signs the no contact rule is working

Have you recently gone “no contact” with your ex? This is usually a confusing and frustrating time, whether you want to break up.

The No Contact Rule is often recommended after a breakup. But how do you know if No Contact is working?

If you are completely stumped during this radio silence, here are the top signs the No Contact Rule is working, together with good tips on what you can do next.

What is the No Contact Rule?

The No Contact Rule involves breaking off any contact and communication with a person. It’s a commonly recommended solution to various problems in the immediate aftermath of a breakup.

This is a period of wildly fluctuating, overwhelming emotions, so it is often a good time to put some distance between you and your ex. This can help you take some time to think about what it is you want.

The rule is commonly set at 30 days, although it can be shorter in some cases or even go on permanently in others. During this time, ex-partners should avoid all forms of contact, whether face-to-face, over the phone, or by text. Some couples may even block each other’s social media accounts.

The No Contact Rule isn’t just for dating relationships, either. It can also work if you fall out with a friend — either a regular one or a friend with benefits.

The specific rules can vary among people, but the key feature is limiting communication.

young woman nervously looking at her phone

Tell-tale signs the No Contact Rule is working

It might be confusing to try and tell whether the No Contact Rule brings any results. Fortunately, there are both clear and subtle signs the No Contact Rule is working. You are unlikely to see all these signs, but more than one or two may signal that things are progressing as you would like.

1. You get a text from your ex

Of course, if you suddenly get a text from your ex, he has been thinking about you for some reason. If he says he misses you, you can be sure that the No Contact Rule has worked.

However, it is more likely that if your ex reaches out to you, the reasons will be less obvious.

If he asks you vaguely, “How are you doing?” he may check up to see if you are okay, or he may try to test the waters with a general conversation. Either way, he is probably aware that breaking the No Contact Rule may signal that he thinks about you.

Your ex-boyfriend feels that contacting you is still important enough to be worth doing. How you respond to this message is up to you, of course!

2. You hear that your ex has been asking about you

Have you heard from your friends that your ex has been asking after you? If this is the case, he is thinking about you, and perhaps he misses you. This could mean that the No Contact Rule is working.

When you have mutual friends, you can use this to your advantage and find out precisely what your ex was asking about.

Have you heard from your friends that your ex has been asking after you? If this is the case, he is thinking about you, and perhaps he misses you. Click To Tweet

Was he trying to find out if you have been dating a new partner? Or was he asking if you could return his favorite sweater ASAP? This makes a lot of difference!

Be warned when using this method: if these friends told you what he said, they are likely to spill the beans on anything you say.

friend group talking

3. You receive anonymous gifts or letters

Have you received an unmarked package or an anonymous letter from somebody lately? If this is the case, it may be that your ex is behind it.

If he struggles with not seeing you, he may need to reach out to you anonymously. He could potentially do this by sending gifts, letters, or flowers.

Think of it from his perspective. He misses you but does not want to break the No Contact Rule he agreed to.

Your ex-boyfriend wants to positively impact your life, even if you do not know that he has caused it. Any anonymous gifts are likely to be from him.

But although it can be flattering to receive a gorgeous bouquet or chocolates, don’t forget the past. If your relationship ended is because your ex hurt you, don’t let him buy your forgiveness — that won’t lead to a new, healthy relationship.

4. You are getting more attention from men

Whether you are interested in getting your ex back or not, noticing that you are getting more romantic attention from other guys can be a good sign.

If you want to move on, knowing that you are desirable to people can be reassuring that you have available dating opportunities.

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It can boost your confidence even if you want to get your ex back. If other guys are interested in you, your ex may be too.

If you want to move on, knowing that you are desirable to people can be reassuring that you have available dating opportunities. Click To Tweet

An increase in romantic attention can be for different reasons. Perhaps men who were already attracted to you when you were in a relationship have just discovered that you broke up with your ex. Maybe you have been more focused on yourself and developing healthier habits that have given you a “glow” again and started to turn heads.

Whatever you are looking for, the increased attention from men is a good sign and shows that you are progressing.

happy young woman with a man looking at her in the-background

5. You are succeeding in other areas of your life

The No Contact Rule is not just a way to make your ex jealous or regret the breakup. It is also a way to help you move on in your life.

You will probably have more time and energy to focus on other aspects of your life, such as work, friendships, family, and hobbies. All of these can be important parts of the healing journey.

Have you been achieving more at work after the breakup or spending more time with your friends? This may be a sign that the No Contact Rule is working. You may find that you actually prefer your life like this without your ex being in it, or you may still want him back.

You may find that you actually prefer your life like this without your ex being in it, or you may still want him back. Whether or not you and your ex get back together eventually, improving your life is a massive benefit to you.

6. You hear that your ex isn’t doing well without you

Another indication that your No Contact Rule is working is finding out through another person that your ex-boyfriend is having a tough time. You may have heard that he misses you and would want you back, or it may be less direct.

Perhaps your ex has been underachieving in aspects of his life, drinking too much, or neglecting his hobbies. If he is not doing well since the breakup, he is more likely to want you back. He may not admit it, but it is certainly a sign that may point this way.

I had a friend who was a total fitness fiend—spending hours every day in the gym. That was until his girlfriend left him.

As soon as that happened, he lost all motivation to work out. Eventually, they got back together, and he returned to the weights.

If you want him to come back, this may mean he is more than happy to do so.

young man comforting depressed friend

7. Your ex has followed you again on social media

Social media activity can be a useful way to work out how your ex is feeling. While a true no-contact period involves removing or blocking each other, many people give up and unblock or even follow their ex to see what they are up to.

I’m not suggesting you break the No Contact Rule yourself and visit his profile to find out. Still, if you see a friend request from your ex or notice that he has unblocked you on social media, this may be a sign that he misses you.

If you see a friend request from your ex or notice that he has unblocked you on social media, this may be a sign that he misses you. Click To Tweet

The No Contact Rule may have been an attempt to make him miss you or allow both of you to think about things and let lingering resentments fade away. Either way, this is probably a sign you may be ready to move on (with or without each other).

8. You are feeling more optimistic about the future

A breakup and the time afterward are usually stressful and upsetting. You may spend days or weeks feeling sad, empty, alone, and bursting into tears at the smallest things. When the No Contact Rule works, you may feel more optimistic about the future. 

If you have noticed the tide turn and the coming days start to look a little brighter, this is a clear sign that no contact is working for you the way it should. Getting your mental health in good shape is one of the main reasons for applying the rule.

Whether the future looks brighter because you can imagine your ex returning to you or because you feel happier without him, this is a great sign.

Just remember, your prime focus should be on helping yourself heal. Don’t squander all the progress you’ve made by deciding to contact him prematurely after a few weeks of feeling good.

Take your time and stay on the right path. If you’re feeling this great now, think how positive you’ll be after a bit more self-love and care!

smiling woman writing in a notepad

9. You “just happen” to bump into him somewhere

Another clue that your ex may miss you during the no-contact period is crossing paths with him unexpectedly. If you live close and happen to bump into each other at school, work, or the grocery store, this may not mean much.

However, when he “just happens” to “unexpectedly” run into you somewhere you know he would not usually go, this may signify that he is craving contact with you.

Your ex-boyfriend probably doesn’t want to “admit defeat” and put himself into the vulnerable position of “breaking” the No Contact Rule. In that case, engineering a situation where he can encounter you “accidentally” is something he may do.

He may be breaking the No Contact Rule because he wants you back as his girlfriend or because he misses being friends.

How you should react to suddenly coming face-to-face with him depends on your feelings and well-being at the time. If it’s very close to the end of the No Contact Rule period and you’re confident about what you want, perhaps you can exchange a few casual words instead of staying silent.

But talking is probably bad if you are still hurt or sad. Exercise self-control and keep walking.

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He may be breaking the No Contact Rule because he wants you back as his girlfriend, or just because he misses being friends. Click To Tweet

10. His social media posts are designed to catch your attention

You should not necessarily break the No Contact Rule yourself by checking out your ex on social networks. However, you may end up seeing a post or two of his, especially if you share mutual friends who interact with them or send you screenshots.

If his recent posts seem too relevant to your current situation, he may have done this to get your attention.

For example, he may be pretty clear about missing you and even say so in his posts. This is especially possible if he has been out drinking and lost his inhibitions!

He may also go the opposite way and try to brag about a new relationship, or something else he thinks will make you jealous and regret your breakup. Posting pictures of himself flexing at the gym or close to someone else (a potential partner?) is typical.

He may also post something more subtle, like a song he knows you love or an in-joke only you would recognize.

woman checking social media on her phone

11. You stop dwelling on your ex

The initial No Contact period after the end of a relationship can be difficult. Your thoughts might return to your ex all the time.

But what if, one day, those thoughts stop? Suddenly you may realize you haven’t paid your ex any mind for a few days — and you don’t feel the need to do so.

That means the No Contact Rule works for you, which is awesome. The absence of intrusive thoughts signifies you’re finally getting over your ex.

This is the time to start focusing on other things. You might consider starting new hobbies or getting out to meet someone. But whatever you decide to do, know that you’re moving forward in the healing process.

This may even help if your ex contacts you after the No Contact period has ended. With a clear sense of your past relationship, you can discuss things with him more objectively and figure out if you should get back together.

If you do, great! If you don’t, that is also great! The point is, you can decide with a clear mind.

12. You get angry messages from your ex

The no-contact period after you’ve broken up can bring up a lot of strong emotions — even anger. Anger is one of the famous five stages of grief and loss.

Getting furious, hateful text messages or phone calls from your ex is the ultimate sign the No Contact Rule is working. Sure, he’s blatantly breaking the rule — but he’s also clearly working his way through the different stages of the grieving process.

He might call you an awful person, blame you for your breakup, and try to make you think you did everything wrong in your relationship. He may be desperate to get you to talk to him by any means necessary.

Although his anger demonstrates the No Contact Rule works, don’t respond to your ex. Let him scream and rage and get it out of his system.

But if you at any point begin to worry for your well-being, seek help. Venting his anger is one thing, but if your ex threatens you or you’re worried he may become violent, talk to a friend, family, or even the authorities.

angry man shouting looking at his phone

13. You get your stuff back from your ex

In many relationships, you bring stuff — like clothes or electronics — to each other’s places. After you’ve broken contact with your ex following a breakup, you may have given up on getting that stuff back.

And then, one day, you find a cardboard box waiting at your doorstep with all of your things in it.

On the one hand, this shows the No Contact Rule is working. But then again, you may panic. If he returned your stuff, should you lose all hope of ever getting back into a relationship with him?

Returning your things may mean that your ex has given up on you. But it could also be an attempt to get you to start thinking about him and make you regret parting ways.

Resist the urge to contact your ex. Just take your stuff inside and lets things proceed.

Your ex may have only brought the stuff back temporarily so he could stop missing you every time he sees them. If you do get back into a relationship, you can always take your things back to his place.

14. Your ex becomes more responsive

So, you practiced the No Contact Rule, and now the period of silence is over. You drop him a text to check in — and suddenly, he’s responding more readily and happily than ever before.

If that happens, congratulations! You’ve discovered one of the greatest proofs that no contact works.

He shows that he started missing you while you were gone by being more responsive. The no-contact period gave your ex time and space to think things through and realize how many feelings he still has for you.

Prompt and open communication always has a great impact on a relationship. If you guys decide to get back together, you can likely expect to treat you with more respect and communicate more readily.

After all, he now knows how much he will miss you!

But even if you decide to go your separate ways, you can still be satisfied knowing you probably changed him for the better. When he starts dating new people, he’ll do his best to avoid another no-contact period.

young man missing his ex girlfriend

15. You feel more independent

Early in the No Contact Rule period, you may miss your ex and even wonder if you should get in touch with him. That’s understandable — we become more or less dependent on our partners.

But soon enough, you’ll notice you’re back at the helm of your own life. You’ll find your self-confidence and realize you don’t need interaction with your ex all the time to be happy.

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Once you’re back in control, you can start pursuing new things or people that may interest you. Or you might want to try going on a date with your ex after no contact to see if things will work out.

What you do isn’t the important part. What matters is that you made your choice yourself, with no one to push you in any direction.

So, when does no contact start working like this? It’s hard to answer — it may take only a short time or months.

But rest assured, you’ll notice yourself becoming a more independent person. That’s when you know the No Contact Rule works.

16. You discover a new goal in life

When a relationship is falling apart, it’s easy to be so preoccupied with it that you lose your focus on your life. But after you establish the No Contact Rule, you can find much free time on your hands.

That’s a positive thing and one of the intended results of the no-contact period. You now have the space and time to focus on what’s important.

Studying, focusing on your physical health, or diving head-first into your career are some things you may do. These things may make you a new goal and something to strive for.

With an idea of what you ultimately want, you can focus on it with all your heart and mind. This can help you wait out the No Contact Rule period confidently.

young woman celebrating job goals

17. Your ex’s friends or family get in touch with you

Did you get a text from a shared friend, your ex’s family member, or some other person asking you to give him a call? Well, you have a pretty good idea that the No Contact Rule is working!

When your ex contacts you through somebody else, it indicates you’re on his mind and he wants to talk to you. It also shows that he’s determined to respect the No Contact Rule.

After all, he is not calling you — another person is. The clever guy thinks he’s found a loophole!

You might be tempted to respond if you get your ex’s attention this way. But it’s better to wait it out, even if he makes repeated attempts to get you to talk to him.

Your contacting him means you broke the No Contact Rule, not him. That’s not the kind of leverage you want to hand out.

18. You hear your ex is doing great

You may expect that the No Contact Rule will make your ex crawl back to you. But what if you heard from a mutual friend that he’s doing fantastic, is happier, and has started talking to other girls?

You may wonder, “Does the No Contact Rule work?” Yes, it does — but it may not work in your favor.

This situation once happened to a good friend of mine. She expected her ex to return to a relationship after the no-contact period. He sure did, but not with her.

There are always two people in the relationship, and your ex has to live his own life. Just as the No Contact Rule can help get your life back on track, it may also do the same for him.

It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but you’ll have to realize that these things can be out of your control. You may feel sad, upset, or even angry, but you shouldn’t try to ruin your ex’s new happiness.

Instead, accept that life played a cruel trick this time and focus on ways to heal yourself.

young man relaxing on beach chair

19. Your ex apologizes to you

You put the No Contact Rule in place after your breakup, and now it’s over. You get together with your ex for some small talk when he unexpectedly apologizes for what he’s done.

Most people turn inwards and examine their feelings when left alone. The no-contact period caused your ex to reconsider his actions in your relationship.

He probably began to miss you and considers everything he did to cause your breakup a mistake. He’s likely to think that even when he did nothing wrong in reality, your breakup was due to other reasons.

If he hurt you, consider if you’re ready to accept his apology. And remember — you can forgive him without dating him again.

But you also shouldn’t take advantage of him being genuinely sorry. If both of you behaved poorly during your breakup, say you’re sorry after he apologizes.

When can I contact my ex again?

There are various reasons that you may want to contact your ex-boyfriend. The no-contact period may have made you realize that the breakup was a mistake and that you should get back together.

On the other hand, it may have made you feel happier than when you were with him. You may want to speak to him after the agreed no-contact period has ended to make amends and part ways with more closure.

You may also want to continue as friends now that hard feelings have passed. If this is the case, you should wait until the agreed period ends. Even then, it may be best to go an extra day or two so you don’t look too desperate to reconnect.

When you want your ex back, you want to know if he feels the same. Seeing any signs may indicate that he does, but nothing is guaranteed.

Perhaps he had messaged you when you were supposed to have no contact. In that case, you may be able to leave a reply to this message after the no-contact period has ended.

If you have decided to get back together with him and think he wants to, you will need to remember a few things. Don’t seem too keen, as this may make him immediately change his mind.

The best way forward is to start slowly, talk as friends, and play cool. See where this takes you before you suggest getting back together.

Remember that there is no rush — you went this long without contact, so you know that you can be patient.

Diana is a passionate beauty and lifestyle blogger. She loves writing about her journey of self-discovery and self-care and analyzing all the aspects of relationships.

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