Just about everyone nowadays knows about no contact and other “strategies” that attempt to leverage our ex’s own insecurity against them. This often makes the post-break silence a painful tug of war with neither partner willing to cave-in first.
If this stalemate goes on long enough you might both simply get used to being apart because in the meantime your brains are passively scrubbing away at traces of co-dependence, even if it feels like the pain is getting worse (the pain is your healing).
Another problem is that we are not bargaining from a position of strength, it is our insecurity that is dealing the cards here. Despite our “apparent” resolve, we are actually gambling, and as with any gamble, if we miscalculate we stand to lose it all.
How sure are you that your ex boyfriend won’t just take your silence as a sign you don’t care anymore?
So, if you have feelings, and those feelings are too important to gamble on an impulsive all-in, don’t play the wait for him to come to you game.
More to the point: There are better things to try if you are seeking to maximize your chances.
Still disagree? Then please keep reading.
Why Letting Him Come To You Won’t Work
Cutting off communication completely is almost always intended to be a way to weaponize insecurity, and not be a healing strategy.
The exception to this is if you are going no contact because you’ve had it with the mixed messages and anxiety, in which case good for you.
The truth, however, is that most of us who do this (I’m guilty as charged) hope that the silence will remind them how much they care about us. It’s a rudimentary game of supply and demand. If the demand is low we reduce the supply.
The idea is that by threatening to pull out of their lives, they are forced to confront our absence and resulting void. We also deprive them of the ability to lead us on or leech our hard earned healing from us.
It sounds like a solid, noble plan. In theory it is. In practice far too much can, and will, go wrong.
Problems With No Contact
If you block him out, you are inviting a world of unintended consequences in, because you are no longer around to clarify if he misinterprets. And because the fires of insecurity are burning brightly, nobody is thinking clearly to begin with.
- He might think the silence is your way of telling him you’ve moved on.
- He might assume the silence is your way of demonstrating your disdain and resentment for him
- He might come to accept you’ve found someone else.
- He might just get used to life without you, even if he has feelings.
- He will be forced to move on eventually.
- You will grow apart and have no way of negotiating this new divide (which is why exs that meet after awhile for coffee often feel like total strangers).
The list goes on, but one thing is clear. If you aren’t around to help steer the breakup it can end up anywhere, love or no love. Conflict avoidance is the real relationship killer.
Silence Is A Healing Tool Not A Reconciliation Tool.
One way or another enduring silence brings clarity. Not because you get the answers you need, but simply because life goes on and your priorities will change in order to adapt to your new routine.
The end stage of grief (Kübler-Ross model) is not happiness, but acceptance. And acceptance means just letting go of seeking the answers not receiving them. It is a surrender not a victory.
Give your breakup enough time without resetting your healing with communication and this is where you’ll end up. This isn’t a bad thing, but if your gut is telling you your relationship might still work, it does constitute a potential waste.
Ultimately it is up to you balance the pain of your recovery, and whether or not it’s worth risking what you’ve fought for so far on a gamble. Strict no contact is safe, but it is also risky for reconciliation.
A Better Reconciliation Strategy
Limited contact is communication with strong boundaries. It is a way of improving our chances by communicating effectively, without being lead on or used. However, the cost of disciplining our breakup this way is often a little more pain.
What limiting contact entails:
- Making sure that the lines of communication (at least one) remain open.
- That using this channel is reserved only for direct communication (questions) and that it isn’t a way for you to bait each other with mixed signals and crumbs.
- That if you are willing to talk about reconciling he is made aware of this. No mind games!
- That the communication itself should be relatively impersonal (choosing an indirect medium such as Email or Text is a good way to go about this) so that you can talk about what matters without your emotions muddying the waters.
It is imperative that you defend these rules at all costs. If he sends you a picture of his dog with a cutesy caption, which is a pitifully transparent attempt to gauge your feelings by your response, it needs to be ignored.
Playing the let’s-guess-who-is-suffering-more game will only lead to resentment and the collapse of the reconciliation process as a result. Being friendly and bending over backwards will negatively impact your chances if it means confusing everything.
Letting Him Come To You After A Breakup
There’s a chance that if you play the waiting game and let him come to you he will be forced to confront his feelings for you, and stop taking you for granted. There’s a chance that the tug of war will end in your favor. I’m not denying this. After all, the myth and legend of no contact does come from somewhere.
But I feel, at least personally, that sometimes the relationship we risk losing is worth too damn much to gamble. And even if nothing does end up working, at least we respected ourselves and our partners enough to play our cards openly without manipulation.
There may not be such a thing as closure, but knowing we did what we could will go a long, long way towards securing acceptance. No matter what ends up happening with the relationship itself.