By Chris Seiter

Published on April 18th, 2022

Today we’re going to look at if doing a no contact can make your ex boyfriend move on.

After all, this is the greatest fear that goes along with even utilizing a no contact rule.

However, I firmly believe that in the long run the no contact rule will have no bearing on an ex “getting over you.”

And the entirety of this article is going to be pulling research and observations that my coaches and I have personally made to back this point up.

Let’s begin!

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No Contact Doesn’t Work The Way You Think It Does

Let’s first start out by talking about the problem with the stereotypical definition of the no contact rule.

Most people view the no contact rule the following way,

It’s a period of time where you cut off contact with an ex completely. That means you don’t reach out to them or respond to them at all during the entirety of this period of time.

Now, there are generally two schools of thought on the effectiveness of the no contact rule.

  1. It’s a manipulation ploy to get an ex to fawn after you by cutting off contact with them.
  2. It’s a great way to “move on” from an ex.

I’ll admit, that when I first started Ex Boyfriend Recovery in 2012 I simply viewed the no contact rule as a manipulation tactic to illicit responses from an ex.

Of course, even back then the biggest fear my readers had (I hadn’t started coaching yet) was that by implementing the no contact rule their ex would move on from them.

But one of the things I’ll readily admit is that back in 2012 I didn’t really know enough to be teaching anyone. In fact, my knowledge on the no contact rule and how it really worked was rudimentary at best.

Unfortunately, a lot of my peers are still propagating the same spiel with the no contact rule claiming it will solve all of your problems if you just use it on an ex. This creates unrealistic expectations for their clients but perhaps the worst sin of all is that they don’t understand WHY the no contact rule is effective.

Understanding Why The No Contact Rule Is Effective

So, it’s time to hit you with a couple of hard truths.

Firstly, If you are measuring the effectiveness of a no contact rule based on how many times your ex reaches out to you then you are in for a rude awakening.

Secondly, if you aren’t using your time away from your ex productively then your no contact rule will probably be a failure.

Let’s tackle that first thing.

The following was a poll I conducted a few years ago where I simply tried to figure out how often our clients exes were reaching out to them during the no contact rule. .

Turns out it’s not happening a lot. Why?

Well, we think it is because the vast majority of people searching the internet for advice on a no contact rule tend to have anxious attachment styles while their exes are avoidant.

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This was backed up by a poll I did where I asked our clients what attachment styles they thought their exes were.

So, if indeed most of our clients exes are avoidant (which from what we’ve seen they appear to be) then that means they aren’t often going to be initiators in situations.

Thus, a lot of people think their no contact rules are failures because their exes aren’t reaching out to them but that’s not technically the case.

But more on that in a moment. Let’s tackle the second big misunderstanding.

What you do with your time away from your ex is EVERYTHING.

For the last few years I’ve been championing this idea of finding something you care about just as much as your ex to spend your time on during no contact.

Fans of Ex Boyfriend Recovery might have noticed that starting in 2020 we started posting a lot more success stories to our podcast.

That’s because starting then I personally started researching them and looking for patterns on what made them successful. What I found was pretty interesting.

By looking at how someone was spending their time during no contact could often tell us how effective that person would be at,

  1. Getting over an ex
  2. Getting an ex back

Generally speaking if there was a hyper focus on an ex during that time apart then the client tended to do poorly with both outcomes mentioned above.

Yet, if our clients literally spent all of their time outgrowing their ex during no contact we found that exes tended to be more responsive in interactions post no contact.


That’s an interesting a question because the answer might just prove why no contact won’t make an ex move on.

Let’s try to answer it by looking at some psychological principles.

The Anxious Avoidant Connection

Take a look at the graphic below.

I’ve been calling this the avoidant self fulfilling cycle. This is essentially the journey that many ex boyfriends go through when they are jumping from relationship to relationship.

The eight stages listed are from the avoidants perspective assuming they are dating an anxious person.

How does this relate to the no contact rule?

Well, let’s go through the eight stages first,

  1. They start out wanting someone to love them
  2. They date you and things are great at first
  3. Eventually your need for open communication and intimacy triggers their avoidant side
  4. They begin to consider leaving the relationship
  5. They actually leave the relationship
  6. They are ecstatic that they left the relationship
  7. They begin to feel lonely and need to find a distraction for the loss
  8. They enter victim mentality and wonder why this is always happening to them

Starting immediately at stage five is ideally when you should be implementing the no contact rule on your ex.

Of course, many people struggle with doing this because all they see from afar is how happy their ex is without them and so what do they do?

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They lose discipline and break no contact trying to salvage the broken relationship.

But what they don’t realize is that this very act, reaching out and trying to fix things, is looked at as anxious by the avoidant and causes the avoidant to retreat further into their shell.

And when this happens the stages above can be skipped and instead of going through the very well documented grieving process of an avoidant they simply move on.

So yes, my argument is a simple one. I actually think, assuming your ex is an avoidant, by ignoring them via the no contact rule you give them time to have nostalgic feelings for you.

Of course, this feeling of nostalgia hinges on a few important elements.

The Length Of Pairing

Last year I recorded an amazing video with our Head Coach Anna called “Why your ex is hardwired to care about you,”

And she mentioned some super fascinating research in the video,

Shorter relationships have weaker bonds, meaning that even if you spent 24 hours every day together for six weeks, that still is not enough time. It needs to be over a period of time, longer than six weeks. The intensity does not mean anything. It is the length of time that matters.

By looking at length of time of the relationship we might actually be able to tell how effective the no contact rule nostalgia can be.

So, the general rule of thumb is that if you’ve dated your ex for longer then it’s easier to create the nostalgia you are seeking.

What’s the cutoff?

Well, according to Anna’s research it needs to be a period of time longer than six weeks.

I personally find this relevant because a lot of times when an ex does move on to someone else during a no contact period our clients blame the no contact rule as the reason when in fact it may have been a situation where because of the short length of time that the two of you were together is the reason.

I believe the “official” word for that is rebounding.

But for some avoidant exes going from rebound to rebound is preferred because it’s the perfect type of relationship so that they don’t have to fully commit.

But personally the entire crux of my argument for why the no contact rule can actually do the opposite of making an ex move on revolves around nostalgia.

The Avoidant Nostalgia Principle

In this video,

I make a strong argument for the fact that often times avoidant exes don’t feel nostalgia for the past relationship until they feel safe.

They only feel safe if the following things happen,

  1. They’ve moved on to someone else
  2. You’ve moved on to someone else
  3. It looks like you are over the breakup

Only then do they give themselves permission to miss you and feel those feelings of nostalgia.

What Are Your Chances of Getting Your Ex Boyfriend Back?

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The beauty of the no contact rule is it hastens that “looking like you are over them” period.

In fact, coach Anna found some other research that is fascinating and might explain this a bit better,

Another study with animals, rats, they are prone to promiscuity. Even rats are often primed to revisit their first pleasure inducing partner according to a 2015 study It seems humans follow a similar pattern. Like a recovering alcoholic that craves a drink even after decades of sobriety, we can still be drawn to an ex. That means there’s a complex physiology associated with romantic attachments that stays with us honestly for most of our lives. Even after we resolve a romantic relationship, we have… humans have a remarkable ability to forget the bad parts and focus on the good ones, thus no contact. Most people have a lost love that they wonder about, like someone who held your hand through really important moments that helped define you. This is nostalgia and these feelings of nostalgia are very common.

Essentially by leaving your ex alone during no contact it can hasten their nostalgia for the good memories.

So, Will No Contact Make Him Move On?

All of the research we’ve stumbled across and observations we’ve noted from our own personal coaching clients tells us the opposite.

The no contact rule can actually hasten an exes feelings of nostalgia.

But here’s the thing.

There are always exceptions. I’m sure in some cases the no contact rule can make an ex move on but you need to be careful with jumping the gun on blaming the no contact rule in these cases.

It may be a simple situation where no matter what you did your ex would have moved on because they are more comfortable going from rebound to rebound.

Here’s all I can say for sure.

In almost every single success story I’ve ever posted to my YouTube channel they are extremely complimentary of the no contact rule and point to their uses of time during it as the core reason for why they think an ex came back.

The no contact rule is supposed to be about empowering you. Always remember that.

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1 thought on “Will No Contact Make Him Move On?”

  1. Michael

    May 24, 2022 at 10:13 pm

    Nice article. I’m a guy trying to understand why my ex gf has employed the NCR following a breakup and my role within it. I do miss her, but won’t contact her out of respect for her wishes. We’d been together for 16 odd years, and yes this hurts. Contact so far has been agreed upon in advance (I was on a trip and it was a safety thing). What I have noted is that many sites sell this NCR program as a panacea, but as the author wrote, its not about or shouldn’t be about manipulation. I do want to make myself more attractive to my ex gf, I do want her back but am also prepared to let her go if that turns out to be the reality. I will treasure our history. Good luck to anyone who reads this and is going through the pain.