By Chris Seiter

Updated on February 8th, 2021

Most of the time you’ll find that it is not a good idea to break the No Contact Rule – but there are certain situations where you will have to alter it. I want to go through these four specific situations to show you how to deal with these exceptions to the rule.

(Please note that I am not talking about ending your No Contact period early – if you think you might have grounds to do that, please read this first: The Six Ways To Know If You Are Close To Getting Your Ex Back

If you haven’t already, the first step towards getting your ex back (even before No Contact) is to take my free two-minute Ex Recovery quiz. It’ll give you a pretty good idea of your chances of getting your ex back.

So when should you break or alter your No Contact Rule?

Nine times out of ten, you need to stick to your No Contact Rule right until the very end

and then progress your situation with messages, phone calls, and finally meet-ups. The exact process is detailed in Ex Boyfriend Recovery Pro, which you can check out here.

There are four circumstances that I have found that call for alteration of a No Contact Rule.

  1. You Work Together Or Go To School
  2. You Actually Live Together
  3. You Have A Child Together
  4. Items That You Need To Exchange

Let’s take a moment and dive into what each one of these entails.

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Situation No. 1: You Work Together Or Go To School Together

There are quite a few people who misunderstand the point of the No Contact Rule. If you didn’t already know, the No Contact Rule is meant to do two things:

  • Number one: make your ex miss you
  • Number two: give you a chance to reset your life and get yourself together

If you need more information on how the rule works, here’s a comprehensive guide: The No Contact Rule Version 2.0 

I can’t tell you how often people come to my website and read my articles and take everything I say at its word. They are dead set on sticking to that No Contact Rule even in really awkward circumstances.

A few weeks ago I got an email from someone telling me that they were sticking to their No Contact Rule even though they worked with their ex. They were ignoring their ex, and actually being rude to their ex by staying silent. But there was one problem – the manager at work forced the two together, and this woman was panicking because she didn’t know how to handle it.

The second problem is that the idea of the No Contact Rule isn’t to be a jerk to your ex (even though you might really want to and they might really deserve it!). The idea is to make them miss you, and you don’t usually miss someone who is being rude to you.

Sometimes when you’re in an environment where you have to spend time together, like school or work, you have no choice but to communicate with your ex, even during a No Contact Rule period.

This is when we employ a Limited No Contact Rule

So, how do you handle yourself in the midst of a limited no contact rule?

Keep it strictly business

Only talk about what you’re working on. No small talk, no chit-chat, and definitely no “I miss you, where did things go so wrong?” type of talk. If they ask you anything that’s not related to work, be polite but steer away from it. If they ask how you are, say that you’re great, thanks – and move on to business. Don’t ask how they are. Don’t ask how the cat is, or if the air-con got fixed, or anything like that.

Next, remember to:

Keep all your conversations short

Not so short that you’re being rude, but don’t give your ex anything extra.

And you are still not going to be reaching out to your ex once you are away from the work/school situation.

The idea with putting them into a Limited No Contact period is so that they can feel that something is a little off, and they understand this is probably due to the breakup, but you aren’t being rude or bringing more negative feelings into play.

So be polite, keep it short, and be as smiley and positive as you can.

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Situation No. 2: You Actually Live Together

Here’s a riddle.

How do you ignore someone when you see them every single day and there’s no way to avoid them? The answer? You can’t. This is why it’s so important to understand that you don’t need to break the No Contact Rule, you simply need to alter it.

With Situation No. 1 we were talking about altering the No Contact Rule into a Limited No Contact period. Something similar needs to happen in a situation where you live with your ex.

Make sure that the conversations you have are about important things, and they’re relatively short. This is the same as for Situation No. 1.

One other thing that you really need to do if you find yourself in this situation: find a way to move out.

Sometimes this is impossible, But we’ve found through independent research and working with a lot of clients, that usually, when you’re living together with an ex, it does not go well. So do all that you can to find a way to remove yourself from that situation.

Situation Number 3: You Have A Child With Your Ex

Let’s say you’re determined to see your No Contact Rule through to the end. You’re not going to respond to your ex no matter what. Except, your ex has the kids today and your child has broken his arm. Your ex reaches out to you telling you your kid is in the hospital. Do you respond, or do you simply ignore your ex?

You respond of course!

What matters more than anything is your children, and that situation takes precedence over the one with your ex.

So how do you handle this? Again, you need to alter the No Contact Rule to allow for the situation. You don’t need to break, it, you just need to remember that with the Limited No Contact rule, you are only allowed to talk about the children. That keeps it strictly business and is what we have found works best.

Sometimes you find that people who have children together live together, and you have to find a way to merge those two situations together.

But the same principles apply. Keep it strictly business; keep it short and to the point.

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Situation No. 4: You Have Things That You Need To Exchange With Your Ex

Human beings tend to accumulate stuff. With an ex, sometimes you have gifts that you gave each other and you have left stuff at each other’s houses. What do you do post-breakup, especially if you have something of theirs that they want back?

Are you allowed to stay in No Contact and completely ignore them? Well usually, no. When they are asking you for something back, the breakup protocol dictates that you are allowed to break the No Contact Rule in this one instance, but only to simply exchange items.

Now, how do you act during that exchange? Well, the same principles apply as above. Keep it strictly business and as short as possible.

Keep it short and sweet and look your very best.

You have the chance to be face to face with your ex, so make the most of it.

Don’t be rude, but don’t be overly friendly. Don’t ask about anything else; stick to the exchange.

There’s one extra thing in regards to this situation. Many times you will find your ex will force your hand and ask for something back from you. But sometimes, they won’t have any interest. If you’re wanting communication with them so badly that you want ask for something from their house, here’s the caveat: if the thing you want back isn’t important, don’t even bother breaking the No Contact Rule.

Here’s an example of something that’s important: your ex has tax documents that you need. You’re allowed to break a No Contact Rule and get those things and then go right back into your No Contact Period (with no need to extend or restart). You’re not allowed to break No Contact Rule for something like a toothbrush or something else you can easily replace. Don’t cheat yourself out of the benefits of No Contact!

Because the No Contact Rule is such an important step in getting your ex (and your life) back, I have written an entire ebook on it, which goes into even more detail than this article about when you can break the No Contact Rule.

What Are Your Chances of Getting Your Ex Boyfriend Back?

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If you want more advice, leave me a comment below. I do my absolute best to try to respond to all comments, and I love getting feedback. Please check out my YouTube channel too, for more help on getting your ex back.

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17 thoughts on “Should You Break The No Contact Rule?”

  1. Nicole Impero

    May 23, 2020 at 11:26 am

    Hi Shauna and Chris,

    My boyfriend of 11 months broke up with me two days ago. Our relationship is much different than most bc he moved in with me right after we began dating and pretty much have been together everyday for the past year. I could go into detail about our relationship but am not sure if that is relevant. I do love him very very much, although he thinks otherwise and I want to get him back. He has been texting me multiple times a day since, mostly all positive and neutral. Initially he had stated that with time he feels that I will realize that I never really loved him. This is not true. I am going through some personal issues of low self esteem as well as carrying some past trauma from previous relationships into my last 1. Finally realizing this I have just began to see a therapist. He has texted me that he misses me a few times. He had messaged me stating he probably should not be texting me this but that he was down the road at his friends workshop and misses me. I told him I am glad that he reached out and that I miss him very much too. I invited him over. Yes, I know it has only been two days. He replied that he wants to but not now, it is too soon and that it would not be good for us. This is a great sign right? While I know we should and will not move back in with each other right away (we need to date for awhile living apart), I just don’t think I should ignore him and follow the no contact rule with my particular situation. I would like to know your thoughts. Thanks so much.

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      May 29, 2020 at 3:32 pm

      Hi Nicole, honestly everyone thinks the same as you do. That their situation doesn’t need a No Contact. You do need to complete a 30 day No Contact if you want to follow this program as you need that time without speaking with your ex for a solid 30 days. But you are right the both of you need to date without living together. Think of it as the slower you take things the stronger your foundation of your relationship is going to be. While caught up in the moment it is easy to rush into things

  2. Elizabeth

    May 21, 2020 at 6:24 pm

    I met a guy less than 2 months after he got out of an 8 year relationship. It started out with a kiss and thought that was fun okay goodnight. We met through having a mutual friend. So for 4 1/2 -5 months it has been a roller coaster. He would be super into me, buying me flowers, met my mom, staying the night with each other and things would be great but then he would vanish.(sometimes a few days sometimes a week and yes i over communicated at this point not understanding — i could tell he liked me with how he looked at me and kissed me etc) anyway I took it personally and i was always the one to break the silence with texts. He said he didn’t know what he wanted during this entire time because of just getting out of the long term relationship. Quarantine hit and i was obviously super available for him and over communicated and assumed we were hanging out etc. he backed way off. We had a talk that he just likes to be alone and doesn’t want to be in a relationship right now. He said i was feeling it and he was really digging the situation and me at first but in the end he wasn’t as into it. He has friends suggesting he play the field and date ten girls at once and his ex randomly contacts him too. His friends helped him sign up for dating sites like bumble. He admits he wouldn’t go back to his ex though. It was dysfunctional etc. anyway was i rebound or since he actually said he has feelings for me, cares about me, sees potential but just doesn’t know what else is out there do i try with this guy and do a NC or do i just figure there is no chance? I asked him if there was just no way in hell he saw us ending up together and he said no he wouldn’t say that … i obviously pressured him too much. Is there hope? A chance of winning him back and end up in a serious relationship this time around? The night we had the talk and ended things we didn’t have sex but did hug and kiss all night and messed around a little bit as well. I was there 7 hours. He walked me to my car and hugged and kissed me bye and wanted me to text him when i got home to make sure i was safe (a routine we have done since hanging out).
    I sent a message 4 days ago that said i agree i think he does need to do him and we need some space. If he misses me i want it to be for real and if he wants to see me i want it to be genuine not forced at all. Help! I have not attempted to reach out or contact him at all in 3 days …. that is honestly a shock to him already ….

  3. Luna

    May 3, 2020 at 5:29 am

    Dear Shauna/Chris:

    I’ve been dating my bf for one month. Last week he became jealous (he admitted he was) and went silent on me so suddenly (He assumed I was talking to another man but I was on a conference call at work!). I text him a few times and got short cold answer until he stopped replying all together within days of him becoming jealous (His ex-wife cheated on him and he divorced her asap 2 years ago). On Monday 4/27 I got upset at his inconsistency and wished him a good life. Of course he didn’t respond. Three days after, I noticed he had been active on WhatsApp (he said he had deleted it) and that sent me into an anger spiral. I went off on him in a non-vulgar way. First I asked him why he wasn’t communicating, I reassured him there’s nothing to be jealous of. No response. I went off about him lying about WhatsApp and accused him of being the one who was deceitful and trying to blame for it, followed by a very harsh statement that I regret so much but I was angry. I told him the difference between him and I is that he screws who he can and I screw who I want. He took it like a champ and didn’t engage in my rant. After emotions went down, 24 hrs later, I text to try and apologize and found out he had blocked me from his phone! However, he didn’t block me on WhatsApp or Instagram. I sent him a message through WhatsApp and he read it right away but didn’t reply. I’m going into NC but do I still have a chance to get my man back? We both have acted immature and hurtful towards each other due to our past insecurities. We’re very attracted to each and have talked about a future together, kids and all. But now it all seems lost. I want my man back. Do you think I have a chance to get him back? Thank you for any advice you can provide me with.

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      May 9, 2020 at 5:48 pm

      Hi Luna I would say that you still have a chance but you are going to have to complete a No Contact for at least 30 days and then reach out with a text that Chris suggests in his articles. I would also look into emotional control so that when you are back in communication you learn to control your impulses to reply if something upsets you.

  4. Sam

    February 12, 2020 at 6:47 am


    My ex and I have been going out for 4 months. Prior to us going out, he was really passionate about work, and I know this for a fact. And he just got promoted. I have never called him out about being too busy or anything. We spend time as much as we can. And we were happy (that’s what I’d like to think). And he suddenly asks to have a break for a few weeks. He said that at the moment, he thinks that we can’t progress our relationship at the moment, and not soon. I spoke to him and asked if that was the only reason and I can sense that he gave me a genuine answer. He did say that it is going to be some time apart and it’s gonna be hard. That he doesn’t know what will happen next. He said that he would still want to see me and it is for me to decide. It told him to figure out things and that if he is ready, I hope i am still here. He said that he knows how amazing of a person i was and said that everything will be alright. Did I make a mistake there? after that conversation, we stopped talking/ texting each other. It’s almost 3 weeks now. I’m not sure what i should do.


    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      February 22, 2020 at 9:33 pm

      Hi Sam so I would say that the mistake you made was reassuring him that basically you would want him back. I do suggest that during your no contact that you consider dating, just casually so that he sees you are not going to be willing to hang around for him like he thinks

  5. Marie

    October 1, 2019 at 12:56 am

    Hi Chris,

    I Have been officially dating my ex for about a year, and prior to that about 4 years on and off. For the last year we’ve been in sort of a long distance relationship, he lives about an hour away and because he goes to school full time and I work we only see each other on the weekends every other week. For the last few months, on different occasions he says he does not want to be with me but he continues to stay because he says he does love me. He says the relationship can be too much sometimes because our main form of communication is through the phone. And we don’t see each other too often but he is not willing to make more time for us to see each other more frequently. He has broken up with me several times and then he turns around and comes back. We argue a lot. A couple days ago over dinner he got upset over something small and insignificant and used that as his reason to no longer want to be with me. He broke up with me. I usually beg and cry but this time I did not, I just let him leave. I am tired of the back and forth and i want to be with him, but i want him to be as sure as i am that he wants me. So i decided to implement the NC rule, however we purchased tickets to go to a basketball game together. The game is in 26 days and today is only day 1 of NC. I am wondering if I should reach out to him now and ask about what we are doing about the tickets, since I paid for mine and he paid for his, they were expensive, and he has both of our tickets. But then I was hoping that maybe the tickets would give him a reason to reach out to me and ask me to go with him, but it would be before the 30 days of NC, and I’m unsure what to do next. If I should ask for my ticket/ money now, or wait to see if he possibly reaches out to me using the excuse of the tickets.

    Thank you.

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      October 1, 2019 at 9:07 pm

      Hi Marie, so in No contact there is some situations where we can alter it for Limited NC and this case where you want to ask for the money / ticket it can happen but you need to be strictly business and keep the conversation short as possible. Be polite still, but just don’t go into emotional conversations or about the break up / relationship

  6. sheryn

    September 30, 2019 at 2:24 am

    i met a guy and we were seeing each other for two week im kinda confused if he treats me like a friend or he likes me. then suddenly his employment pass got cancelled so he need to go back to his country Switzerland. in his last night i provoke him to have sex and i slept over. he is a very gentleman and prim and proper guy. we agreed im gonna visit him in his country then when he left to the airport he suddenly blocked me in watsap. what should i do? i really like him.

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      September 30, 2019 at 11:13 am

      Hi Sheryn, as he has blocked you I would suggest to do a 21 day NC and then reach out using social media with a text that would involve an interest of his

  7. Melissa

    September 24, 2019 at 7:51 pm

    Doing no contact for 4 days now, we exchanged the last of our items except for a box he told me to leave at his place? He texted today and asked “are you in town?”
    I’m curious as to why he wants to know and why he said this out of the blue if we had already exchanged items. Do I answer since I’m in no contact or not break? I don’t want him to get angry and think I’m rude.

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      September 26, 2019 at 8:43 pm

      Hi Melissa no you dont answer this type of message, keep to your NC

  8. JoAnn

    September 15, 2019 at 10:21 pm

    Hi Chris. Long story short we have been having issues for months but it actually had started to get better. The issues have been with him trusting me. He snooped in my phone 2 days ago in the early morning when I was asleep and got in my IG and found a message from 6 months ago when I had briefly broke up with him for a month. I felt like he didn’t really love me. In the message I’m telling my friend that I dumped him and that I went on a couple dates with another guy. Now he thinks I left him for someone else but that’s not true. He said I broke his heart and he had been happy with me. I told him whatever happened when we weren’t together doesn’t matter. He doesn’t see it that way. Anyway he broke up with me and when he left he left a few things here at my house intentionally. I bombarded him with text messages saying I was so sorry and that I love him. The last message I texted him (which was early this morning) I asked him if he wanted me to put his stuff in a bag and leave it on his doorstep because I didn’t want to throw it away. He ignored me for 2 days but today he texted back saying I can take his stuff to him sometime… That’s just great because I was intending to start NC today. I haven’t replied yet. I don’t know what to do.

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      September 17, 2019 at 9:21 am

      Hi JoAnn, no do not pack his stuff and take it to him! Let him come and get his stuff himself

  9. Gina

    September 4, 2019 at 3:02 pm

    Hi Chris my fiancé and I just broke up since Friday 8/30 and so far surprisingly without even knowing about EXBR. I did move out and have been doing the no contact rule or limited no contact rule because we have a daughter together and we have been working well together with switching off…question…yesterday day he stopped by my job to drop off something and I was telling him what my plans are moving forward then he said something along the lines saying “maybe if you’re doing good, i’ll help you out on getting a new car”. I smiled, didn’t say a word and said see you later. It pissed me off cause I wasn’t understanding why he said that knowing on Friday during the break up he said “I want you to work on yourself”. keep in mind this is a first break up, does this mean we could possibly get back together? Or he has been thinking about it down the line? I’m confused. btw my quiz score is 77 so I’m careful with my choice of words with him.

  10. eve

    September 2, 2019 at 11:16 am

    Hi Chris,

    What about a situation where you went on a couple of dates with someone ~5 and texted with them every other day. I closed off a bit physically toward the end due to my own insecurity and inexperience. We weren’t dating exclusively and he texted me that he chose to see the other girl seriously. He told me he was very attracted to me and we also share many of the same interests/ taste in music, etc. What do you think my chances are?