If you were in a toxic relationship, no contact with a toxic ex is the way to healing.
Too often, when clients ask how to over an ex, the first thing I say is, “No contact.” The usual response is, “Ugh!”
In the old days, when we broke up with someone, it was much easier to let them go.
We didn’t have access to an assortment of social media platforms where we could check up on our exes. We couldn’t Google stalk them. We couldn’t text them when the urge struck.
Unless we ran into them somewhere, they would truly be out of sight. And out of sight means out of mind. And out of mind helped us move on.
Things are different now, but the need to move on from a toxic ex is the same.
“No contact” means exactly that — no contact with a toxic ex — and here are 5 reasons why.
1. You go back to square one.
With every point of contact that you have, you go back to square one — to that last moment you saw them and when you walked away in incredible pain.
Take the analogy of trying to quit smoking. When you decide to quit something, you go cold turkey.
You take it day by day. As the days pass, the pain of the loss gets less and less.
And then, one day down the road, you decide to have one cigarette. It’s hard to have just one cigarette…
Before you know it, you’re smoking half a pack a day. And you know that soon, you’re going to have to go through the pain of quitting all over again.
Similarly, if you’re getting a little bit better each day but then you miss your ex and look at their social media or send them a text, you set you back to the beginning.
Now, you’re back at the bottom of the mountain that you had made good progress scaling. And you don’t want that, do you?
2. Memories are powerful.
As you work on healing after a breakup, memories can hold you back.https://1a74dede2207e93e924e0e1f76a7b9bd.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
Unfortunately, after a breakup, you might hold on to the good memories and not the bad ones. The good memories were wonderful times, but reliving them constantly makes it hard to move on.
Social media and technology are full of opportunities to rekindle those memories. There are Instagram posts of your trip to Mexico and Facebook messenger text streams from when you were first talking.
Your phone contains selfies of everything you ever did. And you want more of those memories because they were so wonderful. So, you reach out.
Going no contact also means getting rid of those opportunities to rekindle memories to avoid the pain that those memories can lead to.
So, unfollow them on Instagram, unfriend them on Facebook, and file away those selfies to a place you can’t easily access them.
If you don’t relive those memories, in whatever form, healing will be quicker and less painful.
3. Closure is a myth.
I 100 percent think that closure is a myth. Closure is just one more opportunity to be in your ex’s presence and perhaps convince them to give you another chance.
If you’re in contact with your ex, the inclination — for either one of you — to try to get some closure is greatly enhanced.
And what will that closure do? It will open up old wounds that need to be hashed out.
Tempers might flare and hurtful things might be said. Being in the same personal space as your ex might lead to intimacy and sex, which will only cause more confusion.
You might walk away from it more devastated than you were before.
Yes, yes. I know the mention of sex might have made you pick your head up and smile, but really, sex with your ex is fraught with complicated emotions. While it might feel good at the moment, the repercussions can be huge.
Talking can do the same — it only causes more pain than before.
So, don’t seek closure. It will only set you back in a big way.
4. Yoyoing makes things worse.
For many, they are broken up with and left devastated, only to have their ex-person reappear in their lives.
Day, weeks, or months after the breakup, their text alert goes off, and there’s their ex, saying, “Hi.” That “hi” can lead to more communication, doing things together, intimacy, ex sex, and raised hopes.
More often than not, however, their ex pulls back again, walking away and leaving them feeling worse than before.
And often, this precise series of events happens over and over, leaving them confused and devastated, full of false hope and unwilling to let go.
How bad does that sound? Worse than where you are right now?
It’s worse. I can promise you that.
5. Your self-esteem will plummet.
You’re probably thinking that there’s no way your self-esteem can be worse than it is right now. Your relationship has ended, for whatever reason, and it has left you questioning yourself.
So, how can reaching out or stalking them make things worse?
You text your ex for whatever reason, and they don’t text you back. How will you feel as you sit there waiting, gradually accepting the fact that you’re not important enough to respond to?
Or you do some innocent stalking on Instagram and see your guy with a cute blonde. Or his parents — who you loved — post a picture of all of them together at the summer house.
Will any of those things make you feel better about yourself? Instead of just feeling sad, you might feel abandoned, replaced, or forgotten. And what will all those feelings do to your self-esteem?
Going no contact is the way to reclaim your power.
On the other hand, if you do resist the temptation to text or stalk, you will take back your power.
You will choose to put the past behind you and only look forward. And that, more than anything, will help you rebuild your self-esteem so that you can move on and be happy.
No contact means no contact. If you can’t do it, you will have no chance of getting past the pain and moving on.
So, how does one go no contact?
How does one fill that empty space left by the person who left?
Just take it day by day. If you think to yourself that you will never talk to your ex again, you will be completely overwhelmed.
But, if you tell yourself that you aren’t going to reach out to them today, that you seem reasonable. And if you take it one day at a time, you will eventually just have done it.
That’s what I did with my ex. For years we had gone up and down, trying to break up and yoyoing back and forth. And then, one day, I decided to go no contact.
After a few days, he reached out, as was our pattern. And this time, I didn’t answer him. He tried again a few days later. I didn’t answer him.
Now, here I am, four years of no contact, madly in love with someone else and so thankful that I had the strength to do it!
And you can, too!