Breakups are never easy; even if it’s for the best, parting ways with someone you had strong feelings for can be particularly hard. During this time, we’re vulnerable to the whispers of friends and family, and we’re willing to try anything that could potentially help us deal with what we’ve experienced. One of the most oft-repeated pieces of advice when going through a breakup is the “No Contact Rule.” The basic idea is to sever all contact with the other person in order to move on and start healing.
Unfortunately, relying on the No Contact Rule as a way to heal after a break-up can also backfire. If a relationship was relatively superficial or not serious to begin with, then chances are what you’ve experienced isn’t intense enough to require the strict regime that is the No Contact Rule. Plus, if someone doesn’t have an emotional attachment to you already, then it’s unlikely that staying away from them is going to make them develop any kind of bond that wasn’t there before.
But that’s not the only issue with blindly following the No Contact Rule. Trying to engage in any kind of communication with another person involves a certain level of risk. While laying out boundaries and trying to maintain those is a crucial part of managing any relationship, recklessly cutting someone off can only lead to misunderstandings and even hurtful incidents.
So, if used correctly, the No Contact Rule can be helpful in a breakup; it gives you the time and space necessary to process and heal. However, blindly following the rule or applying it when it’s not necessary is futile and can even lead to more misunderstandings or harm. It’s important to remember that, like everything else in life, there’s no universal remedy that works for everyone.
At its core, the No Contact Rule acts as a sort of shortcut. It can give us closure and the comfort associated with a separation even if it doesn’t really accomplish what we believe it will. After all, nothing can replace the power of honest communication with someone who understands where we’re coming from, whether that’s a partner, a friend or even a therapist. Keeping that in mind, the No Contact Rule is just one of many tools available to those who need it. But we must be conscious of when to use it, how to use it and—most importantly—understand why we’re using it. if we manage our expectations about the situation and are honest about our intentions for engaging in the No Contact Rule, then we can manage our breakups in a healthier way.