Why you should follow the no contact rule after a break up

German relationship coach Emanuel Albert, known as Date Doctor Emanuel, explains the no contact rule and why it is so important to give your ex some space after the break up. 

The worst thing you can currently imagine is your ex moving on and forgetting about you. Not contacting them, leaving them be and believing in the power of silence sounds like the complete opposite of what you want to do right now. I have been there. I know how you feel. So let me help you protect you from yourself – and find out why the no contact rule is now your best friend if you want to get back your ex!

What is the no contact rule?

Every time you get a text message from your ex, your heart skips a beat? Or worse: you haven’t heard from him or her in days and you can’t stop checking your phone? 

Or even worse: You can’t stop texting your ex. You text him or her to talk about the relationship, or to ask if he or she is alright, or if he or she is missing you. You start texting seconds after receiving a message from your ex or just because you saw, that they were online? I know how it is. I’ve been there and I nearly destroyed any chance to win her back. Luckily I discovered the power of the no contact rule and got my ex back. 

Time to introduce you to the no contact rule. 

The no contact rule is one of many important strategies to win back your ex. 

Classically that means actually leaving your ex alone for a while. Following a breakup, you now should seriously stop the phone calls and texts to your ex. Stop online stalking him! Stop asking mutual friends for updates about her! 

Should your ex still be contacting you. Distance yourself! Wait with responding to their messages, so that they start to wonder if you have moved on. As long as you always immediately respond they can comfortably lean back and be assured that they have not lost their little groupie. That’s right: you constantly checking up on them and declaring your love, be it directly or between the lines, is turning you into a fan. And no one wants to get back together with a fan!

There are different types of no contact rules and it is important to choose the right one for your individual situation. But first let me explain why the no contact rule will help you win back your ex! 

Why does the no contact rule work?   

There are 3 elements to the no contact rule that explain its positive effect and why it works: 

  1. You level the playing field. If your ex broke up with you, he or she has all the power in your relationship. They decided they wanted out, so they ended it. You had no say in the matter. By denying them contact you now regain some of that power that you are so desperately lacking.
  2. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. How should your ex ever start to miss you, if you write them a text message first thing in the morning? Ironically couples in long-distance relationship have been found to report more intimacy in their relationships than there geographically close equivalents. So don’t be afraid of less contact. If you continuously feed your ex, they will never gain an appetite.
  3. We cannot change anything unless we accept it. This insightful quote by Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung sums up the third and final effect of the no contact rule. As long as your ex knows that you have not accepted the breakup, you are forcing them to keep you at a distance. It is completely understandable that you are hoping to change their mind: most couples today rely on text messages to solve conflicts that are too difficult to discuss face-to-face. But this is not a conflict… it is a break up. By turning the tables and ignoring your ex, you become less of a threat and pave the way for positive contact in the future.  

What types of no contact rules are there and which one is right for you?

The “classic” no contact rule is often the safest choice in deciding how to act towards your ex. In some cases, however, it is impossible to have zero contact. Both versions of the no contact rule come with their own challenges and advantages. One isn’t superior to the other. 

Classic no contact rule

The classic no contact rule is the best bet for anyone who has been broken up with and is able to completely cease contact. The ideal situation for the classic no contact rule to work has you and your ex living apart, you have some separate friends and aren’t forced to spend time together because of common obligations. If this describes your situation, the classic no contact rule entails:

  • no phone calls

  • no texts

  • no responding to texts from your ex

  • no talking about your ex

  • no contact to friends and family of your ex

Deferred no contact rule

There are cases and situations when a certain amount of contact to the ex cannot be avoided. For instance, if you have kids or share a house contact is inevitable. We also often coach individuals who have pets with their ex, or have to work together with their ex. In these cases you need a deferred contact rule. Although you have to stay in contact. we want you to give less than your ex. For example, you should:

  • wait longer with answering their text messages

  • skip their call and instead call back later

  • keep conversations brief

  • only discuss the necessary topics (e.g., child care, work project…)

If you are unsure, which path is the best for you, don’t hesitate to contact us for an individualized assessment of your situation. 

Why do most people fail the no contact rule?

Most people don’t stick to the no contact rule, because they just can’t be without their ex. You are craving your ex, like an alcoholic craves alcohol. And it is just as hard for you to stay sober and stay away from your ex, as it is for an alcoholic to stay clean.

Whilst in a relationship it was probably common to be in contact every single day. Even those couples that live together are very likely to be in contact during the day via their smartphones. A Chinese study from 2015 even suggests that these almost meaningless “check-ins” – think: “How are you doing?”, “What are you up to?” – help us feel connected and closer to our respective other. So after a breakup you not only have to deal with not falling asleep next to each other but also the lack of constant communication.

No matter how long you have to stick to the no contact rule it will be tough and it will hurt as hell. You need to know that. And you need to decide to endure this pain.

How long does a successful no contact period last?

Every case is slightly different. And it is possible to write an entire book on the no contact rule… But on average my team and I recommend three to four weeks to start of with. This might seem like a long time to you. It will feel like a lifetime to you. But believe me – it isn’t long for your ex. 

He or she is busy doing other things now. And if you continue texting as usual, you will soon be seen as the clingy, annoying ex. Believe me you don’t want that. 

You may ask yourself, why we need so many weeks without contact. Here are some reasons: 

  • he/she broke up with you and doesn’t want to see you, it will only be annoying to your ex if you start being clingy

  • you need to mend your broken heart and that needs time 

  • he/or she broke up for a reason (maybe because you stopped being attractive to him/her or you had too many fights) and it’s not realistic, that those simply melt away

  • you need time to change some things to make your ex fall back in love with you again

When should you block your ex?

Most of my coachees are afraid that no contact, or even blocking the ex on their phones and on social media, will destroy any chance of ever getting back together with your ex. The opposite is true, however. Winning back your ex is achieved by proving that you don’t need them, that you have let go. 

Blocking an ex on your phone, so you do not get their messages and see their activity online should only be used in extreme circumstances. I usually don’t recommend blocking early on. 

In cases where the ex is very active, and you are finding it too hard to be reminded of them I recommend hiding their posts. You do not have to put yourself through the pain of having their flirty messages to someone else pop up on your timeline.

There are four cases, in which I recommend going one step further and actually blocking the ex: 

  1. If the ex starts being very rude, disrespectful, bitching about you online

  2. If your ex mistreated you, for example cheated on you

  3. If the ex has already blocked you

  4. If you are really struggling with letting go and you just can’t leave him or her alone

After you have made the difficult decision to block your ex, you should stick to. I recommend at least a month of not reversing your decision. Otherwise your strong and consistent move seems weak and flighty.

What are the most common mistakes during no contact after a break up?

Before no contact:

“Just so that you know… I am going to leave you alone for a few weeks and won’t answer if you contact me.”

Announcing your period of no contact is never a good idea. By letting your ex know what you are about to do, you seriously weaken the effect of the no contact rule. Your ex won’t be confused they are not hearing from you. Your ex will be much less curious about what you are getting up to. And your ex will spend the weeks feeling smug, knowing that you miss them. So, never warn your ex about the incoming lack of contact!

During no contact:

Checking your phone every two minutes…

Counting the days, until you can finally write again…

The only thing you are “doing” is not being in contact with your ex…

Not being in contact with your ex does not mean that the world stops turning. Go for a run! Meet your friends… without talking about your ex! Start something new – bonus points if it something your ex never liked! If you simply bear these weeks without contact and then just continue as before, nothing will change. The success of the no contact rule lies not only in the effect it has on your ex but also depends on you using this time for your own development. 

After no contact:

“It’s so good to hear from you. I really missed you these last weeks. How are you doing? Was it hard for you too..?”

You were so good… you managed to withstand the urge to contact your ex for days, weeks even… and then you waste all that good work with one little text message. Your ex knows you better than most. So he or she can immediately tell that you have spent all this time thinking of them. You have now reached the exact opposite of what you wanted. Your ex is no longer curious to find out, how you are doing and you most likely have to go back into no contact…

The bottom line

Not being in contact with your ex at all or maintaining longer periods of time without contact can feel artificial. It is completely normal to have days where you question this approach and all you want to do is call your ex. But think of the long-term goal: you want to get back on eye-level with your ex and be seen as desirable and interesting. So don’t give up now!

My team of coaches and I can help you stay motivated and adjust the necessary period of no contact to your individual case. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you need help.

Best of luck, 

your Date Doctor Emanuel


Emanuel Albert

I have been working as a dating and relationship coach for more than 20 years. Every day my team and I help clients reach more happiness in their relationships. Our vision is to turn relationship problems back into love! To achieve this goal I developed the successful Emanuel Albert Method.