rule on their ex will NOT get a response from their ex during that period.

Now to psychoanalyze this: we find that most exes tend to be avoidant, so for them, 30 days of not talking after a breakup is not that long. It’s more like a week for them, so they don’t feel compelled to miss their ex yet.

So this can also help explain why avoidant exes are not reaching out so much during the no contact rule, but that doesn’t mean that it’s ineffective. It just means you need to shift your paradigm and expectations to understand how your ex is viewing the no contact rule.

Insight Into What You Should Be Doing During No Contact

One other amazing thing about understanding the differences between anxious attachment styles and avoidant attachment styles is that it should be giving you insights into what you should be doing during the no contact rule.

As a reminder: we are only talking about people with anxious attachment styles doing no contact on their avoidant exes because that is the most common case we see.

We know about avoidant attachment styles that they tend not to want to talk or have feelings of nostalgia with their ex until they feel like that ex has moved on and there’s no chance of them getting back together.

At that point, they can relax and allow themselves to feel all of the nostalgic emotions required to win them back.

So this insight gives you direct correlations to what you should be doing during your no contact rule. So when we say that you need to be using the no contact rule to outgrow your ex, we’re not just saying it because it sounds good. We’re saying it because psychologically if your ex has an avoidant attachment style, that’s your best bet to help create nostalgia within them.

Now you have tools like social media and even your grapevine of friends that connect you to help amplify how much better you’re doing after a breakup. You can do things like going on public dates and sharing those on social media or with friends, so the news gets back to your ex. If your ex can see you moving on, they will allow themselves to miss you.

When you talk to your ex with that frame of mind, they’re a lot more responsive to all the ex recovery strategies we want you to try out. But when exactly should you reach out to them?

What Is the Right Time to Reach Out to Your Ex?

People usually ask if they should reach out to their ex immediately after no contact.

Well, we’ve tried to design our no contact rule time frames in a way that we’re advising people to reach out when their ex is having these nostalgic emotions.

Generally, we find that longer periods of no contact tend to be more successful when you look at first contact reach outs.

So let’s take a little walk down memory lane: when we first started ex-boyfriend recovery, we recommended only a standard 30-day no contact rule. We then realized that sometimes people are incredibly anxious, and the no contact rule is working so well on them that they’re blowing your phone up.

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Well, that’s when we came with the advent of a 21-day no-contact rule where you can shift your 30 days into a 21-day rule if it’s supremely effective.

But more recent research, after ten years of ex-boyfriend recovery, has suggested we might have been wrong. It might be in your best interest to extend your no contact period to a 45 day no contact rule because of the fact that your ex probably tends to be more avoidant by nature.

Longer no contact gives you more time to outgrow your ex.

By the time you get out of your 45 days of no contact, if you’ve done it right, you should be in a better place emotionally to where you’re even considering not getting them back.

That’s the frame of mind we want you in when you reach out to your ex because it will give you a radiating level of confidence and self-assurance that will make your conversations better.

Therefore, some of our more recent research suggests that longer periods of no contact tend to be better, and it all kind of comes down to attachment styles.

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10 thoughts on “How No Contact Works Based On Your Attachment Style”

  1. Turban

    September 24, 2022 at 8:14 am

    So does going no contact also involve blicking on social media? What’s the advice here?

    1. Coach Shaunna Nicol

      September 24, 2022 at 4:17 pm

      Do not interact with your ex on any social media platforms either

  2. Danni

    August 19, 2022 at 10:19 am

    I think mine is Fearful Avoid – I blocked him once 2 weeks after meeting him because he was so intense – said he loved me early on etc, said so many lovely things early on actually, like a spider web I was entangled – the block was only for a few hours but he left so many messages on how horrible it was and where had I gone and why? – thought then something was odd. Then a week later (3 weeks after we met) he just went cold. I asked and he said I was “overthinking” – here we are August (met Feb) love him to pieces but he’s still so weird. Only see him about 2 hours a week. We text a lot, live 10 min drive from each other. I’ve said “shall I stop” many times and always he says no, I love your texts. But I can’t seem to take it to next stage where we see each other more often. He has broached the subject of marriage 3 times recently (he says he’s thought and in 2 years time!) didn’t want to hear my thoughts tho!!! but I see him as eternal Batchelor – love him but want us both to be content. So lost.
    Currently put my needs forward, up to know it’s been mostly how he runs things and haven’t really minded, just got on with other stuff, but with his more serious marriage talk I want to see him more. When we are together it’s magical, he opens up so much and is vulnerable, he’s told me some really deep things. But mostly we text – sex text too. I’m 65 he’s 61. Both been married twice. Love to be with him but the constant withdrawal makes me think “could I ever do this?”. So confusing. Wish it could magically come together. I’ve set out how I feel and what I want and asked him what he thinks about my wants and needs. Currently waiting for reply 2 days ago. He does respond quickly to what ever I say – this time with a “lot to take in before I reply x” – so il go no contact till he does. It’s very hard because I want him so much. But this is the only wise way and I thank you so much for your advice, it really rings true for my situation xxx

  3. StressedAndAnxious

    August 16, 2021 at 1:29 pm

    I believe my ex is an avoidant type. We share a kid together. I’ve made a ton of mistakes by being too nice and literally begging for him to come back. We were engaged and ended it in November. Since January we have been sexually active. He refuses to get back together and gives me hot and cold behavior. He tries to resist me often then we end up hooking up and he hates me again. Days after our last hook up last month he went online and started dating. The woman I believe is a rebound. He states that she and he don’t go on dates but some how they’re exclusive due to sex. His car was repossessed and what idiot was there fir him for 2 weeks giving their car to him ? Me ! In those two weeks we were intimate 3 times. He now says he’s trying to process his feelings and basically he finally admitted his cold and hot behavior. He is so emotionally unavailable and doesn’t respond to my feelings when I mention this behavior. I’m just glad to know he finally admits that his feelings for me are confused. In my opinion he’s in a rebound relationship because the girl has admitted to him she followed me on social media and made weird remarks about wanting to do sexual things with me and saying she wanted me to teach her how to please him. I could tell he was bothered by her remarks as he told me. Then I think it’s a rebound because why would he risk continuing to be intimate with me knowing I could be petty snd tell her ? His response was “well that would give me an out”. I believe my ex tried to find the worse traits about me. He admits he knows I love him but that’s not enough. His mother was not in his life so truly I believe he has trauma from that. He chased me hard fir years. We broke up years ago and conceived a baby during that time. My hormones were all over the place and pushed his attempts of reconciliation away during my entire pregnancy. Months later (5 months after I gave birth ) I wanted to be together. He by then had apparently processed everything and moved on. Eventually we got back together last year but the damage was done. He never fully forgave me. But then a month into our new relationship he wanted to get married. I told him it was too soon and we should do the work. Long story short the year was hell. He constantly devalued me. Sabotaged our relationship. I fought super hard. November came and I could tell he wanted a way out. I still love him and feel stupid for it. How can I go no contact with him when we share a kid? How can he be so hot and cold towards me ? How can he be in a rebound with a woman but sabotage even that with me the person he verbally hates ? One minute it’s “I miss us …. But I don’t plan on changing anything .. flak me anytime “ the next it’s “leave me alone I don’t want to talk to you “… let’s work out together snd be accountability partners “ it’s weird behavior for sure. “We are broken up “ it’s august and for 8 months we’ve still been intimate smh. I love him but this roller coaster is beyond annoying. I wish he could process his weird ass emotions

  4. Lisa

    August 10, 2021 at 6:23 pm

    Its been a month of NC with my ex best frn and bf of 8 years. I broke u with him because he disrespected me and took me for granted. So i was kind of forced to do it because of his behaviour. He broke up with me 6 mnths ago without giving any reason. But came back. Today i returned the money i had borrowed from him online, no talks. He sent me a mail of warranties bills etc of the things i had bought using his account. I haven’t replied to mail yet. He changed his whats app profile pic today after years and was online for very long time. He is an avoidant. Will he come back?

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      September 1, 2021 at 9:05 pm

      Hey Lisa, make sure that you are reading the articles and applying the information if he is an avoidant I would suggest the longer term NC but if you owe him money still, be sure that you send him it without actually conversing with him.

  5. Lisa

    August 10, 2021 at 6:06 pm

    Its going to be a month of NC after i broke up with my ex best frn and then bf of 8 years because he took me for granted and disrespected me. He had broken up with me 6 months ago without giving me a reason but came back. Today i returned his money online no conversation. He sent me an email with warranties etc brought from his account. I have not replied yet. He is an avoidant. Will he come back?

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      August 28, 2021 at 8:33 pm

      Hey Lisa, so as long as you are working on yourself during this time and make sure that you stick with your Ungettable, understand that if you ended your relationship because your ex was not treating you right, then this may not change if he has no idea what he has done wrong or has not spent this time working on himself.

  6. Lane

    August 1, 2021 at 3:53 am

    I wanted to see if you guys think 14 days is enough? My ex broke up with me a week ago and this is day 4 of no contact. He did however tell me he would reach out on day 5, he basically asked for some space and I have a hard time doing that but I was able to stay quiet the past few days. So in hopes he will reach out tomorrow because he told me he would, I am not sure what to do. When he reaches out do I need to reply to him or wait and see what he says?

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      August 6, 2021 at 11:52 pm

      Hey Lane, no I would suggest 30 days NC and if he reaches out to you, then you must ignore him during those 30 days too.