"In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on."
― Robert Frost
Breakups are hard. We know it, you know it, your ex knows it. Breakups make you want to call in sick to work, stay in your pajamas for a month, and eat ice cream while watching sad movies. Breakups make you speed-dial your ex and cry your heart out while begging him to come back to you.
However, is this really going to make your ex fall for you again? Is this going to make you the person they fell in love with in the first place? Is this going to make YOU feel happy? No, it's not! So what can you do that will salvage your dignity and make your ex wonder what in the world happened to you? The answer is: The No Contact Rule.
What is the No Contact Rule?
The No Contact Rule (hereby known as the NC Rule) is exactly what it says―no contact. Don't text your ex, don't call him/her, don't email them, don't "accidentally" run into them outside their house or workplace, don't chat with him on social networking sites, don't send him messages via your friends, and don't go over to his place, even just to "hang out". That's all it is. The No Contact Rule. We know it's harder than almost anything you've ever had to do before, because let's face it, your ex was a huge part of your life, and you've forgotten how to go about your day without him/her being in the picture. It's hard, yes. But it isn't impossible.
Let's say that your ex is an addiction that you have to get rid of. What do you do when you have to get over an addiction? Cut it out from your life, completely! It's the same with getting over the need for your ex. Cut him out from your life, and move on. You have to start loving yourself and your life without him, which is what will make your ex start to have second thoughts if he did the right thing by breaking up!
How does the No Contact Rule work?
The human mind works in funny ways―we all want what we can't have. Your ex feels he has the upper hand in your breakup, and you'll go running to him whenever he calls you. However, with the NC rule, this false belief will slowly start eroding from his mind, and he'll realize that you're not someone who's hovering around the phone all day, waiting for him to return your calls or reply to your texts. Till you're trying to get in touch with your former partner, you're going to come off as needy and desperate, and he'll definitely not want to get back with you then. He didn't fall in love with this version of you, did he? So for him to fall for you again, you have to become what you were before the relationship―happy, joyful, and enthusiastic about life. Through the No Contact Rule, your ex will begin to wonder if you've already moved on. In human relationships, the chase is just as important as the relationship itself, and your ex might find himself plotting on how to get you back.
Keep in mind though, the No Contact Rule is not meant for revengeful purposes or to hurt anyone in the process. This rule is for you, and your peace of mind. We all know that happiness is a choice, and through the NC Rule, you're going to be making yourself happy and releasing yourself from the pain that you're going through.
How long should you wait before you get back in touch with your ex?
For the NC Rule to work, you have to be patient. You can't expect results pronto, because this is human psychology we're dealing with. Your ex is so used to you being available at the drop of a hat, that he is not going to bother getting in touch with you just a day after you stop contacting him. Hence, we highly recommend that you follow the NC Rule for a period of 30 days minimum. Depending upon how bad your breakup was, you may extend it to 40, 50, even 90 days. But don't break the rule before you complete the minimum time period, because you do need at least a month to gather your thoughts, think clearly about what you want, basically, to get over a matter of the heart.
What can you do during this time?
The real question is, what can't you do? You just got some new-found freedom, which you haven't had for a really long time! This time is meant for rediscovering yourself, pampering yourself to no end, spending time with your friends and feeling good about yourself. There are endless things that you can do, some of which are mentioned below.
Who doesn't like to shop? Go buy that dress you've been eying since forever. Try on that pair of shoes that has practically been calling you out whenever you pass the store. Get some funny posters for your room. Bags, jewelry, perfume, things for your house, there are so many things you've been wanting to buy but haven't had the time before this. Go crazy and splurge. (Of course, remember to splurge in a reasonable manner, don't forget your credit card limits when you're shopping.)
Get a makeover
You have to start feeling good NOW to heal yourself from the pain you're suffering from. Will looking different make you feel amazing? If yes, do it. Get a different haircut, start wearing your makeup differently, tweak your fashion sense a little. You'll be pleasantly surprised at all the compliments you receive from everyone around you, and it will definitely give your ego the boost it requires. Please note, though, don't get a dramatic makeover that you might regret in the near future. For instance, if you're not really into coloring your hair but you get your hair colored purple just to look different, you might regret doing it once the novelty is gone.
Join a gym, or if you're already a member, start going regularly. If you're not a big fan of gyms, go jogging every morning. Play whichever sport you love. Take yoga classes. Go dancing. Physical exercise is very important when you're getting over a breakup. Firstly, it helps you keep in shape, and we all want to look our best at all times, don't we? Secondly, exercise releases endorphins in your body, and endorphins make you feel re-energized and happy. Plus, exercise is great for your health.
Spend time with your friends
This is a great way to keep your mind from wandering and thinking about your ex. Your friends are people who love you unconditionally, and are ready to help you have a good time no matter what the situation might be. Maybe, you haven't had the chance to meet them as often as you'd like when you were in a relationship, and here's your opportunity to do all that you've missed out on! Meet your friends for a drink, go partying together, have fun lunches, and make dates with your friends that will leave you thanking the Universe for surrounding you with such amazing people. Remember, your friends are always looking out for you and want the best for you. Trust them and let your hair down, they won't let you feel sad for a minute.
If this is possible for you, you should definitely take some time off and travel. It doesn't matter where you go―the point is to get away from the place where you've spent the last few days and nights moping about what went wrong. Go visit your grandparents, or that aunt who lives in the country. Stay at your parents' for a few days. Go sightseeing with your brothers or sisters. Rent a cabin in the mountains with your friends, or if you're up for it, travel alone. Traveling will give you the much-needed change of scenery and will lift your mood drastically. You'll also meet new people, or reconnect with those you love, as the case may be. Whatever state of mind you leave for your travel in, we assure you, you'll come back feeling completely different.
See other people
There are mixed opinions about dating during the No Contact period. We're not saying that you have to get into a committed relationship right now, simply because getting into a serious relationship before you get over an earlier one will just lead to heartbreak again. Feeling sad absolutely cannot be the reason to commit yourself to another person, and it isn't fair to either of you. However, we don't see why you can't go on some light-hearted dates. Ask your friends or your family to set you up with someone, and meet them for a casual drink or maybe a movie. You'll have fun and definitely feel good in someone else's company.
If you're ready to follow the NC Rule, we're sure you're going to keep yourself super-busy. But don't forget to relax and spend time with yourself every once in a while. There are plenty of things you can do to simply relax―visit the spa, meditate, do yoga, and anything else that makes you feel calm and serene.
What should you avoid during this time?
We've been talking about all that you can do during the No Contact period, and the list is endless, but there's also a small list of things you absolutely have to avoid doing during this time.
Even though you're dreading to meet people and have them talk to you when you're having a crisis of your own, you cannot call in sick and stay home from work. Agreed, work may not be fun. But trust us, anything is better than having work-related stress added to your troubles. Also, you'll be surrounded by people at work, and you'll feel much better in their company than in your own at this time. Going to work and resuming your daily routine will definitely help you follow the No Contact Rule, simply because you won't have enough time to even think about contacting your ex when you're busy with your own work.
The 'Ex Obsession'
Even though it will seem really hard, you have to stop obsessing over your ex. It is completely natural, and we all do it. Post the breakup, you miss your ex more than you thought was possible, and you want to be constantly updated about their life. However, it is one thing to see their social networking profile once a week, and another to keep checking for their updates every few minutes. Force yourself to avoid visiting their profile altogether. If you find yourself weakening, delete your own social networking profile for a few weeks. Although this seems drastic, it will definitely help stop the obsession.
Drinking way too much
You may find that drinking a little more than usual helps dim the pain to quite an extent. But this is one major thing you have to avoid―you cannot start drinking way too much to help you get over the breakup. It won't solve the problem, but will just end up giving you severe hangovers, and maybe, even an addiction to alcohol or drugs. While it's okay for an occasional step out of line if you're partying with your best friends, do not, at any cost, drunk-dial your ex and say things you'll definitely regret later.
What if you break the rule?
It's okay if you break the rule once, nobody's perfect! It's only natural that the mind stops thinking rationally, and you think, "It's just one text, that isn't a big deal." But that one text will change the course of your healing and will take you back to the depressed state that you were in. If your ex texts you during the No Contact Rule period, you aren't breaking the rule, because you haven't initiated the contact. However, if you reply to his/her message, you're breaking the rule! If you've let your resolve slip, don't panic. Tell yourself firmly that you're not going to weaken again, and start the period from the beginning, meaning, if you've broken the rule on the 7th day of the no contact period, start the 30-day period again from the next day. You need to follow the rule diligently for it to work.
What if the situation demands breaking the rule?
There might be some scenarios where following the NC Rule just won't be possible. For instance:
You have a child together
In such a case, following the NC Rule for the desired period of time will be difficult. Even then, treat your ex like any other acquaintance you have. Avoid any mention of the relationship, and don't start or get involved in any personal conversations. Make small talk for the sake of your child and remain polite. Remember to keep your child as the only topic of conversation between you and your ex.
You work together
If you both work together, remain cordial with your ex and make sure to talk only when it is absolutely necessary. Don't rush to tell all your colleagues about your breakup, and don't badmouth your ex in your office. It doesn't matter who was right and who was wrong, it is very important to keep your personal life away from your workplace.
You live together
This can be the most difficult situation of all, because you can't follow the No Contact Rule if you're going to be around each other all the time. Until one of you finds another place to live in, make sure you have a separate room for yourself. Make small talk whenever necessary, and refrain from mentioning your relationship or breakup in front of your ex.
Benefits of No Contact
Even though it will seem very hard at first, you will realize the benefits of no contact as time passes. The absence of contact between your ex and you will force you to change your focus from your relationship to yourself, whether you like it or not. By the end of the month, you will undoubtedly begin to have fun being on your own. You will have stopped needing your ex―there is a big difference between wanting someone and needing someone to make you happy. This leads us to the next question: Do you really want your ex back?
After a month of focusing on yourself, lots of things will change. You may realize that you're probably better off without your ex and the relationship. You'll start to see things much more clearly and the hopeless longing for your ex will disappear, and this is a good thing! You will also find that thinking about the relationship doesn't hurt as much as it did a month ago, and that talking to your ex isn't very difficult either. You may also find that your ex is trying hard to get back in touch with you, and maybe, this time, things might work out for good.
This rule also keeps you away from the infamous concept of on-off relationships, where couples break up and get back together every once in a while. This isn't a healthy relationship at all, and will hurt you much more than this heartbreak in the long run.
Everything said and done, there might be instances when the No Contact Rule will not work. Don't despair, and accept the fact that the relationship wasn't meant to be. Move on with your life, indulge in activities that make you happy, and live your life the way you want to. Until another relationship comes along, enjoy your single status to the fullest and look forward to what is yet to come. Remember, the best is just waiting to happen!