What Is The No Contact Rule, And Can It Get My Ex Back?

Last updated on : February 18 2023

A man kissing a girl lovingly on the forehead

Article Summary - The No Contact Rule in Romantic Relationships

This article explains the types of no-contact rules commonly used. And why only one of these rules, the indefinite no contact rule, helps you recover from your break up fast and get your ex back.

The advice we provide applies to both men and women and supports our overall approach to getting your ex-back and recovering from a breakup fast

However, if, after reading the article, you're still looking for a step-by-step instruction manual on how to win your ex back, we recommend this guide, "The Ex Factor Guide," as the #1 choice.

Jump to the section you want by using the links below. 

1. Types Of No-Contact Rules

2. The No-Contact Rule You Need To Apply

3. Why Does No Contact Work To Get Your Ex Back?

4. The True Power Of No Contact

5. No Contact Is Hard

6. Bonus Section - How Long Does No Contact Take To Get Your Ex Back?

7. Conclusion

8. Frequently Asked Questions

Types Of No-Contact Rules


The most common no-contact rules recommended by relationship coaches are:

1. The Indefinite No-Contact Rule

When you adopt the indefinite no-contact rule, you don't contact your ex ever again. Instead, you wait for your ex to contact you, no matter how long it takes.  

When your ex makes contact, you employ an additional set of rules to understand whether their communication might represent a bid for reconciliation. 

If your ex never makes contact, the indefinite no-contact rule allows you to recover from your breakup fast, much faster than if you were chasing your ex.  

The rule also ensures the fastest recovery from the breakup because you do not expose yourself to further rejection or loss of self-respect by contacting your ex when they don't want it. 

And it ensures the best chance of reconnecting with your ex because it is your ex initiating the reconnection.

As a result, we recommend this rule. 

2. The Time-Based No-Contact Rule 

With the time-based rule, you decide in advance to contact your ex after a stipulated amount of time in no contact. Typically this is 30 or 60 days.

If you ex-contacts you within this period, variations of the rule either have you ignore your ex entirely or reply to their contact hopeful for reconciliation.

It would be best to avoid this rule because it provides unnecessary hope for reconciliation and sets you up for more hurtful rejection. 

You build up hope to the point in time when you are allowed to make contact. And then you are most likely to be rejected by your ex for making unwanted contact. 

This further rejection can easily take you back emotionally to the day of the breakup.

You see, there is no proven amount of time to wait for your ex to miraculously miss you and be happy for you to contact them. So, when you do make contact, the risk of further rejection is very high. 

It is better to wait for your ex to contact you, as in the indefinite no-contact rule above. 

As a result, we do not recommend this rule under any circumstances. 

3. Radio Silence or Permanent No-Contact

With this rule, you enter no-contact and resolve never to contact your ex again, even if they make contact with you. So you will ignore your ex forever. 

We recommend this rule if your ex abused you or similar. Sometimes you are better off eliminating someone from your life, and permanent no-contact is an effective way to do this. 

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The No Contact Rule You Need To Apply 

There are many no contact rules and methods. You only need to Google the term to see how many versions exist. However, there is only one correct version, think about it, and you will agree. 

When we refer to no contact, we mean the indefinite no-contact rule, as follows:

  • No contact is forever. You have to wait for your ex to contact you first, remain silent
  • At the risk of repeating ourselves, there is no set time limit. No contact doesn't end after 30 days or another specified period. It lasts forever, or until your ex makes meaningful contact.  
  • You do not ignore your ex when they make meaningful contact with you. You do, however, ignore communication that is not meaningful.
  • Meaningful contact, in a nutshell, is a contact that leads to you meeting up with your ex, usually within a few days. 

The reason why no contact lasts until your ex contacts you should be obvious. But there are two main reasons.

  • If you continue to contact your ex and continue to get rejected, you prolong your recovery and risk damaging your mental health. Just like a drug addict, it is only by going cold turkey that you have a chance to recover from the breakup. So you must be prepared to stay in no contact forever.
  • If somehow you convince your ex to come back to you, then your ex holds power over you. You will likely be anxious, needy, and jealous. All behaviors that ultimately will make you unhappy and destroy the relationship.  

Lastly, how you behave when your ex eventually makes contact is essential to rebuilding your new relationship and your ongoing mental health.

You can only let your ex back in when the power in the relationship is equal. We'll cover this a little below and in this article on what to do when your ex contacts you, or offers breadcrumbs.

From this point onwards, when we refer to no-contact, we mean the indefinite no-contact rule. 

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Why Does No Contact Work To Get Your Ex Back? 

Of course, there are no guarantees you will get your ex back, even with the indefinite no-contact technique.

However, going no-contact while suffering breakup grief is the only thing to do if you want your ex back. Why? Because the alternative is chasing your ex, ultimately away, or being friend-zoned. Both not good outcomes for you.  

So why exactly does the no-contact work to get your ex back? There are several reasons - and you need to meet them all if you are to have any chance of getting your ex back. 

Reason 1 - It stops the irrational behavior that will drive your ex further away.

Going no contact provides something for you to focus on other than the immense pain you feel. When you're swimming in hurt after a breakup, you will not be thinking straight, and you risk behaving irrationally.

Going no contact gives you an objective, a goal, and even hope. It's calming. And it eliminates the common breakup mistakes like begging, pleading, and relentlessly chasing that only drives your ex further away.

Avoiding these irrational behaviors allows you to keep your self-esteem and increases the likelihood of reconnecting with your ex at a later point.  

Reason 2 - It provides the space needed for you to see your mistakes.

No contact gives you time to think, clear your head, and understand what you did wrong in the relationship that contributed to the breakup. You won't fully know why the two of you broke up until enough alone time has passed.

Being in no contact allows you to reflect, understand, and see the relationship and your ex for what they are. This understanding is crucial for later success - see the next point.   

Reason 3 - It gives you time to fix your mistakes and become desirable to your ex again.

Soon after the breakup, you might not think you need to change your ways, but you do if you want your ex back.

You see, your ex dumped the you that you are now. Therefore, to get your ex back, you need to be, at minimum, back to the person your ex liked when meeting you - although we think you need to improve substantially on that version of you.

No contact gives you time to fix the issues you have and make changes for the better. During the no-contact period, you need to improve yourself and eliminate the bad habits that contributed to the breakup.

Getting back together without fixing these issues is unlikely to happen. And if you still do, it will only lead you down the same path as before, another separation.  

Reason 4 - It gives your ex what they want, leading to an increase in their curiosity for you.

It gives your ex what they need. i.e., time without you, and therefore is respectful of your ex's wishes. As a result, your ex is likely to respect you in return.

Your ex will also wonder why you aren't chasing because they will be expecting a chase. And this wonder will change into curiosity, and ultimately to your ex reaching out for you.  

Reason 5 - It allows your ex to forget the bad and remember the good.

No contact allows your ex to forget about the mistakes you made, and through the fading affect bias, remember only the good about you and the relationship.

As long as your ex holds negative thoughts about you, there is a low likelihood of reconnection.

No contact provides the time needed to dissipate these negative thoughts, increasing the possibility of rekindling your romance. 

Reason 6 - It provides an opportunity for your ex to miss you and want you back.

No contact gives your ex the space to miss you and understand what it's like not to be with you any longer.

Your ex needs to miss you significantly enough to make contact and rekindle the flame with you. When your ex misses you enough, under the right conditions, they will reach out to you.  

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Reason 7 - Lastly, and most importantly, it gives you time to get over your ex.

We know this isn't what you want to hear, but the fact is that you will not be able to reunite on a solid footing if you and your ex's power are not matching.

A power balance means you can't want your ex more than your ex wants you. And given your ex doesn't want you at all, i.e., your ex dumped you, you need to be not wanting your ex at all too. Does that make sense?

Put another way - if you get back together on an unequal power footing, you'll be anxious, jealous, and needy. These behaviors will ultimately destroy the new relationship, and put your mental health at risk. 

Therefore, the only way forward is for you and your ex to feel the same about each other. In other words, you need to be completely recovered from the hurt and excited by a potential new life, even without your ex.

You can achieve this state either by losing your extreme desire for your ex. Or by becoming such a prize to your ex that you've balanced the interest in each other.

And here's the rub - both these scenarios are equally likely or unlikely to see you going back to your ex - many dumpees choose not to go back to their exes after no-contact and recovery.

You might not think this now, but you will when you get there. No contact will give you the time to achieve this must-have and essential state for a new relationship to develop and last, or for you to decide your ex is not good enough for you anymore.  

The True Power of No Contact

Couple holding hands

This is the real power of no contact.

To start, it gives you focus and belief. It allows you to dream of a reunion and gives you a mechanism to achieve it. But as every day passes, your strength builds, and as you invest in yourself, the hurt and pain dissipate.

You're suddenly strong again. If your ex is beating down your door, desperate for a reunion, you have the power to decide whether you want your ex back or not.

And if your ex isn't running after you, you won't care.

Trust in no contact. It will get you to this point, deceptively perhaps, but gratefully.   

No Contact Is Hard

No contact could be the most challenging thing you ever do, but each day passed becomes a colossal achievement.

Your sense of accomplishment grows, and you start to love the protection it gives you. And later on, you'll understand that what you've done is so immense that it will drive you to new heights of achievement across the spectrum of your life.

If you're undecided, we suggest you set yourself a 48 hour no contact objective and keep on rolling it, and you will see for yourself.  

Bonus Section - How Long Does No Contact Take To Get Your Ex Back  

Firstly, remember there are no guarantees. The no-contact rule is not a magic bullet, but it's going to give you the best chance of getting back together. 

How long it takes is up to you and up to your ex, and depends primarily on the following factors. 

Factor 1 - How fast you start no contact. 

The faster you go into no-contact, the sooner it will be over, and the more you maximize your chances of getting back together.

If you continue to contact your ex after the breakup, you're going to push your ex further away. And you're not giving yourself the time you need to recover correctly, fix any mistakes, and allow the power balance to restore.

So get into no-contact super fast. On the day of the breakup, if possible. 

Factor 2 - Whether you break no-contact or not. 

If you break no-contact, then the process needs to start again, lengthening the overall time required.

The reason why it needs to start again - any contact initiated by you, no matter what you say or how you behave, will immediately tell your ex you are still interested and waiting.

Your ex will stop missing or wondering about you, and the process will need to start again. Your ex needs to feel they have truly lost you to generate a longing for you.  

Factor 3 - How you react when your ex contacts you. 

It's highly likely your ex will contact you during the no contact period. And what you do when your ex does make contact is crucial because it could drive your ex further away.

The risk is highest when the power imbalance still exists. In other words, you are still hurting. If your ex still has the power, you're likely to make mistakes at the point of contact, lengthening the entire process.

Stick to no contact, and it will naturally last until the power is balanced. 

Factor 4 - How your ex observes your behavior during no-contact

You might not be in contact, but that doesn't mean your ex can't watch you from afar.

If you're doing anything that isn't positive, i.e., moping around, getting out of shape, casual encounters, dating too soon, it's likely to lengthen the no-contact period.

So focus on going to the gym, staying positive on social media, and learning the new life skills necessary to make you attractive to your ex again.  

Factor 5 - How much your ex is interested in you at the time of the breakup. 

If this is a real breakup, your ex is likely to have been thinking about breaking up with you for a long time before doing it. This fact is something you need to get your head around.

In a real breakup, you would have been slowly destroying your ex's attraction levels for many months, possibly even years. And at the point of the actual separation (your ex is not leaving because of the argument you just had, the real reason runs much more profound), your ex's attraction levels are zero or close to zero.

The closer they are to zero, the longer the time needed in no-contact. If they are zero, then you might never see your ex again.

If you've been a cheat, taken your ex for granted, or god forbid, worse, then think hard about what you've done and whether you've destroyed everything or not.

Factor 6 - How long your ex takes to grieve the loss of the relationship. 

Here's another sad fact. Your ex will not want to rekindle the love while having fun being single or in a new relationship. Your ex will only make meaningful contact when they hit a low significantly deep enough to see you as the best option.

Often the catalyst is the breakup of their new rebound relationship or some other significant life event.

Or it could be a very long period of your ex being lonely, coupled with seeing you move on in life - this reason will be the best outcome for you.

A Best Guess At The Time Needed For No Contact

Breakups are significant events and represent losses similar to how we might feel at the death of a loved one. They re not trivial, and you and your ex both need to grieve the loss.

For a significant relationship of say 12 months or more, the grieving process is likely to exceed 6 to 8 months before anxiety and feelings of loss reduce to bearable levels.

Given that you need to be over your ex before you're able to rekindle a romance, a period of 6 to 8 months for a long term relationship is likely the minimum amount of time needed in no contact - to give the new relationship the best chance.

This period is an educated guess and, of course, could differ widely, but is a timeframe you might want to get your head around. Grieving takes time


Going no contact gives you the best chance to get your ex back. However, the technique is deceptive for you.

At the start, it will provide you with the hope of a renewed romance with your ex. However, as you progress, you will find the strength and power to decide on the life you want - and whether your ex is worthy of you. No contact might be the hardest thing you ever do, but it is likely to inspire greatness in you.

If you haven't yet, break the connection with your ex today and start no contact right now and stick to it.

Lastly, if you're looking for a step-by-step instruction manual on how to win your ex back, we recommend this guide, "The Ex Factor Guide," as the #1 choice.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the questions most frequently asked by our readers:

1. What is the no-contact rule?

The no-contact rule is a strategy that involves cutting off all communication with your ex-partner after a breakup. This includes phone calls, text messages, social media interactions, and in-person meetings.

2. Why is the no-contact rule important?

The no-contact rule is crucial because it gives both parties space and time to heal and process the breakup. It can help reduce the chances of falling back into the same patterns that led to the breakup and prevent further emotional pain and turmoil.

3. How long should I maintain the rule?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the length of the no-contact period will vary depending on the individual and the breakup circumstances. Some people find that a few weeks is enough, while others need several months or even longer.

4. Can the no-contact rule help me get my ex back?

While some people use the no-contact rule to win back their ex, there is no guarantee that it will work. The purpose of the no-contact rule is to give both parties space and time to heal, and it should not be used solely as a strategy to get an ex-partner back.

5. Should I tell my ex I'm doing the no-contact?

It's up to you whether or not you want to tell your ex that you're implementing the no-contact rule. Some people find communicating this to their ex helpful, while others prefer to cut off all contact without explanation.

6. What should I do if my ex contacts me during the no-contact period?

If your ex contacts you during the no-contact period, it's essential to stick to the rule and avoid responding. Responding may lead to further emotional pain and confusion, disrupting the healing process.

7. Is the no-contact rule always the best strategy after a breakup?

The no-contact rule is only sometimes the best strategy for everyone, and it may not be appropriate in certain situations, such as when children are involved or when you need to communicate for other practical reasons. It's essential to consider your circumstances and needs before implementing the no-contact rule.

Author Bio

Author carved in wood

Hello, I'm Charles, and I'm the proud owner of this blog. For more than a decade, I've been deeply involved in the world of relationship blogging, exploring the intricate and often fascinating dynamics of human connections.

Together with my dedicated YouTube channel, I've had the privilege of guiding numerous individuals through the challenging and sometimes tumultuous path of heartbreak. It's been incredibly rewarding to witness these individuals emerge from their struggles even stronger and more resilient than before.

My work is not just about relationships; it's about personal growth and self-improvement. It's about fostering a mindset that encourages fulfilling relationships and empowers individuals to strive towards becoming the best versions of themselves. This philosophy resonates deeply within everything I do.

Be sure to explore my YouTube channel for more insightful content and the opportunity to share your thoughts in the comments section.

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