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NIC vs. NC: The Pros and Cons

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I'm going through the second break-up in a year, both with the same guy (timeline = 1.5 years of bliss--3 month break-up featuring rebound girl--6 month seemingly solid reconciliation--break-up No. 2 about two weeks ago). The first time around, I was NIC. This time, I'm embarking on hardcore NC--requesting no contact and blocking all channels. I'm notoriously bad at NC, by the way, but this time feels different. I think I'm finally ready to let go. As I've reflected back on my 3-month period of NIC, I realize there are real differences between NIC and NC that you should consider when you're in this situation. There are costs and benefits to both.


Okay, NIC first:





1. You gain a lot of the benefits of complete NC without the costs. Just as in NC, you aren't chasing your ex or degrading yourself or making the situation worse.


2. You can respond which gives you a chance to express yourself.


3. You do not feel rude or mean or guilty by ignoring this person you love(d).


4. You're encouraging continued contact, which is pretty important if you want to reconcile.


5. By allowing your ex to contact you, you get information. You know something about what they're feeling, thinking, doing.


6. I believe NIC is the position of most strength. It shows that not only are you okay (by not initiating) but you're actually centered enough to tolerate contact from them. Good for you if you can do it! But this comes with a price . . .






1. You're in a reactive position. You only get to express yourself when the ex takes off your muzzle.


2. You'll spend many hours analyzing every word of every message, trying to read your ex's mind.


3. You'll be disappointed and hurt every time you check your phone or your email and do not have a message from the ex. You'll wonder when they're going to come to their senses. Every day without contact is like a giant f-you.


4. Multiply item number 3 by 1000 if you've responded to them and they have not written back.


5. It's hard to relax when that call or text could be coming at any second. Mayyybee evennnn . . . . NOW!


6. It's almost impossible to convey an attitude of indifference when your ex contacts you. And if you want to reconcile, you're not gonna want to. But this encourages your ex to check in repeatedly, just to make sure you're still on the string, with no other intentions. Dance, puppet. Dance!


7. You're more likely to hold your heart open. You wouldn't be doing NIC if you weren't. But by doing this, you'll find it harder to get on with your life. You'll expend energy thinking about the lack of contact or the content or timing or whatever . . . that's energy you could be expending to get buns of steel.






I almost don't feel like writing this because it's well known dogma around here. But I think a lot of the NC stuff that gets discussed is soft NC---kinda like NIC except that you don't respond to the contact. What I'm talking about is hardcore NC---full blocking, avoiding places where the ex may be, and active purging of the ex from your mind. Letting go for real as if you'll never see this person again.


1. There is an immediate sense of peace when you set up your blocks. You can check your email without wondering. Ahhhh.


2. You're doing something active, instead of reactive. You're choosing whether or not there'll be contact. This is empowering.


3. You have no new information to process or dissect. Your mind begins to clear.


4. You are forced to fill your life with other activities and people because there's just nothing more to ruminate about or monitor.


5. Your ex will experience life without you in full force because they know they can't just text you whenever they get bored. IMO, this is more likely to inspire serious soul-searching than would stringing you along, and also earlier in the process.


6. And oh yeah, you won't feel strung along.


7. Blocking eliminates all the cheap forms of communication. I mean emotionally cheap and time cheap---texting, email, etc. It's harder to send someone a ping with a stamp on it! This means if your ex finds a way to contact you, it'll probably be something worth hearing.






1. Outside of giving your ex a bracing reality check, I don't think this is a great recipe for reconciliation. For one, it forces your ex to work pretty hard to track you down. More to the point, it conveys a lack of interest in reconciling on your part. I guess this may be seen as a positive, though, if you know the only reason your ex tracked you down was to say something pretty important.


2. It can make you feel guilty or rude, but if you handle it well (by explaining what you're doing and why), this can be avoided. Hardcore NC is a dish best served cold---bad idea if you're still angry and vengeful.


3. You won't know anything about your ex, which may make you curious and pre-occupied if you let it. Cyberstalking anyone?



So, what I conclude from all of this is that following a break up, you need to decide how you're going to position yourself. If you really hope to reconcile, NIC might be the better path. However, you're setting yourself up for ongoing pain and anxiety. It won't stop until either the ex comes back or you just give up. Honestly, looking back on our first break-up, I don't know how I managed to do it. If you want to feel better, NC is best but I think you get the most benefits by going all the way to hardcore. Strict NC limits, but doesn't rule out, the possibility of reconciliation. It just puts more of the burden on your ex. Maybe that's where it should be!

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your situation sounds eerily similar to mine with the previous breakup for 3 months etc. Only difference with mine is we have a child. I have to keep the lines of communication open for picking up my daughter etc but thats all she gets off me. Last time we split up there was a lot of anger etc and 2 weeks no contact after which time she wanted to see me etc we ended up reconcilling against all advice. This time i know to let go and i have just been on a date with a lovely girl. Sorry to hijack but when i read ur dates etc at first i thought u were my ex!

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This is a good thread on a much-needed topic! I do agree with the pros/cons you have listed. I would add, that a serious con of NIC is that I do think it can set you up to look desperate in some ways from the dumper's standpoint, and to make them lose even more respect for you. Like you are just sitting by the phone, desperately waiting for their messages, and hanging on to every word. Especially if you were accused of being clingy this may be a big problem. And yes, I am speaking from experience here


As far as reconiliciation and NC...that is tough, it is something I have wondered about in my own situation, if eventually the dumper would just give up even if they had something important to say if you are not responding to their contact, even if you laid out your feelings before going NC.

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It only makes you look desparate if you jump when the dumper contacts and respond immediately. This is why some advise that you don't always pick up, or that you don't return the phone call or email or text right away....and that sometimes you don't respond at all. It's a game, for sure, but it's all about self-preservation. Also, when you don't respond right away it gives you time to think about how to respond. I have composed email replies and then waited 24 hours to re-read my response to be sure it was something I wanted to send.


If you can stand it, wait a full week before responding to contact. You don't owe the dumper anything, right?

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Good thread!

But I also think there are different varients to NIC and NC. like you said hard and soft NC and I think there is also hard and soft NIC e.g. you and your ex are friends and talk a fair bit but you aren't initiating any of it or you and your ex don't see each other much or talk much but you aren't initiating any of it as well.


NIC = good if your strong and don't let your emotions rule your responses. i.e you still need to get on with it and move on.


NC = the wisest choice, especially if you are really down about it.

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I was doing NIC for a while. The problem I ran into with that was:


1. I couldn't get space for myself when I needed to. My ex got pissed when I didn't respond to his email for a week.

2. My interactions with the ex didn't satisfy him - he was looking for someone fun

3. I broke it occasionally.


In short, the only way I could do NIC was to do it in bits and pieces.Anything more than that hurt me too much. My ex then cut off all contact instead.

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if theres been no abuse or cheating or lies then tell ex youre going to take time out and no contact them, and ask they not contact you for a good while, to heal and move on, then maybe you can be friends (i found they accept nc better when you say this, even if you know deep down its not on the cards, by time has passed theyre ok bout this too...unless they really do love you and want you back...)


after a good dose of nc (2-3 months) even more... then maybe move onto NIC if either/both of you are looking to reconcille. cant reconcille without some form of contact, and even being friends first i guess...long as its not that one sided friends scenario, then by all means ...dont go there.


if you or them dont want to reconcile - then stay in nc


being in nc for me was the best thing i did - yes i still love the dude but i put my feelings first on this and didnt have to listen to his wonderful life, and get hurt half as much. hey, i even started work on me. and no they dont forget you in nc, the opposite...a recent text from ex few days ago said he'd been thinking bout me alot and i was always on his mind, whilst i had been offered a cpl of dates from 3 diff guys

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i found NC being more painful than NIC,

because as soon as i wanted to do NC i worried about her getting to wrong message by me ignoring her. plus i wanted to hear from ehr an talk to her so it was hard hold myself back.


the only thing painful about NIC was being able to taste the cake but not eat it (if that makes sense)

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