Tips To Make Going No-Contact With An Ex Easier

There's no easy way to handle a devastating breakup. If you've recently come out of a long-term relationship, restructuring your life without the input of a partner can feel daunting and uncertain. Maybe you realized that your relationship was missing the crucial component of reciprocity, or you need to step back and learn how to improve and grow your communication style. Regardless of the reason, breakups are complicated, exhausting, and an art that must be mastered. More importantly, navigating post-breakup communication is essential for moving on, and that starts with going no-contact.

When you're in a relationship, communication is everything. There is no way to maintain a long-term romance without honesty, openness, and acceptance. If that's the case, then the no-contact rule should be necessary for breakups, where intimacy and vulnerability of communication are no longer at your ex-partner's disposal. It's not easy though — stepping back from someone you once shared everything with is a habit that must be broken, and that takes time and energy.

Most things that are good for you won't always feel so good, especially at the beginning. It can also feel exhilarating to break the no-contact rule in moments of crisis (like when you're drunk at the bar and thinking about them). If you're feeling all these things, you're not alone — we're here for you. We've also rounded up ways to make going no-contact with an ex much easier, rather than surviving solely off of friendly advice and a wine glass in hand.

Understanding the purpose of no-contact

The no-contact rule is a legitimately foolproof system, where you don't text, call, or otherwise reach out to your ex after a breakup. According to sex and grief expert Breeshia Wade, the no-contact rule allows you to "not plug up any holes or feelings of brokenness with someone else," she explained to Cosmopolitan. "[It] can help you properly acknowledge a loss and mourn it, and eventually create space for something new." By keeping your ex-partner's thoughts out of sight and mind, you're able to better move on from something on your own terms. Everyone's journey to healing their heartache is unique, but one thing we can all do is keep certain voices out (especially those who we are prone to listen to).

It can also be beneficial to block your ex entirely, especially if you're someone whose attachment style calls for incessantly checking up on them. For relationship coach Dr. Susan Trotter, it's the most effective way to keep from seeing them online (intentionally or by accident). "Doing so will keep you from obsessively checking your ex's social media to see what they're doing," she explained to Women's Health, telling readers that checking up on an ex "keeps you engaged in a way that will prolong the grief and keep you from moving forward more easily." If you're brutally honest with yourself, you may realize that keeping an ex around on social media is detrimental to you moving on. It won't be easy to block and cut them out, but it will undoubtedly be worth it down the line.

Setting boundaries with yourself and others

Fear not — there are actionable ways to practice the no-contact rule. If you're worried about an ex reaching out and pulling you back in, it may be helpful to let them know about your no-contact method. You can simply tell them, 'In order to move on from you, I can't hear from you and I'll have to block you on social media. This is best for me and my mental health.' Without needing to write the perfect explanation, you'll tell them what you're doing, why you're doing it, and how it will help you. Regardless of their answer, you've done your part. Now the real healing can start.

As Dr. Trotter advised, "Ask them to respect your boundary, and let them know that if they do reach out, you will not respond," she says. "Not because you don't care, but because it is the best way for you both to get over each other." When it comes to friends, setting boundaries to hold you accountable can also be beneficial. For example, not bringing your ex up in conversation or asking your friends to unfollow them on social media. It is likely that your supportive friend group has already taken the steps to cut your ex out of their lives, and it may bring you peace knowing nobody is in contact with them.

Dealing with emotional urges

One of the hardest parts about breakups — especially ones where you go no-contact — is dealing with the emotional urges of reaching out. It can be hard not to draft a text when you're missing them or wish you could ask for advice on something only they know about. On the other hand, your friends are there to support you for a reason, and the platonic nature of a friend's advice might be more effective than an ex-partner's. If you have access to health insurance, regularly seeing a therapist can also help you navigate some of the growing pains and emotional urges of a breakup. A therapist can give you the most objective and unbiased advice, while helping you find the answers to heal on your own.

It's important to combat these emotional urges by spending time with friends, family, and loved ones. You can also meet new people, like going on a coffee date with a new coworker or attending casual speed dating events. Sometimes our emotional urges develop because we're spending too much time alone and in our head, rather than freeing ourselves from the reigns of our mind and being more present. Other quick and actionable ways to regulate our emotional urges include going on daily walks, working out, journaling, or taking yourself out on a date. You never know what these experiences might bring.

How to not drunk text

Raise your hand if you've ever sent a drunk text on a night out. Spoiler — it's all of us. It can be hard not to think about them when you're out on the town or feeling happy for the first time in a while. If your inhibitions are loose from a night of drinking, it can be even harder to say no to the intrusive thought of sending a drunk text. One way to avoid drunk texting, or texting at all, is by putting your phone on airplane mode and setting it aside for the night. If you're not receiving messages, you may be less prone to sending one yourself.

We must also introduce the most daunting yet effective coping mechanism: deleting their number. It's scary, we know, but it's also a one-way ticket to moving on. Without their number on hand, you physically will not be able to text them, and even if you forget, their number won't be there to send whatever text draft you've written up. There are also multiple apps that put your phone on timeout when you're drunk, like Bacco, Virtual Bar, or Drunk Text Savior. Your friends can help you set these boundaries before you hit the town or start the party. Let them know when you're feeling vulnerable to sending a text, and make sure there's an action plan ready to go if you do.

What happens if you relapse?

If you end up reaching out to your ex, that's okay. It's normal and sometimes necessary to face mess-ups, especially freshly after the end of a relationship. If you end up sending a drunk message, allow yourself to be sober before following up. They may respond right away, but don't text back until you're in the right headspace. When you do wake up sober, send an honest apology letting them know that you were drunk, it was an accident, and you still demand time apart. Avoid virtue signaling by over-explaining what you were doing or how you ended up sending a drunk text — an explanation is not necessary, especially for the person on the other end.

It might also be a sign that deleting their contact information is essential to your healing, so you can avoid sending a regretful text the next time you're out. If you want to solidify the decision with your ex, you can let them know you're getting rid of their contact and don't want to make the same mistake. Sharing your intentions with your ex-partner — especially if you were with them for a long time — can help keep you accountable to your goals. In addition, they'll be more conscious of actions on their end and won't be likely to reach out to you. You'll learn how to trust yourself more with time, and will one day look back fondly on this distant memory.