How Long Should I Go With No Contact With My Ex?

18 Apr

People often ask me: How long should I go with No Contact with my ex? And I have thought long and hard about what this question means. It’s a loaded question and from my experience with counseling people, I have found that there are several different meanings:

  1. How long should I go with No Contact with my ex before he/she realizes he/she wants me back? In this instance, the No Contact post-breakup rule is a ploy to manipulate the ex to get him/her to fall in love with them again. I think this stems from all of those books and websites that claim that you can win your ex back. What I say to that is – good luck. I can’t tell you how to get your ex back. I don’t subscribe to manipulation or games of any kind. Either way, manipulating anyone is a bad idea. So be careful if you go this route.
  2. How long should I go with No Contact with my ex before we can be friends again? Another loaded question, but I do think that if the intention is good – meaning you’re not trying to get him in bed or get back together with him – then you should wait at LEAST six months and even then, don’t do it until you have met someone else that has sparked your interest. It doesn’t mean to wait until you have a new boyfriend/girlfriend, rather it means wait until you get to a point where you have dated at least one or more people and can at least fantasize about someone other than your ex. Know that you have a life beyond your ex and be comfortable with that before you even bother trying to become friends with your ex.
  3. How long should I go with No Contact with my ex before I get my stuff back? In my book, The Breakup Workbook, I advise that if you’re not able to take your things with you (say, if you lived with him and moved out), then wait at least 2 weeks before you even try to contact him. This gives you 2 weeks to cry, fret, and get used to being by yourself again- and it gives him 2 weeks to cool off as well. The book even offers some exercises to do while you spend this period in mourning. Then when you have completed these exercises, you can meet him to get your stuff and get some closure (the exercises show how to do that). If you don’t have any stuff to get, you can still meet him after these exercises, or call him, or email him to get the closure that you need (especially if he dumped you via text or email). But then after you get both your stuff and your closure, rules 1 and 2 apply from that point forward.

Let’s face it, the one thing that will get you over your ex is time. And if you don’t give yourself time to heal and regress constantly by talking to him – email, texting, IM, etc – then the longer it will take you to heal.

For more “No Contact” tips, get The Breakup Workbook from or today!


Feel better! -MJ

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11 Responses to “How Long Should I Go With No Contact With My Ex?”

  1. Jenny April 19, 2009 at 7:13 PM #

    Good advice. I made the mistake of keeping in contact with my ex…only to discover that when he started dating someone a month later I about hada nervous breakdown. I should have stayed away.

  2. MJ August 11, 2009 at 12:42 AM #

    This is by far the widest read article on this blog. So if you have comments, I would love to hear them. Also, don’t forget that if you would like advice for your situation, you can email me at Or, if you’ve purchased The Breakup Workbook, check out our forum at

  3. heartbroken July 22, 2011 at 9:16 AM #

    My ex of 5 years has asked we remain friends 3 months after breaking up, she has a new girlfriend but i am still stuck with wanting her back, should i become friends or should i just leave it be :-(

    • Steve P. October 19, 2011 at 6:02 AM #

      Just let it go. It’s a knee jerk reaction after a breakup when people want to remain friends. Let go and move on.

      • M October 19, 2011 at 12:14 PM #

        Steve. So easy to say. Way less easy to do.

  4. Jax August 22, 2011 at 10:20 AM #

    It may sound crazy, but keeping your distant is the best choice of action for getting back together with an ex. It gives you time to work up on yourself and for your ex to miss you.

  5. Steve P. October 20, 2011 at 12:35 AM #

    M. I understand that it is not easy but in order to move on with your life sometimes letting go is an essential element to emotional recovery. You must think about yourself and your needs first. People talk about wanting to be friends, especially if they are the dumper. It’s a way of having you in their life while slowly letting go. If you want someone to see you in an emotional light, then being friend is not an option.

    All being friends does is prolong the agony of the relationship if you are the one who is the most emotionally invested. What it boils down to is the same relationship minus the intimacy. It’s like getting a demotion in the romance department. You get to sit on the sidelines and watch as your former lover goes off to do whatever they want with whomever they want. Is that what you really want? No use to get upset, after all you agreed to be friends.

    • M October 20, 2011 at 11:27 AM #

      Steve. That’s sweet. I’m actually the author of this entire blog and The Breakup Workbook. I feel like it’s so easy for someone to just say, “Let it go,” which is why I responded the way I did. I actually am not friends with any of my ex’s…except the guys I used to date when I was in highschool and that was long, long ago! I appreciate you sharing your advice with others. Thank you.

      • Steve P. October 23, 2011 at 7:11 AM #

        Thanks for taking time to respond to my message. I was unaware you were the owner of this blog. Kudos to you and your book. I’m not a relationship expert(I just play one on the internet)but I’ve had life experiences to teach me and I do a lot of reading.Honestly the way you replied to me seemed more like and old friend instead of a stranger.

  6. Jeff September 25, 2012 at 5:04 PM #

    The thing I have the most difficulty with is that I don’t want to regret not going after her, like maybe she wants you to go after her and is waiting for you to put yourself out there and be totally vulnerable. And the longer you wait to do it, or if you never do it, then the more time she has to forget about you and move on. I think about her all day, every day. We were gonna adopt a dog about a month before she broke up with me, now I don’t even want to because it will remind me of her more. This sucks!!

    • M September 25, 2012 at 5:20 PM #

      All of this advice has to do with actually moving on from someone and getting over them. If you’re thinking of getting her back, by all means, go for it! But if you get shut down, then try this advice. No sense in just cutting off all contact if you think you can be vulnerable and go after her and get her back – and that is what you want to do. Go for it, kid!

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