DEAR DR. JENN,
My girlfriend and I broke up recently, and I know it's for the best long-term, but it feels physically impossible not to still text her. I want to be friends, but I know it's probably not healthy right now until I've really moved on. How do I stop the urge to find reasons to contact her? How do I move on? —Needing a Love Detox
DEAR LOVE DETOX,
You are onto something. Too many people try to remain friends with an ex way too soon. The litmus test to figure out if you are ready to be pals is the following question: If your ex were to tell you that she had met someone great and was madly in love, would you be happy for her and excited to meet that person?
The answer is yes, you're ready to be friends. Until then, you cannot have a true friendship. There will always be an agenda, whether it's to show your ex that you are winning the breakup or a secret desire to get her back. Neither one allows for a healthy friendship.
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So how do you move on? The no-contact rule. I believe that no contact for six to twelve months is the best way to detox from the relationship and figure out if they are someone you really can and want to have a friendship with. (Sometimes, the best thing that you can do is to not only step away from your ex, but also from dating entirely and go on a dating detox.)
When it comes to cutting off contact post break up, most people struggle. It takes enormous emotional discipline not to reach out to someone who has been your touchstone for many months, or even years. The most common complaint that I hear is, "They were my best friend and I need that support." Most people don't want to lose the connection, encouragement, and friendship that their partner once supplied. But when you have shared a sexual attraction and a bed, most people need some space before they are able to have a true friendship.
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Here's the thing, though: Taking time away from that person should not be used as a manipulation or a strategy to get them back. It is a way to preserve your own mental health and allow you to heal and recover. After a breakup, your most important developmental task is to let go of the bond that you previously shared with that partner. It is nearly impossible to accomplish that while hanging out with them, texting, or DMing each other memes.
I understand that following the no-contact rule is easier said than done. Here are a few tips to help you to maintain your distance.
1. Write a letter to yourself.
Write a letter to read in moments of weakness. This should include your motivation for ending the relationship or why you know you should stay away from someone who ended it for you. This kind of letter should remind you of the repercussions that will occur if you reach out and also provide motivation to keep up the no-contact rule.
2. Give yourself room to grieve.
The end of a relationship is a loss, even when it is the right thing. When a relationship ends, we go through the same stages of grief and loss that we do when there is a death. These stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. We don't necessarily go through them in any specific order, and we don't graduate from one before we move on to the other and never look back. It's very possible to alternate between two stages, sadness and anger. Give yourself the room to grieve and have feelings without involving your ex in them.
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3. Make a list of every terrible thing your partner ever did.
Along with your letter, it's a great idea to have a list of all the reasons why this relationship is not in your best interest. This list should include things she has done that hurt you, any betrayals that have occurred, ways that you are not compatible, things that did not work in the relationship, ways that the relationship was not healthy for you, and reminders about why the two of you are not together. You may want to store this along with your letter to yourself. This is your in case of emergency break glass list. If the letter has not worked and you are reaching for your phone, read this first!
4. Start a self-care list.
Create a list of things that you can do that calm you, distract you, and help relax you. Start with 20 different activities that you can do that you enjoy. This should be a living list that you constantly add to. Make sure some of these items are things that you can do at home by yourself, regardless of the weather.
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5. Have a breakup buddy.
It can be helpful to either have a friend who's going through something similar or just a pal to who you can be accountable. This is someone who you can make a pact with not to reach out to your ex, come up with consequences if one of you does, or just support each other while going through this difficult time. Having someone to who you are accountable besides yourself can help you be clean with your no-contact plan.
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6. Work on yourself.
After a relationship is over, that can be a really wonderful time to start some self-exploration. Start individual therapy to look at any patterns you have in your relationships and correct them before your next partner. If money is a concern, look into local mental health clinics that will see you based on your ability to pay. Do some bibliotherapy. Read books about breakups, childhood trauma, changing relationship patterns, having healthier relationships, or anything else geared towards self-improvement.
7. Start a new hobby.
Utilize all of your new free time to find new passions and activities that you love. Always wanted to take a class to learn how to write a novel, paint a picture, play the violin? This is the time. Find new things that light your soul on fire, or even just help you pass the time while you heal.
8. Give yourself some structure.
Sleeping all day, eating ice cream out of the container, and staying up late drinking are all temptations of the broken heart. But we tend to thrive and heal faster when we are able to provide structure for ourselves. Write up a schedule for yourself that allows you to get enough sleep, do some moderate exercise, and provide healthy, nutritious food for yourself. Make sure you include time with your support system and fun time with friends. You are going to need this to get through this difficult time.
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9. Change your surroundings.
Sitting in bed looking at that framed picture of the two of you on that romantic trip you took does not help you heal or let go. Put away all the photos, memorabilia, and things that remind you of your ex. Burn some sage to get rid of her energy in your home. If you can afford to do a little redecorating, this is the time. Even just moving the furniture in your apartment can give you a fresh outlook and make it remind you less of the time when she was there.
10. Plan something fun.
Give yourself something to look forward to. Sign up for a class (virtual or otherwise), plan a trip, organize a dinner with a favorite friend, or plan a little shopping splurge. Giving yourself something to look forward to can help shift your mood and keep you looking forward instead of back.
Keep in mind that sometimes even the most heartbreaking breakups usually end up being for the best. Sometimes we are just too close to see it. Do your best to utilize this time to reconnect with yourself and take great care of you.
How do you do the no contact rule after a break up? ›
The no-contact rule refers to cutting off all contact with an ex following a breakup, and it's the best method for moving on from an ex. No contact should last for a minimum of 60 days, and it includes no texting, no calling, and no interacting on social media.Does no contact work if you are the dumper? ›
Whether you're the dumper or the dumpee, ceasing all contact on both ends ensures that you both have time to process the situation without interference from the other. So yes, the no contact rule works—even if you're the one who has been dumped.How long does it take for an ex to miss you with no contact? ›
In fact, based on our research you can expect the average ex to begin missing you anywhere between 2.5 to 5.2 months after a breakup assuming you put forth signals that you are “moving on from them.”Why is no contact so powerful? ›
The no contact rule is so effective because it helps you break the cycle of constant communication and contact with your ex. Instead, you get the opportunity to step back from them emotionally and physically.How can I be strong during no contact? ›
Here are some tips that you can try to make the process easier on you.
- Stay busy. ...
- Take a social media break. ...
- Spend time with loved ones. ...
- Start a new hobby. ...
- Remember your goal. ...
- Believe it will work.
What Is The Hardest Day Of No Contact? Immediately after you start it. Limited no contact breaks. The day/s where you aren't hearing from them.What silence does to the dumper? ›
Silence after being dumped keeps the dumper totally confused. Being dumped by silent treatment will make your ex lose any sense of power they thought they had. Even if your ex was the one who decided to part ways, your sudden absence is going to make them re-evaluate things as they stand.Who should break no contact first? ›
Let your ex be the first one to break the no contact rule, especially if you're following it to try and get them back. It's easy to fall into a pattern of worrying about what other people think, but if reaching out to your ex and breaking the no contact rule is what's best for you, do it.How to make a dumper miss you? ›
- Do Not Try To Contact Them. ...
- Do Not Receive Their Calls And Respond To Their Texts. ...
- Reinvent Yourself. ...
- Meet New People And Make New Friends. ...
- Talk To Their Friends. ...
- Check Out The Outside Dating World. ...
- Take A Vacation. ...
- Be Active On Social Media.
The male mind during no contact
The no-contact rule male psychology forces him to recognize his loneliness. After a breakup, if you stop contacting him, he will feel free and enjoy this phase as much as he can. But, with time, the loneliness and guilt pang will start to kick in.
How do I make my ex think about me constantly? ›
- Use A No Contact Rule.
- Adopt A Holy Trinity Social Media Strategy.
- Implement The Zeigarnik Effect.
- Go On Dates With Other People.
- Show Them They Aren't The Center Of Your World Anymore.
- Infiltrate Their Sphere Of Influence.
- Empathize With Them Through Attachment Styles.
Use the no contact rule
Does no contact make him miss you? Yes! One of the best ways to use silence after a breakup is to cut off all means of communication. That includes going silent on social media after a breakup.
Going 'no-contact' with someone you spent a lot of time with and planned a future with can be painful. A woman experiencing the stages of no contact is likely to feel angry, sad, and lonely. While a woman is likely to feel sadness in the early stages of no contact, she will quickly get over her ex as time goes on.Why is silence powerful after breakup? ›
There is no easy way to deal with a breakup, but remaining silent actually speaks volumes to your ex. After all, actions speak louder than words! By staying silent, you're telling your ex that you're strong, resilient, and independent. You're relying on yourself — and no one else — for your own happiness.Will time apart make him miss me? ›
It will make him miss you
'Distance makes the heart grow fonder' is an expression that is very true. Time apart is so good because he will be thinking about the little things that he misses about you and what he is now lacking now in his day-to-day life.
1 For an amicable breakup: around 30 days. 2 For a long-term relationship: at least 60 days. 3 If things got ugly at the end: roughly 90 days.Why is no contact getting harder? ›
We begin to feel tremendous amounts of separation anxiety. The reason why no contact is hard is because human beings are wired to connect to others. Our relationship with others is our primary way of staying safe. Bonding and connecting with loved ones makes you feel safe.How do you know if a breakup is temporary? ›
- You haven't moved on. ...
- You still hang out together. ...
- They've been sending you mixed messages. ...
- You're learning how to communicate with your ex. ...
- They reminisce with you. ...
- They reach out during trials. ...
- They ask about you through friends. ...
- You have both been working on your issues.
What is he thinking after 2 weeks of no contact? He starts to sense that maybe you might be gone forever. The No Rule Contact will help you see if the strings are attached in your relationship. If he doesn't hear anything from you, no calls or texts in two weeks' time he will start to worry.Does no contact work on stubborn man? ›
You already know what goes through a guy's mind during the no-contact phase. But, stubborn men do not give in to their no-contact rule male psychology traits easily. Their stubborn nature prevents them from doing so. Even if he misses you, he will not admit it.
How do you know no contact is working? ›
If the messages they're sending you change from sweet to angry, you'll know that the no contact rule is really working. When they still can't get ahold of you, they'll probably realize that you're not going to come around, and they'll get sad about what they've lost.How long does it take a guy to realize he misses you? ›
So, a few weeks to two months is the answer to the question, “How long does it take for a guy to miss you?” Typically, men realize what they lost when they can't find a woman with their personality. By then, they learn not all women are the same, and they shouldn't have broken off the relationship.What does he think during no contact? ›
“No contact” could make him question what he thought he did right. He'll doubt everything from his attractiveness and bedroom skills to his jokes and romantic gestures. He might fixate on every little error he made while you were together, adding to his feelings of regret and insecurity.How do you know if a dumper regrets? ›
- They begin to communicate with you.
- They apologize for the breakup.
- They show more affection.
- They discuss issues in their present relationship.
- They try to atone for past mistakes.
- They show pessimism when you tell them someone else is involved.
- They stalk you.
- Take A Break From Social Media. ...
- Find A New Hobby. ...
- Spend Time With Loved Ones. ...
- Focus On Your Career. ...
- Volunteer For A Cause That's Important To You. ...
- Online Therapy to Improve Mental Health After A Breakup. ...
Does no contact make him miss you? Yes! One of the best ways to use silence after a breakup is to cut off all means of communication. That includes going silent on social media after a breakup.What is the 3 months no contact rule? ›
What the post-breakup 3-month rule basically means is that all parties previously linked must wait three months before dating again. The reason for this societal dictation is to give the people involved a breather, some lead time, maybe a little room for forgiveness.