By Chris Seiter

Updated on February 8th, 2021

In this post I’m going to be discussing the merits of ignoring an ex boyfriend to get them back.

We’ll be taking a deep dive into how your ex feels when your ignore them and if it’s something you should even attempt.

Hint Hint: It is!

So, without further ado I present my case on why ignoring your ex to get them back is an essential piece of the puzzle.

Why Ignoring Your Ex Boyfriend After A Breakup Works

Ignoring an ex to get them back is pretty controversial.

Some people will swear by it and other will call it childish and manipulative.

So, where do I stand?

Well, after doing this for half a decade I can honestly say that I believe it’s an essential part of the process if it’s done in the proper context and I have psychological proof to back up my claims.

Ultimately there are three things that I’d like to discuss with you today,

  1. You Need To Ignore Your Ex In The Proper Context
  2. Understand There Are Two Reasons For Why We Want To Ignore Our Exes
  3. Consider The Benefits Of How It’ll Make Them Feel

Let us begin!

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Concept #1: You Need To Ignore Your Ex In The Proper Context

Here on Ex Boyfriend Recovery our version of “ignoring an ex” is the no contact rule.

If you are wondering what that is then look no further than one of my best selling program to explain it to you.

And if you tend to be very visual by nature simply watch this video,

Understanding no contact isn’t so much what I want to talk about right now, I’ll get into that later. Instead, I’d like to talk about it’s placement throughout our overall process.

You see, when someone comes to me and asks me if ignoring their ex to get them back is a good strategy my answer is pretty simple,


Relationships thrive on communication and ignoring your ex and expecting them to come back to you on their own accord probably won’t work.

Countless studies show that “the silent treatment” is extremely harmful to the continuation of a relationship.

In fact, Paul Schrodt, PhD goes as far as saying,

The silent treatment is ‘tremendously’ damaging to a relationship. It decreases relationship satisfaction for both partners, diminishes feelings of intimacy, and reduces the capacity to communicate in a way that’s healthy and meaningful.


Silent Treatment = Bad

And yet you’ll see me and countless other relationship experts recommending it after a breakup.

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Have you ever considered why?

Well, there’s really two primary reasons.

What Are Your Chances of Getting Your Ex Boyfriend Back?

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Concept #2: There Are Two Primary Reasons For Why We Want To Ignore Our Exes

Curious as to what they are?

  1. You aren’t ignoring your ex forever
  2. The pretense in which you are ignoring your ex makes sense

The first reason is actually pretty straight forward.

You won’t be ignoring your ex forever.

In order to avoid all of the bad damaging effects of “the silent treatment” you will eventually get back in touch with an ex after the no contact rule.

If you read my book, Ex Boyfriend Recovery Program I talk about this idea called the value chain,

It’s essentially the “go to” barebones strategy that we teach to people who use our process.

Take note of how the no contact rule is the very first thing you do in the strategy.

This is the “ignoring portion” of the strategy but it doesn’t last forever.

Instead, you completely switch gears after the no contact rule and start re-establishing contact with your ex and building attraction up.

Again, this first thing we are talking about here is very straightforward.

The second thing, we’ll that’s where things get a bit more complicated.

The Pretense In Which You Are Ignoring Makes Sense

I’m always looking for new angles to illustrate my points.

I can’t tell you how aggravating it is to write an article and then have to rewrite the same article over and over again.

Therefore, I’m always looking for ways to fine tune my beliefs or better explain why things work out in a certain way.

Anyways, today I stumbled across a fascinating article that made me reevaluate why the no contact rule is effective.

I’ll give you a bit of a background.

A woman has a strange pet peeve.

She hates it when her husband walks into a room, turns on a light and then leaves the room without turning the light off,

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Pretty soon by the end of the day her husband had “lit” up the whole house.

It annoyed her to no end until one day she decided that instead of “nagging him” to stop this behavior which clearly wasn’t working she figured she would give him a dose of the silent treatment.

She was going to stop nagging him, stop cleaning up after him and just see what happened.

It didn’t work.

Weeks later, after their electric bill had gone through the roof she caved in and cleaned up after him.

But why didn’t it work?

Well, according to John Mayer, PhD this version of the silent treatment can be very effective IF the person understand why it’s happening.

In other words, if the woman had, had a discussion with her husband about why she is going to “go silent” it might have worked to alter his behavior.

Now, after reading about this story and made me think about the no contact rule.

So often I’ll recommend to my clients that it’s important that they just jump into the no contact rule cold turkey without any kind of explanation.

Do I still believe that, that is the smartest way to go about it?


Your reason for “ignoring cold turkey” is built in.

A breakup has occurred so how you are acting makes sense on some level to your ex and that can also explain why the no contact rule as a version of the silent treatment is so effective.

Concept #3: Consider The Benefits Of How Ignoring Your Ex Will Make Them Feel

A few weeks ago I wrote an article talking about some of the unseen reasons that ignoring your ex works.

I even filmed a video over it,

Pretty much everything I talk about in the article and the video operates under the assumption that the no contact rule (our primary ignoring method) is going to make your ex feel enough emotions to take actions to remedy things between the two of you.

I’m really proud of that article and that video because I dug deep and talked about psychological concepts that have never been mentioned online with regards to the no contact rule before.

Concepts like,

  • Reactance
  • Information Gap Theory
  • Zeigarnik Effect

I mean, think about that for a moment.

Look at all these amazing benefits that you get when you ignore your ex for a short period of time.

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Now, to the uninitiated you may be looking at that list of psychological terms and thinking,

What the heck is Chris going on about?

So, here’s what I figured we could do.

I’m going to give you a quick crash course on all of the terms above so that you understand how they will make your ex feel when you ignore them.

Are you ready?

How Does Reactance Make Your Ex Feel?

The no contact rule really works because of the concept of reactance.

Reactance: Human beings are born with certain behavioral freedoms and when they feel those freedoms being threatened or taken away they will respond in a way to try to get that freedom back.

By ignoring your ex via the no contact rule you are putting them in a position where they have to win that behavioral freedom back.

How Does Information Gap Theory Make Your Ex Feel?

The word of the day here is curiosity.

Specifically, when there is a gap of information a person will grow more curious and try to fill in the gap

So, by implementing a no contact rule suddenly without any explanation which is something we talked about above your ex is bound to grow curious and pay more attention to you.

This makes your life easier if you are trying to get them back.

How Does The Zeigarnik Effect Make Your Ex Feel?

The Zeigarnik Effect is pretty clear in it’s definition,

People remember uncompleted or interrupted tasks better than completed ones.

Pretty much all of my coaching clients complain to me that they feel there is unfinished business with their exes.

When you ignore your ex via the no contact rule that prolongs closure for your ex which means they are likely to remember you more because that closure has been interrupted.

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11 thoughts on “Ignoring An Ex Boyfriend To Get Them Back”

  1. Torn

    July 30, 2020 at 5:42 am

    My situation is a little different than most. He broke up with me almost two weeks ago… however, we still live together. We were together almost two years and for the most part had a pretty great relationship. Sine the actual break up, it’s been.. tough on how to navigate NC while I’m still trying to find a new place (I have two very young children and he told me he won’t just kick me out and do that to them). He’s been hot and cold, partying/drinking heavily every weekend and sometimes it spills into the work week. The weird thing is, is that he almost brags to me about his ‘adventures’ after disappearing the whole time. This happens in person once he returns and I just try replying ‘sounds fun and just be careful’. I have limited contacting him to important matters mostly, but did finally get talked into speaking up to him about him possibly drinking and driving. The conversation took a bad turn and then spilled over into long texts the next day about us discussing what went wrong in his mind, he reiterated it was over… AND then continued the conversation until I just left him on read more or less. The next interaction was a text from me about my sons birthday cake and needing some essentials from the store (I’m quarantined-ish, he’s still working). Once he come home he was kind of in a better mood and we helped each other with some chores then went our separate ways… we ended up texting from different rooms and I dropped a little video reminder of a bad but actually hilarious trip from a year prior (positive feeling vibe text) and he responded immediately (he never hesitates to respond to texts unless he’s out drinking but I’ve gone cold turkey during those times now towards him). The next day I got back into the swing of things and cooked an awesome dinner and he actually followed me to my room to eat (kids took over living room tv) and stayed to watch a whole movie (this used to be our thing) even though we both agreed it was a horrible movie I didn’t expect him to stay for. We parted ways again (sleep separately). Today I implemented heavy limited contact, went out with my kids and had a great time with them. When I got home, I more or less avoided him and tended to my kids. He got upset and left! Then texted me mad saying I didn’t even say hi to him. So my question is.. how do I continue to apply no contact and show him I’m not available to him since he obviously got upset giving him a big (unconscious) dose of his own medicine and I assume this is a somewhat positive reaction for me to take in from him? The plan is to be out and on my own after this coming weekend (kids go to their dads) and implement a full on no contact at that point. But what should I expect going from limited contact to now no contact? Or should I keep the line of communication open somewhat?

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      August 2, 2020 at 9:46 am

      Hey there, it sounds as if you need to move out to get this guy to realise he has lost you as right now he thinks he can get you back if he wanted to. A limited no contact is where you would be civil with him but only really speak to him about shared bills and problems with the house. I would look for any way to move out so that you can follow the program correctly. But 100% no contact this weekend when you have your time without the children he has no reason to speak with you so make sure you do not spend your alone time with him. Go see friends, and stay out as late as you can, even stay over if possible.

  2. Shantel

    July 10, 2020 at 9:58 pm

    How long do you recommend the no contact rule

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      July 11, 2020 at 6:52 pm

      It really depends on the type of break up, the average is 30 days

  3. Rose

    September 10, 2019 at 3:39 am

    Hello. It has been about five weeks since my breakup. The first few days after, he questioned his decision, but as time passed, he grew more comfortable apart. He has told me everything from “he doesn’t want a relationship right now” to “once things change, he wants me back right away” to “we are basically together but on a break” to “I’ve missed you so much.” He stalks my location constantly and still occasionally calls me love, baby, babe, etc. Today, I saw that he has been flirting with many other girls through social media, which is extremely confusing to me because he is always asking about me hanging out and talking with other guys, which I have not done. He seems extremely worried and paranoid that I will move on to another guy. He has said, “I’m scared that I am going to wait too long and that you will find someone else.” So, today when him and I were together, I told him that I was not okay with him talking to other girls like that, especially if he expects the same from me. I also told him that he asked for a break, but in no way does that mean it is okay to mess around with other people. It was a heated conversation, though with no yelling. I feel like he will need to have an epiphany before we can once again have a happy relationship and so I have planned on doing NC a few times within the past weeks, but each time, he had reached out to me within a day and made it seem as if he was wanting to get back together, being extremely loving and caring, but each time it has gone nowhere. If I ignore his texts or calls, he gets mad. About thirty minutes after him and I had that conversation, he texted me saying “I think you were right about not talking” (I had previously told him that we shouldn’t talk because he needs his time and so do I). Will NC still be effective? and should I ignore his texts even if he seems mad about it? If so, how often should I ignore his texts?

    1. Shaunna

      September 12, 2019 at 9:15 pm

      Hey Rose, yes keep to your NC and if you receive angry messages it is actually more common than you think. Look up some of my NC articles on the website

  4. Lala

    July 19, 2019 at 8:26 am

    Hello Chris, we broke up almost a month ago. He ignored and even avoided me like the plague for the first two weeks of our separation but after our special class, we got to talk because we are the only ones who happens to attend it. Things got better and better since we began talking again (and even “accidentally squeezed my elbows”) but he said to me that we’re better off friends and I don’t want to. Right now, I am ignoring him even in person. Am I doing this right? Thanks


    May 4, 2019 at 5:11 am

    My ex bf contacted me last night ! after i hadnt replied to him for a whole day. we have been broken up for 1 week now and were in a relo for 5 months . i do want him back and am doing the no contact method .
    i am wondering why he is being the way he is though . i know that there isnt a certain answer but i do have a feeling you couldd ease the situation with maybe some sort of background reasoning …
    SO… i broke up with him and then regreted it instatnly … and then he said that na he dosnt want to be with me…
    i decided ok after a few days to go and hang out with my friends .. little did i know what we were gonna get upto this night … fast foward im at an after party in my home town with my friends…
    two nights later my ex calls me crying and we talk about how much we miss each other … i then bring up how i was missing him at a parrty i went to… HE HITS THE FAN and says he was going to take me back BUT because i was out and about and probably CHEATING (his words) on him he isnt gonna take me back….
    but now hes msging me saying please reply and “if your fully over me , dont reply” (lol)

    I want to bring back my power in this … but what if i ignore him long enough he moves on…

    thanking you !!! from a confused broken hearted girl THAT HAS HER DIGNITY ON HER WAY

    1. Chris Seiter

      May 5, 2019 at 1:39 am

      I hope my website and my Program can help steer you in the right direction as have a ton of resources here that can make a difference. Having a sensible ex recovery plan is important.

  6. Kristen

    October 1, 2018 at 6:30 pm

    I’m in the no contect right now. Day 2. I feel horrible. He ended it with me less than 48 hours ago. We use to talk everyday, multiple times a day. But he also stated as an excuse when he ended it with me that I wasn’t talking to him enough-which is so not true! Do you think he will miss talking to me and might reach out during N.C.? I guess I just want to know that I’m not alone in feeling so empty not talking to him. I feel a void. He’s texts use to brighten my day. I wonder if he feels that at all too?

    1. Chris Seiter

      October 1, 2018 at 10:01 pm

      Hi Kirsten.

      I am sorry this is so hard on you. Its early and the early days are the most difficult. His reason for breaking up is petty, so NC is appropriate. Be sure to tap into my program guidelines on how all this works so you can optimize your chances and also find ways to personally heal.