We are used to people reaching out to us asking what constitutes a good reason to break no contact here at the ExRecovery.
Most of the time this boils down to just looking for excuses.
We’ve actually written articles on that if you are one of the many.
However, for the most part, sticking with No Contact is usually your best bet for success.
Why is No Contact So Difficult?
In order to fix a problem, you have to understand what the underlying issue is.
So, what makes No Contact so difficult?
Well part of your challenge is you don’t have an awesome book to help you through the process. That is why I wrote “The No Contact Rule Book”. So go pick up a copy!
Well, a break-up isn’t easy to begin with. And missing someone you were close with is completely normal.
So, don’t be hard on yourself if you are struggling.
It happens to everyone.
So, let’s look at what makes No Contact the most difficult part of getting your ex back.
You Are Used to Having Him Around
When I’m working, I always have my phone on the left of my workspace and my coffee, water, and stylus to the right. This keeps my clumsy self from spilling my drink all over the place or losing my stylus like I have so many times.
When my phone chimes, I don’t even have to look up to get it. My hand goes to it instinctively. I don’t have to worry that it won’t be where it’s supposed to be.
A breakup works the same way.
When you’re involved with someone, or even just crushing on someone, they populate the space in your mind that you go to when it wanders.
In a relationship, you begin to rely on them being there.
These days, couples exchange several hundred texts in a day.
So, it isn’t surprising that, when you stop focusing on something in front of you, your mind would wander to someone you are used to being able to reach out to. I mean, for however long you were together, you could simply reach out to him for anything. You could even just ask him how his day was or what he’s up to.
During No Contact, the urge to text him is usually habitual.
A lot of women think, “If only I could just talk to him… he’d understand how I feel and we’ll get back together.”
People who have just gotten out of a relationship don’t usually respond favorably to a direct approach.
The reason No Contact has resulted in so many successes is that it takes a more indirect approach.
He Keeps Contacting You
It is not uncommon for an ex to try and stay in contact after a split.
If he thinks you broke up because of something he did or if he’s the one who broke things off, then it is possible that he feels guilty. The reason behind why he feels guilty could be a number of things, from feeling like he hurt you to fearing that you might hate him.
He doesn’t necessarily want you to love him. It’s just human nature not to want to be hated, especially if you cared for them at any point.
I’ve heard of several people’s exes, along with some of my own, asking, “Are we okay?” after a split.
Here’s the immediate conversation that was had right after my last big breakup. As for my side of the conversation, I kind of saw the break-up coming long before it happened.
It’s difficult, almost impossible, to keep No Contact if you are constantly hearing from your ex.
Usually, letting him know you need some time to process will give you the chance to make No Contact work for you.
You Are Being Triggered
Triggered, it’s a word that is being thrown around a lot these days.
The way that it is currently used most is when someone hears something that literally “triggers” a traumatic memory. And huuuuuuge debates are being held over what is and isn’t a trigger.
However, when I say it to you now I am referring to it as a causation of sorts.
When you shoot a gun, pulling the trigger is what causes the gun to go off. Generally, the bullet doesn’t leave the gun unless the trigger is pulled.
We’re looking for the starter or causation.
In your situation, something is causing you to want to reach out to your ex. Identifying the cause is the first step to finding a solution.
I will say, though, a breakup is a type of loss. For some people it can be traumatic almost Dealing with any kind of loss is difficult.
If it were simple and easy, we wouldn’t have thousands of women seeking us out every day.
Are You Sabotaging Yourself?
My friend’s mother used to say that, “sometimes it’s like our minds have minds of their own.”
I can attest to that.
Sometimes, the heart has a mind of its own, too. (I’m a big fan of the Awkward Yeti comics that portray this perfectly.)
I used to be a receptionist at a local country club. A lot of the things I did were repetitive and didn’t take a lot of thought. Often I would multitask. Some days, when I wasn’t feeling well or I just hadn’t had my coffee yet, it was almost as if I was on autopilot. I would greet the same person twice if the walked past me and not even notice until after. Or I would ask the same person how their day was multiple times.
Not because I forgot, but because my mind was doing what it knew I was supposed to be doing. If someone came through the door, I was supposed to greet them. When they left, I was supposed to ask how everything was.
If I wasn’t paying attention but I heard someone come in the door three times, I would most likely greet them three times.
I used to date this guy several years ago.
We’re still friends to this day, but, when we were together, we would send each other obscure words and their definitions when we learned new ones.
One of my favorites was barbigerous, which means bearded or hairy.
We still do this when we find a particularly fun one.
Even though it wasn’t a hard break-up, for a while I had a hard time enjoying learning new words without considering reaching out to him.
When you get into a routine with someone and then suddenly they aren’t around, your mind can register this as a problem and it starts trying to find solutions.
This is why you suddenly think of a reason to reach out after a split.
Back in the good old receptionist days, one of my coworkers’ exes came up to the desk where I was working and asked to speak to her about something important. I wasn’t even aware that they split up, but I could get ahold of her out on the golf course, so I told him I’d have her call him.
The next day, I asked her if she had remembered to call him.
You know what he wanted?
He wanted to return a hair tie she had left around his shower head several months before they broke up.
A HAIR TIE!
I mean, I once asked an ex to return some books. But, as a woman, I can tell you hair ties and bobby pins are acceptable losses.
We’ll talk about how to deal with your mind’s quest for solution below.
Figuring Out What Works for You
So, let’s get you some insight.
At the beginning of this article, we discussed WHY staying in No Contact is so hard, but we didn’t get into HOW to deal with the why.
We’re going to do that now.
First, I’m going to tell you that there are going to be some tactics that work for you and some that don’t. There will definitely be some tactics that will make you feel uncomfortable.
But, don’t worry.
You are already uncomfortable… right?
What’s losing a little more comfortability in order to get what you want?
Alright, so I broke this down into three sections.
Habits, actions, and identification.
Everyone has them, both good and bad.
One of the biggest offenders after a breakup is negative self-speak.
For those of you playing the home game, that would be the way you speak to yourself.
Have you been beating yourself for the way things went?
Have you been nitpicking over all of your bad traits?
That would be negative self-talking.
I actually just had a talk with someone I am close with about this. He streams video games and I noticed that he was talking bad about himself while he was playing, generally when he was struggling and didn’t have anything to say at the moment.
When he was lagging behind his team there was a lot of,
“I’m useless.” Or “I’m a piece of trash.”
I brought it up the next time we hung out together. It turns out, he didn’t even notice that he was saying it.
That is usually how it is.
You probably didn’t even notice you were doing this. You may still not think that you do.
But you will for sure notice if you do in the future.
So let’s talk about what to do if you find yourself doing this.
Number one, you can beat yourself to the punch by doing affirmations.
Affirmations are statements said with confidence about something that can be perceived as a truth.
This little girl, Jessica, has the right idea.
The way it works is that it reprograms the way you see yourself. When used properly, it can be quite effective.
“What you think about yourself is much more important than what others think of you.” -Marcus Annaeus Senaca
How do you start?
I’ll lay out some easy steps for you.
First, I want you to fold a full sheet of paper and on the left side make a list. Include everything you’ve ever seen about yourself as being negative. Along with those, include anything anyone else has suggested is negative about you that you have held onto. You know what I mean. Kind of like that thing your mom nags you incessantly about. Things like that stick with you even if they are 100% correct.
Just include any thought that sticks with you that makes you feel unworthy or less than.
For example here are a few things that might turn up on a list:
As you can see, I’ve listed the type of negative talk out to the side in pink.
Now that you have a list, let’s talk about what you are going to do with it. You didn’t think we split the page in half for no reason, did you?
So, the next step would be to fill that right side in.
What we’re going to do is rewrite each of the statements on the left and fill them in on the right. The trick is to avoid negative words like not and can’t. Also, it helps to use powerful words.
Here’s the same list we looked at earlier. I’ll give you some examples using these tips.
Now comes step three.
These new statements down the right side of your page are going to become your new mantras.
Every morning you are going to repeat them out loud and with a backbone like you believe it. Then you are going to do it two more times a day.
It also helps if you write them out.
I like to doodle out the things I want to remember, like quotes or things I need to do. There’s just something about writing something down that helps it stick in your mind.
Step 1: List
Step 2: Rewrite
Step 3: Anchor It In Your Mind
If you are having trouble rephrasing, consider changing your point of view.
Don’t say anything to or about yourself that you wouldn’t say to or about a child that you love.
For example, I would never say, “You’re ugly,” to or about my niece.
Another way to break out of old habits is the “rubber band trick.”
This is where you wear a rubber band around your wrist and pop yourself with it every time you feel the urge to reach out to an ex.
A nice little trick I like to apply here is to keep track of what triggers the urge. I’m a big fan of the bullet journal. If you aren’t aware of this, just check out Pinterest. They are everywhere.
If you aren’t keen on the Bullet Journal way of life, simply keep a list somewhere handy and keep track of what happens right before the urge hits and how you feel after it passes.
Knowing what brings on the urge can help you recognize it for what it is or even to avoid what is causing the urges in the first place.
Actions can refer to both your actions and his.
So, when it comes to your actions it is up to you to control them. Add that to your list of affirmations.
“I decide how I react to the urges I am faced with.”
When it comes to his actions, it’s natural to internalize his actions as personal offenses.
Not everything he does is directed at you.
When you start to feel this way, remind yourself that your perception is skewed by the fact that he was yours and now no longer is.
We all want to think that our guy is one of the good ones. So, all of the good characteristics that he displayed at the beginning of the relationship became part of the way we saw them.
Think back to when you first met your ex.
Look at things that were there at the beginning that weren’t there at the end of the relationship.
Was he thoughtful and kind?
Did he cater to your needs and interests?
I’m going to tell you something that sounds obvious but we tend to overlook it when we are looking through the haze of puppy love.
I know it sounds silly, and everyone thinks it only happens to kids, but it is absolutely a real thing.
I call it the love haze. That sounds more adult, I suppose.
It get’s us all, even me.
It keeps us from remembering or taking to heart past relationships, friend’s situations, and articles like this one.
Remembering that a majority of the goodwill we garnish at the beginning of a relationship is just for show can make people leery of getting into relationships in the first place.
I think that this mentality is why traditional dating has been phased out, the general distrust of courting.
However, when people finally get into a relationship they get used to their partner putting forth that sort of effort. So, when they stop putting forth that kind of effort, it feels like he’s been doing it on purpose.
When in reality he’s just relaxing into the relationship and doesn’t feel the need to fake it to impress you anymore.
It isn’t meant to hurt you, although both you and I know that it doesn’t make it hurt any less.
So, now that the relationship is over, it’s hard to separate the person he became to make you happy and the person he actually is.
Most men, when they want something, they go after it in obvious and clumsy ways. So, unless he’s come out and told you that he wants you back or that he is and at you, then you have to find a way to look at his actions as something that isn’t directed at you.
Giving yourself a break from contact with you ex is the best way to achieve this. It will give you the clarity that you need to see things without prejudice.
Identify the Cause
Understanding what causes you to do the things that you do. You know that list of things that make you want to reach out to your ex, the triggers?
I’ve gone through breakups with men that I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with. It hurts. You want to understand and you can’t.
You want to ask questions, but everyone, including the exRecovery tea, has told you that would be a bad idea.
It feels like you can’t breathe.
So, how about you, are you gasping for air?
Well, let’s talk about A.I.R.
A.I.R. is all about how you deal with the things that trigger that desire to reach out and understand or reconcile.
This is exactly what it sounds like. When an ex and I broke up a couple of years ago, I found myself wanting to reach out periodically to get clarity on why exactly we split and why we wouldn’t maintain a friendship eventually.
After running through what happened before and after the desire to reach out, I realized that the common denominator was driving down the road leading to the road he lived on.
Now, even years later, I still avoid going down the road.
Sometimes, we don’t really pin down what the causation is that spurns the desire to reach out is.
So, when you feel that desire, you should train yourself to interrupt it at the first sign it’s happening. This is where the rubber band trick comes in. It snaps you back to reality and out of the delusion that breaking No Contact now would be more convincing than waiting until you are through it.
That’s exactly what it is… a delusion.
Hey, I told you I was going to say some things that you wouldn’t like.
But just roll with me here.
What’s the first thing people say after a horrible thing happens?
“Things like this don’t happen to me!”
“This kind of stuff doesn’t happen here!”
No Contact generally works the same way for everyone.
In fact, thinking that you are special and that things will work out differently for you means that you are just like everyone else.
Reminding yourself that No Contact is a tried and true method that has worked for hundreds of thousands of people and it WILL work for you.
This one is also a commonly overlooked tactic. The idea is to replace the action of reaching out to your ex with something else.
However, it is something our minds do automatically without us even knowing.
Some people automatically reach for comfort food or a drink.
For me, when I am faced with the drive to reach out, I do something that signifies the beginning of the day. A lot of people find that this works for them too.
The one that works best for me is to take a shower. It’s like a hard reset on the day.
For other people, having supportive people in their life is what they replace it with. Instead of reaching out to an ex, they reach out to a friend, a parent, or sibling. Someone, who can talk them out of it or distract them.
They know the situation you are in and can sympathize.
Alright Let’s Wrap This Up
So, I know I wrote a lot in this article and it’s a lot to process, so I’m sure you are ready to wrap this up.
I get that.
I implore you to try everything and see what works. You might be surprised what works for you.
They will help you get your ex back. Just stick with it.
If you are still questioning whether or not No Contact works, check out this article and see if you still have doubts after.
Let me know how what you try and what works for you in the comments.