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You’re trying to break a bond with someone and you know you need to stop talking to them.
But how long for no contact to work? You might see varying suggestions online, so how do you know which to follow or what will work for you?
If you’re dealing with outside influences, you might be experiencing a narcissist reaction to no contact.
In this guide, we’re covering everything you need to know about the no contact rule. We’ll discuss why it’s helpful and the 3 stages to success. Finally, we’ll explain why the “how long for no contact” question will have a different answer by person.
What is the No Contact Rule?
The no contact rule is exactly what it sounds like—a rule that you contact someone for a certain period of time. This is usually a person who is toxic in your life and who you feel a strong pull toward. This could be an ex romantic partner, friend or even family member.
No contact includes no method of communication. No texting, calling, emailing, or Facebook messaging. Forget carrier pigeons too. This also includes not trying to bump into your ex in person. If you do accidentally bump into them, you can make small talk and be kind, but don’t linger. Treat them more as an acquaintance than a friend until your feelings have died down.
Although keeping no contact can be difficult, the goal is that we release attachment from them. After that period, we’ll be less affected by them. At that time, we can reevaluate whether we’d like them in our lives to a lesser extent or not at all.
Think about it like breaking an addiction cold-turkey. Actually, that’s what science actually shows. Research has linked break up cravings to the same areas of the brain that are activated in drug addiction. Like any addiction, the automatic want can be broken with time.
No contact can last for a week, a few months or a year. In some situations, it doesn’t ever end. As opposed to one standard “no contact rule,” you should customize it to what’s healthy for you.
3 Stages: How to Go No Contact
There’s a few stages to go no contact.
The first step to going no contact is setting yourself up for success. Consider where you have connections with them and change it up.
- Delete them off all social media— Yep, everything. Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
- Possibly block them— if you can’t trust yourself to not cyber stalk them, block them. Research shows that checking up on an ex online is associated with distress. (Read: The Science Of Facebook Breakup Creeping: 7 Secret Facts).
- Delete their number— It’s going to be hard to text them if you don’t have their number. Also, stop being sneaky, don’t write down their number “just in case” before you delete it.
- Get rid of their things— You don’t want an excuse to contact them or for them to contact you. Give them their stuff ASAP. If you need to, leave it outside their home so you don’t need to speak with them.
- Consider telling them— Let’s say you’ve been chatting with your ex daily since the breakup. It’s a good idea to tell them you plan to go no contact. You don’t want them filing a missing person’s report or worrying them. Be kind and explain that you need to stop communicating for your own healing. On the other hand, if the silence is assumed, you won’t need to tell them.
- Get rid of memories— Getting rid of memories isn’t necessary for no contact. But it’s a good idea that will prepare you to withstand the pain of the last stage. If you don’t have triggers to think of them, you’ll be less likely to want to contact them.
- Consider re-routing— Is there a place where you’re likely to bump into them? Consider changing your routine around them. Go to a different coffee shop or grocery store for your no contact period.
The second step is to avoid and ignore communication.
From your end, you’ll need to avoid reaching out through any method. If you share common locations, stick to your plan to reroute.
If the person reaches out to you, don’t text back or pick up their calls. If there’s a reason you must contact the person over some things (i.e. kids or work), remind them to only talk to you about those things.
#3 Fighting Contact Urges
No contact is an effective way to get over someone. Instead of slowly weaning yourself off of someone, a blunt cut can get the job done quicker. Also, a slow drop of communication might not work at all. You could end up getting back with them or remaining separated with enhanced feelings—creating agony.
Still, this doesn’t mean no contact is easy. The fact we have to do it implies it will be difficult. Think about it: if we didn’t have a bond with a person, we could cut easily and not think about it. We wouldn’t have to go no contact.
When it gets tough and you really want to contact the person, have a list of tools available. Perhaps you text someone else, “window shop” on your dating app, read a book, scroll TikTok, etc. Have a list of distractions prepared.
Also, consider what’s causing the craving. Get real about it. Is it boredom? Consider a hobby. Is it a need to be social? Hang out with a friend. Are you secretly attempting a booty call? Get busy with yourself. Are you getting emotional and miss them? Have a cry session with your mom or write in a journal.
How Long for No Contact?
Ultimately, it’s up to you how long you want to go no contact. If you research other people’s suggestions, they will all vary. Instead of relying on someone else’s advice, consider your own situation.
There’s a few factors in how long you go no contact for:
- The level of attachment—If you have a strong attachment to them, it will probably be harder to break. This usually requires more time with no contact to get over them.
- Your personal level of attachment— Along with your attachment to the person, you should also consider your personal attachment level to others. What’s your attachment style? Anxious people who crave attachment might take longer to detach than someone with an avoidant attachment style.
- How manipulative they were— If a person is manipulative, they might be able to convince you to get back with them. If that’s true, no contact should stay for longer so you’re less likely to be swayed by their charm.
- How much you love them— If you love someone, you can let them go, but it doesn’t mean it’s easy. These are the hardest relationships to get over. That requires more space. A summer fling might not need as long.
- How attached the other person is— While we’re busy thinking about how we feel, we must consider how the other person feels about us. Even if they were the ones to call it quits, they might be more attached to us. This should factor into your decision. No contact for 1 month might work for you, but could be too short for your ex or friend.
Consider the combination of these factors. How long for no contact with this in mind? Would a shorter or longer period be more appropriate?
No Contact Shorter than 1 Month or Shorter
No contact for one month or shorter probably isn’t a good idea. The aim behind this rule is that you break a habit a bond. A mere 30 days may not be long enough for that to happen.
Consider another thing: are you choosing a shorter period of no contact so you can talk to them sooner? If so, that’s a pretty good sign you should actually choose a longer no contact period.
In some situations though, a shorter no contact period could be appropriate. For example, let’s say you dated someone you liked, but didn’t super like. After breaking up, you’re bummed, but not super bummed. Taking some space before talking again is a good idea, but you might not need months because the connection isn’t that deep. Remember to consider how attached the other person is though.
No Contact for 2 Months
A common suggestion is to go no contact for 2 months or 60 days. This is a lengthy enough period that you’ll get used to day to day life without them. That’s 8 weeks—or 8 weekends—without your ex, best friend, etc.
Are you someone who has a “mild” time getting over people? This might be the right length of time to choose. Or, if the relationship was shorter or less deep, 2 months may be appropriate.
No contact for 2 months could also be the right choice if you need to talk to the person. For example, let’s say that, inconveniently, your ex is your co-worker. Although you can go months without speaking to them, it’s not ideal for the workplace or your job. In this case, 2 months can be enough to get you started, but not enough to affect the workplace permanently.
If you have kids with your ex, no contact for 2 months might be the most realistic. Although you’d like to go longer, you might need to attend shared events for the sake of your children.
Again, the key here is to be honest with yourself. Do you actually need to talk to them? Or are you making up excuses to talk? Sometimes, we may even make up excuses subconsciously. For example, let’s say that you never used to attend your child’s hockey game because your partner goes. But now you want to join in to. Is your new urge really about your child or is it about your ex?
No Contact 3 Months
No contact for 3 months is a good idea for many long-term relationships. A deeper connection means that you’ll want more time to break the bonds. Any communication with them during this time can give you hope or re-infuse the love.
If you’re recently out of a long-term relationship where you loved each other, consider waiting about 3 months before trying to become friends. Even though you may be amicable, you don’t want to chance getting into each other’s pants again. You need to start seem them in a new light; as a friend instead of a romantic partner.
If you’ve recently broken up with your best friend, you probably want to wait a few months before inviting her in even as an acquaintance. It can be hard to break the connection between two good friends, especially if you’ve known each other for a long time. Yet, if it’s the healthy thing to do, a no contact 3 months rule might be the best way to do it.
No Contact 1 year
When considering how long for no contact, remember there’s no maximum length.
The option of a no contact 1 year goal is great for those who are deeply heartbroken. If you’re someone like me, you love hard. That means connections are harder to break, even when it’s the right thing to do. No contact for 2 months doesn’t really work for us. Our feelings are so strong that even one conversation can bring back the memories. Sometimes, this can lead to us getting back with our exes. But then we need to deal with the disappointment all over again.
Sensitive souls often require a no contact rule of at least one year. This is also true for deep, meaningful relationships. For example, maybe you normally get over people quickly, but since you really loved this person, you’re having a horrible time with it. This typically translates into a longer no contact rule.
No contact for 1 year is also an appropriate option if you’ve been lifelong friends with someone and are cutting them off. Since they’ve been there through the cycles of life, you might want at least one round around the sun to release those.
No Contact Forever
Some situations are so deep or toxic that no contact shouldn’t be a rule, it should be a lifestyle. Cutting someone off doesn’t need to be a short-term habit, it can be a long-term practice.
Turning down their calls, ignoring texts and avoiding their favorite places might need to become a way of life. This is a good idea for someone who hurt you so badly that even the sight of them is painful. Other times, the person might have been abusive or toxic. If someone is manipulative, staying away from them forever could be the best choice
You don’t need to start no contact with the goal of forever. Maybe you only plan on avoiding them for 2 months but you feel so much better that you want to prolong it. Do what feels right for you.
Narcissist Reaction to No Contact
When considering how long for no contact, remember that it’s your decision. Another person’s attachment to you may prolong the no communication period. However, it should never shorten it if it’s against your needs.
If you’re trying to take space from someone and they’re convincing you to shorten the period, stand your ground. This is your life. You know what’s healthy and what relationships you need.
This is often a narcissist reaction to no contact. Normal people might not agree with your decision to go with no contact, but they should ultimately respect you. The narcissist doesn’t. They will try to manipulate you into have a shorter period of no contact or forgoing it altogether.
They will protest the idea of communicating less, blaming you. When you outline the benefits of logical reasons, they can’t come to terms with the facts. More importantly, they don’t care about how you feel. They don’t want you to break your bond because they want to keep manipulating you.
In these times, they might gaslight you into thinking no contact is a bad idea. Or that the reason you need to do it is your fault. Gaslighting can be confusing, so try to remain firm in your decision to no contact this person. You can get closure without communication.
Summary: How Long for No Contact, 3 Months? 1 Year?
Going no contact is a good method to help you get over someone and sever a bond, whether a friend or ex romantic partner. This period requires you to avoid all communication, even when it becomes difficult.
The no contact rule should be amended to what you feel is right for you. Many wonder, “how long for no contact to work?” But the truth is that it depends on you and your situation. Use the tips above to evaluate how long you should go no contact for. If you’re having trouble choosing how long the period should be, it might be the narcissist reaction to no contact. Remember that this is your personal decision to make.