If you’ve done the deed and googled breakup advice, you know the term no-contact. A lot of people whine about how hard it is. So what happens if I text my ex? Can I text my ex? How long should I wait? Is it OK if I follow my ex on Instagram? Can we be friends after the breakup? Can I skip no-contact? Stay, because the answers are here. This is what REALISTICALLY happens when you stay in touch with your ex
We all know the forbidden fruit effect. They tell you to stay away from the fruit, to not want it. Right that moment, the fruit immediately gets tastier, juicier, and luscious. Fresh and sweet-smelling like never before. You can’t stop thinking about it.
Next thing you know, your feet are carrying you there/ you’re going straight to the middle of the garden that causes doom.
No contact is very much like that. Quite a good analogy if you ask me.
Why does no-contact hurt? Why is no contact so hard to do?
You can’t stop thinking about your ex. (let’s call him Jake?) Not Contacting Jake gets you out of the loop. You can’t monitor every move he makes anymore. You can’t pounce on him the moment he does remotely anything that says “moving on”. You’re losing a chance at making him come back to you. Seeing him with another girl… fire.
But here’s the real deal
No contact is about letting go. And it hurts because you’re afraid to let go.No contact is about letting go. And it hurts because you’re afraid to let go. Click To Tweet
Letting go of someone who you thought would be your future is absolutely exhausting and difficult. It hurts badly. Which is exactly why you have trouble keeping no-contact- Because it hurts too much.
No contact hurts the most. It’s the hardest to do. But it’s the hardest rule to follow because it’s one of the most effective rules.
When you’re doing no contact, your brain is undergoing a process of unlearning, relearning and adaptation. It’s like the after-effect of taking away your most loved drugs. It feels like death
You are being starved of all the feel-good emotions that came with your relationship status… You are being deprived of the good feeling that comes when you talk to Jake. And that’s what hurts.
The no-contact period is marked with discomfort, grieving, restlessness, and everything in between. So don’t worry if you’re really struggling with no contact. You’re surely not the only one.
But what happens if you break the rules and decide to stay in touch with your ex?
This is what happens if you stay in touch with your ex:
1. Your brain continues to feel the “relationship” emotions
After your breakup, your brain needs to realize that your relationship has ended so it can stop feeling so attached to your ex.
Will it be easy? No. Will it will feel like a loss? Definitely.
The truth is that your ex left you because your relationship was not what he wanted. It was broken, unfulfilling and probably dysfunctional. He doesn’t want to go through the great adventure of life with you. That’s literally why he left. You’re not the woman who he wants to marry, have kids, get a house and grow old with.
Sad. Let that sink in.
However, talking to your ex as always without looking at the truth will keep steady and further accelerate your attachment and attraction to your ex, as if he was still your partner. You’re being in denial when you try to be in a relationship with somebody who wants to leave.
Not contacting him will bring you to an emotional low. But, cutting out that source of dopamine will help you realize that the relationship is over. It will further propel you into your season of grief (which is top $$$ in the moving-on world)
2. You will be reminded of your pain over and over.
Remember how Rachel plays it cool, but is really devastated every time Ross finds another woman?
When my clients and I make a solid no-contact plan, I always tell them this:
Cut your ex from your life in as many ways as you can.
Every time you see anything that reminds you of him. It is going to cause a whole avalanche of dirty emotions. All your negative thoughts, grappling fears, narratives that make you a loser, the pain, the rejection, the vulnerability hangover, everything you feel will all bubble up to the surface like bad beer.
The number of times you see things that remind you of him = the number of times you feel crappy, insignificant, rejected and hurt. [insert every other crappy feeling you have regarding your breakup]
When you feel these emotions multiple times a day, how is healing going to happen? You will be in that ugly emotional state for days before you have a chance to feel differently. Walking right into to what triggers you repeatedly is only causing reaction, not repair.
You’re triggering your brain into feeling all those emotions all the time, leaving no space for healing, empty space or a different narrative. If you feel stuck in your toxic cycle, it’s almost as if you’re addicted to your ex, and everything is doomed. This is probably why- you’re repeating all your feelings and it’s not cool.
3. You might feel pressure to act like friends
Because he might get mad if you bring up the relationship, so you suppress all your feelings and just roll casually like nothing ever happened (and we know what that feels like, don’t we?)
I was trying to be all happy-go-lucky and no-my-feelings-don’t-really-matter-so-we-can-totally-be-friends-and-i’m-fine-with-that for 2 years. And I do not recommend it, thank you very much.
So I’ll say it: you cannot go from being lovers to being friends.
Okay, maybe you could… 10 years from now when he’s happily married to Sally and you’re happily married to Peter and your children play together at the park.
But, no. Definitely not now. Being friends with somebody you loved is not as easy as it sounds. Causes a lot of problems. Think Ross and Rachel’s problems.
Why would you let yourself go through the horrifying emotions when he’s seeing another woman? You might also be expected to be happy for his new relationship and wish him well, when really, you want to scream into a pillow and die.
Friends are supposed to bring each other joy, growth. It is a place of love and connection.
Thinking of being friends with you ex?
Ask these questions:
• How do I really feel when I’m around my ex, pretending to be oh-so-moved-on?
• Does it hurt that he’s trying to see other women? What comes up for me when I see him actively and effectively move on?
• What am I trying to achieve/ prove by constantly trying to stay close to him, by being “friends”?
Its hard to stop checking your ex’s social media. This blog post might help you- How to Stop Checking your Ex’s Social Media
4. You’re going to get most, if not all, of his life updates. And that could hinder your own recovery
Here’s what your agenda looks like after visiting his socials:
• Scrutinize His time out with the boys.
• Wonder if the quote he posted was for you or someone else… wait, does he have a girlfriend already?
• Dodging him
• Having mixed emotions.
• Overthinking his selfies/ his choice of emojis,
• Losing sleep because you think he might be seeing another girl.
All these activities certainly don’t fall under the ‘healing for my own good’ category.
You don’t need his updates. Period.
5. More pressure:
When you’re continuously being exposed to his highlight reel of life events, you might feel pressure to keep up, show him how ‘cool’ your life is, how not-hurt you’ve been since the breakup.
This gives rise to a long long season of puppet show business.
Ya’ know what the puppet show biz is? Pitting on a show for someone else to see that differs from what is real.
I see countless women doing it all the time…
• Posting a happy picture because he needs to see how “moved on” you are
• Making him jealous by visiting the boys at the bar more often than you want to
• Sharing quotes that call him out (like he just knows it’s meant for him)
But in the bargain…
All this takes up your energy. It leaves you waiting for a reaction from his side. You’re dismissing how you really feel about tis breakup because you have to go put on a fake show.
What would happen if you put this energy into healing?
It’s not greener, happier, sunnier, faster, fancier, or easier on the other side. It’s not. And even if it is, it doesn’t matter because that’s not your side.
You deserve to plant flowers on your piece of land, however little and insignificant it may seem, and you deserve to watch them grow. Don’t let your garden dry up just because you were too busy looking over the fence.You deserve to plant flowers on your piece of land, however little and insignificant it may seem, and you deserve to watch them grow. Don’t let your garden dry up just because you were too busy looking over the fence. Click To Tweet
6. You might be getting your hopes up
“If I keep talking to him, he’ll come back to me. He’ll realize how much we truly are in love.”
I did it- it didn’t end well.
Men, just like us, are very sensible. They’re not jellyfish. Walking away from a woman is a sign that he doesn’t want her. He doesn’t see himself building a relationship and starting a family with her and that’s it. A stream of text messages isn’t going to change that truth.
What am I saying?
You could do great things by skipping no-contact if your mission is to lure Jake back into loving you. If you’re all set to spend the next couple years waiting for him to ‘regret his decision and come back’ then go. Go text him. It probably doesn’t matter. And you probably don’t care.
But for the ready-to-move-on Rambos, no-contact is something you should be taking seriously.
If your priorities look something like this:
• Gaining back my confidence after all the trash ways he treated me
• Finding myself and my joy again
• Healing and looking inside for company and acceptance
• Opening yourself to love and trust so you could have a committed relationship again
• Not closing all the doors to your heart
Then my glam girl, let me be very clear: Staying in touch with your ex is not a way to achieve those goals.
You may find this insightful: How to start and maintain no contact after a breakup