How to Put the No-Contact Rule into Practice

Employing the no-contact rule means you aim to leave your relationship behind forever. To do this, you mustn't call, send messages, or look at the social media of your ex. It's an effective strategy and will allow you to move on in a dignified manner.
How to Put the No-Contact Rule into Practice
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 21 December, 2022

Sometimes, you have to leave someone you love, because to stay with them would be harmful to you. In these cases, you must comply with the no contact rule. This means that you cut off all communication with them. Your ultimate aim is to make the grieving for the end of your relationship easier and to move on.

However, there are some people who use the no contact rule as a kind of temporary punishment. Or, to get the other’s attention. This isn’t correct. Indeed, manipulation never works and is an act of total immaturity. If you choose the no-contact option, it must be forever and you must mentally prepare yourself for the process. 

For example, you have to handle your desire to send messages and make calls to them. Furthermore, you mustn’t think about what they may be doing or who they’re with, and don’t give in to the temptation of stalking or monitoring them on social media.

The zero contact rule is a mental support tool. It allows you to get rid of the bond with someone who, until recently, was important to you.

When it comes to leaving your partner, you must no longer follow them on social media.

How to put the no-contact rule into practice

Complying with the no-contact rule implies seeing this resource as a detoxification strategy. Your objective is to end your latent emotional dependence on your ex. After all, leaving communication channels open will always tempt you to find out what they’re doing. Even worse, it can stir up feelings that no longer make sense or have a place in your life.

The most important thing to do in these situations is to promote adequate impulse control. Deusto University and the University of Madrid (Spain) conducted research that claimed the biggest problems of dependent relationships are unhealthy attachments and impulsive behaviors. These are dimensions that make a definitive break difficult.

Almost without realizing it, you find yourself in relationships that are like chewing gum, they’re stretched back and forth, but never completely break. Falling prey to these types of situations only increases your suffering. For this reason, you need to follow certain strategies, starting from the no-contact rule. Let’s take a look.

1. Avoid emotional confusion: a breakup is an endpoint

Some people break up without clarifying what it means. If your goal is to leave a bond that’s causing you unhappiness, you must have certain ideas clear in your mind.

  • A break is an end. There’s no place for ellipses or parentheses.
  • Visualize what you need. For example, tranquility, balance, and psychological well-being. Remember that resuming your relationship would be a big mistake. You must fulfill your aim.
  • Your ex must also be clear about the break-up. To prevent emotional confusion, it’s best to avoid ‘remaining friends’.

2. Inform others

Family, friends, and colleagues. You should let your entire social environment know about your breakup and ask them to respect it.

This means that comments such as “I  saw your ex with such and such the other day” or “Your ex looks so sad, they’re clearly missing you” must be avoided. Furthermore, no one should act as an intermediary, bringing you messages from your ex with whom you no longer want to have any contact.

3. Delete your ex from social media

Today, most of us have a social life and a digital life. It’s essential that you eliminate your ex from your entire digital universe. Also from your cellphone contacts. By doing this, you’ll avoid the temptation, not only to find out what they’re doing, but also of seeing the photos they publish online.

When you feel the need to contact your ex, look for other sources of dopamine to attract the attention of your brain.

4. Control the impulse to contact your ex

When it comes to complying with the no-contact rule, think of your mind as that of an addict: you feel a compulsive need to contact your ex.

A part of you is obsessed with looking at their Instagram profile, knowing if they’re online or on WhatsApp. In fact, your brain needs the dose of dopamine that it’s used to. Therefore, it’s difficult to keep away from them completely.

What should you do in these situations?

  • Accept your feelings. After a breakup, it’s normal to feel sadness, nostalgia, bewilderment, and even anger.
  • Consider what’ll happen if you contact your ex again. You’ll feel a temporary rush of happiness that’ll only end, once again, in suffering, a loss of dignity, and more psychological exhaustion.
  • Look for other sources of dopamine that raise your sense of well-being. For instance, start new projects, meet more people, and discover new hobbies.
  • Diverting attention from your cellphone will mean you avoid the temptation to contact your ex.
  • Lean on your friends. Every time you feel the need to send a message to your ex, call a friend with whom you can talk about what you feel and what you need.
Woman looking at mobile
As the days go by and you manage to control the impulse to contact your ex, you’ll feel in greater control of your life.

5. Rediscover forgotten sources of happiness

In some relationships, love becomes an obsession. In these cases, you’re blindfolded and can only see your partner. As a matter of fact, your life revolves around a person who does nothing but hurt you. The time you spend on that relationship is completely wasted. It’s valuable time that you could’ve invested in your own happiness.

If you follow the above keys and comply with the no-contact rule, you’ll discover that, as the days go by, you gain more control over your life.

Your dependence and obsession to be close to those who hurt you will decrease. Only then will you discover those forgotten sources of happiness. Those in which you find your genuine essence.

Finally, remember that employing the no-contact rule might be difficult at first, but it’ll be worth it in the long run.


All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Estévez, Ana & Chávez-Vera, M.D. & Momeñe, Janire & Olave, Leticia & Vázquez, Daniel & Iruarrizaga, Maria. (2018). The role of emotional dependence in the relationship between attachment and impulsive behavior. Anales de Psicologia. 34. 438-445. 10.6018/analesps.34.3.313681.
  • Tellefsen, Thomas, and Hirokazu Takada. “The Relationship between Mass Media Availability and the Multicountry Diffusion of Consumer Products.” Journal of International Marketing 7, no. 1 (1999): 77–96.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.