Making the difficult choice to go no contact with your ex is a tremendous act of self-love and self-respect. Getting to the point was probably filled with a lot of pain, anger, and confusion. Yet, you courageously decided to break this cycle by setting the boundary of no-contact. This is a cause for celebration and I congratulate you.
At the same time, it’s human nature to struggle to not fall back into old habits and patterns. If you find yourself tempted to reach back out to your ex, please know how understandable this is. It takes a lot of time, effort and practice to maintain the boundaries which truly protect us. Even when you know you did the right thing, it may still be hard to not reach out to your ex at times. Therefore, in this article, I’ll provide you with 5 tips to stay no contact.
You tried to make it work
Prior to deciding to go no contact with your ex, you probably tried countless ways to improve the relationship. You may have tried asserting your feelings and needs. You may have begged them or given ultimatums asking them to change. You may have tried individual or couples counseling. Ultimately though, this wasn’t enough. You likely realized that your ex wasn’t invested enough into the relationship or a healthy enough partner.
It’s brave to fully end a relationship which isn’t healthy for you. At the same time, after going no-contact, it’s common for loneliness and self-doubt to creep in. It’s normal to start thinking things like, “Was it really that bad?” or I didn’t give them enough of a chance.”
No contact is painful but so was the relationship
When you start second guessing yourself, you may think you need to give your ex more understanding. However, while compassion is an important quality of healthy relationships, it’s important to not forget self-compassion. Remember your own pain and be kind towards yourself during this process.
Related: What is self-compassion?
When you start second guessing yourself, you may start considering breaking your own no contact rule. You may start creating a fantasy of the relationship that this time, for some reason, it will be better. At this point, it’s common to begin to bargain with reality.
You Chose to Go No Contact with Your Ex for Valid Reasons
Despite second-guessing yourself, I want to remind you: You made the difficult choice to end contact with your ex for valid reasons. You probably gave your ex many chances to change and they didn’t.
That’s ok – they’re not a bad person necessarily but as you already know – they aren’t a healthy person for you.
In life, some people are just unhealthy for us and that no amount of work will change this. We can either accept this painful true with grace. Or we can delay our suffering and spend more weeks, months, even years with someone who ultimately isn’t right for us.
You can’t change reality
You chose to go no contact with your ex for a reason. They are not healthy for you. At this point, you have two choices. You can either feel your grief now and honor your no contact rule. Or you can continue to suffer in this relationship indefinitely (and feel your grief later).
My hope is you choose to accept reality and stay no contact. You deserve these healthy boundaries and to find the right person for you. If you agree, please save this article to read the next time you’re tempted to contact your ex.
Strategy #1 to Stay No Contact with Your Ex: Validate Yourself
Journal about why you ended this relationship. You are not creating a “burn book” – you’re simply honoring the truth. List everything you can think of that highlights why this person wasn’t right or healthy for you. Honor exactly why this relationship hurt so much and why ultimately it doesn’t meet your needs. For example, maybe they didn’t value commitment or constantly lied. Think about the patterns and cycles of the relationship.
Think about the big picture and what you truly want in your life. Journal about your ideal, healthy-relationship now.
Finally, it’s very important to note if you’ve broken up and gotten back together with no real change before. If so, this validates your choice to go no contact completely. Healthy people take genuine accountability. They don’t just say what they need to say to get us back. This means they not only apologize for how they’ve hurt us but they do the hard work of healing.
Strategy #2 to Stay No Contact with Your Ex: Paint Your Nails
If you’re anything like me, it takes Herculean effort and focus to paint your nails rather than your fingers!
Regardless of your gender, engaging your full attention and hands by painting your nails makes it almost impossible to keep scrolling through pictures of you and your ex or pick up your device to text. You don’t have to commit to your new look – that’s why there’s nail polish remover – you are simply distracting yourself long enough to not disrespect yourself by breaking your own boundary.
You can also substitute painting your nails for any other task that requires your hands and full attention like painting a room, woodworking, sewing, or cooking. However, if you’re cooking, please don’t use a device to look up recipes as this reinforces the temptation to contact your ex. Instead, use a cookbook – if you don’t have any at home please know your local library will have plenty to check out.
Strategy #3 to Stay No Contact with Your Ex: Engage in Healthy Decision Making
List all the pros/cons you can think of as to why you ended the relationship.
If you are having a hard time identifying the “cons,” you may try the following visualization. Imagine that you are wearing rose colored glasses when you think of this person. Now, imagine that you can remove these glasses. Take a deep breath. At this point, please imagine replacing these rose colored glasses with glasses that have clear lens – the clear part is important – and try writing this pros/cons list again.
Strategy #4 to Stay No Contact to Stay No Contact with Your Ex: Clear Your Ex’s Energy from Your Space
Firstly, if you have any of your ex’s old stuff, please either donate or mail their items back to them. You don’t have to text them that you have them. The emotional pain of seeing reminders around your place from your ex is probably quite clear.
However, we often don’t think consciously about how our clothes carry emotional energy and memories. To fully clear your ex from your space, try the KonMari method in your closet. To do this, take out every item of clothes in your closet and lay them out on your bed. Next, ask yourself if the item “sparks joy.” This may sound strange at first but, just ask yourself if the item makes you happy.
You may find that some of your clothes don’t spark joy – rather, they make you miss your ex by reminding you of the “good times.” Get rid of this item (unless it’s genuinely functional like a rain jacket and you need it) because it’s not worth the reminders of this person! You can donate these items, or if they are in good condition, you can sell them to a secondhand place like ThredUp. Bonus Points: You are both respecting yourself and helping the planet by giving your clothes a second life.
Strategy #5 to Stay No Contact with Your Ex: Get Away from Your Devices
Staying no contact requires you create new habits and eliminate temptation for a while. Putting away your devices whenever possible greatly helps with this. To support yourself further, take a mindfulness break.
If you feel safe taking a walk without your phone do so. Otherwise, just get outside – to your apartment’s common area, your backyard, your patio – and connect with nature. Notice the air outside and temperature. Take deep breaths. Practice mindfulness by counting how many trees or flowers you can see. Put your bare feet on the ground to earth.
To be mindful, you can also take a shower and feel the sensations of the water while you smell the aromas of your products. Playing with your pet can also help you get back to the present moment!
It is possible to stay no contact with your ex
I know that learning to honor your own boundaries, rather than giving into the fantasy of another person is hard. However, you are so capable of staying strong.
By staying no contact, you are strengthening your boundaries which is an act of self-love and self-respect. Furthermore, by keeping this self-commitment, you are allowing space for a healthy relationship to enter your life. Staying stuck in an on-again off-again cycle prevents a healthy partner from coming into your life.
On the other side of this hard work is self-love, better boundaries, and a healthy relationship with a truly compatible partner. You deserve keeping your commitment to stay no contact with your ex!
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About The Author, Krystal
Krystal Mazzola Wood, LMFT is a practicing relationship therapist with over a decade of experience. She has focused her entire career to empowering people to heal from unhealthy relationship processes. She teaches the skills and tools necessary to have a life filled with healthy and loving relationships.
This passion led her to write her best-selling books and create courses. Her books, The Codependency Recovery Plan: A 5-Step Guide to Understand, Accept, and Break Free from the Codependent Cycle and The Codependency Workbook: Simple Practices for Developing and Maintaining Your Independence have helped many people heal.
Her course, Confidently Authentic: Stop People Pleasing and Start Being True to Yourself, provides the skills necessary to have a healthy relationship. This course features over a year of relationship skills you would learn in therapy. Students share this course has been “life changing.”
Each week, she answers your relationship questions from a place of expertise and compassion. To submit your relationship questions, please DM us @confidentlyauthentic.com