Hello, Two X Chromosomes here, again.
If you’ve spent any time on this site, you know that one of the staples of the Ex Girlfriend Recovery program is the No Contact period. As a member of the private Facebook group, I can attest to the fact that No Contact WORKS. I’ve seen it happen time and time again.
One of the questions I see come up a lot is “How long should I do No Contact?” The Ex Recovery Program suggests either a 21-day, 30-day, or 45-day No Contact period. So. How long is it appropriate to “ignore” your exgirlfriend?
Some Common Fears
Every day, I see No Contact work its magic, but just as frequently, I see people doubt it.
“I don’t want him to forget about me.”
“I’m afraid he’ll move on”
“How will me not being in his life make him want to be with me again?
(You’ll have to forgive me; the majority of my interactions have been with women on the support group, not men).
These are all common fears to have. Your partner has just ended things with you, so it is your natural inclination to want to hold on tighter, afraid to let go. You figure if you stay on her radar, she’ll realize how much she needs you in her life and will come running back to your open arms.
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The key to having your ex miss you is to ignore her. Completely. It will drive her crazy. Women like being chased, so when you cease chasing her, she’s going to get very confused. And then annoyed. And then worried. Why aren’t you texting her incessantly? You’re supposed to be heartbroken and missing her like crazy!
So, today we’re going to talk about how long you should ignore your exgirlfriend for during the No Contact period, depending on your circumstances.
If You Ended the Relationship
Now, even if you were the one to pull the plug on the relationship, you should still employ the No Contact period.
Why? Because you likely hurt your exgirlfriend’s feelings deeply, in addition to wounding her ego. And sure, women take some time to watch inspiring romantic comedies and cry into a pint or two of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, but then they start talking to their friends. They start remembering all of the times that you were a not-so-great boyfriend. And they get angry. Quickly.
You’re going to want to give her some time to cool down.
If you broke up with your ex, the No Contact period is important because it will give her that time to process her feelings about the breakup. And you need that time as well! You need that time to get your head on straight and assess if this relationship is what you really want. The last thing you should do is win your ex back, only to break up with her again a few weeks later. She deserves better than that.
If you broke up with her, I would say that you should do a 21 or a 30 day No Contact period, depending on how ugly the breakup was. If your girlfriend begged or promised things would change, you have a fair shot at getting her back pretty easily, so 21 days may suffice. If you broke up with her, you already have a pretty good shot of getting her back, so the minimal No Contact time should work for both of you to act as a cool down period. Take the 21 days to keep her on her toes and get your head on straight to confirm that a relationship with her is what you really want.
30 days is a pretty standard period of time for run-of-the-mill breakups (though I know your situation feels anything but run-of-the-mill). But if there was some crying, minimal begging, not a whole lot of anger, 30 days should do the trick for you. This period of time allows her to miss you, but not enough time for her to fully get over you. It’s a good, solid period of time.
Now, if you said some really hurtful things during the breakup, or if there was a lot of drama, then I would say consider a 45-day timeframe, though I think those instances are relatively unlikely. That’s pretty much the only instance that I would recommend a 45 day No Contact when you were the one to end the relationship. And in that case, I’d write an apology letter/email before entering No Contact. Don’t be a dick. If you said hurtful things, apologize, but then disappear and give her time to reflect.
If you initiated the breakup, you already have the upper hand and a pretty good shot of getting her back. But please take the No Contact time to assess what you want so you don’t drag this poor girl along on a ride. Take the time to figure out how bad your breakup was on a scale of 1-10. If you feel like it falls between a 1-3, do 21 days. If you feel like it’s between a 4-7, do 30 days. And if it was really bad, and between an 8 and a 10, do 45 days. Realistically, though, if you ended it, the 21 or 30 days should do the trick. Use your own discretion, or reach out to a member of the Ex Recovery Team to get their opinion on your situation.
If She Ended the Relationship
No Contact, No Contact, No Contact! It is one of the things that people continuously credit for getting their ex’s back. Your ex is used to having you in her life. Therefore, she needs to get a taste of how bland her life will be without you in it.
But how long should you ignore her for?
I’d say if she broke up with you, I’d almost always go for 30 days minimum. There are probably rare occasions where you could do the 21 day period, but I think the 30-day and 45-day No Contact periods are probably most effective if she was the one to break up with you.
If the breakup was messy, like if there was yelling, or lots of crying or cheating involved, default to doing 45 days. You both need time to cool off emotionally. But for almost any other situation, 30 days should suffice.
Remember, if you hit the 30-day mark and you feel like you’re not ready or need more time, feel free to extend by a few days. However, it is never a good idea to go over the 45-day mark, and we’ll talk about why a little later.
The Pros of No Contact
Breakups are hard for both parties. So whether she broke up with you, or you broke up with her, you’ll both need some time to come to a more stable place separately. No Contact gives you space from your ex to gain some perspective on the relationship – maybe you’ll come to realize you and your ex weren’t a good match and you won’t want to get her back after all.
No Contact also acts as a great reset period. Emotions run high at the time of a breakup. This period gives your ex time to miss you and all the good things about your relationship, but it also gives you the time to focus on yourself. We let things slide in relationships. We gain weight, stop doing things we were once passionate about, stop going out and having fun with friends. We tend to let our world revolve around out partner, which can be stifling. You want to become the person that your ex fell in love with a long time ago.
In Lover’s Walk, a season 3 episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Spike comes back to Sunnydale after he was dumped by his vamp girlfriend, Drusilla. After processing a lot of vampire emotions and kicking the butts of some demons, Spike changes his tune from that of sad, depressed vamp to confident and cool:
“I want Dru back, I just gotta be the man I was, the man she loved.”
Of course, then he goes on to say:
“I’m going to do what I should have done in the first place: I’ll find her, wherever she is, tie her up and torture her until she likes me again.”
(Don’t do that…Not without consent, anyway).
There is truth to that. Your ex loved you for a reason. I advise making two lists: One of the things your ex liked about you, and one of the things your ex found annoying or lacking about you. Work on both lists. Show your changes off on social media. This is one of the things you should be doing during No Contact. Tackle both the things your ex liked about you, and the things that she didn’t like so much about you.
When she sees how well you’re doing, it will start to eat at her. She’ll start to question how much she and the relationship meant to you if you were able to bounce back so quickly. She’ll start to see what she let go, and regret will likely start to seep in.
No Contact works. It works because when you focus on making yourself the best you can be, it attracts other people. And ultimately, if you’re doing things to better yourself, you can’t go wrong. You’ll be a better person for your ex, or the next girl who comes along. But more importantly, you’ll be a better person for yourself, and that is what counts most of all.
Embrace No Contact. She won’t forget about you, and even if she moves on physically, it is highly unlikely she’ll be able to move on emotionally so quickly. Take the 21, 30, or 45 days to throw yourself into doing things that make you happy.
The 45 Day Mark
People are habit forming. But habits can be broken. This is why the Ex Recovery Program says that you should never go over 45 days. It’s around that time that your ex will start getting used to your absence. You want to hit that sweet spot of time when your ex has forgotten a lot of the negative aspects of the relationship, but where they still miss you. It is during this time that you have the best chance of resetting your relationship and beginning something more positive with her.
It can be scary to reach out, especially if you’re feeling so good after your No Contact period. That is why it is so important to have crafted the perfect First Contact Text. You can read more about that here.
Ignoring Your Ex, An Overview
So you have three options: 21 days, 30 days, or 45 days. Which one you choose will depend on who broke up with who, and how bad the breakup was on a scale of 1-10. However, as mentioned, you should never go over the 45-day mark.
But more important than the length of your No Contact period is how you utilize it. You can’t just sit there waiting for the time to pass. You absolutely have to take action to better yourself. If you stopped working out when you got comfortable in your relationship, do that. If your ex didn’t like that you didn’t cook, take some cooking lessons. If you always wanted to learn how to play the drums, sign up for coaching!
No Contact is what you make it. This time is very valuable – not just for getting your ex back, but also for improving yourself in ways that will make you happier in the long run. Relationships will come and go, over time. At the end of the day, you’ve only got you, which is why you should utilize No Contact to get as comfortable in your own skin as possible. If it attracts your exgirlfriend back, great! If not, though, you’ll be a better person for the next lucky lady, and more importantly, you’ll be happy with yourself.
(Written by Rachel)