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Moving on from the ex after a breakup

By Jim Hall MS, Relationship Specialist | Recovery Coach


Are you dealing with a breakup and trying to move on from an ex who is avoidant or narcissistic?
If so, then having No Contact from your ex partner is crucial to your healing and ability to move on.


Article Summary:

Understanding the No Contact Rule

Why No Contact is Crucial

How to do No Contact: Strategies and Tools



Effectively healing and moving on from a breakup requires cutting all contact with an ex-partner-- this is true for most people but especially true when your ex is a narcissist or avoidant.

How do you cut contact with an ex-partner? By committing to the No Contact Rule.


What is the No Contact Rule?

No Contact is an action taken after a breakup of removing yourself physically and psychologically from an ex-partner or person you've had a relationship with.

The primary purpose of No Contact is so you can heal and move past the heartache.

With the No Contact Rule, you decide to no longer see, meet with, text, call, email, or message the ex in any way possible after a breakup. 


It is a self-care strategy of detaching yourself 100% from an unhealthy attachment--- at all costs.


The No Contact Rule is especially vital if you are in an addicted relationship.

It is about setting boundaries with your ex and protecting yourself. It is about shutting the door and locking it. Usually, the kind of closure you may desire is impossible if an ex-partner has been emotionally unavailable and/or is a narcissist-- don't count on a mature departure.

No Contact Rule is a tactical balancing act between taking back control, booting someone out of your life, not going crazy, and keeping your sanity. And though it can feel like it, you will not go crazy.

Look at it this way--- no contact is similar to any other addict who desires to break from their addiction of choice.

It is equivalent to a recovering drug addict needing to break free from cocaine or heroin. Or a recovering alcoholic no longer seeking another shot of vodka or no longer going to bars or stopping by the local liquor store. It is about detaching from the toxic addiction for the addict's sanity because they desire to regain their life and sense of self.

The no contact rule is a crucial aspect of recovering and regaining your dignity and self-respect-- including putting a stop to obsessive thinking of an ex.

Healthy people who experience a relationship breakup experience the universal stages of grief, such as anger, sadness, and disappointment. Eventually, they come to accept the loss and move forward.


For obsessive lovers (love addicts) and many with an anxious attachment style, moving on from a broken relationship with an ex-love avoidant or narcissist feels like a dreadful insurmountable ordeal.

It's essential to keep this in mind: If you are addicted to your ex, you will likely feel more distressed when first applying the No Contact Rule. You may experience agonizing feelings that seem to go beyond normal grief— and this is because of love withdrawal from the love addiction.

As the fantasy of your ex is crumbling, moving forward can seem unbearable. The
 only seemingly viable option to stop the pain is by creating ANY form of contact or communication with your ex-partner, no matter how bad the relationship was. It is the power of a love-addicted attachment.


Still, despite all the distortions and self-sabotaging obsessions in your mind, it is imperative to realize your healing begins with cutting your drug of choice (your ex) cold turkey by utilizing the No Contact Rule.


Healing Yourself from an ex Avoidant or Narcissist starts with the No Contact Rule.

When we feel hopelessly obsessed with an ex-partner, cutting complete contact with the ex is a critical prerequisite to healing.


Implementing No Contact should start  immediately.




If you genuinely want your sanity back, for the pain to heal and obsession to dissipate, you need to STOP acting out your addiction by breaking ANY and ALL contact with your ex.


No Contact means no more seeking a "hit" of heroin. Accept that your ex-partner is a drug to you and a toxic one. And any form of contact will lead to a poisonous and unhealthy outcome.

Like a crack addict, you "hit the pipe" for every contact you have with your ex and keep trapped in your addiction.


When you're removing yourself from your ex with No Contact, it means:

  • No texting your ex
  • No calling
  • No emailing
  • No twittering
  • No messaging
  • No small talk
  • No nice talk
  • No 'how are you?'
  • No arguing
  • No drive-byes
  • No sex
  • No checking on their whereabouts
  • No triangular communication through a friend or family member
  • No going on social media to see what your ex is up to (FB, Instagram, etc.)
  • No Contact is NO More EXCUSES


Committing to the No Contact Rule represents no longer choosing the same old destructive pattern-- no more fueling your ex-partners wants and needs while disregarding your own. It embodies no more settling for avoidance or narcissistic partners who lack the capacity to meet your needs (e.g., intimacy and closeness).

What if your ex contacts you?

If, or better yet, when-- your ex-partner attempts to open the door by contacting you, urging you to bite for those tiny little crumbs you have gobbled up for much-much too long-- you say NO, NO, NO, period!

You refuse to get hoodwinked with their drama, self-pity, charm, charisma, seduction tactics, words, or promises to be hurt again and again. You cannot allow it.

When they attempt to call, text or email --- you must choose NOT to respond or answer. You say NO way, NO more--- STOP. You say it is over.

You hang up. You disconnect. You physically leave the scene. You detach. You say goodbye and close the door tight.


You forcefully slam the door shut, dead-bolt it ten times, and throw away the keys.

When you keep the connection going with contact -- you put yourself in a less-than position - you put them on a false pedestal, making them your higher power.

Your ex is not a God or Goddess. Knock them off that fictitious pedestal. Your effort will pay off down the road.


No Contact Rule is about taking care of yourself and setting a healthy boundary so you can move on in a better direction in your life.

The foundation of the No Contact Rule is about putting your wellbeing first-- by setting healthy boundaries.

The purpose of setting boundaries is to define your limits. Establishing a healthy boundary signifies taking a stand for yourself, protecting yourself, and caring for yourself.

No Contact is a boundary rule and a critical aspect of freeing yourself from someone who was likely not good for you-- see Signs of Avoidance.

No Contact is unequivocal and clear-cut with-- NO loopholes -- NO excuses.


How long should you stick with the No Contact Rule? Is it permanent?

How long you stick with No Contact depends. If the relationship caused distress and anxiety, and it was addictive, toxic, unhealthy, hurtful - if your ex-partner is narcissistic and/or avoidant, abusive, manipulating, or indifferent to your feelings, wants, and needs, then no contact must be ongoing and permanent.

Why go back to a relationship with an ex-partner who cannot enhance your emotional wellbeing and is incapable of meeting your needs through their avoidance? You deserve much-much better, my friend- seriously.

Moreover, permanency is especially true if you are sick and tired of the pain of being so dependent on one person-- and truly desire an authentic, fulfilling relationship in your future. * If you have kids with your ex, permanent No Contact is likely, not possible- your kids need you.

Keeping the addiction going will surely keep you stuck in your obsession and love addiction. And for every contact made, you immediately go back to square one.

Every contact with your ex is equivalent to putting a knife into your chest — then pouring salt on the open wound. It hurts.


Applying the No Contact Rule is not easy - it is painful - but it is the most effective method to help you heal and get over an ex


Let's be honest--  No Contact is definitely not easy or painless. Love addiction has consequences.

The experience of withdrawing and cutting your ex off is an arduous consequence of having been in an addictive relationship.

It feels impossible. It can feel like torture. It can even feel like death. It is no doubt the most difficult challenge in this beginning stage of recovery. 

Yet, you must be assured, you can and will survive. It pays off in the end. If you act- there is light ahead.

All the twisted obsessions, distortions, and confusing thoughts want to convince you that you cannot live without your ex-partner; that he/she was your soul mate, the magical one. It is not reality. Do not believe it.

Understand this---all the irrational obsessive thoughts in your head are nothing but your love addiction talking.

The voices of addiction are always full of deceitfulness, lies, and manipulations.

Get it in your head that your ex is toxic to you. Your ex is not the answer. Your value, worth, and existence is not based on someone else. You will be okay.

Do not accept the falsehood that he/she is the answer to your problems- NOT true; never has been.

Discovering to honor who you are as a human being, honoring your personal wants and needs, and learning to love you is the answer to your problems.

Again, the longer you take the "hits" of contact, the more you feed the fix, and the longer you put your recovery at a complete standstill. So move forward wisely.

The No Contact Rule is a critical step to healing and getting past the pain. Adhere to the No Contact Rule with a fighting attitude, and an acknowledgment, that you deserve better and are finished settling for less.

Draw a line in the sand, and declare to yourself, "No More"! And once you do- leap the worthy path of recovery.


How to Stick to and Succeed at the No Contact Rule: Tips and Methods

Moving forward on a healthy path is not possible after a breakup when contact with an ex continues. Having a plan to stick with the No Contact Rule can significantly help your success.

A plan allows you to better take care of yourself during this time, Here are a few tips:

Here are some tips and methods you will want to follow to help you succeed with No Contact:

  • Set this boundary with your ex: Make it clear to your ex (if necessary)—that you must no longer have contact, all, or any form of communication (this is for your good). Your ex must know if he/she expects to keep the contact going. Whether you text or message them or tell them face to face, do it and don’t put it off. 

  • Support: Support is crucial. Be sure to have friends and family- ready to call- and ask for their support (let them know the situation). Try finding one particular person who can respectfully hold you accountable to this commitment of no more contact.

  • Get involved with a recovery or relationship support group. In 12-step recovery groups, many people will understand what you are going through. Check to see if any of these are near you – CODA, ACDF, ACOA, SLAA -- some of these also offer online phone support groups. Also, sign up for my newsletter to learn the future dates of my next online recovery groups.
    • Have goals and activities planned throughout each week- a few healthy suggestions might include:
    • Spend time at a park; take a walk.
    • Plan to go to a movie theatre by yourself or with a friend.
    • Get involved with some hobbies you love or use to enjoy. 
    • Attend a play or concert, read, go shopping, or take a class.
    • Go to Starbuck and relax with a cup of Java.

    • Pamper yourself with a massage, or manicure, buy yourself a gift, get your hair done- or get a cut, etc. 
    • Attend church if you are religious.
    • Do affirmations (positive self-talk) - this is a great way to start rewiring your brain and eliminate the negative self-talk. Reaffirm daily the reasons why your ex-partner is bad for your health and well-being.
    • Work the tools in my breakup workbook - Surviving Withdrawal.
    • Go to a comedy show (or watch comedy).

    • Remind yourself that the urge to see your ex DOES NOT mean it is love (get him or her off the pedestal).
    • Remind yourself that you are not going crazy. The withdrawal may sometimes make you believe that, but you are not.
    • Remind yourself that the desperate craving and yearning for contact is created by the fantasy. Very few people change who they are- I know this may be difficult to accept—but it is true (especially narcissists).

    • Do deep breathing exercises; meditate; and/or acupuncture for relaxation or stress- these exercises are excellent for stress, and anxiety, and are often used in recovery treatment centers.
    • Journal about your feelings.
    • When obsessive thinking feels like its getting out of hand go to this page to make use of tips here to overcome love-obsessed thoughts

During No Contact It Might Feel You Need Your Ex To Breathe, Survive, Feel Alive – Reality Is You Don’t- Though You Night Feel This Way, Truth IS You Don’t Need Him/Her One Bit read Love Withdrawal. Remember, Feelings Are Not Always Facts. Hang In There And In Time This Mental Shift Will Come To You.

Remember everything you do to take care of your well-being is the act of SELF-LOVE, SELF-RESPECT, and the No Contact Rule is part of the act of self-care. If you need further support and advice- consider working with me, learn about my Relationship/Love Addiction Coaching Services


About the Author: 
Jim Hall MS is a Love Addiction Specialist and Author of 3 Books on Love Addiction and Healing. Through his Online Recovery Practice and writings, Jim teaches those struggling with love addiction or anxious attachment styles how to overcome unhealthy/insecure relationship patterns, and attain happy, fulfilling love.

My workbook for those dealing with love withdrawal, obsession, and breaking up:
Surviving Withdrawal: Breakup Workbook for Love Addiction

If you're just starting your recovery from an obsessive love addiction, this workbook is a must:
GATEWAY to Recovery: The Beginners Guide For Love Addicts Ready To Recover  



Learn all about love and relationship addiction in:
The Love Addict in Love Addiction


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Love Addiction Coaching
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