The 30 day no contact rule is a boundary you put up for yourself to avoid contacting your ex for about a month after your breakup.
But, before we dive deep into this idea of the 30 day no contact rule, let me ask you a quick question.
Why are you thinking about having this big, deliberate break from your EX? Most people I meet who are interested in this topic usually fall in one of two categories:
Camp A: Many people use this technique to set themselves up to get back with their ex. They’ve heard if you give your ex some space, he’ll come back to you because the time apart will make him miss you. There are loads of websites, books and videos about how to get back with your EX, so believe me, there’s a huge interest in this topic!
Camp B: Others practice it to have a bit of sanity for themselves. They need some time and space to process the relationship, and they know that trying to make a clean break while staying connected to Mr. Dreamy Eyes will probably be too hard. Plus, relationships make addicts out of all of us, and typically normal people can go a little bit off the rails when a relationship ends, especially if they’re the “dumpee” (translation: the one who got dumped).
So which one are you (and don’t worry, I’ve got some good stuff for you whether you fall into Camp A or Camp B)?
Considering how unpredictable humans are (and how little I know about you and your relationship) I’m a fan of Camp B. If the relationship was healthy and Camp A happens, it’s an added bonus.
In fact, you may get to the end of the break and realise you’re ready to move on or that you want to continue having more time to heal.
More than likely, you’ll grow to appreciate your own company and you may be ready to say “no way” to anything less than your expectations.
Here’s the best part.
This is the perfect way to take your power back after a breakup.
This is the part of this whole process that excites me the most is seeing you fully empowered after this experience. Breakups have this crazy way of bringing mighty women to their knees in a way nothing else seems to be able to do, but I want to give you your power back.
But first, a dose of tough love…
The Truth About the 30 Day No Contact Rule
You might find this to be one of the most challenging things you’ve ever had to do…especially if you’ve been together a long time and you’re used to hanging out and spending every. 👏 waking. 👏 moment. 👏 together. 👏
Let me be honest.
Going cold turkey and cutting off your supply to your EX is going to be dang-on hard, but if you do it right, it is an effective way to make an impact on your emotions and on your EX.
And, as promised in the headline, there are 11 steps you can take to live out this powerful technique.
Within those 11 steps, I share over 50 things (really fun things) you can do to make the time fly.
Sooooo…..are you ready?
How to Give Your EX (and yourself) Space
Whether you ended the relationship or your EX ended it, you can get rid of that feeling of powerlessness by giving your EX lots of space!
This means NO CONTACT. I know this may not be what you want to hear.
It seems drastic.
Your fingers may start itching to text or call or check his social media, but DON’T!
Here’s why I say this…
You should allow yourself and your EX to experience what breaking up feels like, especially if he was the one who broke up with you. Give him space to miss you.
Let’s think about it. If your EX breaks up with you, but you keep calling, texting and showing up, it’s basically like the relationship never ended.
But, instead of getting sweet, fun, sexy you, he’s getting annoying, pestering, incessantly calling you. And Baaaaaby (read that in my old New Orleans woman voice), it’s not a good look!
Most importantly, this is about you and your empowerment. Giving yourself a break will help you clear some of the emotional clutter from your mind.
Natalie Lue of Baggage Reclaim wrote on the E-Harmony site that “just as excessive home clutter affects your emotional and mental well-being, often preventing you recognising and valuing what you truly want and need, maintaining these connections uses valuable emotional and mental space that’s needed to make way for the relationship you want.”
Even if you’re positively sure the two of you will get back together at some point in the future, you should respect your EX’s decision and he’ll respect you for doing it. It may even make him a little curious how you were able to walk away so easily.
And that’s where you’ll find the sweet spot, in that little bit of curiosity because after this time apart, after you’ve been exploring and working out and trying new things and developing yourself, he’ll wonder how you were able to move on so well.
And you might wonder too!
You see, many people think this no contact thing is about getting back with their EX, but the reality is, this whole thing is a way to get back with yourself.
Are you following me so far?
If you still have questions, Brad Browning (AKA Breakup Brad) gives the low down in the video below of what this whole thing is about and how it works. (Too Long Don’t Want to Watch, no worries. I’ve got you covered. If you want the Cliff Notes, I’ve shared the highlights with you below this video).
In this video Breakup Brad shares 6 benefits of this post-breakup healing strategy, and for the most part, I agree with them.
✅ It Helps You Heal Privately
Yes, please! Who wants to ugly cry in front of their EX and give all the reasons why the relationship shouldn’t end (though I will shamefully admit this has happened to me…not the crying part, but the reasons part).
✅ It Prevents You from Doing Something Stupid
Great idea! Sign me up.
Taking a break helps you avoid a moment of drunken stupor or temporary insanity. However, it doesn’t glue your fingers together and prevent you from making the call, so this is a boundary you still have to learn to respect.
✅ It Forces Your Ex to Miss You
Giving your EX some space to breathe might make him remember the lingering scent of your perfume and have a moment of nostalgia….and that’s what we’re going for!
✅ It Allows Your Ex to Forget or Let Go of Negative Memories
So, you did some messed up stuff in the relationship or had a really annoying habit and giving your EX 30 days is going to make him forget about it?!
To me, this was Breakup Brad’s funniest reason yet!
It kind of made me LOL because if your EX just forgets something you’ve done or part of who you are, he’s only going to be reminded if you get back together. But, hey, this might work in your favour…temporarily.
While I’m not buying this reason as much as the others, I can see where Breakup Brad is coming from.
✅ It Sends a Clear Signal to Your Ex You’re Going to Move On
I like this reason. The exact end date of a relationship can often be murky so signaling IT’S OVER provides a good point of closure for you and your EX to begin to process the change in relationship status.
✅ Shifts the Balance of Power
This is by far my favorite reason.
As I shared with you earlier in this post, I’m all for empowerment, and that’s the major benefit of the no contact rule. In an instant you can go from being dumped to saying, sure thing, I agree and walking away peacefully. That’s sure to throw your EX for a loop and will readjust the balance of power.
Be Empowered by Taking a Break
Now that we’ve heard Breakup Brad’s highlights of this 30 day no contact rule, I want to tell you my top reasons why you should jump in head first and use this method to take your power back.
✅ It Will Give You Your Confidence Back
One of the hallmark feelings of breakups is rejection. When you’re in the middle of the whirlwind of feelings after the breakup, the only thing that’s obviously staring you in the face is a feeling of not being wanted.
Then, it spirals into a feeling of not being good enough and eventually it attacks our self esteem.
When you give yourself a break, you interrupt the loop of thoughts and feelings and give yourself and your support system the chance to rebuild your self-esteem and smother you in love.
✅ It Will Give You Your Life Back
I’ve been on the receiving end of waiting in eager anticipation of the decision my ex was going to make. When you do this, you completely hand the reigns of your life to someone else for them to decide your future.
This is an emotionally charged time in your life so it’s understandable to feel this way, but taking this break can give you your life back.
✅ It Helps You Know Yourself Again
So often, our identities get so wrapped up in another person that when the relationship is over we’re a bit lost. Our friendships aren’t as strong, we’ve neglected our interests and we look in the mirror barely able to recognize ourselves.
This process is giving you the chance to get to know yourself again.
✅ It Gives You Perspective on Your Relationship
Have you ever been so close to something you couldn’t clearly see what was happening with it?
Stepping back from the relationship can give you a clearer perspective about it. Sometimes, we hold on to something so tightly for so long we don’t even remember why we wanted it in the first place.
✅ It Helps You Make a Clear Decision about What to Do Going Forward
Once you let go of the relationship and aren’t so desperate for it, you’ll have fresh eyes to be able to make a decision about it.
You’ll return to the situation with a clearer perspective on your relationship and you’ll be in a better position to make a decision about it.
So now, how do we do this thing? How are you going to follow through on the 30 day no contact rule?
Well, in just a second, I’m going to share 11 steps you can take to make it through!
What Can You Do?
During the 30 days after your breakup, as you’re trying to press pause on your EX and heal your heart, you will definitely want to reach out to him or AT LEAST stalk him on social media. BUT I DON’T WANT YOU TO GIVE IN TO THE URGES!
There are so many things you can do instead to take care of yourself, heal your heart and keep your mind off of your EX. I think you’ll surprise yourself when you realise you can still feel good and have fun without your EX.
I’d love for you to check these things out in order, but if you want to jump to the one you think will have the most impact on your right now, go for it!
1. Do Something by Doing Nothing
2. Have Something You Can Control
3. Empower Yourself through Books
4. Change Your Scenery
6. Feel Good and Laugh
8. Get Spiritual
9. Take Care of Your Body
10. Take Care of Your Emotional Health
11. Have Fun
I know it seems a little backwards, but sometimes, the best way you can do SOMETHING is by doing NOTHING.
Don’t text, call, e-mail, send a message through a friend or send out a carrier pigeon.
You’ve heard the old saying, if you love something you let it go. If it doesn’t come back it was never yours. If it comes back it is yours forever.
Unfortunately life doesn’t work as neatly as a cute little saying, buuuuut sometimes even little sayings have truth in them.
You’ll feel more powerful after doing this for a few days because in the midst of the crazy that is your life right now, THIS is something you CAN control.
And even a sliver of power at this point can be important in helping you feel like your old self again.
After a breakup there’s so much that’s out of your control so it’s important to recognise and take advantage of those things you can control.
Who you contact, how you contact and when you contact are all things that you have control over. So leverage those things to your advantage.
You can control, what time you go to bed, if you go work out, the friends you spend time with, the books you read, the music you listen to, on and on and on.
This may seem like the smallest thing, but at this point in the breakup process, every little win counts and will work towards empowering you in this situation.
I have one big guarantee for you…
If you don’t have support, in all of its different forms, you won’t make it through the next 30 (or more, if you decide) days.
There are many authors who’ve shared their perspectives on breaking up and the transformation they’ve made in their lives after breakups.
Check out a few of them that I’ve shared with you.
This book is one of the all-time favorites for those who have experienced a breakup. With over 500 positive reviews on Amazon, it’s tried and true in helping people over the years push through the tough emotions we all feel after a breakup. Teaching concepts such as the no-contact rule, it’s well known for helping people who’ve experienced long, deep and significant relationships recapture their identity and rebuild after a breakup.
This classic story that was remade into a movie follows the journey of a recently divorced woman who makes a failed attempt at a rebound relationship only to have her heart broken again before it has the chance to fully recover. The book navigates the days and weeks after her relationship misfortunes and takes her on a travel adventure around the world that explores her desire to reinvent herself through food, spirituality and love.
This quick 70-page read will walk you through what to do when using the 30 day no contact rule. It will walk you through how to deal with the overwhelming flood of emotions that can hit you after a breakup and help you restore your dignity.
Reading this book feels more like therapy than reading some self-help mumbo jumbo. The author, Rachel Sussman doesn’t just tell you to eat ice cream and watch movies, she helps you dig deep into why you entered the relationship and what kept you in it. If you’re looking to gain a bit of self-understanding as well as recovery after your breakup, then keep this book close by.
Go get a fresh perspective by getting out of your normal day to day life.
- Go on a vacay out of the country, the whole shebang! Go for it!
- Get some sunshine. No Sunshine? Sun lamp. Nuff said.
- Get out of the house, even if it’s just to go to the mall.
- Watch a travel show to get yourself starting to dream again.
- Plan a staycation. See what it’s like to be a tourist in your own city.
Find a community of like-minded people and connect with them.
- Go to church, community group or small group. Be around supportive people.
- Plan a party at your place and have fun!
- Do something for someone else. Take your mind off of yourself.
- Reconnect with a great friend from the past.
- Interview someone from your family to learn more about your family story.
- Catch up with friends from the past and laugh!
- Take a break…even from random dates and random guys
Laughter is so good for the soul so take the time to have a few chuckles!
- Puppies and babies…need I say more?
- Try to go watch your favorite comedian perform or if all else fails, check them out on Netflix.
- Check out some hilarious cat videos
- Go for a photo shoot…and make sure to smile!
- Change up your routine. Do something out of the ordinary.
Use this moment as an opportunity to grow.
- Draw a self-portrait without the pressure of it being perfect.
- Take up a new hobby.
- Read a book like The Happiness Project or Get Over It.
- Accomplish a goal you’ve been wanting to tackle for a long time.
- Open and savings account and start putting some money away for a rainy day.
Connect with God.
- Find quiet time to connect with God
- Search for a sense of purpose in your life
- Make prayer a regular part of your new daily routine
Invest in your physical health.
- Buy a new outift.
- Get a mani/pedi.
- Go for a good workout. Sweat the sad away.
- Wash your face, brush your teeth and do your hair.
- Eat a health meal that tastes great.
- Get your hair done, girl! Lay off the crazy cuts until you get your mind right.
- Get a facial
Be intentional in caring for your emotional health as you do for your physical health.
- Let yourself grieve
- Get a journal and get it all out
- Give yourself permission to feel your emotions
- Hide your phone from yourself
- Play your favorite feel good song and dance
- Go to counseling and talk it out
- Don’t talk to everyone about your problems
- Give your ex some space
- Write a profile of who you are and what you like
- Set aside some time to think over the relationship with a rational friend
Let loose and have a ball!
- Eat some junk food and forgive yourself
- Make a list of five things you’ve always wanted to do and go do them
- Learn to bake the cake you’ve been craving or cook a dish you’ve always wanted
- Make a card from whatever items you have in your house and send it to a friend
- Buy yourself a box of chocolates
- Send flowers to yourself or if you’re feeling generous send them to your mom or a friend who really needs them
- Try an adventure sport like kayaking, rock climbing or white-water rafting
- Rediscover how to experience happiness after your breakup
12. [BONUS]: Connect with a Mental Health Professional
One of the most impactful things I did after my breakups was see a mental health professional.
It’s great to have a neutral third party chat with you about what you’re dealing with and how you’re processing it. If you get stuck along the way, they’re able to guide you and help you get through the mire. Highly recommend!
How Does It All Work?
We’ve talked about why you should use this strategy and even shared some ways you can carry it out, but you might be wonder how it all works. Getting a look behind the scenes can give you a little more confidence that this isn’t just some hocus pocus stuff.
No Contact Rule Psychology
Psychologist Jill Weber Ph.D., author of The Relationship Formula Workbook Series provides a bit of perspective by saying that lingering in a relationship that’s ended takes us out of touch with reality and keeps us living in a fantasy.
When our mind is attached to a fantasy, it cannot begin the healing process or create space for anything new in our life.
And on top of that, we become stuck in a cycle of self-blame and regret. We continue to replay the relationship and highlight our mistakes, and these behaviours keep your heart burdened by the weight of the failed relationship.
While that gives us a bit of perspective on how it all works from our perspective, have you ever wondered what’s happening with the other person?
Let’s take a look at what’s happening from the other side of the equation.
How the Dumper Feels During No Contact
According to Psychologist Anita Sanz, even though we think the dumper is invincible, he too experiences a wave of emotions after the relationship ends. Because he’s been thinking about it over time before sharing his feelings publicly those emotions just come out differently. Often dumpers experience emotions like
- Dread/Anticipating Loss
- Grief Postponement
Initially, the dumper will likely feel like they’re in control and they can manipulate the situation in their favor, but as the days pass, they’ll probably go through a wave of emotions as they process the sudden change in your behavior.
Relief – I’m going to be honest, and this might sting a little. The first feeling the dumper will probably feel is relief.
When someone gets dumped and they want the relationship, they beg and plead to work things out. They give all the reasons and facts and figures why they are made for each other. And the dumper continuously ducks and dodges all the reasons.
So not having to go through the mental gymnastics with the dumpee will probably provide a bit of relief.
Curiosity – After a few days of not hearing from the dumpee, the dumper is probably going to be a little bit curious. To go from wild, erratic begging to silence will be a shock to the system. Many dumpers won’t be honest and admit it, but having someone fawn over them and beg for their time and attention is a real boost to the ego.
So cutting that off will be a little bit like cutting an addict off of their supply…too dramatic? Okay, maybe a little.
??? – Here’s where the emotions get a little murky. Not all “no contact” scenarios work out in the sense that the two people reunite.
If the dumper is truly not interested, at this point, he might be scoping out his next catch and moving on. In that case, it’s great that you’ve decided to move on as well.
You still hold the power over your life and your emotions and you’ve taken back control from your EX.
However, if the dumper is still interested but needed some space and time to clear his heads, then the break will help him begin to put things in perspective. At this time, he may feel regret, longing for you and desire to reunite.
What to Do During the Contact Period
We’ve gone through so much information.
Thanks for hanging tough with me, here.
You may have been waiting patiently to get to this part of the article — what happens in the long-anticipated “contact period”?
After experiencing a month or two of the 30 day no contact rule, you must be wondering what’s next.
What Do you Want?
Before we talk about what to do in this contact period, I want to know if you’ve had any clarity on what you want now that you’ve had a bit of a break. Has it given you a better perspective on the relationship?
This is going to determine a lot of how you respond now in the contact period.
In most relationships, after the no contact period, I’ve had very little interest in reconnecting with my EX and restarting contact because usually by the time I receive any contact from my EX my healing process has started, I’m in a good place and I’m ready to move forward.
Don’t confuse this with me saying I feel awesome and I’m ready to step out and go “HELLO WORLD!” after 30 days. That would be a bold-faced lie.
Sometimes an EX has taken the full 30 days or more to contact and sometimes there isn’t any contact for a long time. Often times I’ve never, ever responded….to this day. But that’s just me.
So before you read any further, you need to decide what you want. You need to think about how you want to respond and what the future is of the relationship. And speaking honestly, you may not have that clarity until you’ve gone through a full-out break.
Who Makes First Contact?
I think you should let your EX contact you, especially if you were the one who was dumped. If not he still hasn’t indicated that he wants to be in touch or talk, and you might end up at square one all over again.
So if that’s the plan, after weeks and weeks, you might find that he finally sends you a simple text or calls or you happen to bump into him at one of your common hang out spots. What do you do? How do you react?
How Should You Act?
First off, be polite and calm. You don’t want to seem too eager like you’ve been sitting on the edge of your seat for a month waiting around for him. And you don’t want to unload all of your frustration on him either.
Keep the first communication short and simple without the dramatics of emotions or hopes to reunite.
Leave him wanting a little more, but don’t be rude.
It shouldn’t be an act that you have to put on because you have been doing stuff while the two of you have been separated. You’ve been building yourself and creating a life for yourself that’s strong and happy with or without him. Your life hasn’t been on hold and you aren’t just waiting for him to contact you.
Don’t make the initial call too long or in depth and most importantly, don’t allow it to suck you back in to a whirlwind of emotions
If you find the contact is increasing – and hopefully mostly from your EX’s side – gauge his level of interest.
Don’t just jump back into something without understand what made the relationship fail in the first place and make sure the relationship is truly in line with what you need.
Don’t allow yourself to just become his friend with benefits and take the time to gauge why he’s decided to come back. Is it because he knows you like him so much and he can easily reunite with you? This probably won’t bode well for a long term relationship.
Let me tell you a little secret. As women, sometimes, we can see getting the guy as the prize to be won as opposed to the guy himself. It validates a little piece inside of us that he desired us and chose us out of the vast herd of women out there.
Instead of feeling like him coming back was the prize to be won, make sure that his goals, his drive, his passion, his energy and the way he treats you aligns with who you are and what you want.
Look, I can drone on and on about this in theory, but you might be wondering, what does this look like in real life? Does this methodology even work?
I’d love to share a couple of stories with you so you can be the judge.
No Contact Success Stories
How Contact vs. No Contact Worked
Rarely do you get to see a comparison of contact vs. no contact from the same girl with the same guy, but Betsy shared her story on Quora about this exact situation.
She shared that out of nowhere, without warning, her relationship with her EX fell to pieces.
She decided that she and her EX would remain friends, as many EXes opt to do, and they stayed in touch, almost as if nothing happened — except that he moved back in with his parents.
As you can imagine, she described the situation as excruciatingly painful.
Believe it or not, they stayed in this state of non-committed limbo for 2 years! 2 YEARS!
Let that sink in!
All the while, he told her he couldn’t commit, though they continued to interact as though they were still together, exchanging presents, contacting each other, having dinner and visiting. He even had the keys to her apartment.
After all of this, one day he told Betsy he had been seeing someone else for the past two weeks. He returned her keys and from there contact stopped.
True to form, a month later, Betsy’s EX sent her a text asking about her family because he’d seen that there was an accident in the area where her family lived.
At first glance, it seems like a show of genuine concern, but looking deeper, Betsy realized he was actually probably probing to see if there was still room for him in Betsy’s life.
Older and wiser after two years of pretending to be together without the commitment, Betsy responded simply, “All is well.”
She shared on the forum, “I didn’t ask anything about his side of things because I knew it would hurt too much if he had told me how great his new girlfriend was or something along those lines. Although I suspected that he got in touch with me using a pretext because things with that girl had fizzled out. I didn’t want to be rude by ghosting him, but definitely didn’t want to get suckered into another painful period of long drawn-out rejection, as flattering as it might have been for him.”
After her first round with him, she knew that reopening her heart at that point was more about flattering him and boosting his ego than it was about his desire to be with her.
“It wasn’t easy to stop texting him, I loved him and he was my confidant, too, but I did waste two years of my life hoping for him to come back and it was too long.”
At the end of Betsy’s no contact period, she decided for the sake of her emotional health she didn’t want to reopen the old wounds.
Believe it or not, fast forward many months and her EX has practically chased her down by messaging her on social media, emailing her and asking friends about her. Now he’s super complimentary, tells her how amazing she looks and asks if they can meet up.
At this point, Betsy has decided to ignore him because she doubts they have anything new to say to each other and frankly she’s not even drawn to the idea of getting back in touch.
She laughs at his attempt to compliment her as a reason to get back together as there are lots of people who look good so this isn’t a strong enough reason for a reunion in her opinion.
“The real lesson you could learn from my experience is that if you don’t go no-contact, you allow someone you care about to keep you around for years, without any respect for yourself and your right to find someone who actually does want you in their life. Or you could just enjoy your freedom from romantic attachment, recharge your emotional batteries in peace and quiet on your own, so that you can get back on your feet, with the help of your friends, without wasting time, emotional energy and effort on someone who ultimately does not want you.
I regret those 2 years. Who knows who or what I could have been walking into, had my mind not been focused on the pain of rejection and wanting him back, regardless.
Reuniting with an EX
While Betsy found herself in the process of taking a break, Hannah found a way to reunite with her EX.
Hannah credits rekindling the relationship on her giving up hope on the relationship and moving on. In fact, she had even started seeing someone else and enjoying life again.
Because she had moved on, when her EX returned, she wasn’t even sure she wanted to give the relationship another chance and he was the one convincing her that things would be different.
“If he’d come back when I was pining for him, I may have accepted him back without all the compromises he made (and I did too) that made things work. You have to be a bit detached to really talk things through. It’s also important to feel fine if you don’t get what you need and know that you can walk away but still be OK.”
3 Signs the No Contact Rule is Working
- So as you’re going through this period in your life, know that it may be challenging but it’s worthwhile in reuniting with yourself. Overtime, you’ll find that:
- 1. You are feeling more confident
- 2. Your EX doesn’t consume your every waking thought
- 3. You are beginning to look toward the future, and not feeling like life isn’t worth living.
How to Regain Your Power after 30 Days of No Contact
Breakups have a way of making you feel powerless. My entire reason for this website and dedicating my time to the topic of breakups is to help women feel empowered after a breakup because I remember how powerless I have felt after mine. I’ve shared 5 ways you can take your power back after a breakup. One of them is no-contact, but you might find the other 4 to be helpful as well!
I hope and pray you grow into a more fabulous and more confident version of yourself after this breakup! I’m cheering on your healing and recovery and you can know for sure that I’m always in your corner wanting the best for you!