By Chris Seiter

Updated on February 7th, 2021

I’m sure you’ve heard about giving your ex the silent treatment or about how absence makes the heart grow fonder, but how exactly does this work?

Today I’m going to take you through the psychology of why ignoring your ex is the perfect foundation for getting them back or for getting over them.

I’m also going to unravel the biggest misconception people have when it comes to ignoring their exes.

What Are Your Chances of Getting Your Ex Boyfriend Back?

Take the quiz

Why Is Ignoring Your Ex So Powerful? 

If you’re trying to win your ex back or get over your breakup, you’ve probably stumbled across some version of the no contact rule.

It is the single most recommended technique after a breakup.

So what exactly is a no contact rule?

The no contact rule is basically this period of time (generally 21 – 45 days) where you’re going to ignore your ex to make them miss you while working on hitting the reset button for yourself by improving your life.

Of course, a full no contact rule is limited in situations where you work with your ex, have a child with them, or still live with them, etc.

In those special circumstances I recommend a limited no contact rule, but today isn’t about what kind of no contact rule you need, it’s about understanding what makes the no contact rule so successful.

The Psychology Behind The No Contact Rule – The Theory Of Reactance

The theory of reactance is a psychological concept that dictates how humans behave when their behavioral freedoms are taken away.

In general, when you take away a certain behavioral freedoms from someone, they will do whatever they can to get it back.

For our purposes, the no contact rule is basically taking away your ex’s behavioral freedom of talking to you and their reaction would be to try to regain that freedom back.

That sounds perfect… in theory.

But it doesn’t exactly work out that way in real life.

So, you decide you’re going to ignore your ex which would obviously take away their behavioral freedom of having a conversation with you.

Theoretically, they would react in a way to try to get that behavioral freedom back. But when we actually looked at how often exes would reach out to you during a no contact rule we saw some alarming trends…

I want to preface these findings by saying that I am a huge proponent of trends, as opposed to one-off strategies or examples. I believe in finding tangible patterns in this process that work for multiple people in a predictable way so I can help others using that information.

Now the best way to define or find patterns is by surveying an audience full of people who are trying the same things out.

Luckily, we have a dedicated private Facebook support group for everyone who purchases our flagship ex-boyfriend recovery program.

Everyone on that group is either going through a breakup and wanting to get their ex back (or get over them) or they’ve already gone through the process.

This means that we have a community of about 4500 individuals who share their experiences and get extra guidance via Facebook live sessions from me and other coaches.

I got the idea one day to survey this audience of people who have used the no contact rule and asked them one singular question:

What Are Your Chances of Getting Your Ex Boyfriend Back?

Take the quiz

For those of you who use the no contact rule how often did your ex actually reach out to you during the no contact rule? Shockingly, about 63 percent of people who responded to the poll said that their ex did not reach out to them during the no contact rule.

So what gives here?

Does that mean ignoring your ex with the no contact rule is not an effective strategy?

Not exactly.

It means you’re focusing on the wrong thing…

The Biggest Misconception People Have About Ignoring Their Ex

When people first come into my practice they expect instant gratification and think that the no contact rule is all about ignoring their ex because that makes their ex miss them.

We have found the opposite to be true.

What matters more than anything when it comes to ignoring your ex is what you do with that time.

I started noticing this pattern in almost all of the success stories – the people who actually went through our program and got their exes back.

The biggest common thread between all the success stories was how they used their time during the no contact rule.

They didn’t sit around feeling sorry for themselves, not that there’s anything wrong with that for a little bit.

They actually pulled themselves up, dusted themselves off from the negativity and depression of their breakup, and they took matters into their own hands by improving their lives in all sorts of ways.

Now I know what you’re thinking… duh, ignoring your ex and working on yourself is the most cliché answer ever.

Well, it’s a cliché because it works.

When you improve yourself and show your ex a new side of you, they’re intrigued.

As long as you’re focusing on yourself and not your ex, you’re going towards the right mindset of becoming an “ungettable girl“. So yeah, working on yourself IS a big reason why ignoring your ex is so powerful, but it is not the only reason.

Another reason why ignoring your ex is so powerful is because of the stable nature it portrays to them.

You see, a breakup is a very unstable and emotionally charged environment.

A lot of things are said in the heat of the moment and it’s just a big mess of chaos. And what do people do when they see a situation full of chaos?

They run.

No one wants to deal with all the drama of a breakup so your ex will probably make a run for it. Now, if your ex ran after breaking up with you, your solution was probably to overreact and overcompensate by begging for them back.

You’ll do anything from blowing up their phone and social media to maybe even showing up at their house so they take you back. All these insecurities just exaggerate the chaos and push your ex further away.

What Are Your Chances of Getting Your Ex Boyfriend Back?

Take the quiz

Your ex wants nothing to do with you because it seems like you’re extremely insecure. But then you implement a no contact rule and start ignoring them. This huge difference will surprise your ex and make them wonder what happened.

They’ll start asking questions like what’s going on? How are you suddenly so secure and stable? Are you over them?

This will especially drive them mad if they were thinking about having a friends with benefits situation with you or keeping you as a backup because they never expected you to just totally ignore them.

Having that element of intrigue and shock is a really underutilized aspect.

Whether we realize it or not, the more stable we are, we begin to re-attract our ex. But that’s not the only thing that happens while you are acting stable and secure by ignoring your ex.

You Also Tap Into Their Grass Is Greener Syndrome

Whether you like it or not, the truth is that when your ex breaks up with you it is an admission that they think they can do better than you.

Sometimes they can and sometimes they cant.

But here’s the thing – they need to try dating new people to realize how good they had it with you.

Now, this doesn’t happen right off the bat. A lot of people think the grass is greener syndrome is this instant thing that immediately makes their ex want to come back to them, but that’s not how the grass is greener syndrome works.

Here’s what a real grass is greener syndrome looks like.

Your ex breaks up with you and they give you some lie about why they did it when they actually just want to explore their options. So they go out on dates and find someone they think is better than you.

They get into this new lovey-dovey relationship – he’s kissing the new girl, taking down your pictures off his social media, and putting up pictures with her. All of this can be really depressing and overwhelming for you.

You gotta remember though that this is just their honeymoon period. This over the top honeymoon phase will eventually level off and when they both regress into how they truly are in relationships, that’s when the comparisons start.

Your ex will start comparing his everyday life with his new girl and with you, as opposed to the highlights he was having with her in the honeymoon period. Ideally, he’ll think to himself, “I had it really good with her” when looking back at your relationship.

That’s when he starts to romanticize your relationship and you start to see exes reaching out to you constantly. He’ll probably try to just be friends but he will actually start looking to you for the kind of emotional support that he should seek from his partner.

So sometimes ignoring your ex and just letting them work things out on their own is enough to tap into that grass is greener syndrome where regret comes into play.


Ignoring your ex after your breakup with a no contact rule is the best thing you could do and here’s a quick rundown of why it works so well:

  • It allows you more time to focus on yourself and lead an improved life
  • It showcases a stable and secure side of you
  • It lets your ex naturally stumble into the grass is greener syndrome

What to Read Next

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

22 thoughts on “Why Ignoring Your Ex Is So Powerful”

  1. Kym

    April 5, 2021 at 5:53 pm

    Can you still get your ex back if you been broken up for 5 months

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      April 8, 2021 at 7:20 pm

      Yeah of course!

  2. Sally

    November 24, 2020 at 5:07 am

    My ex broke up with me about a month and a few days ago. We dated for about 8 months and it was mostly good. We were in person for the first 5 (no real issues or arguing) and long distance the last 3. I let my insecurities and emotions take over my logical responses to some situations which in turn, caused some arguments. It got to the point where it was too much for him to handle during his career. I since then have started going to counseling and understand what my toxic traits were. When we broke up, I did plead on the phone but since that night, I went into no contact immediately. Again, it has been a month and a few days of no contact. He still is one of the first people to watch my stories but has not reached out. I wish I could tell him how I now have a different perspective on our issues and want another chance but I know that’s not the way things happen. I was wondering any advice? I usually never care about people who want to walk away from my life but I cannot stop thinking about what we could have been had I handled my emotions correctly.
    I do not know if he will ever contact me or come around, but during the phone call he said he wanted to keep in contact as friends but I told him that would be too hard. I am not sure what to do at this point.

  3. Becca

    November 23, 2020 at 5:33 am

    My boyfriend has just split up with and he won’t talk to me and keeps saying I’m to much and driving him mad how can I get him back and get him to want to talk to me?

    Please help me

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      November 24, 2020 at 9:17 pm

      Hi Becca, you need to leave him alone for a little while. Starting with a No Contact where you work on yourself and show him you are no longer a clingy needy person.

  4. Lana

    November 12, 2020 at 3:29 am

    After completing NC for 30 days, my ex reached out. We have been talking daily but one day he stopped reaching out, so i did first turns out he was upset about something as i suspected. That is why i didn’t mind reaching out first. I apologized since it was my fault and we have been talking daily since. But last week he just stopped talking to me and it has been a couple of days. What do i do? Do i wait until he reaches out or should i wait a little longer before reaching out? We had a nice chat before he stopped (no arguing)

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      November 12, 2020 at 6:00 pm

      Hi Lana yes you can reach out if there has been no negative interactions. Him not replying could be anything as simple as he forgot or he lost interest in the conversation. Make sure that you are reading the articles from Chris about how to text your ex and keeping them engaged in talking to you

  5. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

    November 7, 2020 at 6:22 pm

    Hi Kenzie, so your first step is to follow the rules of no contact for 30 days, in that time you can decide if you want to move on or not, that is only your choice to make. Read articles that apply to your situation to help you understand what actions you need to take

  6. Livia

    October 27, 2020 at 8:53 pm


    So my boyfriend and I have been dating for almost a year. He is 45, never married, no kids. I am divorced, 29 with a daughter. When we first dated thing were fantastic then we decided because of lockdown we will move in together. My kid and I stayed with him things were great. But after lockdown he wanted us to stay longer but i said no, he begged me and tried to convince me but i told him i really needed to get home as I have a home with a garden and i knew it was going to get messy. So i left and he got distant after that. He said he was sick and low on energy. I eventually just stopped talking to him for a few weeks and focused on my book. When my book came out he contacted me about a part for his rasberry, I told him cool i will send it to him. Then he insisted he comes to get it. After we started going on dates things were going great then i went to stay with him for a week this time he asked me to stay one more night but i couldnt and after that he just started making excuses telling me his busy etc. But he still wants to chat and call me but not see me. He said he is feeling down and his energy is low. So i told him that i can’t do hot and cold any longer and a few not so nice things including telling him to leave me alone until his shit is sorted. He responded saying he is sick and I am right and he knows it unfair to me and maybe time alone will be good. He also mentioned that he would like it if we both remained faithful during the time. So last week he contacted me and I responded but I refused to talk to him on the phone i told him i am trying not to miss him. And today I eventually caved and spoke to him but when I did he made attempt to talk about a future. In the end he was like oh I dont think I can see you anytime soon going to see my parents. And he is taking time to focus on himself.

    In my case do you think the no contact rule would help me? I do love him and he is a good man, but I am at a stage in my life that if we can’t move forward then I am going to have to burn my bridges and it will b a shame to lose a great guy that I actually love.

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      October 28, 2020 at 4:18 am

      Hi Livia, yes you need to follow a NO contact rule as he knows if he wants you, he just has to reach out. Make sure that you stick with the NC for at least 30 days, 45 if needed. Work on yourself in the mean time and show him that you are living life (through mutual friends and social media)

  7. Anonymous

    October 25, 2020 at 2:13 pm

    My ex and I ended up meeting on Tinder. We decided one day to meet up and just see where things would go. We both weren’t looking for anything in the beginning. His parents were out of town that week and I ended up staying at his house for the duration of their absence. I was unemployed at the time because of the pandemic. The first week, we really had gotten super close, and I could tell we started to like each other. We started hanging out more after his parents came back and about a month in, he asked me to be his girlfriend. Of course I said yes.

    He’s a very closed off person to begin with, so me meeting anyone in his life was a big deal. I started to meet more of his friends, hang out with him and them. Which all of them loved me and never had one bad thing to say about me. They still don’t. Things were going really well. I met his parents who seemed to love me, never said anything bad about me. The more comfortable we got with each other the more we would stay the night at each other’s houses. Then 2.5-3 months into dating, he started to pull away and become distant. I noticed but didn’t really say anything because I wasn’t sure what it was. I finally brought it up because he was becoming more and more distant. He said he just lost feelings over time and was pretty much numb to life. Which I didn’t understand what that meant until recently.

    The beginning of October 2020 I wrote him a three page letter about what I love about him and pretty much me telling him he’s the one. Two days ago he came over to talk about it and we ended up having sex and he sent the night. He essentially said I have everything he’s looking for in a girl, but he just isn’t ready for a relationship. Which I knew to begin with, he needs to work on himself.

    But deep down I know he’s the one, my person. He’s become my best friend and understands me and vice versa. I told him I won’t put my life on hold, I’m planning on joining the army in the next few months, and that a part of me will be waiting for him when he’s ready. He actually used to be in a navy program and has that military mind set which I don’t fully understand, you can’t unless you’ve been in service or a program. I personally believe God is putting me into the army to become the person I need to be for me and him. Deep down I know I’m gonna marry him one day…It’s just the feeling I get. I’m just scared he’s gonna take too long to find himself and it might be too late. But the saying goes “if it’s meant to be, it’ll be.” We’re both holding onto that. What do you think?

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      October 28, 2020 at 5:06 am

      Hey there, if your ex is genuine about working on himself then maybe he will reach out to you when he is feeling better. The most important thing that you need to do is work on yourself during your No Contact, make sure that you show your ex that you are doing well, if he is on social media make sure that you are active and positive. If he isn’t make sure that your dating pages are still active even if you’re not dating that fear that you could move on is going to get him wanting to talk to you after your NC is over.

  8. Daniella

    October 20, 2020 at 1:32 pm

    My ex and I broke up 7 weeks ago.

    We met in December, became friends and officially started dating end March for 5 months, during which we also went through a 2 month lockdown. It felt like we dated for almost double that time because we couldn’t meet or go anywhere and spoke to each other all day all night. The only solace was that we’d take long walks together every other day (we live one block apart) and it very much bonded us – we got to know each other without it being focused on the physical.

    When we broke up he said he didn’t have his footing (realised he hated his job/struggled to make any real friends (he’s only been In the country for 1.5years)) and that was causing everything else in his life (like a relationship) to shake.

    I handled everything very maturely, even he said he thought I’d take it worse. Did no contact for 1 month during which he continued to watch every single Insta-story of mine. After the1 month, I had a hand written card delivered (vetted by all my friends to not be over-emotional etc.) to essentially say I missed him and wasn’t willing to give up on us just yet.

    We met the next day to discuss the card and he said he only saw us being friends going forward and didn’t want more. BUT this is where I felt a shift, suddenly his behaviour after this day started to give me the impression he was miserable.Two days after our meet, Sunday night he asked to go on a walk, I said I was heading out for drinks because I didn’t want him to think I was just going to be waiting around.

    The next weekend I acted like a UG during my best friend’s bday weekend. He was glued to his phone watching, and saw all of our stories within minutes. I posted a Insta on the Tuesday after the weekend (1.5 weeks since our meet) and right after he deactivated his Instagram (it’s been 2 weeks since and it’s still deactivated). During these two weeks I’ve initiated casual conversation to which he’s taken a lot of time but always responded to and asked many questions. I’ve asked to walk twice during it and he’s made up an excuse to not go. All through I’ve been very normal/positive/ug mindset.

    Now with the score being 2-1 on no’s for the walk (our thing to do), I can’t really ask again, the ball’s in his court and don’t know what to do. This entire process was really draining me and I thought to leave it till he messages again now? Do you think he will reach back out to me and what are your thoughts on him seeming like he’s taking it much harder by needing to quit social media/evidently stalking me?

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      October 24, 2020 at 9:51 pm

      Hi Daniella, I would suggest that you do not ask to meet up again, take a step back to the texting phase as you do not want to ask him again considering he has said no twice. You need to understand that as much as things get tough this program cannot be rushed. Each stage is all about your ex investing time into texting you, talking on the phone and going on to meeting up with you on their grounds, thinking it was their idea.

  9. Tammie

    October 20, 2020 at 2:34 am

    Hi! So I have a very complicated situation-I been in 3 year committed relationship with someone after being alone for 10 years. The man I’m dating is 11 years older (54 years old) than myself (44 years old). He was married twice-first marriage ended because his wife cheated on him multiple times and he is in the process of a second divorce that ended due to a controlling wife. Our relationship has been wonderful and he has stated we’re the best 3 years of his life. Although there were a few incidents when we were socially out where he showed he had insecurities around other men looking at me. I assured him I understood his insecurities and would assist him in working in them as they were probably a result of his first marriage and assured him that I would never do anything to hurt him- as he is an amazing man to me. Recently he placed an audio recorder in my garage without me knowing and accused me of engaging in sexual activities in the garage with a worker from a auto part business next door-just from little noises he was hearing on the recorder. When I asked him to let me hear the recordings, he said he threw them away because he was having a hard time listening to them. I explained to him that the allegations were false as I respect myself, my daughters and my body to ever do anything like that and I have been truly committed to him for the last 3 years. We didn’t talk for a few days after that incident-Of course I fell into the begging, constantly texting, showing up at his house. We eventually got back together for a whole month but I felt like I was walking on eggshells with him. I assured him there was nothing I wouldn’t do to prove that the allegations were untrue and were only his own insecurities getting the best of him. I offered to go with him to see a therapist, go before a priest to confess that I was not guilty and even would take a polygraph test and he refused. He once again, put another voice recorder in my garage and once again accused me of the same allegations but this time kept the audio for evidence. I listened to the audio and there is nothing on there that sounds like sexual activity but surrounding noises from the garage. At this point, I went to get a polygraph test. I invited him to attend the test and he never showed up. The test came back unfounded of the accusations, and he indicated the test only had a 50/50 chance and didn’t want to except it. He still has his mind convinced that I am and have been involved with this supposedly guy from next door, which is untrue. I have only been committed to him for the last 3 years and no one else. About 2 weeks ago he ended our relationship and says he couldn’t continue as he believes I’m with this supposedly pguy next door. He asked me to leave him alone and not come near his house and has changed his phone number. A week ago he continued to text me while still accusing me of the same accusations and at the same time confessing his love for me.I responded but didn’t feed into the negative allegations, but I finally decided that I need to go into the No Contact mode. It s been the hardest thing for me and I been working on myself but there are days I can’t help but to miss him. I have committed myself to the no contact but there is a part of me that would still love for him to come back.

  10. Elise

    October 18, 2020 at 7:54 pm

    Hi! I broke up with my ex a couple of months ago, and regretted my decision. So I told him that i wanted to try again. But then he was unsure of what he wanted, but we eventually agreed to try again. But then he told me he still was unsure, and we broke up for real. I told him that I would delete him on social media, og didnt want contact. I realize that that is a bad idea. I have not contacted him in three weeks because I think it must come from him, but know im thinking that i have messed things up too much by telling him that i didnt want contact ect. We were together for several years, and had a good relationship. Should i continue no contact and hope for the best?

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      October 19, 2020 at 8:16 pm

      Hey Elise, I would say yes to completing your NC and then start reaching out to your ex after 30 days if you still want to try and get them back

  11. Susan

    October 13, 2020 at 8:36 am

    Hi.pls help.i haven’t exactly broken up with my boyfriend but keeping distance. Tomorrow is his bday.shall I wish him midnight today. Kindly help

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      October 15, 2020 at 5:14 pm

      If you are not broken up then, yes wish him a Happy Birthday, but keep the conversation short and do not speak about your relationship

  12. P.B.

    October 2, 2020 at 8:36 pm

    I’m in a long NC (60 days for now and not gonna initiate because of the situation). He’s in a rebound relationship.
    We shared a Netflix account and the last months of our relationship he lost his job so I was the one who was paying for it, I didn’t matter.. Didn’t change the password, we didn’t have a bad endng, wanted (and want) him back so I decided to let t he things like they were. But now he’s using it to watch movies with the new girlfriend and I can’t stand that. But if I change my password now he’ll know that it was for that so he’d think I’m jealous and resentful, and also could believe that it’s a trick to make him text me (absolutely not, I don’t want to talk with him until that relationship ends. The being there method can’t be implemented in my situation because she doesn’t let him talk to anyone, she isolated him completely).
    What can I do? I am furious and I don’t want him to use it with her, I’m the one paying, he owes me respect at least. But if I do anything it will show that I’m jealous, it’s a reaction, I don’t want him to get ANY reaction from me.
    What do you think?

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      October 21, 2020 at 7:23 pm

      Hey PB I would suggest that you reach out and tell him that you are cancelling your Netflix account as you do not use it anymore and you’re paying for nothing (he doesnt know thats not true) and then chance your password and log him out of everywhere, or create a new account altogether so he cannot try your email at a later date.

  13. Elizabeth

    September 30, 2020 at 6:31 pm

    My boyfriend and I met each other and within two weeks we were official. It was his choice and I went along with it because I saw potential. We spent every day together for almost three months and he even brought up multiple times moving in together and even driving to a chapel to get married. Everyone around me said he was head over heels for me, his friends, his family, my family. We started having little arguments because I would get an attitude and pick a fight. I didn’t realize this until after the breakup and I feel as though it was resentment or taking him for granted. I truly felt like he would never walk away. A minor thing happened and he broke up with me saying things went “too fast” and we need to “re-learn” eachother. And that we should not be arguing this much this early. He said he doesn’t want the pressure of the relationship but he wants to still see me and “doesn’t want to lose me”. A week after the breakup we met up and had a long discussion which I thought would result in getting back together but it did not but I stayed the night with him anyway. I went a bit unhinged and called and texted the next day that I would like to never see him again and that I want all my stuff. He said no and that I was acting crazy. The next day I sent an apology telling him I wasn’t acting myself because I am hurt. I have not heard back from him nor have I reached out since. It’s only been 4 days of no contact and I’m wondering if this is even salvageable at this point.