Reverse psychology is a double-edged sword and this is particularly true when it comes to breakups.
Cutting off an ex in a fit of panic might seem like a good idea. For one, you have a plan! Which means you’re back in control of the situation (you aren’t). And two, you have rekindled hope (or potentially denial).
But how does fist-fighting denial in this way actually help us?
I would argue that it doesn’t. Here’s why…
They Might “Respect” Your Need For Silence
What happens if your ex takes your silence at face value?
Most attempts at no contact center around the idea that less is more. But if our ex simply decides that our newfound “peace” is a sign the games are over, the silence will become permanent.
And because we’ve embarked on a crusade of quietude, we won’t be there to dissuade them once those screws start turning.
How much are you willing to gamble in the name of having a plan?
If your chances are in the gutter to begin with, and you’re absolutely sure about that, then given how little you have to lose perhaps no contact might work. If only because it is ironically a great way for you to accept the breakup rather than a way to mend it.
Now that’s reverse psychology!
Further reading: The truth about the no contact rule
They Might Fight Fire With Fire
If there’s something worse than an ex who refuses to cave to our no contact game, it is an ex who plays the game right back.
If our attempts to sway their resolve with the silent treatment are construed as manipulation, we can kiss reconciliation goodbye.
Fixing a broken connection is hard enough as it is without having to sludge through a storm of mixed signals and crumbs. Which is exactly what happens when two exes play ping pong with their insecurity.
On the surface, it seems obvious: Reconciling requires some degree of communication.
The problem is that this opens us up to painful feedback if things don’t go as we hope. Unfortunately for our fragile self-esteem, there’s no way around this if we want to start over.
The real tragedy here is that both you and your ex might have the desire to start fresh, but unless you communicate this the sentiment will ultimately be lost in the silence.
How much pain is the truth worth to you? The answer isn’t always obvious.
Further reading: Typical mind games exes play and how to deal with them
You’ll Grow Apart
A little time off can go a long way with regards to becoming objective about our feelings. But there is such a thing as too long.
Look at it this way: A breakup will change you both profoundly, and if you aren’t communicating you won’t be there to understand and adapt to those changes.
When, and if, you do eventually meet you risk being strangers. And I mean that in all senses of the word.
Breakups catalyze change. If you don’t keep a foot in the door (metaphorically speaking) you risk growing apart.
While I don’t recommend communicating for the sake of communicating (assuaging our insecurity). Making sure that the lines of communication remain open is critical. Just knowing you could contact, and better yet, that you are welcome to do so, is often enough to bring about clarity.
If reconciliation is an option for you, make sure that they know they are at least welcome to contact you, even if you don’t trust yourself to talk at the moment.
There may come a time when you do. When that time comes you’ll want that avenue to be open.
Further reading: How to communicate with an ex after no contact
Out Of Sight Out Of Mind
Two exes growing apart isn’t just a natural byproduct of the change that breakups bring. It is a function of life itself. Stuff happens, we adapt.
There is a passive element to healing that time away from the relationship will grant you both.
The longer you are apart, the more your subconscious mind will begin to associate your new routine with “reality”. And once your brain fully accepts this new reality, it will stop clamoring for it’s old comfort zone back.
As time goes on you will passively build new reference points, new habits, and new comfort zones. All of which may put a dent in your (or your partner’s) resolve to reconcile.
Of course, this is not necessarily a bad thing.
Further reading: Dealing with an ex after a long time