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The 30-day “No Contact Rule” has been touted by so-called “relationship experts” as a sort of magic pill to get an ex-boyfriend to come back to you. Unfortunately, while this rule gives millions of people hope every year, this idea leaves nearly all of them disappointed. By asking yourself “does the No Contact Rule work,” you can really begin to get at the root of why pick-up artists (PUAs) shouldn’t be relationship counselors.

The “No Contact Rule” is a *harmful* dating myth that needs to be thrown away immediately 

Rather than wasting a month of your life, read the following guide to decide if you should even try to get your ex back, and how to do so:

sad woman in bed with phone

What Is The No Contact Rule?

To be able to answer the question “does the no contact rule work,” you first have to understand what it is.

The 30-day “No Contact Rule” is the “rule” that after you break up with your boyfriend, cutting off all contact with him for 30 days is going to make him realize how much he misses you. 

This will make him come crawling back to you and all your problems will be fixed…

This means that you cannot call, text, or see him all while you’re thinking about him and expecting that he will come back to you, or take you back when you approach him after 30 days. 

This even means no emails or social media like Facebook, so you’ll have to block him or shut down your Facebook during this time.

Hopefully, he doesn’t forget about you in that timeframe… 

In instances where this is impossible (see below), these experts advocate as little contact as possible and being emotionally cold or distant.

does the no contact rule work quote

Why It’s Bunk

When you’re wondering does the No Contact Rule work, you have to consider all the reasons why it’s not a very good practice. 

While it does have an element of truth, which I’ll talk about later, the 30-day No Contact Rule is generally based on false premises and doesn’t hold up to reality.

It’s totally romanticized

The whole idea of this rule seems like an overly-romanticized romantic comedy where everyone sees how wrong they were and lives happily ever after. 

Unfortunately, life doesn’t work that way, and basing sound relationship practices on Hollywood movies is, at best, misguided.

More often than not, people misuse the 30-day No Contact Rule, and the results are more Shakespearean or Greek tragedy than they are Hallmark channel. 

Relationship advice should be based on what works, not what we wish worked…

It’s not sound psychology

There’s an old psychological adage that says, “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” In some ways that’s true, but in the case of this 30-day rule, it’s completely misapplied. 

Absence doesn’t make the heart grow fonder unless you’re already in a good place in your relationship. 

You broke up, which means for one reason or another, you’re not in a good place. During the month-long no contact, he’s less likely to miss you, and more likely to realize how happy he is without you.

You need communication to fix a relationship

No relationship ever grew stronger from not communicating. If you get back together, all the reasons you broke up are still going to be there. 

Therefore, spending your 30 days not communicating is the opposite of what you should be doing.

Sometimes it’s impossible

Sometimes the No Contact Rule is impossible, which basically negates the effectiveness of it. 

The suggestion that any mandatory contact should be as brief and cold as possible is only going to make him hate you more. 

Here are some instances when the No Contact Rule is going to be impossible:

young couple on side of road

You have kids with him

If you ever want to see your kids again, or for them to see their father, you’ll need to learn how to co-parent. 

While this can be done in a relatively detached way, for the sake of your children you might want to try and have the best possible relationship with him.

Look at it this way — if he’s a good guy, and you still love him, or even just like him, you’ll want him to have a relationship with your child. 

Being cold or having minimal contact isn’t going to get him back, and your kid is probably going to resent you.

If he’s not a great guy or you don’t like him anymore, then what’s the point of using the 30-day No Contact Rule to get him back? 

Just co-parent with him, and for your kid’s sake, try not kill each other. There is no way to appropriately apply this “rule” when you have a kid together.

You’re living together

If you’re living together it’s going to be impossible not to see each other, and while you may try to have limited interaction, that’s not the way to fix a relationship. 

This is definitely a difficult situation, and one reason to give a lot of consideration before moving in with someone.

Even if you’re not planning on doing the No Contact Rule, it’s best if you move out as soon as possible, even if it’s only to heal. 

Try to be civil, and even friendly, until you’re able to do that.

You work together

If you work together, go to college together, or own your own business together, you need to maintain the best possible relationship you can. You probably have friends in common, too.

While you may be able to get by if this is just a college class situation (as long as you’re not in the same group for projects), trying to avoid the person at work could have serious professional consequences not just for both you, but anyone on your teams. 

Best to suck it up and make the best of the situation.

young woman with head in hands

Why It’s Harmful

When you’re trying to figure out, does the No Contact Rule work, you need to look at the harm it can do to people. 

The biggest problem with it is not only is it not effective, but it can cause some serious damage to people and to relationships.

Prevents Growth

The first problem that the No Contact Rule has is that it prevents you from growing as a person so you can’t fix your current relationship problems. 

It also means you’ll probably have the same problems in any future relationship you have.

If you were both at fault for the break-up, it’s going to take communication to fix. Why leave that for to chance? 

If the No Contact Rule doesn’t work, you’ve lost your last chance to get this guy back. If you care about him, work on your issues with him.

If you were at fault for the breakup, you need feedback and you need to show him you’re working on it. Waiting until the no contact period is over is going to be too late. 

It’s OK if you both need space, but you need to at least let him know you’re working on things, and if you want him back, don’t let him move on.

If he was completely at fault for the breakup, why are you trying to get him back? He’s not going to change just because you didn’t talk to him for 30 days!

It’s Manipulative

The implication of the No Contact Rule is that you’re manipulating your ex into missing you and wanting you back. 

By design, it is focused almost entirely on them, rather than on yourself. It is using emotional tactics to hopefully change his mind or lure him back into an unhealthy situation. 

Wouldn’t it be better to win him back by fixing the problem and setting a new, firmer foundation for your relationship? 

To do it any other just wounds the relationship even deeper, and you’ll both go through even more pain the next time you break up.

Delays Healing

If you’re expecting he’s going to come back to you at the end of the no contact period, and if you’re obsessing over whether or not that’s going to happen, you’re setting yourself up for another heart break rather than getting over the person.

There is more than a 99% chance that this isn’t going to work out. There’s a 100% chance that you can heal from this. 

Fix yourself before getting back with him, and sometimes that means talking through things.

does the no contact rule work woman at night

Should You Get Him Back?

When you break up, there’s only a few instances where you could foreseeable get back together. 

In general, people break up because they’re not compatible or they do something that shows they’re not relationship material (like cheating).

Perhaps the only time you can answer “yes” to the question, “does the No Contact Rule work” is if you are completely at fault for the relationship being destroyed. 

Even, then you have a large chance of failure, and he very well might move on without you.

But if you were the one at fault for the break up and have taken the time to fix the problems (which will probably take more than 30 days), then you may just have a chance. 

That’s the only reason you should even attempt to get your ex back after a period of no contact. 

And even then, you should approach it as a long shot — it’s probably going to fail, but there are a few things you can do help your chances of success.

woman holding cell phone

How To Get Him Back

Here’s a process you can follow to increase your chances of getting your ex back. 

It’s going to be more successful if you’re able to communicate and work things through with him, but you still need short periods of no contact to accomplish some of these.

Heal Yourself

None of the focus should be on your ex; it should be on fixing whatever you did wrong. You need to break your bad habits and establish new, healthy ones. 

Your mindset and focus shouldn’t be that you’re doing this to get him back. Even at this point you should accept that’s likely not happening. 

You’re fixing yourself because you owe it to yourself to be better. You owe it to your future relationships. 

You’ll know you’re ready for the next step when you’re partially over him and you’ve fixed your habits. 

You’ve realized you want to make it work for all the right reasons, and though you know it’ll hurt if he says “no,” you just want what’s best for him. You know you’ll be happy eventually, even if it’s not with him.

Apologize

At this point, if you still want to get back with him, you’ll need to apologize genuinely and profusely. 

First, take the blame for the problems in your relationship and tell him that you understand his feelings and they are justified.

Second, apologize and tell him you’re taking actions to make sure it’s not a problem anymore. Give him actual examples of what you’re doing to make yourself a better person.

Finally, tell him that you’ve done a lot of thinking about it and you want to give your relationship another try. 

Tell him you understand if he can’t risk getting hurt again, but you really care about him and want to be with him. Tell him why it’s so important to you.

young african american couple at cafe

Take it Slow

Don’t expect him to trust you again, at least not for a while, and be fine with tension in the relationship. 

If he’s willing to work through it, it means he’s willing to deal with a sub-par relationship now, for a good one in the future. He’s a good guy and you should do everything you can to keep him.

Communicate

Practice communication skills, even if you don’t end up together. If he gives you another chance, communicate with him as much as possible and resolve conflicts healthily. 

Lack of communication was one of the reasons you broke up, don’t make the same mistake again!

Does the No Contact Rule work? In general, no. It’s bad advice based on a bad foundation, but for some reason has been very popular. 

It can be very harmful, but if you’re the one who damaged the relationship, you may have a small chance to get your guy back if you follow the steps above.

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