You want your ex back, and you want to try the No Contact Method… but you’re worried that your ex is going to forget you during your time apart.

The truth is that your ex will not forget you during this time, for the reasons that I’ll talk about.

In fact, in almost all situations, it’s going to make your ex think about you MORE than they would if you stayed in contact—and more positively as well.

But there is one exception here that I’m also going to talk about so make sure that you don’t fall into this category BEFORE you go No Contact. 

Why Your Ex Won’t Forget You

So, let’s talk about WHY your ex won’t forget you during No Contact. First off, let’s define what we mean by “forget” because your ex isn’t truly going to forget you exist after 30 days unless they’re a goldfish who suffered a severe head injury.

No, the question here is will this time apart help your ex move on? Are they going to stop thinking about you as often and will that make them move on faster than they would if you had stuck around? Is out of sight truly out of mind?

The answer is a definite NO. No Contact will not help your ex move on from the relationship. In fact, it’s going to do the exact opposite. Here’s why No Contact works and why it actually PREVENTS your ex from forgetting about you:

Because right now, while your ex IS thinking about you, they aren’t thinking about you in a POSITIVE way. In fact, their mental image of you right now is quite negative. This isn’t any reflection on you, necessarily. It’s just a product of the breakup.

Even if your breakup was completely drama-free, it was still a difficult and stressful experience for your ex. It represents the end of something that they hoped would never end.

It represents a big hit to their self esteem because it calls into question their ability to maintain a happy relationship. Now every time they think about you, those negative feelings pop up as well. 

And let’s not forget all the drama that the breakup brought about AND the reason you broke up in the first place.

All this stuff can create a pretty powerful negative association in your ex’s mind. So while they ARE thinking about you, they’ve got a very negative image of you at this point.

Now, in order to get your ex back, it’s crucial that you erase that negative image, and replace it with a more vibrant, attractive, and appealing one. The “new and improved” you. This version will make them pine after you and start to wonder why you broke up in the first place.

So by not contacting your ex for an extended period of time, you’re essentially ‘resetting’ their mental image of you. Once that happens, then your ex is primed for re-attraction, and that’s when you can start rebuilding that magnetic energy you two once had.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? Now the mental game begins. You have to do all you can to put your ex out of your mind. You have to do your best to let go of the idea that they’re going to forget you. 

Remember, just because they ended the relationship, it doesn’t mean you aren’t important to them. You have your history, the memories you made, the inside jokes and routines you shared. Those things took time to develop and they aren’t going to just disappear from your ex’s mind the instant you call it quits.

In fact, not only will the time you spend away from your ex “reset” their mental image of you. It will also make them think about you even more. Think about it. A breakup is stressful. In times of stress, we reach out for what’s comforting. We can’t help it. It’s a subconscious process that we can’t control. Your unconscious mind wants its comfort-zone back… and for your ex, that comfort zone is you. 

So the time you spend apart, without contact, is going to give you both time to let the intense emotions like anger or pain cool off. It will allow your emotions to return to a more neutral state. Once this happens, those barriers between you and your ex will just fall away. Without these walls, your ex is more likely to realize that you ARE the right one for them. 

So for now, just focus on getting through No Contact. Don’t reach out to your ex, no matter how much you want to. The more you can stay away, the more this process will be able to work its magic.

But what about unavoidable contact? Like, what if you run into your ex during the no contact period? This is a tricky situation. Many people will tell you to just ignore your ex here but that’s DEFINITELY the wrong move. It’s one thing to miss a few text messages but giving someone the cold shoulder in public sends a very different message.

If you do that you risk upsetting your ex or making them think that you’re angry at them. Instead, when you do have to talk to your ex, it’s absolutely critical that you put on a smile and act positive, upbeat, and outgoing.

Don’t get angry or upset…stay friendly and polite. And keep it light: small talk, inside jokes, and fun topics. Don’t talk about anything serious, always appear happy, and  your ex will think that you’re really embracing the freedom of being single.

Just don’t overstay your welcome. Take the first chance you have to cut the conversation short. You can tell your ex that you’re sorry but you can’t chat right now because you’ve got plans with some friends.

Ideally what you’re running off to do will sound exciting and will make them wonder if you’re still the same person you were before the breakup…

Running into your ex can be annoying if you’re trying to maintain No Contact, but it’s temporary and not likely to happen too often. But what if your ex keeps pestering you with text messages and phone calls?

This is something that many people deal with during No Contact, and while this is a good sign, you don’t want to just give in and stay in contact with your ex because that WILL hurt your chances.

So you need your ex to know that you won’t be available to provide emotional support or keep them entertained while they get over the post-breakup blues. Your ex has to understand that they must choose between being with you in a romantic relationship, or not having you in their life at all and the only way to make them realize this is to maintain strong boundaries.

If you fall into the friend zone at this time, then you REALLY hurt your chances, and it’s possible that you’ll end up hurt. Because if they truly see you as their friend then they may feel comfortable telling you all about their new dates and hookups and that’s not something you want to hear.

Ignore Your Ex

So the best course of action here is to basically ignore your ex. This is not the same as ignoring your ex in person. There’s a bit of plausible deniability when you’re texting. People get busy and miss calls and messages all the time. So unless they ask you something important and direct, it’s safe to ignore most messages.

If they reach out to you repeatedly and seem to become worried, or angry that you’re not responding then you may have to let them know that you’re okay and that you’re not upset but you’re busy and can’t talk right now.

If they won’t accept that, then tell them that you’re trying to move on. One thing is for sure, in a scenario where you exchange messages with your ex, do not respond right away.

Wait hours or even a full day to respond. This sends a clear message that this is not a back and forth, ongoing conversation. You’re limiting their access to you.

There are also cases where it’s physically impossible to have no contact with your ex. So maybe you live together, work together, or co-parent children. I won’t lie to you, these scenarios are not going to be easy.

Your priority here is to hide your emotions from your ex during the times that you have to spend together. That’s number one. You don’t want to come across like an emotional train wreck.

You also don’t want to seem angry or insecure because of the break up because this will only lower your value in their mind. Instead, you want to act like you’re content, and actually think that the break up was a good idea.

To do this, minimize conversation with your ex without outright ignoring them. So if you live together, avoid them as much as possible. Go out with friends, go to the gym, go for walks…just make yourself scarce.

I know it’s painful to see your ex all the time, especially if they start dating other people, but you can use this situation to your advantage. By showing your ex on a daily basis that you are happy, strong, and emotionally stable without them, you’ll begin to turn the tides and eventually your ex will be more open to communicating with you. Again, this won’t work AS well as No Contact will but if it’s your only option, you have to make the best of it.

But above all else, you have to stick to the plan. The truth is, many of my clients just simply want to talk to their ex and cannot overcome that desire. These are the people who end up having a lot of “unavoidable” contact and this destroys their chances with their ex. So don’t lie to yourself. Only talk to your ex if you have a very, very good reason to do so.

When You Should Not Do No Contact

And, as I said, there is one good reason NOT to do No Contact and that’s if you’re in one very specific situation.

This is the one situation where your ex WILL most likely forget about you during No Contact:… if your relationship was over LONG before the breakup itself happened. Now, I’m not talking about weeks here. I’m talking months or years.

This is a relationship where you two drifted apart. Towards the end, you didn’t know what the relationship status was or if you were even still together at all. When you two made it official you weren’t surprised but relieved. If this is your situation then No Contact isn’t going to help you. 

Of course, they’re not exactly going to “forget you” during this time but there’s a good chance they’re going to move on. Or, more accurately, they’re already moving on but now they’re drifting even further away from you.

But remember, I said they’ll MOST LIKELY forget about you. In some cases this time apart will make them realize all the things about the relationship they were taking for granted. Often a relationship dies a slow death because both parties lose sight of the good stuff and No Contact can help with that.

But if you’re in this situation, I wouldn’t recommend No Contact here if you do want your ex back. In this case, you’re going to have to take more direct and drastic action.

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.

View Articles