the no contact ruleThe No Contact Rule is the essential guide to breaking up when you can’t or won’t let go, or you’re tired of being treated like a backup plan.

When a relationship ends, your interest isn’t returned, or you’re dealing with a commitment-shy person, the sense of rejection that results tends to cause us to continue to engage with them for attention and validation in the hope of a happy ending. Instead we create more pain for ourselves and are unable to move on.

Have you found yourself unable to let go of a relationship even though the person has already moved on?

Are you hoping that if you hold on for long enough, the object of your affections will reciprocate your feelings?

Do you keep breaking up to make up? Have you been doing it for years?

Do you become near obsessed when it’s over and keep returning to the relationship in the hope that things will be different this time?

Or have you found yourself dealing with someone who keeps trying to contact you when you tell them it’s over…but is not prepared to give you the relationship you want?

Confused by being chased, the mixed signals, the hounding you with texts and phonecalls and then disappearing, the leaving you for one woman and then sniffing around you, and their patent inability to let you go so that you can grieve and move on?

Does he keep talking about being friends but is pushing for sexual contact?

Is he not interested in you in ‘that way’ but you keep trying to persuade him?

Do you avoid him for a while and then call him out of the blue hoping that he’ll be different?

Wondering how you can continue working together or how you can get him out of your hair when you share children?

Inject boundaries so you can kill off the yo-yoing and boomeranging back and forth so that you can move on.

***Update: 24th April – I have replaced the previous video as the Facebook link wasn’t working.

Breaking up by cutting contact is the extremely effective way of teaching someone that it’s over through actions instead of what they perceive to be empty words. It communicates that whatever terms have been enjoyed previously are now over.This detailed comprehensive survival guide provides all the info you need to understand what no contact is, why it’s necessary and effective, what they’re thinking, dealing with the feeling of rejecting breaking your pattern and understanding your compulsion, dealing with NC with co-workers or the parent of your child, how to stay the course, and get onto rebuilding your life so that you can move on.

The No Contact Rule will stop you from ruling out all your options by fighting the compulsion to make him, the relationship, and your pain the only option.

Chasing someone who doesn’t love you back, or want you in the way that you want them, or recognise your value is exhausting. Get your energy, your sanity, your self-esteem and your power back, so that you can live.

Buy and download your copy now via e-junkie for £15 (approx $22.55, euro 18 – it converts to your currency automatically at the checkout).

***DISCOUNT CODE OFFER*** Use the code DONTCALLME to get 20% off until the end of June.

Using my own experiences and those of readers, I’ve written The No Contact Rule ebook to help you gain back your power and help you avoid and minimise the opportunities for people to abuse your boundaries, or for you. If you’ve had a history of dealing with emotionally unavailable men and guys that mistreat you, this acts as a companion to my other ebook Mr Unavailable and The Fallback Girl, which is a no holds barred guide to understanding the dynamics of the most prolific type of relationship in modern times. Find out more or you can purchase both of them together in a bundle for £26 (normal price for the 2 is £34).

Who Am I? I (Natalie Lue also known as NML) am the founder of Baggage Reclaim which I use to help empower people so that they can have healthier relationships, both with themselves and out there in the crazy world of dating and relationships. With over 120K readers a month, through my blog posts, ebooks, and also working one-on-one with readers, I’ve used my experiences and my insight into the dynamics of modern day relationships to help people make positive change.

I’m not a psychologist or psych anything. I’m someone who used to have poor taste in men and thought I was having a run of bad luck until I got real with myself and recognised that I was the only common denominator in my relationships and that I had my own issues with commitment and emotional unavailability. That journey has been shared through my blogs and many men and women have used it to get real with themselves so that they can be accountable for their own choices.

If you are a blogger/media owner and would like to review the book for your publication, please email your details, including where the review will be appearing and approximately when you expect it to appear – natalie [at]baggagereclaim.co.uk

Natalie Lue is the founder and writer of Baggage Reclaim and author of the books Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl, The Dreamer and the Fantasy Relationship and more. Learn more about her here and you can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter – @baggagereclaim .

Natalie (NML) – who has written posts on Baggage Reclaim by Natalie Lue.


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28 Responses to The No Contact Rule

  1. RandomlySane says:

    lol…i’ve deleted phone numbers and then talked myself into being “mature” and putting it back in again with a couple of guys…not a good thing at all – it really does help when you can’t even see their name in your phonebook…

  2. Brad K. says:

    Chris, Your friends likely keep telling you for two reasons. First is that you listen. Nothing kills a topic of conversation than no one being interested in listening.

    Second is that gossip is fun, juicy gossip is more fun, and gossiping to a vicarious party, well almost anyone will fall for that one. However, I consider gossip to be one of the true social evils. Nothing good can come from it. Gossip is an act of disrespect, toward your self and toward others.

    I wouldn’t explain to your friends that you don’t want to hear anything. Remember the ‘fine line between love and hate’, and Shakespeare’s ‘thou protesteth too much’. Just don’t listen.

    My thought is that breaking off a relationship is a little death (in Tarot terms), a clearing away of the previous life to make room for change. Grief isn’t just about losing a loved one to death, we go through the same physical, emotional, and mental losses when we *choose* to ‘lose’ a partner. The denial, anger, acceptance cycles all run just the same. Think of keeping contact with the departed ex as keeping a dead beloved cat in the living room. After a day or two it isn’t just disgusting, it is morbid (fascination with the dead). Instead heal. Wait for your life to settle in a new direction. Be kind to yourself and others, and pick a more positive path to follow.

  3. Chris says:

    That’s right… delete phone numbers and e-mail addresses. It’s so easy to let yourself be sucked back into his games again! And for me the NO INFORMATION THROUGH FRIENDS-rule is a very good one. For some reason my friends are filling me in on his whereabouts, and to be honest, that’s just too much information for me… I’d like to know.. but just ignoring his existence makes it that much easier for me to let go. So not only tell your friends not to mention your private things to your ex, but also ask them not to mention his name or any other information they might think of as usefull to you ever again (unless of course you start the conversation… because I’m sure there will be times you want to go on and on about him LOL)

  4. CJ says:

    I agree that following the no contact rule is a good idea. After recently going through a divorce at only age 29, I stepped into another bad relationship 2 years later. The strength that I had showed during my divorce, somehow escaped me during this next relationship. It took me a while but I realized that pain is sometimes the biggest motivator to changing our patterns and bad choices. I started to analyze how this new relationship was affecting me negatively and for the same reason I wouldn’t sticka needle in my eyeball … I didn’t need to be with someone who was only about himself. I put my foot down, and haven’t looked back. It was very difficult, but you have to ask yourself which is worse- being alone? Or wishing you were?

  5. vw says:

    I got dumped by my BF,6 wks ago, he wants to be friends. I requested the no contact rule so i could heal. But he still brought a b-day card to my mail box (9 days early) with our pet names on the outside and no writing inside, also trivial one line emails. When at first i would call he wouldnt answer his phone, hes said hes seeing someone else, my question is why is he trying to maintain this benign “friendship” instead of just walking away. Its very painful and confusing… Any suggestions appreciated. I even asked his sister , and she said no contact and i told him no contact and hes the one that broke up. and still tries to keep contact. Im so confused.

  6. Brad K. says:

    vw

    Emails — contact your ISP, ask to blacklist his email address. Some email programs will let you do this.

    At some point lingering, unwanted contacts slip over the line. Instead of being uncomfortable or social blunders, they become signs of stalking and risk of violence. It is better to get legal advice early. Have a lawyer or policeman send a registered letter to ‘cease and desist’. Keep copies of everything.

    Scott Adams on ‘The Dilbert Blog’ usually goes off the chart into outrageous. A couple of weeks agom though, he mentioned a friend that makes a living protecting women being stalked. The friend claimed the only way to break the stalking was to scare the stalker into pursuing someone else.

    I would recommend no contact to include all of his family, regardless of the reason. We don’t care why he is acting out. We only want it to stop. He is acting badly, violating your space, and threatening you (“See, I still know where you live, I can make you think of me any time I want”, yada, yada).

    You might have cause to file a criminal complaint. Ask a lawyer. Asking him any ‘why’ questions are inappropriate. You engage in dialogue and debate with people you respect and trust. At this point he sounds as wound up as a street person that was kicked out of a mental ward.

    If you do have to move to escape this bozo, be really careful to make a clean break — no one that he knows, including your workplace, can know where you move. Or plan on one or two short-term (2 months max) intermediate moves.

    Sometimes I think the No Contact Rule can break or some of these stalking cycles. Whether it does or not, it is certainly safer for you.

    Good luck, and blessed be.

  7. michelle says:

    I beleive he is just being selfish and self-centered. You are plan B. If things don’t work out with this girl, he will come to you for comfort, company, sex, etc. Until another girl comes along. Then you drop down to plan B again. Some guys will treat women this way…… especially if they allow it. Good Luck.

  8. Leon Shaw says:

    I was in a relationship with another male that lasted just under 4 years. I found this person to be a very controlling,cheating,decietful,coldhearted, lieing prick. He called it off, and as we were living together, I had to move out. I moved to another state in Australia. He brought me down here, and although we had split, he was still all over me like a rash. He left me here after 2 days and returned back to Sydney> He cried before he left and even mentioned about a long term relationship. I just wanted to hold him and be there for him and return back to Sydney with him. Anyway 3 weeks later he was dating and screwing someone else, which lasted for about 3 months, until the guy moved back to the UK. Then after a month later my ex started dating someone else and is now still with them 4 months later. I just find this cold and heating for a person of his age. At 46 he should not be going from relationship to relationship, but he has done this all his life. He says that sex is scoring is more important than anything. I wish to warn gay men out there all about this guy and he is bad news. Also he has a sexually transmitted diease that he tells no one about when he sleeps with them and he loves to bareback and I am sure he has given this to alot more guys who dont know it was him. Also inb the first 3 months of starting a relationship with me, he played up on me with 2 other guys. And 1 is now hiv+. He put me through so much with that. I am clear and still remain neg. Which is good. But he does not care about the well being of others. He is selfish and as long as he has a arse to screw he is happy. Watch out for him Sydney. He is bad news.

  9. Rach says:

    Hi, Love your blog so much and a great help to me. I’m just out of a 2 year relationship that I have walked away from before and stuck by the no contact rule. We have always ended up together again but this time is different as I have no sexual or emotional attraction to him anymore. However, we share a dog, work together in an office of just us, and I am finding it impossible to keep the no contact going as our lives are firmly entwined on work and dog level. We both want to move on and he knows I am sort of seeing someone else and appears cool with that. Help! Our contact is stopping me from moving on fully
    Rach

  10. Brad K. says:

    Rach,

    Give him the dog. Your emotional bond to the dog is keeping you emotionally involved with him.

    We often lose pets, eventually, and as long as he goes to a good home you will have an easier parting than many people that lose a beloved pet.

    By being the one to give up the dog, you signal your intent to let the past go as well. Apart from the loss of a close companion, you may feel some relief from the bonds to your former (shared) life with him.

    Give yourself a couple of months to recover from losing the pet before picking up another, unless maybe you get a goldfish or gourami in a bowl. Aquarium fish don’t share a life in quite the same way, but can be a living thing that needs you, that lends life and beauty to their surroundings.

    About work, just be professional. Dress conservative – nothing fun, or sexy, or anything intended to attract recreation-type attention. This will let both of you relax into patterns of interaction for business, with fewer reminders of more intimate times – or implying you are open to more intimate interactions. By deliberately choosing conservatively each day, you help focus yourself on the work at the office, and not past history.

    Watch the smile. Don’t let a smile of thanks or appreciation slip over into an ‘inviting’ smile. Think ‘courtesy’, not ‘flirt’. Don’t take anger to the office, either, it makes the day longer and isn’t fair to customers and others – and continues the emotional involvement you want to leave behind.

    Be cautious about sharing intimate information at work. It is one thing to share adventures and tales with someone you *haven’t* been intimate with – that is what friends are for. But when leaving someone, what might have been friendly can be seen as anything from rude to inviting.

    And after three or four years (really, count them 42 to 54 *months*, and yes, that really is 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 years, according to one study), you can go back to ‘normal’ at work!

    Luck!

  11. musicgirl78 says:

    Doesn’t do you any good to delete the number if you have it memorized. LOL

  12. Heather says:

    I have an ex. We dated for six years, probably because we had a child together at the young age of 16. My daughter lives with me, and I am now 22 years old, as is my ex. We broke up six months ago. I treated him like crap a lot of the time, and I can admit that. He told me that when he left this time, he wasn’t coming back. He was always the one that begged me to take him back and now the tables have turned. For the last six months, I’ve been so depressed I’m practically dead on the inside. I’ve let this break-up be my focal point. He has a girlfriend now and I am not okay with that. I feel terrible. I’ve consciously broken all of these rules on a daily basis, except I dont talk to him about anything except for our daughter and I dont bother him in any way about the past. I dont think he knows how I feel. I just want to move on. Its making me physically ill and it isnt healthy to dwell the way i am.

  13. rach says:

    Heather:
    I’ve realised recently that you have to get there in your own time, when you are ready to let go and not before. I posted on this article a few weeks ago and it has taken some weeks to read and digest, rethink the way we were going about everything. When you are ready, then you can really let go, but I admire you for your professional approach to the whole ex thing. Keep going honey, it is never easy, and you say you are dead on the inside but I beg to differ. Dead on the inside cares for nothing, but you care for your daughter and her future with her Father. Baby steps honey, really small baby steps and you will get there. I believe you can do it because I am doing it! x

  14. musicgirl78 says:

    I don’t know where to begin. I have a on again off again relationship with a MM who is separated. He claims his wife won’t sign the divorce papers. He even gave me his wife’s phone number to ask her why she won’t sign them. In the past he has been very emotionally abusive to me and I stop taking his phone calls and told him to leave me alone. But he just kept calling and I stupidly started taking them again wanting desperately to believe the words “I love you” uttered from his mouth. He would call me and say he loved me and that I was abandoning him. He would say he was abandoned by his father as a child and I should not leave him (guilt trip) or I would be abandoning him too. Nothing is ever his fault. He never really hit me but he was very verbally abusive (name calling, yelling, and accusing me etc.). He would call me several times a day and accuse me of sleeping with other guys. I believe he was abusive to his wife too. She left him for another man (he claims) and got a restraining order against him. Which doesn’t make sense to me because why would she not sign the divorce papers if she got a restraining order against him? HE claims he never hit her. I know he has a bad temper. I know he was living with his mom after she put him out of the house. Now he has apartment.

    I have been doing well with the no contact rule. But I broke down last Wednesday and answered the 4th phone call he made to my cell phone on that night. This might sound stupid but I love him. The part of him that is sweet anyway. I feel sorry for him. I am very depressed. It is just so mentally hard to get over him. CAN SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME WHY I LOVE THIS MAN? WHY I KEEP ANSWERING HIS PHONE CALLS AND WHY I CAN’T MOVE ON?

  15. Brad K. says:

    musicgirl78,

    Maybe, just maybe, the love you feel has many parts of need and fear of change, as well as the obvious physical bonding.

    Your relationship ended back when you said, “Goodbye, don’t call.” What has happened since has been denial of the ending and fear of the future.

    People change. We can’t change people, because change is chaotic – and no one knows what the results of change will be. Ever. But your guy hasn’t changed in any meaningful ways. In one sense, you appear to be *enabling* him, using addiction language, to continue behaving badly. Since you cannot change him (and haven’t in some years), the best is for you to avoid him. You can’t afford to continue taking part in a destructive relationship, and he isn’t going to change while he has you, his ex, and whatever other people are letting him continue without improving.

    And a big part of letting go is the grief you feel. Not grief as in, “Good grief, man!” – but the real, widow-kind of physical and emotional loss. There are resources available for dealing with the stages of grief, pastors and counselors, even libraries. Identify the distinct stages of grief, deal with the denial, the anger, the acceptance. Most people go through grief in their lives, it is a shame it isn’t taught in school with sex education.

    And for goodness’ sake, talk to your police about this stalking, see if you can’t get your phone to block his phones. Have an attorney write him a registered letter to stop harassing you. No contact. As if your life depends on it.

  16. musicgirl78 says:

    Brad K.

    I am afraid of moving on. I am about to have a birthday 29 yrs old coming up. I guess I thought I would be married by now. I have invested a lot of time in something that is not only not going anywhere but has causes me pain. I am afraid that he will change his abusive behavior and find someone else to love . I guess I have been enabling him. Part of me blames myself for the verbal abuse. Every time I answer his phone calls it just shows him that it is alright to harass and disrespect women. I wish my feeling for him will just go away.

  17. Brad K. says:

    musicgirl78,

    Sorry – the fear of change, the fear of the ‘ticking clock’ – these are tough.

    So don’t sit waiting for the feelings to go away – start adding some *good* feelings and interests. Spend time with friends, or get acquainted with a few respectable, honest people. You might find young adults at church, the bowling alley, activity groups at work like volleyball, softball, etc.

    You don’t get real abuse without disrespect and deceit. By acting more honest yourself, your self esteem should improve. By choosing companions of honest character, you reinforce yourself, and work toward a life without abuse.

    Start a diary. Record your thoughts and feelings daily, or even several times a day. That way you don’t have as much need to share the gritty details with others, and you get to express all that needs to be expressed. Then get to the nearest bookstore, or bowling alley, or art gallery, to experience healthy social activity – TV is unhealthy if you are trying to heal. Really.

    There are a couple of things you can do to work on getting a family started. First is to find a guy that will be a good co-parent to your children – good with kids and animals, disciplined, honest, steady. Next is to start living like you want your future-parent-self to live – guarding your home from abuse, from bad influences, guiding your kids to the honest and hard-working life you demonstrate for them. And get some married women to help find a candidate. Who better to tell the good ones from the flashy night club lifers?

    Blessed be, and best of luck.

  18. [...] while back, Rose City Girl explained the No Contact Rule which drew in quite a few comments. More and more of you are writing to me wanting to know more [...]

  19. [...] ignoring common sense. Unless you want to play sacrificial lamb, I’d jump ship now. Cut contact and let go of this idea of being friends. Trust me, in these situations..’friends’ always [...]

  20. Funms says:

    Just came across this site and the posts. I loved this one especially. My bf broke up with me 7months ago and im yet to get over him as he maintained the lets be friends speech. Its hard for me to let go as i moved to his town and i have no friends yet. ive tried and he seems to be fine with it, he’s always trying to be nice to me and i dont know how to start this no contact rule since he’s the one thats helping me get settled and sort everything out.

  21. I have had an urge to contact one of his friends to cry on her shoulder. On the one hand she is very wise and knows him so well, she would understand what I am going through. Also she might help me figure out how to handle things like which nightclubs and which bands to avoid, since we enjoyed a lot of the same music together. But I know that on the other hand it is my attempt to snoop, cheat on NC. I am still very lonely and distraught, obsessing and grieving, day 14 of NC.

    Also I wanted to bump this topic up to the top, couldn’t find it directly thru Baggage Reclaim.

  22. webbie says:

    hello,
    NC works

  23. dumbguy says:

    i haven’t contacted my ex in over a year, yet i still think about her everyday. i can’t stop. i have no problems meeting other girls, but i just don’t care about them. all i think about is her. knowing we’ll never talk again makes me very, very sad.

  24. Rose says:

    Hello.

    After a two and a half years of painfully trying to establish a relationship with a man who would started the entire flirtation process, set my computer up so I could chat with him, texted me sweet nothings, came around at work and left chocolates at my desk, brought me coffee when I had a hard day, helped at home, fed and walked my dog when I took a trip (all while he had a long distance relationship with a woman which he never mentioned). Trying to have a relationship with him was a torturous illusion. He said “if only the timing was different,” and “its not you, it me” & “you are an incredible woman, I just cant feel anything right now” all these lines keeping me hoping, waiting that Mr. Unavailable assclown would change or see the light of a wonderful relationship with me.

    After he dumped me, because he “was confused” I did No Contact for six weeks. It was hard had at first, yet quite empowering, if you stick to it. Regaining my self respect, I was moving on up just fine…

    Until one day…he showed up at my door, begging for a second chance. He made all the promises. He said all right things, “I am sorry, I will do anything, please” & “I made a huge mistake” & “I did not realize what I had until it was gone” “I realize I mistreated you”. As a result, I caved in. He acted like a prince for about two weeks. Then, slowly, a combination of the old traits from the past and a new set of abusive disrespectful traits emerged.

    That phase lasted about two months. Now, I am back to to No Contact. Its been about two weeks. I don’t regret going back, because this time I did not sleep with him and I held some important boundaries. I knew, that if he really loved me he would treat me right and respect my boundaries and really make changes as he promised, sex or no sex. But, its over between us because now “he does not like it.” Yet, this time, while its hard (its REALLY hard) I kept my self respect and I am proud of myself for maintaining boundaries and not feeling like I had to continue hurting myself to keep the painful illusion of our relationship going.

    thanks,

    Rose

  25. J says:

    N.C

    By: J. Joseph

    her feelings werent there for long
    the signs were so tell tale
    this story isnt new at all
    it rarely ends that well

    so now you are on friendly terms
    and still you are apart
    you let emotion betray you
    and now she knows your heart

    she claims that she needs time and space
    to find out what she feels
    but with true love
    you stay in love
    because you know its real

    she could be lying
    you think she is
    you know now
    it’s the end

    a cop out plea
    in lieu of honesty
    to you, her “bestest friend”

    strung along is what you’ll be
    if you keep holding on
    to memories of love thats passed
    a dream that is forlorn

    whatever things she said before
    they dont apply much now
    you must move on
    and remain strong
    for partners are abound

    and in the end she will realize
    the great thing she has lost
    have no regrets
    just know in love
    you gave it all you’ve got

  26. Sweetie187 says:

    I have been in a “non-relationship” with a guy for the past 21 months now. For the majority of that time he was single but we were not exclusive. He always told me that he did not want a relationship and although that was hard for me to accept, i accepted it very grudgingly.

    Then one day he suddenly announced to me that he has a girlfriend! He told me that he apparently ran into an old crush [they were never in a relationship before] on the street, that he hadn’t seen in 12 years and he instantly made her his girlfriend. He reckoned he hadn’t seen this girl since the age of 21 so when she showed up, he asked her out on the spot! The thing is that he still sleeps with me, just as regularly as he ever did, despite the new girlfriend in his life.

    I am so annoyed that he has a girlfriend, especially since this situation is rather unusual. For crying out loud, he hasn’t seen this girl in 12 years!! How on earth can he know her??? So i have real trouble accepting that this relationship is REAL and not based on fantasy, nostalgia, and a need to “win her” on his part.

    He called me for sex the other day but i refused him. I then sent him quite a few texts saying that i am angry and hurt by the fact that he has this new girlfriend but he couldn’t properly commit to me. I told him to stay away from me. He never replied [that is quite unusual though whenever i send him emotional texts but he does admit to reading them].

    I am now doing NO CONTACT with him. I started yesterday and today is day 2. I am doing ok for now but i know i have a tendency to allow him to reel me back in whenever he does get around to contacting me. It’s happened so many times before, to the point where whenever i tell him we’re thru, he doesn’t even believe me. He has also tried to give me up on 2 occasions in the past, but he has never managed to let me go either.

  27. Meant to be Happy says:

    @Sweetie 187,

    I think you made a good decision to go NC with this guy. It sounds like he is using you for sex, and he’s not respecting you or his girlfriend. By going NC you are setting some boundaries and refusing to let him hurt you any more. If you make sure he is unable to reach you through phone, email, etc, he will not be able to “reel you in”. Have you written out a list of things he has done to hurt you, so you are motivated to stay away from him?

    Ending a “relationship” and going NC are very difficult, but so worth it. Each time you break up with someone, you develop strength and strategies that help you to stay broken up the next time. You are looking for someone who will commit to you and love you, and it sounds like this guy is incapable of being that person. I wish you all the best.

My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

Stop believing that you did something to make them unavailable or that their inadequacies are down to your inadequacies - it is not about you; they are unavailable!