Let’s talk about No Contact. This is the idea that you can get your ex back by cutting all contact with them for a period of time after the breakup.

People have a lot to say about this idea. Some say it works like magic, melting your ex’s heart and making them come running back to you overnight.

Other people say it’s a waste of time, or even that it pushes your ex away and makes them move on. 

Well the truth is that No Contact is none of these things. It isn’t an overnight fix and it won’t win back an ex who has already moved on and found happiness with someone else.

But it DOES work in most cases because it’s the best way to set yourself up for success when the time comes to reconnect with your ex. 

Know that you can’t rely on No Contact alone to get your ex back, but it can work wonders because it has advantages that no other method has.

For example: it’s really the only way to make your ex miss you. But more on that later.

For now, just know that you will have to work hard to make this happen. Now let’s answer the questions I get most often when it comes to No Contact.

“How do I use No Contact with my ex?”

Basically it involves shutting down all communication with your ex for about 30 days.  This means no drunk texts, no calls, no ‘accidentally’ bumping into your ex somewhere… No Contact means NO contact.

During this time you need to work on yourself, grieve the breakup and essentially show yourself that you CAN live without your ex. This mindset will be essential to getting them back.

At the same time, because YOU made the choice to go No Contact, your ex is going to be missing you like crazy. They might reach out to you or just suffer in silence but know that they’re thinking about you more than ever because you’ve removed yourself from the situation.

So, essentially, the correct way to employ No Contact — at least, if you want it to work like it’s supposed to and help you win back your ex — is to actually NOT contact your ex at all. Crazy, right?

If you only do a half-assed version of No Contact, if you give in and reach out to your ex or allow them to draw you into a conversation… then it’s not going to work, and you may as well not bother.

Yes, there are a few situations where you can and maybe even should break No Contact, which I’ll cover shortly… but generally speaking, you really have to stay disciplined and avoid ANY communication with your ex during the No Contact period.  

At least 90% of people who fail to get their ex back ignore this advice and don’t properly employ No Contact. And, shockingly, it doesn’t work if you don’t do it the right way.

But that raises another small question that I wanted to cover here, real quick.

Many people get caught up in the process of “going No Contact” with their ex. They want to know “How do I get started with No Contact? Should I tell my ex that it’s happening?”

Well first off, NO, you should NOT tell your ex that you’re planning to go No Contact with them. This erases most, if not all, of the benefits to going No Contact in the first place. This is because it kind of telegraphs your intention to get them back. 

Either that or it tells your ex that you’re fully gone for good and they have no chance with you anymore. This can stir up drama with your ex and actually push them further away.

So skip this step and just disappear from their life one day. Of course, if your ex keeps reaching out to ask you what’s happening and they seem upset or confused, then you can let them know that you’re busy and you’re focused on moving on.

Do not tell them that you’re going to be back in a month or that you still love them and care about them and want them back. Keep it short and simple.

This should be the extent of this conversation…you’re merely setting the table for this time apart and letting them know that you’re neither dead nor upset or angry at them.

You’re just giving them the space that they asked for when they decided to break up…essentially. 

Alright, and moving on to the next question…

Does “No Contact” ALWAYS Work?

No.  Of course not.  There’s no strategy that will work in 100% of cases.  But, for almost all of you, your BEST chance at winning your ex back will involve using “No Contact”. And even if you’re facing a unique or unusual situation, you’ll likely still need to employ a slightly different version of No Contact. 

As I said, it’s about setting yourself up for success. Because one of the deciding factors that will make your ex come back is whether or not they miss you. And you simply can’t make someone miss you by continuing to be in their life. You can’t miss someone who is still hanging around. It’s a paradox.

The only way to make someone miss you is to show them that you’re moving on and the best way to do that is with No Contact. 

Now let’s address the next question….

When is it a BAD idea to use “No Contact”?

So there are actually a couple of potentially legitimate situations where No Contact may not be the right strategy… or where a modified version No Contact tactic would be more appropriate:

#1 – When you broke up with your ex MORE than six months ago.

In many cases, if it’s been a really long time since the initial breakup, No Contact won’t be necessary unless you’ve been talking to your ex frequently since then.

#2 – When you still live with your ex, work at the same office, or you have children together.

Most of the time, situations like this require a Modified No Contact technique.

So basically in these situations you’re going to need to have some minimal contact with your ex and you shouldn’t just ignore them or risk making things worse.

In these situations you’ll need to keep your distance but be willing to communicate when absolutely necessary. There’s more to it than that but that’s basically modified No Contact in a nutshell. 

#3 – When your ex won’t stop talking to you, and/or when they become angry and resentful about your lack of replies.

At first, you want to ignore your ex’s attempts to reach out during No Contact. But very occasionally, an ex might start getting really angry that you keep ignoring their messages, and at that point you may need to break No Contact as I mentioned before. 

This is pretty rare, and also ties in to the final reason you MAY not want to use the No Contact method.

#4 – When your ex says they want to get back together or asks you to take them back. 

This definitely DOES happen from time to time — that’s how effective No Contact can often be — but it has to be a very clear sign from your ex that they are 100% ready to get back together.

If they simply ask to meet up and “talk about things” or if they send mixed signals and say things like “I miss you”, but don’t clearly state that they’re ready to take you back then you should still use No Contact.

However, if they are bluntly stating that they want to get back together, then you’ve basically succeeded and you can stop ignoring them and get back together.  

Be sure you don’t seem too keen, though, regardless of what your ex is saying. You don’t want to blow it by being clingy, needy, or over-excited at the prospect of getting back together.

What mistakes do people make during “No Contact”?

This is an important topic that I want to quickly cover, because a lot of the time people make two key mistakes when using No Contact and both of these things will make No Contact useless and unlikely to help get your ex back. 

The first mistake–and one I see people make all the time, sadly–is to cave in too quickly and fail to actually stick to it for the full 30 days.  There’s rarely a good reason to break No Contact, and you need to have faith and really employ it properly if you want it to work.

The second mistake that many people make is failing to properly “set the stage” before beginning the No Contact period.

Now in most cases this won’t be necessary but in cases where you’ve already begged and pleaded with your ex or made other mistakes since breaking up, it’s necessary to send a quick apology to your ex before you shut down the lines of communication or you may need to start No Contact a bit more slowly, reducing your contact over a period of week or so, rather than just suddenly starting to ignore your ex cold turkey.

This won’t apply to many of you, but if you have made a lot of past mistakes since breaking up, if you’ve  cheated on your ex or done something to ‘wrong’ them, then it may be necessary to apologize first before you jump into No Contact.

How can you tell if “No Contact” is working?

This is another common question I’m asked on a daily basis. Here are a few of the most obvious signs No Contact is working as intended:

1 – Your ex gives you mixed signals about you and the breakup.

2 – Your ex is reaching out far more often than they did before No Contact.

3 – You learn from mutual friends that your ex is asking about you

4 – Your ex is trying to make you jealous

5 – You feel more emotionally grounded and don’t get emotional when thinking about your ex

Again, this is just a quick summary of a few signs that indicate ignoring your ex is working the way it should. Don’t be alarmed if you haven’t seen any of these signs yet.

Sometimes this technique will be working perfectly, but your ex might just be particularly disciplined and not give in to their desire to reach out to you.

In those cases, you won’t be able to determine how well it’s working, you’ll just have to have faith and know that you’re using the best possible strategy.

Dave Barker

Breakup Coach

About the Author

Dave Barker is a breakup and 'ex back' coach with over a decade of experience helping clients repair and improve romantic relationships.

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