When and How to Initiate No Contact
When to initiate no-contact is easy: IMMEDIATELY. If your ex- broke up with you, IMMEDIATELY go into no-contact mode. Any contact you have will make it worse.
The longer you engage in the begging/bargaining phase, the longer it’s going to take you to heal… and most likely, the less respect you’ll have for yourself when it’s all over.
You don’t need to announce a policy of no-contact. Your ex- broke up with you. That’s it. Starting from that point, everything is about YOU. It’s about YOUR pain, YOUR healing, YOUR future, YOUR happiness, YOUR life.
The only thing you can control is yourself, so the focus is on YOU, not on your ex-. Your ex- isn’t in the picture anymore and there’s no obligation to say that you’ve blocked him/her out of your life. You don’t need to explain why you’re not in touch; anyone will understand.
No contact is for you;
not a strategy to get ex- back
I can’t repeat often enough: no-contact is for YOU. It’s not a strategy to make your ex- miss you and beg you to be back together again.
After a breakup, we all gain a virtually limitless ability to justify craziness. Readers who've shared their stories with me here often try to rationalize an announcement of no-contact because they think it'll be helpful for their own personal healing. Or they explain that it's to be good to the ex-: they "know" that the ex- will be very worried if there's not daily contact after the end of the relationship.
Readers themselves have written to me later to say that after a few months, they realized how laughable their excuses were. No one will admit it at the time, but later the truth is clear: the motive of the no-contact announcement is to get a reaction from the ex-, to gauge how the ex- feels, and see if the ex- is still thinking about them. The poor people who actually do follow through and send a no-contact announcement then spend the following minutes, hours, days and weeks waiting for a response from the ex-, hoping against hope that their massive and emotional no-contact proclamation which they labored over so carefully will trigger a grief-stricken plea from the ex- to reconcile.
But it never happens. You just end up wasting your time and hurting yourself more. It takes two to make a relationship, but just one to break it, and your ex- broke it. No-contact is not going to revive your relationship; it’s going to heal YOU.
Announcing that you are going no-contact also has the very high probability to be perceived by the ex- as game-playing.
Most people will see through your no-contact announcement and recognize it as a way to manipulate them, hurt them and try to make them miss you.
Even if you truly don’t have that intention, it will often be perceived that way anyway. And if and when you do break your own no-contact policy, you run the risk of looking pretty silly.
No announcement needed;
the ex- will understand
And if you really think about, it’s kind of odd to contact someone in order to announce that you’re not going to contact them. Actions speak louder than words: just stop contact. Let your ex- figure out that you’ve started no-contact, and let him/her deal with the void that it creates.
But even though it's not necessary, some people feel that a no-contact announcement can be helpful for your own healing. It’s a way of drawing a line in the sand, to force YOURSELF to recognize that it’s over, to show YOURSELF that you’re strong and will begin to live YOUR life for YOU immediately.
And it can be particularly helpful in a situation where your ex- continues to contact you after the breakup, pushing to see how you’re doing and trying to be “friends". You’re still in pain and recovering, and the worst thing for your healing is contact from your ex-. Announcing a no-contact policy will stop the unwanted contact and give you the space you need to heal.
So I don’t recommend it in most situations, but if you believe that it's important in your case to announce no-contact for yourself and for your own healing, then do it.
But whatever you do, don’t obsess over it: just do it quickly and don’t expect a response.
Short & impersonal
So if you do reach a decision to announce to your ex- a policy of no contact, then how do you do it?
You should be very clear to yourself that you're doing it for YOURSELF, and your message should reflect that in both its content and method of delivery. You don't want any response from your ex-; in fact, you should make sure before you send it that there's no way for the ex- to respond. There is no possible response from the ex- which could help you, so it's better for your own recovery to cut off in advance any possibility of a reply.
Your message should be very, very short and have absolutely nothing personal or sweet in it. No nicknames, no inside jokes, no references to things you've done together or places you've been together. It should leave no options open for responses, no questions, no open doors: after all, this is a message to say that you don’t want contact anymore.
And pretty obviously, it shouldn’t be in the form of a phone call; either SMS or email is best, because it’s a one-way communication to the ex- only.
An example could be: “Dear xxx. I’m going to be taking time for myself now, so I won’t be contacting you for a while or responding if you contact me. Best wishes."