By Chris Seiter

Published on October 25th, 2021

Today we’re going to take on a very controversial topic, when it’s ok to break the no contact rule.

In this in-depth you’re going to learn.

  • What we consider breaking the no contact rule to look like
  • The issue with breaking no contact too often
  • The flaw with the golden factor
  • The four situations where it’s ok to break no contact

Let’s begin!

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What Breaking The No Contact Rule Looks Like

If you aren’t familiar with the no contact rule then this is probably a good time for a refresher.

The no contact rule refers to a period of time where you cut off all conceivable communication with an ex after a breakup. The intent of this tactic should NOT be used to make your ex miss you but instead should be used to rebuild your own life so that you outgrow your ex. By doing this, the no contact rule can have the added benefit of making an ex miss you.

Generally speaking you’ll find that the no contact rule lasts anywhere between 21-45 days.

Yet we’ve found that roughly 80% of our clients will fail a no contact rule on their first attempt.

Now, what do you think I mean when I talk about clients failing the no contact rule?

Simply put their ex reaches out to them with a guilt trip text message or they give in to their anxious behaviors and reach out to their ex at some point during that 21-45 days.

General protocol dictates that if you break the no contact rule before you complete it fully you have to start over from the beginning.

Yet we’ve found a bit of an alarming trend develop with those who break the no contact rule.

The Issue With Breaking No Contact Too Often

I’m a huge fan of movies.

In fact, I’m that guy that will go back and rewatch a movie time and time again at the movie theater if I love it.

A funny thing happens if you do this enough times though.

I find that every subsequent time you watch the same movie it loses a bit of its impact.

You know the major plot points.

You know when this character is going to say that super cool line.

You know when this music is going to hit during this super cool part.

Above I stated that 80% of people who attempt a no contact rule will fail it their first time. What happens if they keep failing it?

Well, we’ve found that every single time you have to restart the no contact rule it actually loses a bit of effectiveness.

In hindsight it makes perfect sense.

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If you break the no contact rule constantly and restart it again your ex will eventually notice the pattern.

And yet what’s interesting is that there are some cases where you absolutely have to break the no contact rule. Well, four specific cases.

The Four Cases Where It’s Ok To Break No Contact

This has been a subject up for debate in our private facebook support group recently. So much so that it inspired me to write this article.

We recently had a woman who had an ex reach out to her saying, “There’s something important I need to talk to you about” during her no contact rule.

She asked if she could break her no contact rule to find out what it was.

We advised her against it because it doesn’t fall into the four cases I’m going to list off in a moment.

Turns out that he just manufactured a lie to get her to respond during her no contact.

The result was that she had to start over from the beginning.

It can be tricky determining when you are allowed to break no contact. Luckily I’ve put together a list of the four cases where it’s ok but we’re not going to just go over that list today.

Instead, we’re going to also explain what you should do when you are forced to break no contact.

First things first though, let’s talk through the four cases where it’s ok to break no contact.

  1. You Live Together With Your Ex
  2. You Share A Child With Your Ex
  3. You Work Together With Your Ex
  4. You Accidentally Run Into Your Ex

Case #1: You Live Together With Your Ex

In some cases it will literally be impossible to stay in no contact.

Living with your ex is definitely one of those cases.

If you find yourself in this situation it’s best to take a limited no contact approach. In other words, don’t break no contact until you absolutely have to.

I’ll give you a prime example.

Let’s say that you live with your ex and you always used to eat breakfast together. There’s one of two ways in which you can handle the breakfast. You can simply ignore your ex while they are right in front of you which brings more attention to the fact that you’re doing a no contact rule when you don’t want them to know that or you can simply wait until they ask you a question and simply only answer that question.

Technically you aren’t being rude.

After the forced interactions you simply should continue to do no contact.

Now, here’s where it gets tricky.

If at all possible it is advisable to find a way to move into your own apartment. We have found this to be a prevalent pattern in successful situations where exes are living together.

Having one of them move out and do a full no contact always seems to work best.

So, that should be your north star that you are always building towards.

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Case #2: You Share A Child With Your Ex

Do not include your children in any of the ex recovery strategies like no contact.

Their health and safety should be considered more paramount than your relationship with your ex.

Let’s say that you’re in the middle of no contact minding your own business when you suddenly get a text message from your ex.

According to the tenets of the no contact rule you wouldn’t be allowed to break it to respond.

But that’s simply not going to do.

So, here’s the rule.

It’s completely ok to break the no contact rule to talk with your ex about your shared children together.

That doesn’t mean you can use your children as a way to start a conversation with your ex.

If you end up having to talk to your ex about your kids together then you need to keep that conversation strictly about your kids.

That’s it.

Case #3: You Work Together With Your Ex

I hope you’re noticing a trend here with “when it’s ok” to break no contact.

Often the factors are out of your control.

Living together…

Sharing a child…

And now working together.

They are all situational and involve factors outside of your relationship.

Let’s pretend for a moment that your boss assigns a job to you and your ex. In other words, you’re literally being forced to work together.

What do you do?

You probably won’t be very effective at your job if you are ignoring your ex while doing the job. Instead the better approach is to communicate with your ex ONLY about business.

Keep the main thing the main thing and in this case the main thing is the job.

Don’t talk about the breakup.

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Don’t talk about your day.

Only focus on making sure you do the best job possible.

That’s it.

Case #4: When You Accidentally Run Into Your Ex

Now, the keyword to take note of here is accidentally.

I can’t tell you how often I’ve seen women in our private facebook group manufacture run ins with their ex “accidentally.”

When I say accidentally in this case I mean it authentically.

You’re literally going about your own business and your ex runs into you.

Doing a no contact rule and encountering this situation authentically will leave you with only a handful of options.

You can either ignore your ex and run the risk of being rude or you can break no contact to have a brief conversation.

Our testing has yielded better results by actually breaking no contact for a brief conversation here but one factor you definitely need to keep in mind is where you are at in your no contact rule.

Let’s say the accidental run in occurs when you are a week into no contact.

Well, in this case since not a lot of time has gone by it’s probably advisable to start no contact over from the beginning.

On the other hand let’s say you are 26 days into a 30 day no contact rule. In this case I would say just finish the last four days of no contact out and then begin the texting phase.

What If Your Ex Says The Golden Words Too Quickly During No Contact

A few months ago the moderators of our private facebook support group and I were having a really interesting conversation on something we like to call “the golden factor.”

Let’s say you are using a 30 day no contact rule and around day 15 your ex texts you this,

Can you break no contact to respond?

Well, this is where things become a bit tricky.

The answer is yes but there’s a huge caveat.

Multiple positive reach outs during no contact are NOT ENOUGH to break no contact.

If they explicitly ask for you back that is probably enough of a reason to break it.

I will warn you however that we have seen roughly 50% of people who break no contact when their ex asks for them back break up again quickly or in some cases not even get back together.


Well, we think it has to do with the subtle internal shifts that the no contact allows you to go through.

If you break no contact prematurely to get your ex back you are doing so without really any factors changing internally so it makes sense that you’d get the same results. On the other hand, sometimes no contact can be so effective that your ex literally will do or say anything to get you to break it.

Them asking for you back is sort of like a false positive.

They get the response from you that they so desperately want but they aren’t authentic in wanting to “retry things.”

Who knew figuring out when to break no contact could be so tricky.

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2 thoughts on “When Is It Ok To Break No Contact?”

  1. Steffanie

    October 25, 2021 at 7:52 pm

    What if you started the no contact 2 weeks after the breakup? I didn’t text him, but responded to his messages. In short responses, but still. Will it still work?

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      December 27, 2021 at 9:07 pm

      Hi Steffanie, if you responded then you broke your NC and would need to start again from day one.