How does going no contact even work?
Breakups are often huge obstacles to overcome, especially in affair relationships. Naturally, the nature of an affair relationship isolates you from your connections with the rest of the world, so you often have a small or no community at all to help you through the breakup.
To add to this isolation, you may have certain beliefs about your affair experience that stop you from being able to process your breakup effectively.
- I am the other woman, I should have known better.
- I am responsible for his emotions
- I’m just the side chick, I shouldn’t have been expecting more.
- I never had him fully to begin with so I have no right to be grieving this.
When we have beliefs like this, we naturally suppress emotions that want to be seen, felt understood and digested within ourselves. We stop ourselves from getting help because—deep down—we feel we shouldn’t be feeling this in the first place.
This is what makes affair breakups so difficult.
If you are struggling with ending your affair and find yourself constantly going back, it is important to understand the stories holding you back from getting the support and healing you need.
In this blog, we will be going into the no contact rule—not always fun or easy to execute but incredibly healing and life-changing once you commit to following through with the no contact strategy.
Before we get into going no contact, let’s first try to understand why affair breakups make no contact so challenging to execute.
So why are affair breakups so damn hard?
They are built on hope. You’re constantly wishing that things will improve and turn into what you want—something better for both of you. You’re also dealing with jealousy and the feeling that, deep down, you aren’t enough and—ironically—that very fact makes you crave the connection more.
It’s extremely important to acknowledge these thoughts and feelings and have compassion for yourself through this time. It’s so easy to get lost in society’s negative narrative around affairs and your friends saying things like, “Dude! He’s got another woman. Just leave the guy. Why do you want him anyway when he’s not even giving you all that you deserve?”
And, yes, there is probably a part of you that believes what your friends are saying has merit yet you can think these thoughts (conscious brain) but you feel something completely different (subconscious) and as much as you can think better your subconscious is always calling the shots.
Your subconscious mind is running in survival mode.
- No one has made me feel as alive as he does
- He “gets” me like no one else.
- He brings out parts in me that others don’t bring out.
- Nobody loves me like he does.
- He cares for me, looks after me, and wants the best for me (except that he’s giving you half a commitment)
- This is the most desire I have ever felt for someone before and I don’t want to lose that.
- Our sexual chemistry is on fire 🔥
When we continue to paint over the beliefs of what “we will lose” if we break it off, it’s no wonder it’s so damn hard. Wavering back and forth is a sure sign your desire to avoid the pain of not having him is stronger than your desire to be free.
Before going no contact, you have to get super clear on why it’s a MUST for you.
These journal prompts will really help you gain some clarity before you decide if you’re ready to go no contact or not.
How I benefited from going no contact.
For me, the no contact rule was fundamental to ending my 7-year affair and moving on for good. There was always these little ties that kept bringing us back together or back in contact and back into being emotionally invested.
If you truly want to be free of your affair relationship, it’s time for you to disconnect the emotional strings that are keeping you so tied to this experience. It’s time to heal. You are every bit worthy of living a lifestyle that fulfils your highest good.
What does no contact really mean?
The no contact rule is defined as “a period of time where you cut off all communication with your ex-partner.” In this case, your affair partner. By completely cutting all ties with the person you give yourself an opportunity to step back from the chemical and emotional bond you share and allow yourself to heal as well as get a clearer perspective of your affair relationship from a distance. If done correctly, this experience can do wonders to your healing from the affair relationship.
As I said in the video, a lot of the people I talk with who are going through an affair relationship have said that ending an affair was more painful than any other breakup they have experienced before. Many even go on to say it’s been a more painful experience than going through their past divorce.
Every experience is so different and there are many factors to consider when choosing how to go about the no contact rule.
- This may be a 1-month affair or a 7-year affair.
- Your affair partner may be closely tied into your community.
- Your affair partner may be your boss.
- You may be renting your affair partner’s house.
- Your affair partner may be connected through family.
- Your affair partner may be going through a lot and needing your support right now.
AND, when considering all these factors, please be mindful of whether these factors when choosing to go no contact or not are legitimate or actually a subconscious story you are holding onto to prevent you from taking the full leap of ending things.
What are the rules of no contact?
No contact means disconnecting ALL ties.
Not only must you commit to the no contact rule yourself and hold yourself to it but it’s important to communicate your intention of no contact to your affair partner and get across that you ask them to respect it and do the same for you.
This means you tell them not to contact you.
And also tell them that if you wish to contact them, you will do so. That leaves it in your hands and it also means you aren’t on the edge of your phone every day secretly hoping they will reach out / cave and give in to contacting you.
NO means no. Don’t contact me. I ask you to respect that.
No contact means:
- No phone calls
- No text messages.
- No emails.
- No going places where you hope to run into them.
- No social media interacting. Eg. liking his status updates or commenting (but we are friends surely it doesn’t need to be that dramatic? Yes. It does.) You can tell him that is your intention. It’s important to cut ties completely.
- No meeting up with his close connections to get the inside scoop.
- No stalking. his means in person or through internet/friends social media.
Detox means detox!
The longer you feed the temptation, the longer it will take you to feel fully free of the emotional ties that come with ending a relationship.
Set a No Contact Intention Before You Cut Off Contact
8 Things you must know before going no contact
#1: Be clear that it’s over.
If you are half in, half out, you have not fully made a decision.
In order for no contact to work, you must FULLY COMMIT.
It’s important to be 100% certain of this change.
In Go ask Suzie’s blog How To Exit The Affair Permanently And Gracefully, she says in Point 2:
“Going halfway takes you nowhere. This is probably one of the most damaging things I see wayward partners do. When they exit the affair, they do it half-heartedly. I can’t tell you the number of affair partners who’ve said to me that a lot of their hurt, anger, and revenge (toward the wayward partner) was because of the indecisiveness they showed at the end. Do yourself a huge favour. When you exit, close the door firmly behind you. Once it’s closed, don’t reopen it (ever). This alone can save you all of your endless pain and suffering.”
There can be no wiggle room.
Saying, “I really want to be with you, but I need to do the right thing.” isn’t shutting the door. It conveys a desire to continue and encourages the affair partner to hang on. While you may be doubtful or even convinced that your affair partner’s marriage won’t work, this is not about them, it’s about what is going to serve you best moving forward. And that is to build a relationship from a healthy foundation. With a partner willing to fully commit to you. Without the secrecy. Without the confusion. Without constantly wondering where you stand or when he is going to act on change. So when you communicate your intention to cut the ties, say it loud and say it clear. “I am no longer participating in this affair.”
Over means over.
#2 Don’t end it half-heartedly
This is a big one. Your intuition is telling you to walk away but all the emotional ties is saying “I don’t want to, I’m not ready yet”
You fear drawing a clear boundary because you are not ready to completely lose their love.
What feelings do you have around drawing a hard boundary?
Let them know that this means no contact whatsoever. It may be tempting to dilute the pain by ending the intimacy but suggesting you can still be friends. Yet morphing the affair into “just friends” is choosing to keep the emotional tie alive. This isn’t closing the door; it’s leaving the door cracked so that you still have him when you need each other.
# 3 Your language is everything
Be intentional around the words you use. Don’t worry it doesn’t have to be said eloquently. You don’t have to be good with your words. What I mean here is to notice when you say things like:
“I just need some space.”
“We can be friends later.”
“I THINK this is best.”
“We need to do this.”
No, YOU need to do this.
“I don’t know” – Inviting him to come up with answers
Speak in first person. Don’t try to dilute what you are saying by making this a joint decision. If it’s joint then it’s open to negotiation.
At the end of the day, they don’t have to agree. This is you stating your needs and what you’re choosing to act on moving forward.
It’s important to be clear on your decisions before having a conversation with your affair partner. They may come up with alternative solutions to having to end it and it’s important to not be sucked back in by their words. If you allow it, their words may feel like they are bringing you closer. And it’s important to come back to How has this experience has been making me feel over the past few months?
Words can be said and they can feel comforting in the moment, but at the end of the day, if an affair is not in line with your values and you feel it’s time to end it, it’s time to end it. If you feel you will give into him by creating this boundary face to face, write him a letter. Have an alternative strategy.
Yes, you have a strong connection and in-person may feel like the right thing to do but if you strongly feel it’s not going to get the result you are after then you must do what you feel is best based on the circumstances and your strength at the time.
#4 He may start showing up differently
Deep down, there may be a part of you hoping he pushes against the breakup and comes forward with his love for you. And there’s a part of you that may love his persistence. But persuasiveness or persistence is not healthy love, it’s control.
Before you go no contact, write out a list of why it’s a MUST to go no contact. Keep that list close to you when times are hard. Keep going over your WHY. Your mind may want to reminisce about all the good times and all the things you have lostand, if he begins to show up differently, you could jump back into fantasizing how things could be better this time.
In the Instyles Blog How to Master the ‘No Contact Rule’ — the Ultimate Breakup Tool Dr. Jenn Mann Wrote
“Make a list of every terrible thing your partner ever did. It’s a great idea to have a list of all the reasons why this relationship is not in your best interest. This list should include things she has done that hurt you, any betrayals that have occurred, ways that you are not compatible, things that did not work in the relationship, ways that the relationship was not healthy for you, and reminders about why the two of you are not together.”
Whatever is going to help you stay strong in your decision to follow through USE IT.
#5 Understand that going no contact won’t be easy
You will feel sad. You will grieve. But don’t let the pain of no contact make you forget how much pain and confusion you also felt during the affair relationship. Have faith.
- You deserve a relationship that doesn’t leave you in tears at night.
- You deserve a relationship that doesn’t have you constantly second-guessing yourself.
- You deserve a relationship with someone who devotes their all to you and doesn’t make you question their love all the time.
- You deserve a relationship where you feel emotionally safe.
- You deserve a relationship that lifts you up, that brings out the best in you, that increases your self-worth.
That is what you deserve
But by using the no-contact rule when you leave your affair partner, you will also regain strength, self-esteem, confidence, and empowerment.
Monica Parikh said it best in her blog The No-Contact Rule: The Most Effective Way To Move On From An Ex:
“No contact is a good time to develop better boundaries, increase your self-esteem, and abandon dysfunctional behaviors you learned in childhood. When you assess where you made mistakes and correct those behaviors, you have a much better probability of success in your next relationship”
#6 You are detoxing
Understand that going no contact is the same as becoming sober or abstaining from a drug.
It takes work.
You will experience detox and withdrawal phases, just as a drug addict does when they stop taking their drug of choice. But, with time you will notice symptoms subsiding. Trust in the process and encourage yourself that no contact = self love.
#7 No Contact will give you a new perspective
“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” Albert Einstein
When we are living in our stories, we can’t actually see our affair experience with a clear lens. We recycle the same thinking and the same feelings and—to interrupt this pattern—it’s important you distance yourself from the affair by going on a holiday, getting out in nature or, best of all, going no contact to allow space between you both so you can get the perspective you need.
Trust me when I say, after the initial pain of no contact wears off, you will begin to see your affair from new perspectives you haven’t seen before. With new awareness, you can create new action resulting in lasting change. You will not experience the same perspective shifts without creating space between you and your affair partner. We can never see something clearly while we’re in the thick of it. It’s only after distance and time that the entire picture starts to show itself to us.
#8 It will allow you to heal faster over time
Change can happen in an instant. The only thing stopping you from making that happen is DECIDING. Take the leap. Have faith in yourself and that you will be okay. It’s not going to be easy. You will most likely feel alone at times. However, commitment to taking this scary action, knowing it’s going to serve you best moving forward, is what will help you to heal faster over time.
You deserve the very best. It’s time. Time to choose you.
I was in your shoes once and I chose to put myself first.
I remember the time I took action on this like it was yesterday. I was an emotional mess. My legs couldn’t hold me up. But I also remember in that pain I felt a relief that I had finally acted on the decision my soul was calling me to rise up to for so long.
If you’re ready to let go, to leave, to go no contact, but you need help, I understand and I’m here. This is exactly why I became an affair recovery coach in the first place—to help others (who are in the situation I was in for so long) to escape and find their way back to themselves again.
As mushy as this sounds, I felt like I changed so much the day I left my affair partner and went no contact. Like that powerless little girl became a strong woman. I didn’t know I had it in me but I did.
And so do you. ❤️
For more information about leaving a long-time affair or the unhealthy dynamics of affair relationships, check out some of my other blogs below.