What Is The No Contact Rule?
The term “No Contact” is very prevalent in break-up literature, becoming almost the hallmark “Gold Standard” for dealing with this often painful situation. However, many people often don’t understand what they are supposed to do with no contact. It is like a detailed recipe with the last page missing! So in simple terms, lets break this down a little bit and examine the basic anatomy of the NC rule:
1.) Who did the initiating?
2.) What is the purpose of trying NC?
3.) How long do you maintain NC?
1.) Who initiates NC?
NC may be initiated by one or both parties, but the one who does the dumping often is the one to initiate. But that makes sense, right? He/She has made a decision to remove themselves from a relationship, but that doesn’t mean they don’t feel remorse or sadness. It is simply that they have come to a decision that at this time they feel is right or that they feel they must stand by. In order to do this, they must move away from their ex and the hurt they’ve caused them (guilt) and begin to heal. They may also need to sort out their emotions and validate their decision for themselves in an objective manner away from ground zero.
Less commonly, the one dumped will initiate NC. This is done because they are feeling rejected and hurt (rightly so), and they want to stay away from the person who has made them feel this way. But unlike a dumper, often they do not want to initiate this NC, but feel compelled because they have little alternatives or they are advised by others to do so.
2.) What is the purpose of NC?
No Contact beyond the initial breakup generally serves (2) purposes:
1.) To allow time to heal and move on from the breakup
2.) To try and re-establish contact with the ex after some space apart
In the first scenario, this may generally arise from either a difficult breakup or a mutual decision to move on and past the relationship. Generally, NC is initiated with the desire to maintain this for an indefinite period, or until both parties have lost any romantic attachment, which may not be for a long time. Everyone handles relationships differently, and for some, cutting all ties is the only way to really let go of a partner.
In the second scenario, the dumpee or sometimes the dumper may need the time away to reflect on the relationship and grow as a person. Usually this scenario exists when people have a strong connection to their former partner, and they cannot bear the idea of never having any contact with them again. This is true of for former lovers in long term partnerships, or those who had great friendships before or during the relationship. These instances create a temporary NC period just to cool off and let the intensity of the breakup subside. At some points one person may initiate the contact and the other will be happy to reciprocate.
Other times, NC is done with the desire to try and win an ex back. In this area, NC may work successfully, or it may lead the partners in to scenario #1. The truth is, NC only works if there is a “meeting of the minds,” meaning that both parties feel strongly for the other, and they intend to make contact again in the future with the possibility of revisiting the romance. If there is no love in a relationship to begin with, NC really is nothing more than you entering scenario #1 and hoping for things to change. Unfortunately this isn’t how people work.
What happens more often than not, is that people are not on the same wavelength w/ NC, or they try to skip the friendship part and dive into a full blown romance again. NC is a process that takes time to work. I don’t follow the whole premises of who must initiate and keeping scores and all that. Love doesn’t and shouldn’t work that way. Love is about being the stronger person and stepping up to the plate when the time IS RIGHT (mind you). People make mistakes, and the dumper and dumpee who initiate NC may be no exception. That said, finally :
There is really no time line for NC. In fact, it is better to look at NC as working toward a long term goal. What does one say when they’re doing this? “I will stick with it as long as it takes.” This is the key here. You cannot rush love and friendship, so why NC? Just because it takes longer to work, doesn’t mean it can’t, just as immediate results don’t guarantee it will last. Both people need to be at the right stage in life to reflect and come to terms with the end of the relationship before anything can go forward. And no two people are equally balanced in a relationship.The important thing is to move forward and work on one’s own life, because you cannot put your needs on hold indefinitely either. Grow as a person and let that person grow as well. Now, if the person doesn’t wish to make contact after a few initiatives (I say 4-6 times), then it is safe to say that they don’t wish to revisit anything at this time, and you must respect this. The ending of relationships are just as important as the beginning, so make sure that you leave a lasting impression on your ex by showing them respect. But I am a firm believer that in life, things really do come around again, esp. people who had a significant impact in your life. So be patient, decide if NC is right for you, and most importantly STICK WITH IT.