I’ve never quite mastered the art of on-and-off-again relationships. Call me petty, but my exes are blocked the moment we decide we'd rather watch Stranger Things with rando Tinder matches than with each other...aka, we breakup.
Yes, I not only block their phone number, Snapchat, Instagram, and Venmo—but also their mother, their father, second cousins, and first grade teacher. This pretty much kills any chance of reconciliation from both me and my ex (who is maybe still waiting on his text to be "delivered").
This, my friends, is called the "no contact rule"—and honestly, it's helped me move on from all my past relationships (okay, more like situationships) relatively quicker than my friends who still text their exes "u up?" at 2 a.m.
"The 'no contact rule' is where you don't call, text, or message an ex in any way after the breakup. It includes not talking to their friends or family about them or the breakup itself," says dating and breakup coach Lee Wilson.
There's also no set timeline, either. If it works for you to have a month-long "no contact rule," do your thing. If you want to be like me and permanently cut them out of your life for good, go for it. "Do it as long as it takes," says Wilson.
That said, it can be effing hard to master this rule. It takes a lot of willpower and personal restraint—particularly if you see your ex at your favorite dive bar.
If you're considering giving it a shot, here's what seven women had to say about their experience with the "no contact rule," and why it might be your best bet at moving on:
- “This 100 percent helped me. I couldn’t go back to someone just because it was comfortable, or because things got hard. Had I not cut things off completely, I would have gone back to him—or at least kept talking to him.” —Sela, 24
- “I do it every time. Delete their numbers and unfollow them—no temptations! Suck out all the poison.” —Katie, 28
- “It definitely hurt more, but it allowed both of us to heal and grow without being tempted to fall back into things.” —Kate, 21
- “I completely cut him out of my life because I knew I couldn’t handle having only a fraction of him.” —Cassandra, 26
- “I'm currently trying it out, but it's not sticking. It's making it harder for me to move on. I was the one who suggested going a few months without talking, so I deleted his number and muted all his social channels. But every once in a while, he texts me and it confuses me. It definitely makes it harder to get over him, and every time he reaches out and we talk for a little bit, I feel like I'm starting over with my feelings." —Kiara, 24
- "I did it and it helped. By no longer letting him in, I was able to discover myself again." —Alex, 27
- "I chose to do the 'no contact rule' for six months because we wanted different things. It would've been very troublesome to stay in contact knowing that we wanted two different things. It hurt because it's hard to quit anything cold turkey, but it was a good choice because it showed me that I could be on my own and be happy without being in contact with him or having him be a part of my daily life.” —Kaley, 25
Now, if you just can't seem to delete (or block) your ex long enough before the frosé starts calling them again, that's okay—you're not alone. Try changing their name in your phone so you're reminded *exactly* what you're doing any time you pull up their contact.
"When you see your ex's name, it may still bring sadness to your life or quite literally make your heart flutter," says clinical psychologist Tricia Wolanin, PsyD. "That's why I recommend changing the name in your phone temporarily to 'pathetic asshole' or 'idiot.'"
Hey, whatever works to stop you from calling or texting, right? This will look a lot like your beginning to happiness—TRUST.