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Does no contact make your ex want you back?

Going no contact with an ex after a breakup is a controversial strategy. Some relationship experts swear by it as an effective way to get an ex to miss you and want you back. Others argue that it is manipulative or simply ineffective. So what is the truth? Here is a comprehensive look at the no contact rule and whether it actually makes an ex want to reconcile.

Table of Contents

What is the no contact rule?

The “no contact rule” refers to cutting off all communication with an ex for a certain period of time after a breakup. This means no calls, texts, social media interactions, or any other form of reaching out. It is meant to give both people space and perspective after the end of a relationship. The recommended period of no contact usually ranges from 30 to 60 days or longer.

The theory behind no contact is that it will make your ex miss you. By removing yourself from their life completely, you give them a chance to experience life without you. This contrasts with remaining in contact and trying to stay friends, which can prevent an ex from fully moving on. No contact can trigger nostalgia and romantic feelings by reminding an ex of the positive parts of the relationship. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, as the saying goes.

Does no contact work to get an ex back?

Opinions differ on whether no contact is an effective strategy for getting an ex back. Here are some key considerations:

It depends on the situation

No contact can backfire if the breakup was amicable and both people want to remain friends. Your ex may take offense to you cutting contact and view it as game-playing. However, if the relationship was longer-term and stronger feelings are still present, no contact may be effective.

It gives you time to heal

Even if no contact doesn’t make your ex miss you, it still gives you space to process the breakup, focus on yourself, and start to move on. This can put you in a healthier emotional state if you do reconnect down the road. Trying to stay in constant contact right after a split often leads to more pain and prevents healing.

It lets your ex experience life without you

When you have been in a relationship for a long time, the person becomes a huge part of your everyday life. No contact removes this familiar presence and gives your ex a chance to experience independence again. They may realize how much they took you for granted. However, they also may enjoy single life and become less motivated to reconcile.

It removes pressure

When you talk to an ex post-breakup, you naturally tend to pressure them to meet up, talk through issues, get back together, etc. No contact removes all of this pressure and gives your ex space to sort through their own feelings. Without pressure, they are more likely to miss you of their own accord.

It makes you more desirable

People tend to want what they can’t have. By withdrawing all contact, you make yourself less available to your ex and more of a chase. This can trigger their competitive instincts to pursue and win back someone who seems unattainable.

When is no contact more likely to be successful?

Certain relationship scenarios tend to be more suited to no contact than others. Here are some situations where it has a greater chance of sparking renewed interest from an ex:

Situation Explanation
You were dumped unexpectedly If your ex abruptly ended things without warning, no contact gives them time to second-guess their decision once the dust settles.
The breakup was emotional Highly emotional splits suggest there are still strong feelings present which no contact can help reawaken.
Your ex starts dating again soon after If an ex jumps into a rebound right away, no contact prevents you from being their backup plan and sets up uncertainty that may make them reconsider.
You were in a long-term relationship The more history and investment in a relationship, the more likely no contact is to spark nostalgia for the good times.
You broke up over a specific issue If you can identify one problem that caused the split, your ex may rethink losing you over that issue after some space apart.

What are the benefits of no contact?

Aside from potentially making your ex miss you, going no contact offers additional advantages such as:

Time to grieve

You give yourself uninterrupted time to process the pain of heartbreak and start to heal without your ex in the picture.

Chance to gain perspective

Stepping back lets you see the relationship dynamics more clearly and make rational decisions rather than being led by emotions.


With free time and space you can dedicate to yourself, you’re able to focus on your own goals, interests, and growth.

Increased attraction

Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and pulling away often causes people to idealize their ex and remember the positives.

Removal of pressure

Taking time and space removes pressure to instantly resolve issues or get over the relationship.

How should you initiate no contact for maximum effectiveness?

Simply disappearing from an ex’s life one day is not the most strategic approach. Here are some tips for starting no contact in a way that yields the best results:

Clearly communicate you need space

Let your ex know through a kind message that you will be taking time away to process the breakup, not ghosting them. This prevents misunderstandings or thinking you’re playing games.

Remove temptation

Delete or hide your ex’s phone number and social media profiles so you’re not tempted to check in. Ask mutual friends not to pass along updates about your ex.

Set a timeline

Decide a set period of 30, 60, or 90 days to stick to no contact to prevent constantly second guessing when to reach out.

Focus fully on yourself

Spend no contact time pursuing hobbies, seeing friends, traveling, or anything else that enriches your life as an individual.

Get closure if needed

If there are unresolved issues still eating away at you, address them before starting no contact so you have fully closed that chapter.

What are some things to avoid during the no contact period?

Certain behaviors should be avoided to make no contact most effective. Steer clear of:

Checking your ex’s social media

Looking at an ex’s Facebook or Instagram prevents you from moving on and gives you information you don’t need to know, like them appearing happy without you.

Letting mutual friends give you updates

Hearing news through the grapevine about your ex’s life does more harm than good. Politely tell friends you don’t want to know what your ex is up to.

Drunk texting or calling

Reaching out to an ex while under the influence leads to disastrous embarrassment and undermines no contact.

Posting bitter statuses

Venting online about the breakup looks passive aggressive if your ex can see it and makes you appear hung up on them.

Romanticizing the past

Looking back on only the positives prevents objectively evaluating the relationship’s issues.

What are some productive ways to spend no contact?

Simply focusing on how much you miss your ex will make no contact feel endless. Here are proactive ideas for spending the time:

Start new hobbies

Pick up hobbies your ex didn’t enjoy that help you meet new people like sports leagues, salsa dancing, or painting classes.


Get away on a trip you’ve been wanting to take for yourself or with close friends.

Reconnect with friends

Spend quality time with the good friends you may have neglected while with your ex.

Pamper yourself

Take yourself on solo dates like to a museum or concert, or spend a spa day being pampered.

Explore your city

Be a tourist in your own town visiting attractions you’ve never made it to. Bring friends if you prefer company.

Improve your mind and body

Read books you’re interested in, start a workout routine, learn a new language – anything enriching.

When is it okay to break no contact?

While having discipline is key, there are certain legitimate reasons you may need to reach out before completing the full no contact period, such as:

To return property

If either you or your ex still has belongings that need to be returned, arrange a time to quickly exchange them.

To cancel joint financial obligations

Close out any joint bank accounts, insurance policies, memberships or services.

If there’s an emergency

If there is an urgent medical, legal or other emergency situation your ex needs to know about, reach out briefly.

To wish them well on major events

It’s considerate to wish an ex happy birthday or extend condolences if they experience a loss in their family.

To apologize for hurtful behavior

If you acted inappropriately in the breakup, taking accountability and apologizing can be healing.

How long should you do no contact?

There is no universally agreed upon timeline for how long to do no contact. Some experts say at least 30 days, others at least 2-3 months. The ideal duration depends on factors like:

Factor Suggested Length
Shorter relationship (under 2 years) Around 30 days
Longer relationship (over 2 years) 2-3 months or longer
Amicable breakup Shorter no contact
Bad breakup Longer no contact
You ended the relationship Shorter no contact
You were dumped Potentially longer no contact

The most important gauge is your own emotional state – continue no contact until you feel you have significantly healed and gained perspective.

What are the risks of the no contact rule?

While no contact can be very effective in some cases, there are also potential downsides such as:

Life continues without you

Your silence may signal to your ex that you accept the breakup and they start to move on without reconsidering.

Out of sight, out of mind

Rather than missing you, the distance may make your ex’s feelings fade as they adapt to you not being in their life.

They meet someone new

Your absence may leave an opening for your ex to meet a new romantic interest, especially if no contact drags on.

Resurfacing old feelings

Getting back in touch after a long period of silence can stir up all the old emotions of the breakup again.

Feeling forced to reconcile

Your ex may come back not because they genuinely miss you, but out of guilt, obligation or loneliness.

What are some signs no contact is working?

How do you know if no contact is having the desired effect? Here are some promising signals:

You receive text messages

Your ex reaches out first asking how you are doing or referencing an inside joke – a clear sign you are on their mind.

Increased social media activity

Sudden liking and commenting on your posts after months of silence means they are lurking and trying to get your attention.

Seeing you around sparks contact

Running into each other in public or at a mutual friend’s event prompts them to start communicating again.

They ask mutual friends about you

You hear through the grapevine your ex has been asking if friends have heard from you or know what you are up to.

Their social media reflects missing you

They post old pictures of the two of you together or quotes about lost love.

A special occasion contact

Your ex wishes you a happy birthday or reaches out around a meaningful holiday.

What should you do when the no contact period ends?

When the designated span of no contact concludes, you have a decision about whether to reach back out. Here are some dos and don’ts:

Don’t immediately ask to get back together

This pressure could scare your ex away. Focus on assessing whether there is still a spark before jumping back into a relationship.

Suggest meeting in person

After a long period of silence, meeting face to face is ideal rather than extended texting or phone calls which could get emotionally intense.

Keep it low-key at first

Casual coffee or a drink allows you both to ease back into communication without high stakes.

Be okay with no response

Prepare yourself for the possibility your ex may not be interested in reconnecting and don’t take it personally.

Focus on listening

Rather than pouring your heart out, make space to understand your ex’s mindset and feelings first.


At the end of the day, whether no contact gets your ex back depends on the unique situation and people involved. While no contact can sometimes spark renewed desire, it may also backfire or simply confirm the relationship is over. There are no guarantees. No contact is much more likely to be effective if the breakup was ambiguous, feelings still exist on both sides, and you approach the strategy from an emotionally healthy place focused on your own growth.