Today, I answer a reader’s question about whether her ex is thinking about her during no contact after a breakup.
I’m having a really hard time with no contact. My ex broke up with me 2 months ago.
I went NC 3 weeks ago and he hasn’t contacted me since. I feel like he doesn’t care about me anymore. I wonder if my ex is even thinking about me during no contact at all. It breaks my heart that he can just go on like nothing happened when we used to talk multiple times every single day.
I see on Facebook that he’s starting to date and this tears me up inside. Mutual friends say he seems happy. Does he even care that we’re broken up? I feel like he’s just going to forget all about me.
I really appreciate all of your email, it makes me feel like I’m not alone.”
Thanks for your email. I see a few things here in your breakup situation that are probably causing you more pain than necessary.
The first problem is, lots of people don’t truly “get” the purpose of no contact.
People treat “going no contact with their ex” as a trick that they are doing to get their ex to wake up and pine for them.
And, if you’ve gone no contact with your ex for this reason I don’t blame you for wanting to do something (anything) to feel in control again. It can seem like no contact puts you in the driver seat and can also feel powerfully self-protective.
But going no contact after a breakup (NC) is not mind control.
NC should not make you look over your shoulder wondering “WHEN” or “IF” your ex is going to pop up so that you can pat yourself on the back for “winning” and making them pine after you.
Thinking of no contact as a manipulation like this (even though it’s because you want your ex back) lends itself to a few serious problems that actually make it harder to get your ex back in the long run.
If/when your ex does not contact you during the time that you have designated as a no contact period, it’s easy to decide that no contact “doesn’t work” and get discouraged about making positive changes in your life at all.
Waiting around for your ex to do anything during NC is a problem within itself.
No contact is supposed to give YOU space to get yourself in order. If you’re looking at going no contact like your ex is a turkey that just needs time to cook and he’ll magically come back to you begging to see you after the time is up, you’ll fail at getting him back.
Bugging your ex all the time wasn’t working so well to get them back before you went NC, so breaking down and desperately contacting them isn’t exactly a healthy strategy either.
The point is to detach, NOT to look over your shoulder at your ex, daring them to come at you so you finally have power and control.
Unfortunately, looking at no contact as a trick you’re doing is a surefire way to feel even worse about the breakup and actually sabotage yourself completely.
You don’t go no contact because you’re trying to get a reaction from your ex.
You go no contact so that both of you have the emotional and mental space to heal from the breakup.
Especially if you follow the instructions in my coaching, you are not going no contact to magically jar your ex into a frenzied place of having to have you just by using no contact.
You’re going no contact with your ex to get time, space and perspective on the situation for both of you.
You go no contact to reinforce that you’re letting go and moving on without them.
Now, when I mention letting go and moving on, people freak out.
I completely get it, it feels like I’m saying that you have to get rid of a person you so dearly want to be with. But that’s not it.
What you have to let go of is your attachment to your ex.
Attachment is not love, it is the addiction undercurrent in any relationship. It’s the habit of being around someone. And, attachment is usually what makes people act as strangely as they sometimes do during breakups.
Attachment is also the root of all relationship problems. No contact is meant to break this unhealthy attachment so that the real love between both of you can shine through.
ESPECIALLY if you want your ex back, you must let go of this attachment for right now.
This doesn’t mean “stop loving your ex,” it means that you have to step back, rebuild, get your confidence back, and stop putting such monumental expectations and life or death significance on whatever your ex is doing.
That brings me to my second point. When I say “go no contact,” you have to ACTUALLY do no contact. This includes not checking up on their social media and not talking about them to your mutual friends about them.
When you’re all up in his business to the point where you’re hoping to control his thoughts– that’s NOT no contact.
Right now, you’re having trouble even controlling YOUR OWN thoughts and there you are, trying to dictate what he’s thinking about you and trying to place meaning on what IS/ISN’T happening with him.
“Ok, But What Is My Ex Thinking During No Contact?”
Your ex is most likely nursing a combination of hurt about the breakup just the same as you are.
Just because you haven’t heard from them does not mean that they don’t care about you or the relationship.
In fact, depending on the circumstances behind your breakup, they could be thinking about you quite often. The more they’re left alone to think about you, the more likely that your ex will break down and contact you.
If they DO contact you, be aware that this contact might not look like the grand gesture you could be hoping for. Your ex is not going to contact you only because you want him to.
Your ex has to want to get in touch with you.
Sometimes with space and distance, your ex will have the opportunity to think about you and want to talk to you.
And… isn’t that what you actually want?
Trust me, your ex thinks about you from time to time.
Be strong and hang in there,