Lately I’ve been getting a lot of questions about the no contact rule.

Mostly this one,

When does the no contact rule actually start to work?

To date, I’ve written over 400 articles for this website and I’ve talked about the no contact rule a lot. So, my immediate response to someone asking me this question yesterday was, “Hey, I think I’ve written an article on that let me get you a link to it.

The problem was that I hadn’t written an article on it.

So, that’s what I’m going to be doing today.

I intend to make this article the most comprehensive article you could possibly find on understanding when the no contact rule starts to work.

Let’s begin!

When Does The No Contact Rule Begin To Work?

There are two big questions that we have to answer to ensure that you see the whole picture.

I know that you probably came here wanting me to give you an exact time frame of when it will work but it doesn’t work that way. Think of it like this, you’ve probably had more than one romantic relationship throughout your life.

Were each of those relationships identical?

No, each was unique and presented different challenges.

With that logic it would make sense that the no contact working is going to be different for every person and every situation they find themselves in.

But with the two big questions I am going to unpack for you today you should be able to diagnose and get an idea of how long it will take in your situation.

So, what are the two questions?

  1. What does the no contact rule “working” actually look like?
  2. How long will it take for it to work?

I’m going to spend quite a bit of time unpacking these two questions.

So, let’s get started.

Question #1: What Does The No Contact Rule “Working” Actually Look Like?

The no contact rule “working” is actually quite difficult to measure.

Pretend for a moment that you are going to use the no contact rule on me.

But I’m stubborn.

You decide you are going to do a basic 30 day no contact rule but I don’t reach out or let you know that I’m annoyed you are ignoring me at all.

I’m sitting there thinking,

I’m not going to contact them until they contact me.

(Fun Fact: I’ve literally done this after a breakup before so you know I’m not just blowing sunshine out my a$$.)

However, while I’m being stubborn deep down I’m actually very bothered by the fact that you haven’t reached out to me after the breakup.

I start to worry that somethings happened to you.

Or worse…

You’ve found someone else.

I know I have to keep my “stubborn front” up to look like the big strong man that I am but deep down inside your no contact rule is making me recognize just how much I miss you.

(Fun Fact: I’ve actually done this before as well after a breakup.)

Here’s my ultimate point.

How would you tell if the no contact rule is working if I don’t let on that it’s bothering me inside?

Half of the success stories that I’ve gotten have admitted to me that they had no idea if the no contact rule was working on their exes.

So, you can’t always rely on what your ex actually does with this.

Instead, I’d recommend you look at two data points.

  1. Your ex reaches out to you during the no contact rule with text messages, phone calls or even tries to show up in person
  2. Your ex is very responsive after the no contact rule when you talk

Let me spend a minute unpacking these two things for a minute.

Data Point #1: Your Ex Reaches Out To You During No Contact

You are typically looking a couple of things here.

  • Annoyance that you are ignoring them
  • Begging of some form

Now, I can tell some of you are reading this and probably wondering why we would be looking for annoyance.

Isn’t that a bad thing.

In this case, no.

Think for a moment about an ex who is annoyed that you are ignoring them.

They are annoyed because they recognize that they have had a certain behavioral freedom removed, the ability to talk to you.

The “Theory of Reactance” teaches us that when human beings have behavioral freedoms removed we will fight and claw to get that behavioral freedom back.

That kind of means that the no contact rule is doing it’s job, right?

If it makes our exes chase us?

Data Point #2: Your Ex Is Responsive After The No Contact Rule

I’m a bit of an outlier when it comes to my clients.

Most coaches recommend to use the no contact rule and wait for their exes to contact them during it.

I don’t believe in that nonsense.

Half of the exes I’ve dealt with don’t contact during the no contact rule.

So, are we supposed to just wait on the sidelines forever and play on our exes schedule?

No thank you.

Besides, what about the situation I outlined above where an ex stays quiet during the no contact rule even though it’s killing them because they want nothing more than to talk to you.

So, here’s where I’m an outlier.

I actually recommend texting an ex after the no contact rule.

That way you get to control when you talk to your ex and it allows you to do a litmus test and check to see how responsive your ex is.

Here’s a general rule of thumb to live by,

The more responsive your ex is after the no contact rule the more effective that no contact rule usually was.

Question #2: How Long Will It Take For The No Contact Rule To Work

Quite frankly this is a complicated question to answer because there are so many layers of complexity.

For example,

  1. How long it takes to work is a function of the no contact time frame you chose
  2. You need to learn about the wave chart on the no contact emotions

By peeling back these layers of complexity we can get a better idea of how long it’s going to take for your situation.

So, let’s start peeling.

How Long It Will Take To Work Is A Function Of The No Contact Time Frame You Chose

In my book, Ex Boyfriend Recovery PRO I talk about how there are really three time frames to use with the no contact rule.

  1. The 21 Day Rule
  2. The 30 Day Rule
  3. The 45 Day Rule

Now, I don’t want to get so bogged down by the details of which one you should be using.

You can get my book to answer that question.

What I want to talk about is the fact that your the length of success with the no contact rule is going to depend on which time frame you chose.

Obviously, someone who determines that the 21 day rule is perfect for their situation is going to see it working for them a lot quicker than someone who is using a 45 day rule.

Again, this only assumes that you correctly paired yourself with the right time frame.

I have designed the time frames of the no contact rules to work perfectly assuming you are honest and pair yourself with the right time frame.

Again, pick up my book to learn which time frame you be implementing.

The time frames were made using something called a wave chart.

What Is The Wave Chart?

If you’ve ever had the no contact rule implemented on you then you probably understand what I’m about to teach you than someone who has never been on the receiving end.

When someone who you really want to talk to ignores you on purpose your emotions go through a trajectory like this,

Immediately upon recognizing that you’ve been ignored you want nothing more than to talk to the person ignoring you.

Of course, when they don’t respond or when you can’t go through you go through a bit of a pouting stage where you grow angry or annoyed with the person “playing games,”

After pouting they kind of live in a new reality without you and try to be ok with it,

Of course, trying to not think about you causes them to think about you which causes them to want to talk to you again,

This is where things become important.

This is the point where you want to re-establish contact.

This is also why I have three different no contact time frames.

Not all situations are created equally.

If you use my book to properly diagnose your situation I have done all the work for you so that by the time you re-establish contact after the no contact rule you should be doing it right at the point above.

Doing this will create the maximum circumstances of success.

You see, you started this article trying to answer the question on when the no contact rule works.

The answer is complicated because technically it works right when you implement it.

But let’s say that instead of ending it where I recommended you end it prematurely right here,

The issue here is that you are ending it and trying to get back in touch with your ex when they don’t want to talk to you.

Timing really matters here.

Luckily, I already did the work for you based on my extensive experience working with people and seeing what works and what doesn’t work.

If you diagnose your situation as needing a 45 day rule then I’ve designed the 45 day rule to end right at this point,

If you diagnose your situation as needing a 21 day rule then again, it’s going to end right at the point you want it to end.

Timing is the most important thing to consider here.

Oh, also diagnosing your situation which you can do with my book.

26 thoughts on “When Does The No Contact Rule Start To Work?”

  1. Avatar


    September 10, 2019 at 6:10 pm

    My boyfriend broke up with me a few days ago after about 4 years together. Overall we’ve had an amazing loving relationship but this summer was very hard for us because we kept fighting over the same things non stop. He said he’s still in love with me and can’t be around he because it will hurt too much. He just said we aren’t happy anymore but that I’m perfect. How long should I be doing no contact for and will of work in this type of a situation. After the break up he passionately kissed me so my hopes are up.

    1. Shaunna


      September 12, 2019 at 8:40 pm

      Hey Kelsey, because of the arguments, 30 days NC 🙂

  2. Avatar


    June 4, 2019 at 10:34 am

    Hi Chris,

    I was seeing this guy for 4 months (we have never been officially boyfriend and girlfriend). I was weary at first and held back because I didn’t want to be hurt again but he reassured me that he wanted me all the time. He asked me on holiday 2 months into seeing him and I had nothing to lose so I went. When we got back things were great but about 6 weeks later I could feel him being different. He wouldn’t make as much time for me and got annoyed at me quite easily. I asked to see him and he would make excuses until he came out with ‘I’m not looking for anything serious’. Obviously annoyed at myself because this was exactly what I was scared would happen and why I was weary at first. I want him back though. Would no contact work if he’s ‘not looking for anything serious’ as this is a different mindset? Also would no contact work if we were never actually officially together?

    Thanks in advance.

  3. Avatar

    Erin P.

    May 17, 2019 at 12:38 pm

    Hi Chris,

    My boyfriend and I broke up 31 days ago. I went straight into NC after he drove home from our last date. I only contacted him to cancel an outing he still wanted to go on “as friends;” I was able to be/sound polite and friendly because I had a fever and could cite that as my reason. His responses were so sweet, caring, and eager to please. I was polite and used smiley emojis. I think he peaked around Day 25, the day after we had been in a Skype group meeting the night before for a church we both used to attend. I used the Push/Pull Theory to dictate when I would lean towards the camera and when I would back away/leave to get a snack. His Skype “active time stamp” showed him as “active now” a lot the next day.

    He broke up with me because I was scared and emotionally unresponsive to him and because I didn’t have my life together. My counseling got scheduled for day 44, and I think I need extra time to kick my procrastination habit. He apparently hasn’t been active since yesterday, so I think a productive 45-day rule could get him another peak.
    Is this probably right?

    Thank you so much,


    1. Chris Seiter

      Chris Seiter

      May 17, 2019 at 4:33 pm

      Hi Erin… I think you are on the right path. There are many elements to the NC process, so if you are not employing my Program blueprint, then you might want to take a look at picking up my EBR Pro Bundle.

  4. Avatar


    May 11, 2019 at 12:19 am

    Hi Chris!,
    I just recently started NC with my ex of 5 months after staying in contact and communication and even intimacy. He has messaged me a few times and even my sister to see if I’m okay! I’m thinking he did this because he thinks there’s something wrong with me not because he thinks I’m ignoring him.. it’s only been a week, I assume after next week I’ll start being active on social media again so this way he’ll get the memo… we broke up because he said he wants to be free and young for a while. I guess we’ll see where it goes!

    1. Chris Seiter

      Chris Seiter

      May 11, 2019 at 10:59 pm

      HI Ashley…feel free to tap into my Program, EBR Pro Bundle as it is designed to optimize your chances and help you with your recovery!

  5. Avatar


    April 10, 2019 at 7:52 pm

    Hi Chris,

    I had a very intense 4 month relationship. No arguing, lots in common and said often said he could see a future. The day before we ended he said “he missed me millions” then after a disagreement on the phone, I hung up and haven’t heard anything for 2 weeks…

    I immediately went into no contact.

    As it was only a short relationship do I have any chance of the no contact working ?

    1. Chris Seiter

      Chris Seiter

      April 11, 2019 at 3:50 am

      Hi Laura…so I think you did the right thing by going into No Contact, even if its just for “you” and your healing. Yes, I do think NC has applications for even shorter term relationships.

  6. Avatar


    March 11, 2019 at 5:02 am

    so me and my boyfriend were together for 4 years. we have a daughter together and I am currently pregnant with our son. we are both pretty young 21 & 20. he left us because he wants to live his life and be young and have freedom. ive been looking at almost all your articles because in reality I want us to be a family again. ive been doing the no contact rule for 2 weeks now. but the thing is he already moved on. I don’t know what to do. will the no contact rule still work if hes with someone else?

    1. Chris Seiter

      Chris Seiter

      March 11, 2019 at 9:51 pm

      So 4 years is a good amount of relationship traction and those roots you both have put down together will likely come into play in helping you navigate thru all this. He may be in some denial about what his role is in the life of his family. Sometimes guys will have a rebound relationship. If you are doing NC, you should finish your plan and then do the things I teach during and after NC is over.

  7. Avatar


    November 24, 2018 at 3:02 pm

    My bf and I were seeing each other for 7 months. We were really happy, didn’t have one fight or cross word in that time. Everything was perfect. We booked a holiday together and the day before we left I told him I couldn’t wait to wake up with him for 8 days in a row. His eyes went all wide, you could see the fear in them. However, he still went ahead and through with the holiday. His children came with us. (He’s divorced 8 years) it was awful. I was crying by day 3 because he just pushed me away, the love was gone, there was no affection. It was like being with a stranger. When we got home I told him he’d treated me terribly and I didn’t deserve it and said if he didn’t want to be with me he should have had the balls to tell me. We finished that day. We spoke by text only over the next few weeks. He wouldn’t meet me. He told me he has problems with confidence and problems with letting anyone in and I deserve better. He spent 3 weeks on and off again until I couldn’t bear any more and told him to make a decision or leave me alone. I’m on day 11 no contact and he’s made no attempt to contact me. I’m doing my best to be UG hair change, gym, etc.. I unfriended him on FB, my mistake. I don’t know where to go from here. We finished 34 days ago. It’s driving me crazy.

    1. Chris Seiter

      Chris Seiter

      November 25, 2018 at 1:53 am

      Great job Wendy with your efforts to be UG. Be proud of what you are doing. Your efforts to do things for yourself are so important. Continue with your NC, but be reminded that a large part of the bigger picture of where you want to be in the future. You will carry that forward no matter what happens.

  8. Avatar


    November 20, 2018 at 2:14 pm

    Hi Chris,

    My boyfriend said he wanted to take a break and just needed me to be his friend right now. He also said that that he just doesn’t know what he wants to do in life and he’s tired of everyone. He’s been complaining and distant since he got his new job. When he would come home from work to FaceTime me he wouldn’t seem excited or happy. He would be cranky. He started deleting everything on his social media then talked about deactivating. He asked to be friends right now then asked for space. What do I do? Do I have a chance of getting him back? Is he really just stressed?

    1. Chris Seiter

      Chris Seiter

      November 20, 2018 at 10:00 pm

      Hi Grace!

      I know its frustrating when guys just suddenly say they need a break and are confused with what to do in life. Sometimes they are confused. And sometimes there is something else underneath the surface. Do you have my eBook? It will help. Best to have a plan for yourself and your own healing and also for ways to optimize your chances of ex recovery.

  9. Avatar


    November 11, 2018 at 5:19 am

    Hello. My boyfriend and I have been fighting for almost every week during the course of our relationship. What he does not like about me is when I always initiate the fighting but what I do not like about him is when he seems not to care. Like I had to initiate things like my tummy hurts on my period and he seems.. distant. The last time we fought was because I did not like the bad things I have been seeing on his messenger (he lets me open it) so I got mad and scolded him at it. It hurt me that he finally decided to call it quits on the day of our first year and third months celebration. It hurt me really bad as he told my mother how I acted as if I was his wife. He even posted something that went like: “It’s really good to be single as I have the freedom now to do what I want. I wont let myself be tied again until then. Maybe I’d rather be a sugar daddy, my forever’s must be still on kindergarten.” it really irritated me and made me cry that I only scolded him because I see something bad and I wanted him to get better at it but no, he sees it as me choking him. Anyway, he told me that If we were meant to be, we’d soon find ourselves together again but love is a choice and love is messy not all about the butterflies you have to really work ahrd for it. It also hurt me as he told me that My feelings were just shallow in the first place. And then I got to know from his friends that his past crush during right grade was his crush again. I thought I was the problem being possessive and such but it turns out that he had feelings for that girl all along. He tricked me into believing he really loved me. Although it is really funny since he ditched me for the girl that will never like him back. It’s also hard since we had a lot of common friends and we were even best friends before we became a couple. he told me we can still be friends but i don’t see myself being friend with a liar. The last blow was when he accidentally waved at my messenger and blocked me. He explained to my friends that it was just an accident and he blocked me so that I won’t ever hope again. So I ended things with the help of my friend chatting him since I could not chat him with: If you’re happy with her, i’ll just stay away from now on. I honestly do not know if I would want him again if ever I proceeded with the No contact rule even though I attempted it and would still try to contact him during the next five days then none, then three days, then not. I love him but it looks as if all the things he wanted to do with me like marriage and shit were gone. He really is also hypocrite telling my mother that I looked as if I wanted to get married right away when he was the one announcing to the entire world that we looked like husband and wife. I don’t know. I’ve always been there for him. Always waiting, and waiting. It’s so tiring. *there are also a lot of things I never said here as I am quite forgetful

    1. Chris Seiter

      Chris Seiter

      November 11, 2018 at 7:57 pm

      I know this is hard on you. I hope you find the healing your deserve and are following an ex recovery plan to better your chances.

  10. Avatar


    October 29, 2018 at 10:14 am

    Is it too late to go on no contact 2 months after the breakup and after almost daily communication that he initiates most of the time?

    1. Chris Seiter

      Chris Seiter

      October 30, 2018 at 2:07 am

      Hi Vasiliki!

      Probably not. But if things have been deteriorating, then its best to change course and NC may very well be the right choice. Give him a heads up as to you need to have some space and quiet time. Tap into any of the resources you find on my site to help you with this journey.

  11. Avatar


    October 29, 2018 at 10:07 am

    Hi Chris. My LDR ex broke up with me in the beginning of September. By the end of October he is taking exams for a career change. I wanted to stay on his side till then, so as he doesnt feel i played a part in his failure (if he fails).
    Initially, i did the begging and pleading, but soon after that, i started going out, taking up on cycling, martial arts, tai chi etc, presenting myself as quite busy and somehow happy in his eyes. Initially, he had told me he loved me and cared and wanted me as a woman, therefore we shouldnt meet to exchange personal stuff. But if i told him that getting back together sounds logical, he would start yelling and getting angry.
    By the beginning of October, we had a fight of this kind and i went no contact. 5 days later, he called me to see “how i am” and i told him i was busy, so, he called back at night. Ever since, i have initiated contact only 1 day or 2 but he would call me every day anyway, talking about science, history, literature.
    The fact is that after the fight, he said “i am never going to get back with you” and i told him that me neither, cause he hasnt solved his issues and he needs to work a lot on them, we hung up all angry but the next morning he asked me for a favor on work issues (we are colleagues) that he actually could arrange alone.
    Yesterday, he reminded me of my biggest mistake, i cried my heart out, i apologized, explained why it happened and for some reason he started getting irritated and told me in a very harsh tone to leave it behind me and move on. We continued nicely and he did most of the talk, as usual, so at some point, i fell asleep, as usual.
    I have to mention here that we used to sleep having Skype on and we used to talk at about 11 pm, so, sometimes, it feels like going back to our old habits, although now we do it over the phone and not Skype anymore.
    Generally, he says he sees change in me but he is afraid that the change is just “hiding the bad self in the closet and on the first pressure it will come out again”. But he has tested my patience with annoying FB behavior, even telling me he would contact his ex ex (to give her stuff back), the same ex ex that he cheated on me emotionally with at the beginning of our relationship, that led to all the rest of my mistakes; all these, i just let them go…
    He is probably schizoid, he wants to feel he is in a relationship, but the same time he doesnt want the pressure of constant togetherness. And he doesnt get jealous, he gets indifferent and moves away. Also, he doesnt chase, he has the theory that if someone wants to get away, he should let them go.
    Therefore my question is: should i go no contact after his exams? In which form? Will it bring him closer or show him that i went away and so, he will let me go? And how long of no contact? He says he is not ready for another relationship but i think that if someone hits on him, he will lay down like a puppy. Help, Chris!

  12. Avatar


    October 29, 2018 at 5:24 am

    Hi Chris, I’m currently just past the 2nd week of no contact (it’s exam time so he hasn’t reached out to me yet but called two weeks ago to talk about something personal). I’m planning to do another 2 weeks (after exams are over) – but he is the one who broke up with me because he needed some space, wouldn’t being the Ungettable woman mean that I let him come to me (and don’t message him after no contact)?



    1. Chris Seiter

      Chris Seiter

      October 30, 2018 at 2:09 am

      Hi Caitlin!

      The Ungettable Girl is almost always calling the shots. So if he does come to you, you lure him to you through the kind of tactics I talk about in my program.

  13. Avatar


    October 27, 2018 at 11:26 pm

    Hi Chris,

    I have been doing NC since my ex called off the wedding and broke up with me 3 months ago. We have a home together so he still contacts me for bill payments (text msg with a photo of bill). Our birthdays are a couple weeks apart. I wished him on his and he responded with “appreciated, thank you” and on my birthday he sent me a text with “happy birthday” late in the day and I said thank you.
    Given I kinda broke the NC rule for bdays and he will text about ongoing bills, what should I consider the start of NC period? Thanks

    1. Chris Seiter

      Chris Seiter

      October 28, 2018 at 4:21 am

      Hi Sue!

      I sorry he called off the wedding. Your NC has kind turned into limited NC. That OK because of the financial issues that have to be discussed. I get into this discussion and much more in my 247 page eBook, “The No Contact Rule Book”. There is so much more to NC than people realize.

  14. Avatar


    October 25, 2018 at 10:28 pm

    Hi! I am doing no contact, but I sent my ex a text for his birthday just saying “I hope you had a nice birthday :)” because I felt weird not acknowledging it. He responded and said “Thank you! I appreciate it.” I didn’t respond and am continuing to employ no contact for another few weeks. Is this a good sign that he responded though?

    1. Chris Seiter

      Chris Seiter

      October 26, 2018 at 12:20 am

      Hi Samantha!

      Well, you kinda broke NC, but its far from the end of the world. Seems like it went over well. Hang in there Samantha and remember to do things for yourself!

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