How to (Quickly) Get Over Your Ex: No Contact Protocol

Shaun Galanos — Love Coach
5 min readJun 23, 2020
Photo by Christian Fregnan on Unsplash

If you know my work at all, you know that I:

a) love breakups, and

b) think that all breakups require six months of ‘no contact.’

That’s right. All parties involved (whether a breakee or a breaker) should follow a strict ‘no contact’ protocol.

The complete post-breakup no-contact protocol

Here’s what I mean by ‘no contact’:

  • Unfollow on all social media (block if necessary so they can’t see your posts)
  • No phone calls, text messages, emails, or other forms of digital contact
  • No swinging by their house, office, work, gym, favorite restaurant, etc
  • No asking friends in common about the other
  • No exceptions (including birthdays, graduations, promotions, ‘hope you’re well,’ etc.)

This protocol might sound drastic, but I assure you that it is not. And it’s temporary.

No contact is what your brain, body, and heart need to heal from what is most likely a heartbreaking and traumatic situation.

Your nervous system needs a break

Relationship transitions (a nice way to say breakup) can have a tremendously painful impact on your life. Taking a break from your heartbreaker is one of the best ways to heal from a breakup.

Emotions are changes in your mind state and body state in response to a stimulus. In the case of a relationship ending, the stimulus is anything that reminds you of your ex. The brain/body state change is usually overwhelming sadness, grief, and despair, coupled with an inability to do much else but think of your ex.

So, ‘no contact’ allows your nervous system to calm down a bit while you grieve the end of your relationship. And don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to grieve and be sad because you still possess tons of memories that will flood you at nearly every turn.

Following this protocol doesn’t mean you’ll bypass the tremendous pain and sadness that usually comes with heartbreak. Nope. It will, however, make it a bit more manageable — and often leads to moving through the pain in less time and with less despair.

If you’re the one doing the breaking up, the kindness thing you can do is to give your ex the space they need to grieve and to move through the pain without you constantly reminding them what they’re missing. Giving them space is the kindes thing you can do.

The end of a relationship can be extremely confusing and hurtful, and often, the best thing an ex-couple can do is give each other space to heal.

A message to the breaker

Your work here is done, for the most part.

Assuming you broke up with as much love, kindness, and respect as possible, the best thing to do now is to let them go. They have a grieving process to attend to, and you aren’t part of it.

You might feel guilty because you hurt someone you love (or loved). And that’s natural. I would expect you not to like this process. No one likes being the ‘bad guy.’ And, you’re not.

For whatever reason, your relationship wasn’t meeting your needs (for freedom, space, sex, touch, creativity, whatever), and you chose to end it.

And that hurt your ex. And the instinct is to reach out to comfort them. Don’t.

That’s not your job anymore.

A message to the breakee

I know this hurts.

And I know that a message or a phone call (or God forbid — a quickie) from your ex would make you feel better.

And I promise you that if it does, you’ll feel better for a moment and you’d ultimately end up feeling worse for it. We all know the band-aid analogy. Pull it off quickly — it’ll hurt more on the front end, but it’ll heal quicker on the back end. Deep down, you know this is right. Trust that.

Your recent ex was the person you went to when you were hurting. They would comfort you, hold you, stroke your hair, and tell you everything is going to be OK. And, that’s not their job anymore.

And, you can’t have the person that broke your heart also be the person that helps you mend it.

You can’t.

A message to you both

It’s time to give each other space and to trust that you both have what it takes to heal from this.

The end of a relationship is a confusing time; let’s not make it more painful and complicated by reaching out in messy, awkward ways.

And, if you both want to transition to friendship, no contact is the best way I know how to do it.

Let me give you some language

Here’s a message template you can use when asking for no-contact. Change the name and send it.

“Hi, Alex.

I wanted to send you a message to let you know that I’d like to request no contact from you for six months. This isn’t personal; it’s just what I need to heal from this relationship ending. It’ll give me the time to let my heart (and my nervous system) settle down.

In the meantime, I’ll be unfollowing you from all social, and I’d like you to do the same.

I’m grateful for you and hoping that after six months, we can connect to see how we’re both doing. Please send me a short message to let me know you received this and agree. Thanks.”

A message to co-parents

No contact for you isn’t reasonable, because you have kids to parent. So, you’re going to have to communicate in some ways to make sure your kids are taken care of.

This is called going “low-contact.”

That means you’ll have to communicate when necessary, which might be easy for those who’ve negotiated the separation well, and nearly impossible for others.

If you can, try going “low contact” with as much care as possible and set boundaries about how and when you’ll communicate with each other.

Some examples of going “low contact are:

  • Choosing to only communicate via text or email
  • Communicating only about children and not discussing anything personal
  • Not answering the phone during the evening
  • Not to use the children to communicate (“you can tell your father I’ll be there at 5PM to pick you up”)

Ultimately, you’ll need to figure out the right balance of what’s right for you and what will support your child(ren).

A recap

No-contact is the best way I know to settle the heart after a painful breakup. It gives you both a chance to heal, make space, and move through the confusing transition from partners to what form your new relationship might take.

No contact means just that: no email, texts, phone calls, social media, or dropping by. It means no exceptions, even on their birthday.

After six months, ask yourself what you’d like to do. If you want to connect and grab a coffee, then reach out. And if you don’t, then don’t. You’re in charge of your heart, and you do what makes the most sense for you.

Good luck, lovebird.

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Shaun Galanos — Love Coach

Teaching people communication and intimacy skills for better, more loving relationships. www.shaungalanos.com