I’ve often heard that going no contact with an ex right after the break up is a surefire way to get them back. I am of three minds about this strategy, in general I’m quite the fan, however I believe people are misconstruing it’s purpose and using it as a form of emotional blackmail that will undoubtedly backfire.
It’s not about getting them back
At least not directly. Amputating contact should be done to empower yourself, and to give both of you the time to know what the promise of life apart truly entails. There is every chance that once the dust has settled, and the statue has come crumbling down, that you may not want to. Consider no contact a form of breakup detox. Consider also that as unpleasant as it is, you were ultimately the one who was dumped. Meaning that even if it was only for a split second, they were able to envision a better life without you.
For most people the dumping process subtly begins months prior to the event. It is almost always a well-reasoned and irrevocable decision in the mind of dumpers, not a moment of folly (unless you committed a relationship foul such as cheating, in which case it may be impulsively terminal)! Don’t assume that because nothing out of the ordinary led to the demise of the relationship, that it was unexpected. Take an objective look back at the last few months and I’m sure you’ll see a subtle change in behavior on the dumper’s part, or some warning signs that in most cases were left unheeded.
The beauty of no contact is that you will begin to dissociate yourself from expectations. You need to stop relying on the dumper as a source of happiness, and stop over-analyzing their intentions. These two factors contribute to a great deal of pain in the long-run, and can lead to hatred towards the dumper. In order to fully heal, you will need to forgive. By going NC you are respecting the dumper’s wish to be cast free, and in turn they will respect yours to heal. You will not have to deal with crumbs that plant fool’s gold (such as a mixed-signals SMS) in the dumpee’s mind.
It’s about getting you back
You need to give yourself the time to fully absorb this new reality and let the five stages of grief run their course. Use NC to improve yourself, rid yourself of any traces of co-dependency, analyze your mistakes and rebuild a fulfilling life; from social networking to hobbies and a rewarding job. Here’s the catch though, be sure you’re doing it for yourself, resist the urge to prove this change to your ex (by throwing up sexy new pictures on Facebook for instance), it will be seen for what it is — insecurity and dependency.
The core of NC in healing is that it forces you to live, to find a way forward — and before you realize it, you’ll have created an entirely new and refreshing comfort-zone. As with any addiction, and a relationship is chemically no different, you need to create a new safe-zone, and you can only do this by moving forward one inch at a time.
Emotional blackmail is not a magic bullet
Employing NC simply as a means to starve your ex of love and comfort is counter-productive. Do you really want them back out of loneliness? There are good chances that NC will provoke a reaction, and because of this many people claim it is a fantastic way to get your ex back. It doesn’t matter how bad your relationship was, a breakup will leave a hollow void in the dumper as well as the dumpee. Manipulating this, without any real changes made to address the issues that led to the breakup, will end in tragedy much sooner than you think.
Only real change will lead to long-lasting, fertile grounds for successful reconciliation. You can quote me on that!
When no contact isn’t an option
Many couples, either because children are involved, or because they must continue to live together, may not find NC applicable. No contact should ideally be discussed before it is initiated. In these cases a form of limited contact may be suitable, but again, let them know what it entails and why. Limiting contact with someone you love is immensely painful, but you will be dealing with certainties from here on out, and won’t suffer from disillusionment and false-hope. If you must talk be polite, brief and concise. Resist the urge to turn to anger and finger-pointing, it will hurt you further down the road to healing and may lead to a deepening of the cyclical feelings of guilt that a dumpee will feel on the roller-coaster.
With NC, things will get worse before they get better, but the time it takes to heal is almost always greatly diminished, if you are employing it as a means to let go, and not to get them back. If an ex genuinely wants to make amends in the future, you will be in a position of immense power, because you will either have displayed strength and maturity (respecting their wishes and focusing on yourself), or you simply won’t be interested anymore (80% of the time this is what it boils down to).