You’ve probably heard this before, but going no contact after a breakup is the most vital step to healing.
It’s also the hardest thing to do because when you’re attached to someone, accustomed to having them in your life, and feel like they were an important piece of who you have become, it’s strange to not have them there. You miss them and you want them back. You now have a gap in your life that used to be filled by that person, and you feel that aching emptiness.
When a relationship ends, you have to go on a no-contact program for a minimum of 30 days—although I recommend longer. That means you don’t talk, text, email, drive by their house or job or check their social media. Do not attempt to jump from intimate relationship to friendship right after a breakup because it’s just not likely to happen. One or both of you are bound to have lingering feelings and the “friendship” will just keep you hanging onto hope.
It also delays the healing process because breaking up triggers grief responses and if you don’t allow yourself to go through it, you’ll stay stuck there. Immediately after the breakup is official, make your “No Contact Rule” clear. Tell your ex not to contact you for any reason for at least 30 days. If they do, do not engage. If they insist, block them. It’s really that serious.
Why no contact? Well, experts have determined that it takes about 28 days to make or break a habit. Every time you go back for “just a taste” you interrupt the healing process and have to start over. If that’s not enough of a reason for you, there are neuropsychological reasons for No Contact as well, especially for women.
When a woman connects with someone, she releases a chemical called oxytocin, which is known to help create bonds. It’s present when a woman has sex, an orgasm, and during childbirth. Its entire purpose is to help a woman create deep connections with another person. While having oxytocin connections are good for long-term relationships, it’s bad when you are breaking up. It makes you see your ex in an extremely positive light and you biologically want to connect again.
To break those bonds takes time. Some studies suggest that it can take as long as 90 days for oxytocin to leave your body fully, so the longer you can stay away the better. Too many people try to bypass the healing that is necessary when a relationship ends, and they end up carrying that old relationship into the next one they have. It’s not fair to you, or your next partner to not have allowed yourself the proper time to heal and to fully eliminate those bonds.
Going no contact doesn’t mean you suddenly stop caring or suggest that you hate your ex. You may someday be friends and that is wonderful—if it’s done right and in a healthy way. It simply means that you care about yourself enough to give yourself the space to grieve and heal completely so you can move on in your life, a full, whole, and healthy individual without the lingering baggage from the past.
Author: Lisa Vallejos
Image: Flickr/Garry Knight
Editor: Travis May
Copy Editor: Danielle Beutell
Social Editor: Waylon Lewis