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Does No Contact Work? Here’s the truth.

Last updated on June 15, 2022 by Sonya Schwartz

Are you having trouble moving on from your partner? Have you heard about the no-contact approach and considered it? There are many methods of moving on from a partner and some seem easier than others. The no contact rule seems pretty simple, but it can actually be one of the most difficult approaches to moving on. Does it work? Yes. Is it easy? No. Does it hurt? Oh yeah. 

Having recently experienced a break-up of 4 years, this topic is close to home for me, and I really hope to be able to shed some light on this topic. If it works, when you should use it and some ways to use it most effectively to ensure that you heal wholesomely from your break up.

So, before we dive in, let’s first define a few terms here so we’re on the same page. The first is “work”. Does it work? Well, it depends on what you want to achieve here. If it’s a complete breakup with no intention of ever reconciling the relationship, then yes it can work. However, if you feel like you would want to re-connect (even if that may be just friends) in the future then it’s much harder to re-connect after doing no contact. Now, this doesn’t mean that it’s not possible or it doesn’t work - it’s just generally you lose complete interest and any feelings after cutting ties. 

What does no contact really mean?

So, what does no contact actually mean? No-contact is a cold-turkey style approach to moving on from a breakup. It involves you completely blocking any and all forms of contact with your ex, whether that be primary or secondary. Primary would be blocking their number and secondary would be deleting their friend off Facebook. Why does an approach like this work? No-contact works quite well because you are giving yourself complete time to heal alone. You’re ripping the band-aid off quickly and painfully, getting rid of the long painful sticky process of slowly peeling it away. Your ex will be out of sight and out of mind. When you can’t see them or contact them, it will be easier for you to keep them off of your mind. Therefore, giving you more time alone and to heal without their constant input, which can often re-spark original feelings. 

When the option is there to contact them, these tempting feelings & impulses come up and it’s too easy to get in touch with them to receive some of their love/attention, instead of being with the uncomfortable feelings. This is a really important part of the break-up, and you need to be with these feelings when you’re alone - so you can heal yourself fully. If you’re able to contact your ex, it’s really easy to avoid these uncomfortable feelings. Being with these uncomfortable feelings of sadness, aloneness and emptiness is really hard, there is no denying that. If this is something that you are going through, understand it is completely normal - no matter how long it has been. It’s often so much easier to distract ourselves and to numb the pain than to be with it.

Is no contact the best idea for you?

Now the first thing to consider when giving thought to a no-contact approach is - is this actually right for you? When we break up with someone there is so much pain and heart-break that all we want to do is just never see them again and cut all ties, but deep down is that what you really want? If it is, then the no-contact approach can be for you. However, if you feel like, deep down under the heartbreak, that the circle isn’t closed completely yet and there’s still some closure that you may both need to move on and process properly then it might be better to wait before going no-contact.

Closing the relationship properly without any loose ends can really help before going no-contact so there are no longer any thoughts to keep coming back to. If there are still question marks around the break-up and things that have been left unsaid, no-contact can still work, but you may find yourself going back to these questions really wanting an answer or closure. This will make it harder to fully move on and heal wholly. The whole point of no-contact is that you heal properly - that’s really the main focus - so if there are still things you need to say to each other, or questions you really want to be answered, then it will really help the healing process to close this circle before letting it go. 

Too often in a break-up, the easier option is always just to run away and avoid it instead of being with the uncomfortable feelings and really getting to the bottom of it. Why would we want to stick with uncomfortable feelings if we don’t have to? Being with these feelings and not avoiding them will allow for more wholesome healing from the breakup. It means you won’t be avoiding anything, and anything that comes your way has been dealt with, therefore you aren’t scared to see your ex out in public or avoid certain places or events because of them.

It is definitely harder to try and come to a feeling of resolution with your ex than it is to cut all contact and move on. That’s why most relationships end and the two people would rather never speak to each other ever again because it is so much easier than sitting down and coming to a resolution. Now is this always the most appropriate way to handle a breakup? No, it should be taken on a case-by-case basis and if you find that you have said everything you need to say, and you’ve closed the circle as much as you can, yet your ex is still coming on strong or appearing everywhere, this can be the perfect time to initiate “plan no-contact”. 

How to move forward with the no contact plan?

So how is initiating a plan going to help you? You are going to free up so much time and space in your life. You know how every time your phone goes off, you’re praying it maybe them getting back in contact with you. Maybe the opposite is happening, and they keep interjecting into your life with comments that make you feel something you really don’t want to, well that time is now going to be your time. It’s like cigarettes, it’s hard to quit if you have a packet sitting on the table next to you all the time. However, if you are in a place that there is simply no access at all to them, you feel much less tempted by them. This is the same principle that no-contact goes by. Imagine if you had quit for good, but every now and again someone kept popping in offering you a cigarette, it’s going to be hard to say no, so by getting rid of any potential to be in contact at all, you’re going to have a much better and faster time healing. 

Now, nobody said this was going to be easy, there is definitely going to be a temptation to get back in contact with them, just for a little top up of love or attention. However, when this happens, we aren’t letting our hearts fully heal themselves and become whole again. It’s those really hard times, the times you feel down and like you need some love, that’s actually when it’s most important to be with yourself and love yourself. Now, I know this is easier said than done, so you don’t even need to try and love yourself, that will come, just simply be with those uncomfortable feelings. Go down into those feelings, be with some amazing friends that support you and will listen and be with you and enjoy time with yourself by spending some extra time doing hobbies or activities you love. 

Over time you will really begin to heal, you’ll notice you feel less temptation to be in contact with your ex and all of that head-space you’ve freed up from thinking about them will be yours to create with. Cutting contact really does help remove any of this temptation, and you’ll have so much more time for yourself and that’s a lot about what this healing process is about. Giving time back to yourself, and not needing getting anything from your ex is going to be the best for yourself in your healing process - and remember that’s the main priority here. 

Also, cutting contact doesn’t have to be a negative thing. If you share honestly and openly about why you want to do it, it could be the best way to move on and heal yourself. Honestly though, in a relationship, there is usually going to be one person that wants to cut contact and the other that doesn’t, this is why really communicating your reasons openly and truthfully is going to help smoothen the situation out. There are also different levels to this - if you don’t want to completely cut contact 100%, ease into it. Try for a day, then a few days and then a week and then longer if it’s needed. You’ll know within yourself when you’re able to be in contact with them without generating old feelings again. 

What would happen if you don’t cut contact?

So, let’s take the other side just to give a bit of perspective here, what happens if you don’t cut contact? Well, this can work equally as well, especially if you’re both mature and will hold and help each other in the process. I have to admit, this is gentler, but it also keeps a lot of feelings around and it’s hard to completely disconnect and heal properly. When you’re still in contact, feelings will still be there, and the communication will always want to be continued. This means you’ll be on each other minds more often than is necessary and you’ll be unnecessarily seeing what they’re doing and going into places that are just going to cause more sadness or confusion when you should be healing yourself. 

So the catch twenty-two of not cutting contact is you may feel like you can just “be friends” and help each other heal, however, what could, and often does, goes on underneath the surface is that you are still getting love from each other, and you’re not fully letting go of the other person and healing yourself properly. Even though the love that they used to give you and ‘complete’ you with has been taken away, you are still filling each other up with a bit of love by being in contact, so it takes a lot longer to heal fully. This is just something to notice, and if you are feeling either needy energy from yourself or from your ex, then taking some time apart from contact can really help both of you. 


Iwish you all the best of luck if you are trying to get through a breakup. It’s tough but you’ll get through it and it will build your experience as a person in the crazy world of love. It’s completely up to you if you want to take a no-contact approach to the situation, but I would say that no contact can be really beneficial, especially when you have just broken up. It gives you time to mend yourself again. At the end of the day, as long as the two of you have closed your relationship properly and there’s nothing that’s been left unsaid between the two of you, you have given yourself the opportunity to heal and move forward. Then you can open yourself back up into the world of love, with more experience, when you are finally ready.

Did this article help you at all? If it did and you liked what you read, please let us know in the comments. We would love to hear from you.

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Sonya Schwartz
A hopeless romantic that struggled for many years to find her Mr "Right" and made all the mistakes you could think of while dating. Known for always choosing the wrong guys or messing up relationships, Sonya was finally able to change her approach and mindset when it came to dating which helped her eventually find the man of her dreams and become happily married. You can read more about me here...

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