Do You Need to Implement the No Contact Rule with Your Ex?

Moving on after divorce can be easier said than done. Does this sound like you? You promise yourself that you’re finished feeling sad, angry, or whatever other emotions you’ve been feeling. Then, you somehow find yourself sending an “innocent” text to your ex or scrolling through their social media. 

Hey, you’re only human. After all, this is someone you vowed to love forever. But while you’re busy wondering what they’re doing at 1 a.m., you’re also keeping yourself from moving forward. 

You might wonder if it would be easier to just implement a no-contact rule with your ex so you can get on with your life.

What is the no-contact rule? It’s pretty much what it sounds like. After your relationship ends, you cut off all contact with your former partner. No phone conversations, no texts, no social media. And if they’re the one to reach out first, the operative word is still no.

Signs you should go no-contact with your ex

You may wonder if a no-contact rule is necessary. Here are some signs it might be a good idea.

You’re overwhelmed by emotional distress

Calls, texts, and even the most casual interaction with your ex sends you into an emotional tailspin. Boundaries are in order, but they’re hard for you to establish and stick to.

You feel unable to move on

If you’re stuck, it may be time to rip off the bandage and let the wound heal. Cutting contact gives you the emotional time and space to heal and move forward.

You argue with them constantly

Your interactions may start out fine, but they quickly break down into rehashing old and hurtful stuff. However, you know that no amount of rehashing will make it better or different.

The interest is one-sided (or one of you hopes to reconcile)

If one of you is hoping for reconciliation and the other isn’t, the scenario is lopsided, and it just leads to more hurtful feelings. One of you clearly isn’t invested, and there has been enough hurt already. Time to walk away.

You’ve become a stalker

If you continuously check their social media, ask mutual friends about them, or keep accidentally bumping into them (because you were “just in the neighborhood”), you may have a problem – and it’s not your ex.

Read: Complicated Grief: When the Hurt Won’t Go Away

One or both of you have new love interests

Trying to navigate a new relationship while staying in touch with an ex can be complicated – and unfair. Establishing distance can give your new relationship a fair shot. 

Setting no-contact ground rules

Establishing no-contact rules for yourself (and your ex) helps build boundaries you need to heal and move on.

  • Know your “why.” The point is to move on so you can get a clearer perspective of your future. If you find yourself setting up no-contact rules for control or manipulation, you’re missing the point.
  • Communicate your decision. Respectfully communicate to your ex what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Let them know that you would appreciate their cooperation. This way, there are no misunderstandings or mixed signals. 
  • Set a time frame. Whether you vow to stick to your no-contact rule for 30 days or a lot longer, setting a finite time frame reinforces your commitment. 
  • Limit your social media time. It’s easy to “just take a quick look” at your ex’s posts. Two hours later, there you are. Make it harder to fall down that rabbit hole by unfollowing, unfriending, blocking, muting, or whatever it takes for now.
Read: Am I Ready to Date after Divorce?

Can you have a no-contact rule if you’re co-parenting?

If you’re co-parenting with your ex, it may be impossible to fully go no-contact. However, some modifications can help you in the short term.

  • Keep your communications only about the kids. All interactions with your ex should be solely about the kids, their needs, and their well-being. If it goes beyond that into personal talk, cut the conversation short.
  • Keep communications neutral. Emotions can run high. Aim for respect and neutrality in all conversations. If it moves into emotional territory, end the conversation with a caveat about reconvening after you both have time to cool off. 
  • Take advantage of online tools. There are apps and platforms specifically designed for co-parents to communicate and schedule without the need for direct interaction. Find them and make use of them.
  • Seek outside help. If you simply can’t have a constructive conversation with your co-parent, it may be time to get some mediation or co-parenting counseling. Your kids will thank you. 

Deciding to go no-contact with your ex is a personal decision. Don’t expect it to be easy. Like any other transition in life, you’ll have good days and bad days, but setting these boundaries can be critical to moving in the right direction. 

Give yourself the gift of some quiet emotional space where you can heal without the ghosts of your past disturbing your personal growth and peace.

At Hello Divorce, we’re here for you no matter where you are on your divorce journey. In addition to our DIY divorce plans and a network of service professionals, we have a wide range of free resources to help you on your way. Schedule a call to see how we can help.

Divorce Content Specialist
Mediation, Divorce Strategy, Divorce Process, Mental Health
Candice is a former paralegal and has spent the last 16 years in the digital landscape, writing website content, blog posts, and articles for the legal industry. Now, at Hello Divorce, she is helping demystify the complex legal and emotional world of divorce. Away from the keyboard, she’s a devoted wife, mom, and grandmother to two awesome granddaughters who are already forces to be reckoned with. Based in Florida, she’s an avid traveler, painter, ceramic artist, and self-avowed bookish nerd.