User post: How Long Should You Keep Up With No Contact?

People often ask me: How long should I go with No Contact with my ex? And I have thought long and hard about what this question means. It's a loaded question and from my experience with counseling people, I have found that there are several different meanings:

  1. How long should I go with No Contact with my ex before he/she realizes he/she wants me back? In this instance, the No Contact post-breakup rule is a ploy to manipulate the ex to get him/her to fall in love with them again. I think this stems from all of those books and websites that claim that you can win your ex back. What I say to that is - good luck. I can't tell you how to get your ex back. I don't subscribe to manipulation or games of any kind. Either way, manipulating anyone is a bad idea. So be careful if you go this route.
  2. How long should I go with No Contact with my ex before we can be friends again? Another loaded question, but I do think that if the intention is good - meaning you're not trying to get him in bed or get back together with him - then you should wait at LEAST six months and even then, don't do it until you have met someone else that has sparked your interest. It doesn't mean to wait until you have a new boyfriend/girlfriend, rather it means wait until you get to a point where you have dated at least one or more people and can at least fantasize about someone other than your ex. Know that you have a life beyond your ex and be comfortable with that before you even bother trying to become friends with your ex.
  3. How long should I go with No Contact with my ex before I get my stuff back? In my book, The Breakup Workbook, I advise that if you're not able to take your things with you (say, if you lived with him and moved out), then wait at least 2 weeks before you even try to contact him. This gives you 2 weeks to cry, fret, and get used to being by yourself again- and it gives him 2 weeks to cool off as well. The book even offers some exercises to do while you spend this period in mourning. Then when you have completed these exercises, you can meet him to get your stuff and get some closure (the exercises show how to do that). If you don't have any stuff to get, you can still meet him after these exercises, or call him, or email him to get the closure that you need (especially if he dumped you via text or email).

But then after you get both your stuff and your closure, rules 1 and 2 apply from that point forward. Let's face it, the one thing that will get you over your ex is time. And if you don't give yourself time to heal and regress constantly by talking to him - email, texting, IM, etc - then the longer it will take you to heal. If you're looking for "No Contact" tips, check out the book - The Breakup Workbook eBook (hard copy will be available soon from Amazon and Barnes & Noble).

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Feel better!