Today we’re going to talk about what to do if your ex contacts you during a No Contact Rule.
But first, I want you to stop everything you’re doing and answer one simple question.
Do you even think you have a chance of getting back with your ex?
Assuming that’s what you want to use your No Contact Rule for, and if you don’t have a clear answer to that question, I’ve got great news. I’ve put together a special resource on this website to help you – a free, simple quiz to tell you exactly what kind of chance you have of getting your ex back.
Give it a go, then come back and read on.
What Do You Do If You’re Doing No Contact And Your Ex Texts You?
The first thing we should do is define what we consider to be a No Contact Rule.
The No Contact Rule is a predetermined amount of time during which you cut off all communication with your ex, without explanation.
When I teach this rule to people, their first reaction is often:
“Wait, won’t that make my ex really angry?”
Well, yes – that’s kind of the point.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if your ex is angry (or upset, sad or anything else) with you, because if you do it right, No Contact will set you up for a situation where everything’s going to snowball in your favor when you do finally get in contact with your ex.
In the meantime, your ex has the chance to recover from the breakup and forget some of the negative emotions and memories associated with it, and with you. He has the chance to miss you.
Another common reaction is:
“Wait, won’t that mean my ex will just forget me and move on?”
In fact, our research shows that he’s more likely to be wondering why you have suddenly stopped contacting him, and why you seem to be doing so well after the breakup (because you will, of course, be using your No Contact Rule time to live your best life and recover from the breakup yourself).
For more worries about what he’s thinking during No Contact and how it works on an ex, try reading my article The Psychology Of A Man During The No Contact Rule.
The No Contact Rule really is the best first step (after my free quiz, of course!) to getting your ex back.
There’s just one problem.
The Biggest Problem With The No Contact Rule
Most people who try the No Contact Rule will break it.
That’s because the No Contact Rule is hard.
You will want to contact your ex, because you are missing them.
And if your ex contacts you first? It’s going to be extremely hard not to reply, because you crave communication with that person.
Your mind is trying to find ways to process this breakup, and it will find interesting ways to rationalise why you should get back in contact with your ex.
My mantra is K.I.S.S. – Keep It Super Simple.
Here’s the super simple view of the No Contact Rule.
There’s only one rule that you have to follow.
Do Not Break It!
That means you will not be responding to any;
- text messages
- phone calls
- emails, likes,
Or any type of correspondence from your ex that they might send through any channel.
It can be extremely difficult if you receive a text message or email from your ex to sit there and say, you know what, I’m going to ignore it. What’s the big deal, you might think, if I respond?
The Consequence If You Respond To Your Ex
There are consequences if you really want this No Contact Rule to work.
If you break your No Contact Rule prematurely before your predetermined length of time, you need to start over from Day 1.
And starting over means another round of No Contact, which means even more time when you can’t speak to the person you want to talk to more than anything.
Remember that No Contact doesn’t last forever (unless you decide you want it to!). So don’t prolong the agony by messing it up and having to start again.
And don’t dilute its effectiveness by restarting, then contacting, then restarting.
Actually Let’s Talk About Diluting The No Contact Rule If You Break It Early
Right, so let’s say you’ve gotten 21 days through the No Contact Rule and on Day 22 you ex reaches out to you, begging to talk to you.
You break the No Contact Rule, message him and start a conversation.
What do you do? Well, you have to restart your No Contact Rule over from the get go.
Don’t be surprised if your ex gets mad, starts calling you mean names, gets upset because you’re ignoring him on his birthday, even bangs on your door.
These are all really good signs that No Contact is working. These are all common reactions, and show that he is having an emotional reaction to your withdrawal.
You must still not respond.
If you feel bad about this, if you are ignoring him and it’s his birthday, or he’s broken down and wants your help, or whatever, just remember that he dumped you (or treated you so badly you had to leave him).
He hurt you, and while it’s not about tit-for-tat, he does need to realize that things are not okay, and that there are consequences to the breakup.
So do not respond.
What If He Wants His Stuff?
There are a couple of situations where ignoring him might not be possible – if he turns up and you are face to face, or if he asks to get his belongings back (or you need something important or valuable back from him).
If you need to exchange belongings, you can break No Contact for this and not have to restart.
If you refuse a reasonable request, you would seem rude and obstinate; not very helpful if you want to get back together.
If you want something back, make sure it’s something worth it – don’t just use it as an excuse to see him. You don’t need to get your old t-shirt or toothbrush back. Leave it. If he wants something back, be gracious about it and agree to meet him to exchange. If he doesn’t want to do it face to face, respect that.
When you do see him, keep the interaction short and sweet. Look your best, be nice, but don’t linger or ask him questions. You are busy getting on with your life.
What If He Turns Up?
If he turns up suddenly wherever you are and you have to talk to him or you would appear completely rude – the same rules apply.
If you are out and about, I will assume you are being the Ungettable Girl and looking the best you can. That’s step one covered.
Be happy, bubbly and positive.
Answer his questions, but don’t engage him in any extra conversation. So, if he asks how you are, tell him you are great, thanks. Don’t then ask him how he is, or what he’s been up to, or if his sister went to that salon you recommended… Keep the conversation short and sweet.
If he asks you why you are ignoring him/being childish/being mean or tries to start an argument, avoid reacting. Smile a natural smile and say, “I’m not ignoring you. I’m just focusing on myself and my life.” Or something similar.
Be the one to end the conversation. You can say something like, “I have to get back now. Nice to see you,” then leave. You want to leave him wanting more. If he hasn’t had all his questions answered, he will be even more curious.
He’s caught you out, but you can still come out of it with the upper hand.
Note that most exes don’t contact during the No Contact period. This doesn’t mean they don’t care or that they have forgotten about you. Want to know more about what’s going on in his brain while you are laying that No Contact on him? Here’s another article all about it.
So Why Does The No Contact Rule Work?
Well, by ignoring your ex, you’re stirring up his curiosity. There’s no explanation why for all of a sudden you began to ignore him.
Especially if you were gnatting him beforehand (bothering him constantly, like an annoying little fly).
Especially if he asked you repeatedly to leave him alone, and you didn’t…then suddenly, there’s radio silence.
And most especially if, at the same time as rebuffing all contact, you are seemingly having the time of your life and not wallowing in the usual post-breakup misery.
He becomes curious.
He can’t live without knowing why you’re not trying to talk to him. He wonders why you aren’t at home crying every night. His male pride will be smarting at least a little bit.
He will feel the need to fight against the change, even if he doesn’t understand why he is feeling this way.
Now the issue is that if you break your own No Contact Rule by responding to any messages, you undermine the effectiveness of the Rule. Instead of thinking that he doesn’t know what’s going on and becoming more curious, if you respond, you are reassuring him.
His curiosity disappears. He’ll sit and think you know what? She’s probably wanting me back. She’s probably chasing me. I can get her to talk to me anytime I want. I’ve still got her if I want her.
You don’t want your ex to think that.
The Grey Areas And The Limited No Contact Rule
I’m a big believer that there are no absolutes in life. Oftentimes you find the answers you need in the grey areas.
That can certainly be true with a No Contact Rule. There are some circumstances where you’re going to be forced to modify your No Contact Rule into a Limited No Contact Rule.
So what is the Limited No Contact Rule?
Limited No Contact is a predetermined amount of time after specific types of breakups where you cut off all communication except on essential matters.
Now, I made a big stink about the one rule with a No Contact Rule being, do not contact.
Here’s that grey area. There are certain situations you will find yourself in where you’re just not going to be able to use the No Contact Rule in its purest form. Instead you must use the Limited No Contact Rule.
Here’s where people get messed up. They try to rationalise the fact that they need to go into Limited No Contact Rule so they don’t have to do the full No Contact Rule.
This is a bad idea. Full No Contact, where possible, gives you the best chance of having your ex go through all the stages of post-breakup thinking regarding you, from anger and pain through to the curiosity we were just talking about, then hopefully regret and a desire to connect with you again.
So don’t kid yourself that Limited No Contact will be best for you. That’s not how it works. You are either in a No Contact circumstance or you are in a Limited No Contact circumstance. In this case it is black and white.
There are no ways to turn things from a No Contact Rule into a Limited No Contact rule. It just doesn’t work like that.
If you are in one of the scenarios below, you can utlise the Limited No Contact Rule. If not, you can’t – so don’t try to wriggle out of full No Contact!
How Do you know if you are in a Limited No Contact Rule situation?
There are five scenarios where you will need to employ a Limited No Contact Rule.
- You are co-workers or at school together
- You share a living space
- You are married
- You have children together
- You are pregnant with your ex’s child
In these five scenarios, the question isn’t, will you break the No Contact Rule? You have to, and that is why in these circumstances we instead recommend a Limited No Contact Rule.
And What Should I Do In Limited No Contact?
As little as possible.
Basically, you keep things strictly business.
You only communicate about the important things that need to be talked about.
Essentials such as:
- A work project you’re both involved in
- Childcare arrangements
- Important documents or possessions you need to exchange
- Paying bills or other joint issues
Think about what these essentials are in your situation.
Instead of responding to your ex’s attempts to make small talk e.g, about the weather, you are only going to talk to your ex about things related to these essentials.
If he asks how you are, reply that you’re great, thanks. This doesn’t break the rule. But remember that if you then ask him how he is, you’re creating more of a conversation than is totally necessary and that breaks your Limited No Contact Rule.
What about the shared living space?
How do you handle situations like that?
The absolute best way is to move out. Do anything you can to remove yourself from this situation, even temporarily, because our research has shown that this brings down your chance of success at getting your ex back. He just won’t have the chance to get over the breakup and miss you – because you’re right there.
If you are living with your ex, when you are in his vicinity, you’re going to keep things strictly business, the same as with the other situations outlined. You’re not going to start a conversation with your ex.
But if, for example you’re having breakfast and your ex walks in and starts talking to you, you don’t want to be flat out rude to them, so you’re going to keep it short and sweet, and exit the conversation as soon as you can.
Your ex needs to understand that things are not okay, and that you are not okay together. You don’t want him to get a sense of security.
Work on this by also keeping your distance. Spend time with friends, on dates, out at the gym, with family – don’t mope about where he can see.
You don’t need to explain where you’re going, even if you are leaving the kids with him. Just say, “Out!” and exit with a smile. Look your best as much as you can; you can even flaunt nice new outfits or haircuts…as long as you don’t talk about it!
So keep it super simple and all about the business of whatever circumstance you find yourself in.
Hopefully you have gained some clarity on how to handle things if your ex contacts you during the No Contact Rule.
Remember, the first rule of the No Contact Rule is that you do not break no contact. The second rule of the No Contact Rule is that you do not break no contact!
Except if you’re in a legitimate limited No Contact situation…
Remember to take the free and easy quiz to work out what chance you have of getting your ex back, before you invest your precious time and effort.
Also, if you’re a little unsure about how all this works or any aspect of it, please leave a comment below. I try to respond to every comment and give you some steps to help you move forward.