Can You Save Your Marriage With The No Contact Rule?

We are all interested in having the most wonderful and fulfilling of marriages. Our relationships bring us closer to the reason why we even exist. Without contact and interaction with other people we love, then our very soul gets whittled away. So what is this idea of advocating No Contact with the person you love? Why would we want to pull away from our spouse? It is difficult enough to tackle the world out there, so why would we want to do it alone? Well sometimes, to draw closer, you have to step back to gain some perspective and reconnect.

Can your marriage be saved strictly by using the No Contact Rule? No it can’t. But if implemented properly, under certain circumstances, you and your husband or wife can benefit from going through a no contact period. So what is this No Contact Rule? How does it work? When should you use it? What are its benefits and drawbacks?

Really, must you ask so many questions! Well, I am glad that you are because learning how to implement the No Contact Rule properly and consistently could be huge. On the other hand, if you do not understand how this process works and put it into play where it is not appropriate or execute this relationship strategy improperly, you could suffer a serious setback in your marriage.

No one wants to experience a headwinds in their marriage.  And that is why I decided to write this lengthy post.  I want you to be able to explore all the possible angles and applications of possibly using this principle.

I also want to encourage you to ask me any questions or offer your comments and observations at the very end of this post. You can leave me a comment and I usually get back within 48 hours.  Also, check out the comment section at end of this article for further insights.

What is the Marital No Contact Rule?

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Have you ever noticed that relationship experts like to talk about fanciful topics and put their own spin on it. I guess it is normal for people to grab a hold of a concept and put it out there for masses to digest. There are tons of married folks and couples who are seeking help with getting their relationship back on track. And when they hear about a technique or strategy that can help them, they will in most cases latch on to it and ride it as far as it may work in their personal situation.

I try to offer to my readers a ton of content that can help them lift their marriage to the next rung.  Along with learning about how No Contact can work within your marriage scenario, be sure to dive into my post about all aspects of have to save a marriage in trouble.

How To Save A Messed Up Marriage!

Now, since you most likely have arrived at this page partly because you wanted to learn more about the No Contact Rule and how it works and what it could do to help you with the problems you are presently experiencing; I am going to try to straighten out some of the misinformation on what it is, how it works, and most importantly, how it can help you.

First, let’s say we get out of this pattern of following the crowd. Relationship gurus and marriage counselors and many others like to just throw around these phrases, sometimes, quite frankly, seeking to rope you in so you will buy their product. Always be careful with what you read and choose to implement, particularly when it comes to something as important as the No Contact Rule. Despite what they may say, no marriage expert knows exactly what is in your best interest. Nor do I. But I will admit it and then I will give you a big picture view of the benefits and potential disadvantages. With this information, you are smart enough to sort through the best potential choices.

So, in keeping with my lack of interest in following the crowd of copycats, let’s do this. We are going to rename the No Contact Rule principle. First of all, the phrase starts with a negative…..the word “No”. As you have probably realized by now, I don’t like to lead first with negatives. Indeed, the most successful of marriages revolve around the Principle of “Positivity” which I discuss in great detail on my home page. Why not highlight the positive? The idea behind this strategy is that you are to stop all communications with your your Ex, so that is why it took on the name of “no contact”. But one of the greater benefits derived from implementing such as strategy is to allow YOU to get in contact with yourself. It allows you to get in touch with your own feelings and begin the self healing process. And bear in mind, the self healing process can take weeks to take root.

So we will change the name of the concept to the “YES CONTACT RULE”. I want you to say “yes” to getting back in touch with yourself. I want you to say “yes” to healing yourself and potentially your marriage. If you are ever in a position where you need to invoke this (Yes) Contact Rule, then you are going to be experiencing one of the roughest period of time in your life. Your emotions will be all over the place. You will have this unbearable pain in the very core of your body, mind, and spirit. Yes, you will be needing a huge dose of a recovery and that path is found in becoming “one” with yourself. You will need to get yourself together, before you have a chance of pulling your marriage back together.

But, let’s not stop there. I don’t really like the word “rule”. It is much too confining. When it comes to relationship advice, one should be very careful about proposing strict “rules”, particularly when we are dealing with the degree of communication you will or will not have with your husband or wife. Human beings and their relationships are incredibly complicated. When we ask ourselves whether we should stop communicating, in all forms, with our spouse we are dealing with a very critical aspect of the marriage.

After all, that is what this “Contact” business is about. It is mostly about whether you should communicate with with your spouse under certain special situations that might unfold in your marriage. We will get into this with greater detail later. But let’s first get our vocabulary in order!

What I propose is that instead of calling this principle the “No Contact Rule”, let’s think of it as the “YES CONTACT PRINCIPLE”. That sounds a lot more pleasant and is actually quite descriptive of one of its key outcomes…specifically “becoming the best version of yourself”.

Are You Breaking Up or Separating?

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When break ups occur, many relationship experts advise their clients to institute a period of time where they do not communicate with their husband, wife, boyfriend, or girlfriend for a specific period of time. We will talk about the time period later because there is a lot of disagreement about how long or short it should be. This period of time where you are to avoid communicating with your significant other in any way…..and that includes all forms of communication such as verbal, written, text, email, person to person, and phone calls….is not intended as a game or designed to punish or “stick it to” your spouse.

The two of you are married because you fell in love and loving somebody is not about teaching them a cruel lesson. The intent behind this strategy is to create a meaningful change. Sometimes, something profound needs to happen to break the old, negative habits that have broken the bond.

Getting Away From Problem Routines

I do not recommend you utilize this strategy of shutting down communications with your husband or wife (boyfriend or girlfriend), unless the relationship has deteriorated to the point where the two of your have separated. What does that mean, exactly?

Well first of all, when it comes to relationships, hardly anything is exact or can be described with precise meaning. Such are the vagaries of communication. But I will give you my take on what separation might look like for you and your lover. It is usually a situation that has evolved over many months or even years. The two of you have been pulling further away. The bond of love, which always had been a most wonderful attractive force that pulled the two of you together, is now fractured. You and your spouse are fighting more. Perhaps there has been an affair. Perhaps you have gone to marriage counseling, but it has not helped. Or maybe instead of couples therapy, you and your wife or husband have had long discussions about your future together and the outcome looks bleak. Eventually one or both you decide that it’s time to break up and someone moves out either temporarily or semi­permanently. It could a trial separation where one or both of you conclude that you need to sever the relationship or it could be a legal separation in which the attorneys draw up an agreement of understanding.

The period of separation can be days, weeks or months. In effect, a form of no or limited contact is already in place.

For a couple that is married, this type of arrangement is usually the last resort, short of outright divorce. It is only under these circumstances that it makes sense to adopt a Yes Contact Principle (i.e. No Contact Rule). If you were to totally shut down all communications with your spouse, while the two of your are actively working on your relationship and living under the same roof, you most likely will cause more harm than good.

Now, there are some situations where limited contact and communications can awaken the husband or wife to realizing something is terribly wrong with the relationship. We will touch on that later. But to be clear, I would not advocate initiating a No Contact Rule while the marriage is still operating under the same roof.

The Dysfunctional Marriage

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The growing dysfunction of a marriage can eventually lead to the realization that something very significant needs to occur to allow for both parties to gain greater perspective and begin the healing process. Unfortunately, in most cases, couples do not take take any meaningful action, but rather just get caught up in the flow of time. One day runs into another as their level of satisfaction and fulfillment in their marriage decreases over time.

You have heard of the saying, “We are growing apart” or “I love him (her), but am not in love anymore”. It can be really tough to explain in words what we are feeling and even more difficult to understand exactly why we are feeling the things we do. We need to remember that words are just “constructs” of the mind. They are not even real. We conjure up certain feelings and thoughts in our brain and then we try to explain using words. But most of the time, the words we chose are woefully inadequate and can be confusing.

We may even ask ourselves, “how did it come to this”? Why don’t I feel the same way? What happened in our marriage such that we do not feel that intensity of love and connection any more? You may think, “before I could never find anything wrong with my husband (or wife).” Now, you may possibly find an assortment of things that you dislike….things that cause friction and agitation.. That magic the two of you had is gone. Resentments have grown to fill a larger part of how you think about your spouse.

As the many months and years go by, all these things can get worse. Then before you can make sense of it all, you are sitting there thinking, “What happened to us?” You might be able to piece together part of the puzzle of how your relationship came to be what it is now. But more often than not, you will be confused as to how things unraveled and what is to become of your marriage in the future. For many couples facing dysfunction in their married lives, they reach a point of where everything they try seems futile and a cycle of rinse and repeat becomes exhausting.

This is often why people break it off. Often, it is not that their love has disappeared. A bond once made, is very difficult to break entirely. It’s just happens that couples will sometimes arrive at a place where they are exceptionally unhappy and have little hope. So they separate. At that point, both will become engulfed with confusing feelings such as sadness, relief, anger, resentment, depression, and many others.

Understanding the Value of Your Relationship “Bank”

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It is important you understand the science behind the early stages of love. As mentioned above, I am sure you still remember with fondness those many early months of the relationship where both of you felt you were floating on a cloud of romantic delight. Neither of you could do wrong. Every moment with your lover was magical. Everything within and outside of your relationship was amazing. But those feelings powering your love for each other was getting a big assist from the chemical cocktail dancing in your minds.

When we are in those early stages of falling in love with someone, our brain chemistry changes as dopamine and a host of other chemicals are released. As time goes by, that natural love potion gives way to a steady state of brain chemistry, more or less. This is where marriages are made in my opinion. And like deposits you make into your bank, the welfare of your marriage will be largely dependent on all of the little and large deposits you make into your marriage.

What I am talking about here are the acts of kindness, praise and love you contribute to the “union” you have with your husband or wife. When your acts of love far outweigh the “withdrawals” (negative acts such as fighting, criticism, lack of support) then your relationship is healthy.

But when things take a turn for the sour and you and your spouse are spending far too much of your time withdrawing love from your relationship “bank”, you can go bankrupt and the pain of that process can be unbearably. You must “individually” learn to recover before you can rebuild and improve the marriage you once had.

You are going to need some perspective to gain insight into what is happening and to recover from the pain of your marriage struggles. This is one of the key benefits of the no contact period. It is to allow for both of you to recover and gain some perspective.

So, the “Yes Contact Principle” (i.e. No Contact Rule) is mostly about giving each person in the marriage an opportunity to get “right” in the mind and to begin their own healing process. Right now, both people are swimming in a sea of emotional turbulence and neither is in a position to make good decisions. It will certainly be very difficult for the two of you to “jointly” try to pick up all the pieces at this stage. There needs to be an intervention….a meaningful change.. If it’s not some form of marriage counseling or therapy, then going through a No Contact Period could be exceptionally helpful.

Getting in “Contact” With the Big Picture

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There was a movie that came out some time ago called, “Contact”. It starred Jodi Foster and was about a woman in search of extraterrestrial life. The movie has some very interesting themes running through it that actually is instructive for relationships.

The character in the movie experienced her own personal journey by traveling far away. But it is the way the movie started that I find to be useful in this discussion about “PERSPECTIVE”. It starts on earth, then the camera pans further away and outward. The earth becomes slightly smaller as the “eye” of the camera pan outward as we travel beyond the moon, the planets of our solar system, and even further out.

Now, if you are in the midst of a relationship that has gone terribly wrong and your problems and pain are so great, that you can barely function, then clearly you are in a very bad place emotionally. You lack the love you deserve and most assuredly, you will lack perspective. The adverse effects of this suffering will also likely have a very

negative impact on your physical health. If you have just broken up or you and your spouse have just separated, then you will be emotionally compromised and blind to what is probably in your best interest. You may find yourself obsessing over the state of the marriage and what you should do. Your behavior may become compulsive. You may feel desperate to repair that relationship connection that is now broken or severed. Most people in this emotional state are extremely vulnerable. They can become prisoners of their own emotions and say and do things that contribute to the relationship worsening. What is one to do?

I say, let’s take a journey to the stars. Remember that movie, “Contact” I was talking about just a bit earlier? Well let’s take a ride and see where it takes us. Now, if you are “game” and follow along really closely, you might just discover this little journey you are about to undertake will be somewhat hypnotic. So, you may be thinking, “Really, you believe you can hypnotize me right NOW, just by me reading this stuff you are writing on the page?”

It is really up to you and that is the truth!

Maybe I can, but in a way that separates myth from reality. After all, hypnosis is nothing more than a highly relaxed and focused state of mind. Can you really relax, and then focus?

If one provides certain stimuli (suggestions), these notions can get lodged into the mind of a person and can positively affect this person’s behavior. Watching a movie or reading a book are forms of a mild self hypnotic state of mind. You are relaxed in a dark movie theater, maybe wearing those funky 3D glasses. You are very focused and eventually become engulfed in the story that is unfolding on the movie screen. Before you know it, you are so caught up with what you see and hear on the screen, you suspend reality, and actually begin caring a great deal about the characters in the movie. You laugh and you cry and experience a wide range of emotions. And you can learn things….make important connections, only because the movie enabled you to do so. Right? Actually, not entirely. Those important connections you made when watching the movie occurred because YOU chose to relax and open up your mind and be receptive.

Should we call that a form of hypnosis? That is up to you. Call it what you will, be let’s take a little journey together and I want you to go some place really quiet and read the following passage very slowly. I want you to visualize the meaning of the words. Allow the words to form images in your mind. And remember, it not really me that allows you to enter this heightened state of relaxation….it is all YOU.

You are in the middle of a forest. As you look around, all you can see and think about are those things immediately affecting you. Just as the tree cannot see the forest, your view is confined. You are in the middle of a forest.

Now imagine you are on the moon. Your view of earth has expanded such that the entire globe is now in focus. You see continents and the grand scale of the oceans. You are amazed at the scope of that which you see. You are on the moon.

Now imagine you are on the edge of the Milky Way Galaxy. The earth is now a tiny blue dot, far,far away in the distance. Suddenly you realize that all of your worries and concerns are very small in the scheme of things. The gravity of your problems start to shrink away. You look upon the universe in awe and are delighted to be part of it.

Ok! You are released from your self induced state of relaxation. With that kind of perspective, I hope you realize that problems that seem to mushroom into gigantic proportions in your mind, are occupying far too much space in your life.

A Time To Reap

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Now I want you to think about it another way. Think about the time you have remaining in life. We are all mere specks of dust in a universe that is 13.3 billion years old and more vast and expansive that words can describe. Our life span is measured in the smallest of fractions as compared to the age of the universe. With perspective, we should realize that our time is the most precious thing we have. What a shame it is for us allow ourselves to get muddled into a state of constant negativity, sadness, or depression. While we cannot always control what happens in our lives, we have considerable control over the attitude we elect to have in our life.

The power of the “Yes Contact Principle” (i.e. No Contact Rule) is to allow you to get in touch with your feelings, put things back into proper perspective, and begin healing from the wounds you have suffered within your relationship. Only then will you be best equipped to make sound decisions about whether reconciliation with your your wife or husband is something you want to strive for.

What is the Limited Contact Principle in a Marriage or Relationship

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We spent some time talking about the No Contact Rule which we went on to rename as the “Yes Contact Principle”. So now let’s turn our attention to the Limited Contact Principle. We will keep the name because it actually is descriptive of what you might choose to implement if the situation is appropriate.

In almost every situation in marriage, balanced and quality communications is something you want to strive to achieve each day. But what happens if the marriage is on the rocks and neither of you are making any progress getting it back on track? Should one utilize some form of the limited contact rule?

First, let’s make sure we are all on the same page. I would define the limited contact principle as a self imposed cooling off period. If your marital relationship has eroded to such a point where communications are often negative and triggering fights and conflict, then something needs to happen to break that trend. Limited contact with your spouse could accomplish that. Communications would be limited to just the most pertinent information you need to convey to your husband or wife. Otherwise, you will want to avoid initiating conversation. And when your spouse tries to raise a topic for discussion or ask a general question, your response is very brief, neutral in tone, but respectful. If necessary, you quietly, with measured control, remove yourself from the immediate environment so as to avoid further attempts at communication or any hostility.

With this approach, you are trying to accomplish two things. One, you want to break the negative, vicious cycle of the type of communications that has harmed your marriage.

It takes two to tango (in most cases), so why tango if it is hurting the relationship?

Have you ever head of the concept of “less is more”. Well, this is what you are trying to achieve. Less communications should lead to more perspective, serenity, and hopefully a greater appreciation from your spouse that something in their behavior is terribly wrong, otherwise you would not be shutting down. And that is the second thing you want to accomplish through this strategy. You want to create an awareness in your husband or wife so they understand something very important is broken.

It is like hitting the reset button on the computer when the operating system is all fouled up. Before it reboots, it goes through a period in which it audits all of the internal systems. When it finds a problem, it attempts to fix it, but not before it goes through a quiet reboot period.

With a relationship that is off the tracks, sometimes you need to go through a quiet period to properly assess things. Unlike a No Contact Period, where all communications come to an end, the limited contact principle allows you to co­exist with your spouse, while at the same time try to slow things down. Once implemented for a few hours or a few days, it will become abundantly clear to your lover that the relationship is off the tracks and something meaningful needs to happen to address the problems.

Consider it a wake up call for your spouse, except you are doing all of your talking through your actions. Less is more. So will it work? Sometimes it does. The husband or wife gets the message and takes advantage of an opportunity to re­evaluate his or her role in the conflict. You want to create an environment where the hostilities have ended and rational thinking has returned. In this environment, your lover will be more inclined to act in a more positive, pragmatic fashion; which lends itself to solutions.

Now, on the other hand, your efforts to limit conversation and interaction with your spouse could have the opposite effect of what you desire. A lot depends on the nature of the people involved and the strength of the marriage union. Some people react very well to the limited contact and seize the opportunity to make things right. After all, if you have a reasonably solid marriage, it is in both people’s interest to bring an end to the bickering.

But in some cases, I have seen this approach backfire. No matter how civil and respectful you are in carrying out the limited contact principle, some people will get very angry and resentful. Chances are that such individuals are very controlling, possibly very selfish, and your failure to engage in lengthy debate causes them to dig in their heels even more.

My thinking is that even when you encounter resistance as you apply the limited contact principle, give it time. It is very difficult for most everyone to have a one way arguement. If they persist for many hours with a poor reaction and the situation becomes even more volatile, it is likely that this person will never come around to having a peaceful and constructive dialogue. In such cases, you should consider leaving for several hours….possibly overnight; but convey you are willing to have a constructive and peaceful discussion when your spouse is ready.

How Long Should a Marriage Partner Utilize the No Contact Rule?

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When you find it necessary to implement a No Contact Period (or as you know I like to call it the “Yes Contact Principle”) you should realize there is no magic number of days that is guaranteed to be optimal. Remember, the primary reason you utilize the No Contact Principle is to allow you to focus on your own emotional needs and personal growth goals.

I have advocated that you utilize this principle only if you have broken up with your lover and it’s the “real deal”. Not a temporary fit of anger, where either of you stormed out. If you are married, that would include separation. Unlike divorce, with a separation, both parties usually are of the mind that they need to put distance between themselves so they can figure out what is best.

This period of “no contact” with your spouse can range anywhere from 14 days to 60 days. Let me give you a little advice based on the thousands of people I hear from on this topic. Forget about those relationship experts that tell you that you must set a specific period of time, like 60 days, and come hell or high water, you have to stick with it. I just don’t think it is a smart thing to be too specific on the time period and I certainly am not a fan of telling folks that they should never make an exception. That is not how the real world of relationships operate. There are many variables, occurrences, and complexities associated with relationships…and so “breaking” the No Contact Period may be necessary. I will get into this more a bit later.

If you are entering into a No Contact Period for all of the “right” reasons, then I would recommend it range from 21 to 30 days immediately following the break­up or separation. Based on my experience with actual people who have utilized this principle, this period of time works more often than not. I would reinforce that there are different time periods for different couples, given their individual situations. Once you establish your time period, stick with it, unless certain situations unfold that call for an exception. As promised, I will touch on that topic later.

I would also recommend, particularly if your are married (i.e. separated), that you respectfully inform your spouse of your intentions. This helps on two levels. First, your marriage union, no matter what shape it is in, is something to be treated with the utmost respect. Shutting down all contact and communications with your husband or wife is a very significant event, even if you have previously given each other notice you wanted to pursue a “separation” of some kind. I emphasize “some kind” because couples can get pretty creative when they decide to break it off. It need not be a legal separation. It could actually start of as an informal understanding between the two of you to just “coolit” for awhile. It could have been left open ended. Even those relationship arrangements are clear signs of dysfunction.

But whatever the case, when you decide to institute the No Contact Period, convey to your spouse (or boyfriend or girlfriend) what your mindset is. It need not be complicated and avoid being too wordy. I recommend you convey your intentions verbally on the phone or by email. Meeting in person to discuss such a matter usually leads to complications. Here is an example of what you can say:

“I wanted to let you know that I really need time to think about things and start my process of healing. Please respect my privacy over this period as I will not be responsive to any efforts to contact me or meet with me. Thank you for your support”

As I described, use this time to heal. And if you are genuinely open to re­connecting with your spouse, you will have benefited from utilizing this approach. In a future post, I will discuss in greater detail what tactics you should use to reconnect. Remember, this process is not about punishing your spouse. Nor is it to cause him or her to come running back to you after a few days once they realize you are completely off the radar. It’s is for you to gain perspective and become the best version of yourself.

Elsewhere on this website and on my other websites, I will discuss in great detail how the No Contact Period can be a springboard to re­connecting with your husband or wife. Also, feel free to explore my other websites for more information if you wish to learn more about how to reunite with your Ex.

Why is Implementing the No Contact Rule So Hard?

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So why is it so hard to actually implement? I mean, after all, the whole idea is that this is suppose to be YOUR time. It is intended to be time for you get back in touch with your feelings. It is suppose to be an opportunity for you to be extremely honest with yourself and look at the things you can do differently to be a better relationship partner. It is intended to gain perspective and heal. So why do so many people report that going through the No Contact Period is one of the most agonizing things they have ever done?

Well, if you are presently experiencing significant difficulties in your marriage, you already have a good idea of the amount of emotional baggage that is accumulating.

You have an up close and personal experience with the hardships of trying to pick up the pieces of your relationship. And if you have entered into a No Contact Period, you know that hollow feeling you have as it begins. You feel empty and shell shocked. So from an emotional perspective, you come into the process already suffering.

Then we have the physical duress and stress you have suffered, possibly for months or years. The impact on your emotional and physical health can be profound. None of those things just simply go away once you start the no contact period. Our minds and body do not operate that way. The lingering effects can last days, weeks, even months. And now you are embarking on different experience. It is meant to allow you to heal, but still the process will be new and you will have uncertainties as to what to expect from yourself and your spouse. Your routines will be somewhat different and you will miss certain things, a lot. If you have children, then multiple the effects of what we have discussed by a factor of 2.

To complicate things further, irrespective of the problems you encountered with your spouse, you might miss him or her terribly. There is something happening deep in your brain. But clearly, most people feel there is some part of them that is missing.

When a break­up has occurred, it has an incalculable effect on you. Everyone responds and experiences things somewhat differently. But if you are one of those individuals who feel that your are “fractured”, suffering from the pain of missing your husband or wife…..just know that these feelings will in time subside. Experts tell us that withdrawing from the relationship, particularly if it is sudden, is akin to coming off of an addictive drug. Studies reveal that the withdrawal symptoms are uncanningly identical and this is because the brain’s chemicals are responding in a very similar way.

So what can you do about all of this pain and suffering? In a moment we are going to discuss that, but let’s first return to the question of what situations might unfold in which the No Contact Principle can be suspended or even ended.

What are the Situations Where the No Contact Rule Can be Broken?

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Once implemented, the “Yes Contact Principle” (i.e. No Contact Rule) can be a foundation for self healing and even an avenue to resurrect your marriage. The idea is to focus on your needs….your recovery….your healing. It also provides an opportunity for your spouse to do the same. This means you will end all communications and contact with your spouse. So once you commit, I want you to think very carefully about breaking it off. Stick to your plan.

But there are some situations where it may be beneficial to you and your relationship to momentarily break your commitment. These include:

●  Children: ­ There will be times when you will need to interface with your husband or wife regarding some matter related to your children. Keep your communications civil and respectful and short.

●  Financial:­ Same as above. Sometimes financial matters were one of the triggers of conflict. If that is the case, then communicating by email might help with avoiding uncomfortable and potentially negative conversations.

●  Work: ­ If you work together, you can employ “limited contact” at work and “no contact” outside of work. Again, keep conversations at work only about business. If your spouse tries to bring up personal matters, just state you are not ready to engage in those discussions.

●  House: ­ Invariably, there will be some household issue that will occur that may require your spouse’s input or intervention. If you are separated and your spouse needs to come to the home for some matter, arrange to have a friend present and keep the conversation with your spouse limited to just the issue at hand.

●  A Genuine Fig Leaf: ­ In some cases, your husband or wife may make genuine and sincere efforts to reconcile. They may have sent you several text messages or left phone messages or sent you emails….all with the same friendly, respectful tone. This usually does not happen in the first several days, but if you have had an adequate period of time to experience self healing and if you believe your wife or husband is really open to talking and repairing the relationship, then set up a meet up. I recommend it be some neutral, public place at first so you can explore your spouse’s intentions and level of commitment to working through the problems. This is a time to take small steps. Take things slow.

The Many Faces of the No Contact Period

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As we have already discussed, the “Yes Contact Principle” (i.e. No Contact Rule) affords you an opportunity to settle down your emotions, get in touch with confusing feelings and become the best version of yourself (i.e. discussed at length on the home page of this website). It is also an opportunity for you to protect your marriage from further harm. It also helps your spouse to benefit from the same “effect”. They too need to figure out what they want and what they are willing to do to accomplish that.

Ironically, another benefit of ceasing or limiting contact with your marriage partner is that it can in the longer run bring you closer together. Dysfunctional marriages do not repair themselves. There needs to be an intervention and that is what this process is about.

I want to touch on some things you can do to help with mastering your emotions. First of all, you should realize that “time” is a great healer in of itself. You already know the importance of having “Perspective”. But, as time progresses, it helps you with doing things that bring more “positive” into your life. Time can be your friend.

In my best selling books, “The Texting Bible” and the “Ex Recovery Pro Series”, I talk about the value of the “Holy Trinity” for individuals recovering from relationships. I talk about taking the time to find peace and serenity. Whether that involves activities such as Yoga, meditation, or reading a great book….what matters is you fall into the slip stream phenomenon we call time. I also discuss the importance of using the No Contact Period to focus on your health, wealth, and other relationships in your life. With time, these things can improve if you focus on them.

Getting Anchored With Your Feelings

But there are a few other things you can do from a psychological perspective that can help immensely. One technique is called, “anchoring”. They way it works is that we naturally make associations (i.e. anchors) between experiences we feel, hear, smell or see and we connect these experiences to our emotional state at that time.. For example, when I smell certain flavors of bubble gum, it takes me back to the days I played Little League baseball. When I see a hot air balloon, I immediately think of the amazing time my wife and I had on a hot air balloon ride.

Here is the cool part. You can call upon “anchors” to paint your mind’s “attitude”.

So “anchors” can be deliberately created or resurrected and that can help you achieve a more desirable emotional state. It is simple to do. The idea is you focus on the positive mental imagery you have stored within your mind and take a joy ride. Do it often enough, you can transform a negative and depressive state of mind to one that is positive. I would recommend immersing yourself with all your senses that are anchored in positive memories and emotions. “Choose your attitude” is what some people say. I would add to that….. “Practice your attitude” and it will become your reality. Check out the link I provide below to learn more about anchoring and other neuro­linguistic techniques you can use.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methods_of_neuro­linguistic_programming

Alternatives to Using the No Contact Rule if You are Married

alternative

The last thing you really want to do when you are married is to separate. And you really want to avoid using the No Contact Rule. Sometimes it is a necessary and useful. Sometimes your relationship just slowly erodes and now you find yourself separated emotionally, spiritually, and physically. It is not necessarily the end of your marriage. If you use the time you are separated in a healthy way, it can lead to many good things for you and your spouse. But not always. There is heightened risk that neither you or your marriage partner will get through your problems. So what are some stop gap measure you can employ to avoid the dreaded “Separation” event?

As you know, I am a fan of sports. And in all sporting events, teams can utilize what is called a “timeout”. It provides them an opportunity to rest, work through conflicts, draw out a game plan, and then get back into the game. Sound familiar!

I think the use of a timeout in a relationship can be beneficial. Sometimes it is as simple as agreeing to a “cooling off” period if a fight has been dragging on too long. We all know that no matter how strong your marriage, fights will happen. But that does not mean we can’t put some rules around them. And one of them should be calling a timeout if the fight has lasted more than, let’s say 10 minutes. My feeling about fighting is that as soon as you both engage in conflict, you both lose. So if you start fussing a bit too long, then just call a timeout and then try to resolve the problem. Look for a win ­ win.

So You “Want to Take a Break”?

Have you ever heard of someone taking a “break” from their marriage. It sorta sounds irresponsible to me. “Lets just take a break from each other” someone might say. Well, what I would say is throw out that language. No matter how you dress it up, this kind of vocabulary will get you in trouble. It has far too many negative connotations. What you think and what your intentions are, matters a great deal and in the long run wins out.

But what you say and how you say it can be easily misunderstood and ramp up the conflict. So get rid of the phrase, “let’s take a break from each other” as it sounds like somebody may want to break­up for good.

Married Couples Seeking Therapy

Marriage therapy or counseling can prove fruitful for some couples. There is some evidence that it can help. A great deal of the potential for success depends on the quality of the therapist, the therapeutic model they are using, and the readiness and commitment level of the couple. Don’t expect that everything will just get all worked out in a few sessions. It seldom does. Unfortunately, some couples will start in earnest, but one of the married partners will lose motivation or lack belief in the approach being utilized by the counselor. Sometimes one of the married individuals will have no interest in participating. Another downside is that the cost of therapy can be too expensive for many.

Another alternative is to do what you are doing now which educating yourself on how to improve your marriage. A well written Marriage Recovery and Fitness System can be both cost effective and beneficial, even if only one person of the marriage is utilizing the knowledge. I have seen considerable evidence of the other marriage partner being open to taking the key learnings and work with their spouse to improve their marriage.

What Would Yoda Say About Marriage?

The way I think about the union of marriage is that it is imperfect. It is something married couples should always be working on to improve. That is primarily why I came up with the 5 Synergistic Principles for a Successful Marriage. That is why I will be publishing a book to be called the, “Synergistic Marriage”. All of us have an opportunity to make deposits each day into our marriage bank. What would Yoda say? You know…. that little Star Wars fellow that has a penchant of reversing his sentences, but speaks eloquently.

yoda love

Published by

Chris

Known in relationship circles as the, Ex Whisperer, Chris Seiter seeks to help men and women rekindle their love and passion and find their way back to a stable, successful relationship. As owner of the websites MyMarriageHelper.com, ExBoyfriendRecovery.com, and ExGirlfriendRecovery.com, Chris works closely with his clients, helping them see the bigger picture of how to get their ex back, recover from the pain of lost love, and become a better version of who they are.

291 thoughts on “Can You Save Your Marriage With The No Contact Rule?”

  1. Hi Chris,
    My wife and I have been together for 18 years and 5 years married. Last week she came up to me and said she needed some space, some time to think clearly, some time to clear this fog. She has had some cases of mental illness in the past. She said our relation was not good for her anymore…. since then I realized I had some deep inner demons in me that I needed to fix (Bottling up emotions, alcohol use,among others). I never treated her badly intentionally but we certainly didn’t connect the same way we once did.

    So after she left for the weekend to clear her mind…. (In which i tried to contact her the least possible amount of time she came back 5 days later and said she needed more time. That it was still cloudy. I then opened up to her that I also had some personal stuff I needed to deal with in my head as well. We had a VERY DEEP and probably the best talk we ever had. So we decided that it was probably a good time to each take a break from each other…. clear our heads and then see where we are. Is this the best approach? She is seeing a councelor and I’m gonna see one as well for my problems, but I’m a bit worried about the end goal and the stipulations of our time apart. In my head i see a ending with me and her still together but i get a feeling in her head she’s really not sure. For exemple i asked if we should also see a marriage councellor and she instantly said it would be too much working on herself and us at the same time. When I say that it can be healthy for us this time apart she puts back that i have to be aware of the possibility that theres no us after all this. I’m not sure how to process this and what is my best move when trying to implement the guidelines in the no contact rules, endgoals, etc

    1. Hi Jim…I think a form of limited contact would be good for you to employ. I don’t think completely shutting communications down is a good way to go. While I think having some space will help you both with gaining greater perspective and begin some healing, there should be an opportunity for the two of you get work toward joint counseling at some stage. But pushing for that right now might make her feel crowded, causing her to push further away. Remain as positive as you kind in your limited interactions. Embrace kindness and also remember to focus on your own needs as they draw clearer into focus.

      1. Hey Chris!
        Since I wrote this we established some guidelines to our seperation and we decided that 2 weeks without any form of contact would be good. We took care of the finances, house stuff and other small stuff. It’s kind of weird that at first I was devastated and still have more time where I’m feeling extremely lonely, extremely sad. But I also have other moments where I feel liberated, like the weight of the world is off my shoulders, where I feel happy. I can’t remember the last time I felt such strong emotions. I’m starting to think this was a great idea for both of us if we treat it right. I think a light hearted conversation at the end of the 2 week period would probably be a good approach?

        1. Good job Jim…the break will do you both good. When you resume contact, keep it brief and positive. Kindness rules. In the real scheme of things, we all really live short lives. Days, Weeks, Months, and Years seem to fly by. Embrace the present moments that are filled with less stress and worry, knowing that no matter what, you are are going to be just fine.

  2. Hi Chris,

    I really appreciate this post. It was informative and subjective. My husband and I have been married for 21 months and have been separated for the last 8 of those 21 months. Within these past 8 months, we’ve gotten together and he’s stopped talking to me for a month straight three times. He is always the one to intiatite contact. The first time, I thought a month of separation was all he needed so we got back together, still living separately. The second time, I was a little more cautious but still started seeing him again, although in secret. And the last time, I told him I would not meet unless he came to my parents home (where I now live, as he is with his parents) and, on his own suggestion, attended marital counseling. We had been going to counseling for the past three months. Of the 10 sessions, during 6-7 of them he stated that he didn’t want to be in this marriage anymore (never using the word divorce). The last session we had was two weeks ago in which I agreed with him and said that if we separate, there will be no contact. He seemed hesitant, but following that day, there was no communication. Until this morning – he called me in th the morning to “wake me up”. I thought it must have been an emergency if he called that early so I picked up. I said “okay” and hung up. Later today, I received flowers from him with the message “Hi.” And around 10pm, a text message saying “Hi.” He then called me 45 mins later. I didn’t pick up.

    What should I do?

    1. He seems to be bouncing around emotionally. Usually, it is best to look at the totality of someone’s behavior. Most of the time, he seems to be telling you that he does not want to be in the marriage. That seems to be the dominant feeling that possesses him. My sense is that his recent behavior is indicating his insecurity around what his future will be without you in his life.

      Obviously he can’t have it both ways. It is terribly unfair to you. He has had plenty of opportunities to reconcile in a serious way. He has not. What you need is someone you can count on. He doesn’t seem to be that person in your life right now. Maybe never. I don’t know. But you deserve a commitment from someone who will be there for you through thick and thin. You don’t need a human alarm clock who you can’t trust or count on.

      I think it best you uphold what you told him you would do. You need some time to heal and focus on your needs. He needs time to figure out what the heck he wants from life. If you do choose to communicate with him, he needs to understand he is causing you emotional pain by rejecting you (when he says he doesn’t want to be in the marriage anymore) then impulsively reaching out to you. Maybe he is caught up in his own selfish loop of impulsive behaviors. But that doesn’t make it OK to keep behaving in this fashion.

      Clearly, I don’t know all the details of your situation, but perhaps a much longer No Contact Period is in order before you agree to consider advancing your efforts to reconcile again.

  3. My wife recently moved out (last week). We have been married almost 5 years. I have kids from a previous marriage which has always caused some stress as we don’t always see eye to eye on how to handle situations. For the past two months things have been very tough. She withdrew from most everything and would be home late in order to not have to be around me or the kids. She would drive around for hours thinking. This was causing more arguments because she was rarely ever home. She has been saying that she loves me but is not sure she is in love with me anymore. We don’t have the connection anymore and she doesn’t feel drawn to me like when we got married. I have asked what changed, what made you fall in love with me in the first place? Her answer, I made her feel special. I have always done special things to show her how much I care and how much I appreciate her. Nothing there has changed. Our intimacy has lagged over time. I honestly was caught out of the blue on this. I was happy, I thought things were great. She says that even makes things worse that I didn’t see it. I don’t know where to turn. She has sent mixed signals, this is just temporary and not permanent. She came over to dinner with the kids to talk to them about the situation. The the next day she is so distant and telling me that she doesn’t even know if she wants to work on this and that counseling is just something she feels she needs to try because its what she is suppose to do. I know there are things I need to work on, being a better me. I have tended to shut down when we argue and emotional thru this whole ordeal. I know that I am a not a perfect husband by any means but never did I think I was so horrible she would leave. In a few weeks we are suppose to go on a fun trip with friends. Right now she wants to go but not sure that is the best thing for our relationship at this time. I just never imagined our life would have gotten to this. desperately seeking good advice because everything I try to do is wrong. thank you!

    1. Hey Rod. Things can sometimes look a lot worse than what they are. Five years together counts for something and so it is unlikely it will all come tumbling down in a blink of an eye. Sometimes when things get confusing like this, it is easy to for you both to get trapped in all the baggage from the past. Things can get confusing and feelings can become unclear.

      I am really big into the concept of practicing a quiet and gentle form of kindness. It is hard not to feel intensely connected to someone who is treating you with kindness. So let that be your calling card when you are around her. Don’t place any demands on her. Just be kind. And to cut through all of the confusion and uncertainty of what to work on…instead of trying to rebuild the whole relationship, just focus on 2 things you both want to do better. It doesn’t have to be anything major. Just agree to accomplish 2 things that can help bring a little fulfillment for you both. Then build from there.

      1. Thank you Chris
        I just don’t even know what to think. Trying to be kind and let her know I am thinking about her by sending a simple txt asking how her day is going…. I was told today that you gotta stop txting me and emailing me during the day. It’s to much. Its not like I txt her 15 times a day. Around lunch I asked how’s you day and just letting her know what I did this morning at work. Anything I do is taken to an extreme. We use to txt everyday and see how ours days were. In the past if I didn’t txt her I would get a txt about being pretty quiet today… I told her I am just trying to have normal conversation. But I guess that is to much. It needs to wait til after work. Is she just that far wound up into her needing space that I need to completely check out of her life unless she asks me for contact?

        1. Yes, I think you should pull back and just go quiet with her. The idea is she will eventually wonder why you have not touch based and may initiate contact. I know it is hard, but right now the balance of personal power has mostly shifted to her.

  4. Hi,
    I’ve been separated for about 10 months when my husband moved out. We were married about 3.5 years before he moved and we Were having several issues. I take most of the responsibility because I was uninvolved and very closed off. I had a lot of changes occur in such a short period of time it was over evening for me. I suffer from depression and I felt as though I was so I inadequate when he started telling me everything I wasn’t doing or not doing right that I just fell deeper into depression and was just this person in a shell. I told him that I was depressed and he said I was using that as an excuse, so I retreated deeper into myself. I never really felt understood. Since I have had the opportunity to have some silence and can think about things and really take a good like at myself , I realize now the damage it has done to our marriage. I love my husband and want it to work and in the beginning he wanted that too but the past couple of months he has become distant and almost like he is playing these mind games with me. I told him how sorry I am and that I know now what I need to do but he says he doesn’t believe me. He has a lot of anger and frustration toward me and he is seeing someone else which he adamantly denies. I am so tired with this back and forth and not

    1. Time has a way of relaxing his anger and resentment. For now, focus on your needs and becoming the best YOU. I am guessing he will be interested in following up with you if he has not heard from you in a awhile. If he does reach out, take things slowly. Remember, the two of you have 3.5 years together and that is not easily just pushed aside.

  5. Hi Chris/All,
    I have been married to my wife for 16 years and together for 20.
    Our marriage is not really conventional that is for sure! My wife goes out every evening straight from work to do her horse and can arrive home any time between 7.30 and 9pm. Every evening, apart from Friday when we are at my parents, I cook dinner and leave hers in the oven for when she comes in. At the weekend, we normally get takeout or go to her parents for dinner. Every weekend she goes up to her horse at about 7am and arrives home about 1.30pm. She does the washing up begrudgingly about once a week but does no other household chores. If I try to talk about it she just gets huffy and stomps around the house.
    Last November my wife went to a family funeral on her own as I had to work and met up with a male cousin who lives in America. Ever since then, they have been in constant, daily contact on WhatsApp, mostly messages but also half a dozen hour long phone calls.
    I have spoken a few times to her and voiced my concerns about the amount and suggestive type of communication (from his side) and what it may lead to. She has been insistent that the relationship is nothing like that and that I should trust her.
    Now, this where it gets bad! I have been monitoring her phone (wrong I know) and have a log of the conversation that they have been having.
    I have kept quiet and let the relationship continue in the hope that it would fade out but it hasn’t.
    Anyway, my wife has sussed that I have been monitoring things and we spoke yesterday when she turned up after going to the farm to do her horse. She said that she was going to stay with her parents and didn’t know if it would be a few days or permanent. She said she loved me and that wasn’t the issue, just that I should trust that she would never cheat on me. All the time I stayed calm and softly spoken and helped her with some bags out to her car, I have not begged, shouted, cried or anything like that, I have remained upbeat and positive.
    All the time she was shaking a great deal and was crying too. I said that I would not contact her and give her the space she needed but that I was still her husband and am here if she needs anything.
    Now this afternoon she turned up, would not look at me, gave the cat a cuddle and shed a few tears, picked up a dozen more bags and put them in the car, this time I just said hello and stayed out her way. When she left she said ‘you know where I am’ and that was it!
    Do you think it is wrong of me to be jealous of this and call my wife out on it?
    Do you think that this is acceptable behaviour on my wife’s part and that she will not even consider my feelings?
    I have had virtually no contact with her since she left and am trying to maintain this but it is hard and I don’t know if this is the right approach to take?
    As part of my healing, I have decided to speak to a counsellor about my jealousy. I briefly text my wife and her reply was ‘let me know if you want me to come with you’.
    I am feeling very confused about the whole situation and am now unsure myself as to which path I would like the marriage to take.
    Any comments or suggestions would be gratefully received.
    Thanks,
    Paul.

    1. Hi Paul….sorry for getting back to you a little late. I think you are handling this situation quite well. Yes, I do believe you have a right to feel jealous and she should understand this and be more forthcoming. Her decision to temporarily move out on the basis of you “not trusting” her seems over the top. Her behavior and emotional reaction suggests there are things she want to talk to you more about, but hasn’t.

      Since she has demonstrated an interest in going with you to speak to a counselor, take her up on that. Getting some dialogue going would be invaluable and potentially provide an opportunity for the two of you to work on your problems.

  6. I have been married for 24 yrs and because of on going conflict my husband decided that he isn’t leaving me but that we couldn’t live together. He moved out a month ago and would not speak to me for 2 weeks and then called me to come over to his place. He lets me bring him home cooked meals also. He will not talk about our problems. He will not talk about coming home. If I try he gets angry and tells me to leave. He will not spend any time with me except at his place but will barely talk to me then. I am confused. Should I continue to go see him or should I try the no contact? I have tried to just let him go but I have extreme anxiety over the thought of losing him completely.

    1. Hi Deb!

      It doesn’t seem things are working out so well when you visit him at his place. He is shutting you out and when he opens the door, he closes it quickly. It is confusing and that is probably because he is confused about what he wants and is trying to sort through his feelings. He wants everything on his terms and I just don’t see that working out. It’s unfair to you.

      I do think No Contact holds some potential. First, I think it will help you find yourself. You are far stronger than you realize. It is perfectly normal to feel anxious. But over time, that will dissipate. Focus on your own needs and doing the things you find fulfilling. He may very well come to appreciate you more and value you and your time more when he realizes he can’t jerk you around emotionally like he is doing now.

      You certainly are not happy being around him when he is like this. And he doesn’t seem happy. So don’t be around him for awhile. A form of No Contact or very limited contact might be best here. Don’t be afraid of losing him completely. Yes, it could happen, but if it does, it may very well be the best thing for YOU. Time will sort all this out and hopefully in the future when he has a better state of mind, he will be open to working with you on tapping down his anger issues and the other problems.

      Remember Deb….you are strong. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise

  7. My husband and I have been together for 4 years, married for 16 months this past October, living together for 3 years. I thought we were very happy, and I had a husband that made me feel like the most loved wife ever by both words and actions. About 4 weeks ago, he was telling me how much he loved me and talking in depth about future plans we had made and were making and singing a love song that was on the radio to me and telling me that was forever, and then 6 hours later he completely flipped out on me after a minor argument and now all he will say is that we are not going to be married anymore. I have never even heard this man raise his voice, and he completely freaked out. There was no buildup to this that I could detect – I know there were some frustrations on both sides, but nothing that you don’t get just from living with another person and nothing that couldn’t be fixed. There was still extreme affection from him, he wasn’t trying to be gone more, our sex life didn’t slow down, we were still cuddling in our sleep and he didn’t want me to get out of bed in the mornings, he never walked past me without kissing my neck or slapping my butt, he still chased me all over the house, made me laugh constantly, and sent me flirty and sweet texts all day long, including how I am the best decision he ever made. He still made out with me before going to work, and brought home wildflowers every time he was out in the country. In that one day he went from being an amazing husband to being cold and indifferent. He won’t look at me, talk to me about anything other than who is going to get what, is accusing me of crying to manipulate him (not because he is ripping my life apart), telling me when I asked him what he needed from me that he wasn’t getting was me trying to change my “manipulation tactics”, basically forced me out of the house, opened new bank accounts, erased all 4 years of me from his social media, told me if I didn’t take over my cell phone line he would cancel it, and tried to remove me from his insurance policies (which he can’t do, thankfully). He has told me that I’m not going to be his wife anymore so he doesn’t have to care about how I feel. In 4 weeks he has tried to completely erase me from his life and thinks we should be divorced yesterday. Normally when this happens you get a couple people that say they saw this coming, but everyone is just as surprised as I am and what I keep hearing is that it is obvious to everyone how much my husband loves me. We had been seeing a marriage counselor once a month to adjust to the new dynamic, and the very experienced marriage counselor was also very surprised. This man that was a wonderful and protective husband now has no concern whatsoever for my well-being and is (unintentionally, I believe) trying to bully and intimidate me. I am almost sure there hasn’t been infidelity or another woman involved at all since he wasn’t being secretive or protective over his phone, email, or social media accounts or trying to be gone more or not wanting me to know where he was or who he was with, didn’t make an physical changes, didn’t download any new apps or anything to his phone, etc. but I do believe that someone has been poisoning the well, and I think it is a newly single and very bitter about woman friend of his that started coming over to our house and contacting my husband a LOT right before this happened. My husband is NOT an easily influenced person, but he has been really rundown from his work schedule and having the flu and I think that is a factor. I have asked him not to let another woman be involved while we are still married and he agreed to that and said he doesn’t want to make a bad decision like that – I believe he is intending on honoring that just because of the type of man he is, but I don’t really know this person. My brothers and my dad have been in contact with him, and they get the impression that he doesn’t really want this because he loves me but he’s frustrated and doesn’t know what else to do so he is just getting rid of me and won’t look at me or talk to me because he knows he will change his mind. He just keeps saying we are not compatible. They also think he is being influenced because it doesn’t seem like any of us are talking to the same person – it’s not just what he is saying, it’s the speech patterns and the way he is forming sentences that none of us have ever heard from him before. He is accusing me of very untrue things that have never come out of his mouth before regarding things that happened a few years ago. It’s only been 4 weeks and he is accusing me of dragging my feet and wasting his time with a standoff. This completely blindsided me. Everyone thinks he will change his mind, but some think that won’t happen until after we are divorced because he is so deadest on the divorce. If he divorces me, there won’t be another chance. I could never trust anything he says or does again. I am stuck trying to decide if he is that man that he has consistently shown himself to be, which is not hotheaded or impulsive and has been a wonderful provider, protector, and husband and someone who earns respect, or if this is really the man he is. Then I think about the fact that this very unemotional manly man started tearing up while saying his wedding vows to me, which is the only time I have seen him cry. I am trying to leave him be and not contact him to give him some space, but I am scared. I don’t want to lose my husband. I love him fiercely and I believe he loves me just as fiercely. He is just hurting me so much. We have no kids and are both in our 30’s. I went through my initial pleading/begging/guilting stage that lasted about 2 weeks. Now we aren’t living in the same house or the same city (about 40 miles apart). I had not contact with him whatsoever for a week, and then I had to contact him about a bill that was forwarded to me. It’s clear his position hadn’t changed one iota in that week of no contact – I did ask him a question about his area of expertise and he did answer, but it definitely wasn’t the normal friendly banter we usually have. It’s now been another 5 days of no contact.

    1. Thank you Anne for reaching out. I agree that this a most unusual situation. Lot of mixed signals. Here is one powerful thing you have going for you. There is a lot of positive traction with this relationship/marriage. Being together as a couple for 3+ years in which things sound like they were going well….quite well. That won’t be easy for you husband to simply wash away or delude himself into thinking it didn’t happen.

      There is is guy….pretty brilliant man who was around in the 14 century. William of Ockham was his name. He was a scholastic philosopher and Franciscan Friar and theologian. He came up with a Principle that even scientist today still make use of.

      Basically when given a very confusing and complicated situation with lots of possible variables and potential explanations, it is almost always that the simplest explanation is the the correct one.

      I think you hit the nail on the head when you spoke of this other woman and her negative influence on his thinking. That is the trigger in my view. It is the simplest explanation and it also aligns with the timeline of when your husband began behaving in an erratic way.

      I think he is battling himself. I think he has guilt. I suspect that he may be having an emotional affair of some type with this other woman. Not all of the evidence points to that. I could be wrong. It could be something very unusual. Like a reaction to medication. That could explain the odd, helter skelter behavioral changes.

      Whatever it is that has set him off into this most unusual path, my guess is that he will eventually open up about what truly lies at the heart of all this.

      1. I don’t think there is another woman involved…..the things he is saying sound like the things I have heard come out of his woman-hating male friend’s mouth recently. This friend found out that his gf was cheating on him and now is calling all women liars and manipulators. I have never once gotten even the slightest suspicion that another woman is involved because there were zero changes in my husband’s behavior before he exploded. He is now accusing me of things he has never said to me, like how I’m manipulative and a liar, etc…….all things I have heard come out of his friend’s mouth about women recently. The strange thing is that my husband had another friend go through a bad breakup at the same time that my husband distanced himself from because of how this friend started treating women. My husband has always been a gentleman and does NOT condone disrespect to women. This makes it all the more confusing. I think what happened is that now he has hit all the big milestones in his life – high income dream career, dream wife, dream house, dream truck, dream vacations…..all things he always wanted to have we have now done and passed. Now I don’t think he knows what comes next and he thinks life needs to be a series of big moments or your life turns out like his parents, who are just roommates essentially. Now there are things he wants to do that he seems to think I don’t want him to do, and he thinks because he accountable to someone else that he can never do anything he wants again because not all of these other things he wants to do interest me – although I’ve always said that it’s ok if we don’t do everything together. I’ve been established in my career a lot longer and also have parents that are happily married and in love with each other 45 years later, so I saw little moments that add up to big things my entire life, like marriage and the building blocks of a career. I don’t mind the process of little things building to big things, but I don’t think my husband has had any experience with that. He went from a broke party boy living paycheck to paycheck and dreaming about improving his life in BIG steps, to being a responsible adult that has adult responsibility that comes along with those dreams. I think he was also feeling like he was failing in our marriage because, without me realizing it, I kind of lost my own identity in pursuit of being the perfect wife. My husband was telling me I needed to get out of the house and start pursuing hobbies more, and I thought he was saying he didn’t want to spend so much time with me. What he was saying (and I agree with looking back) is that I wasn’t doing the things that made just me happy anymore and he wanted me to be more than JUST a wife. He wanted me to be the happy and confident woman he fell in love with. I was doing things with him that made him happy and I enjoyed doing with him (but would never do alone) and thinking it was enough for me. It wasn’t, but I didn’t realize that and he did. It was putting a lot of pressure on him to keep us both happy. Now I think he doesn’t know how to “fix” me, so he doesn’t know what else to do. He doesn’t have things to look forward to.

      2. I just don’t have much hope after he has gone so hard and so fast at insisting on divorce. He has erased all traces of me from his life and is intent on being rid of me as fast as he can. This is not the man I’ve been married to.

        1. Thank you Anne for the update. This is an unusual case. My sense is that he will come back down to earth sometime in the future will regret what he is dragging you through. Don’t place blame on yourself. It is easy for one to think back through everything and beat ourselves up a bit. It doesn’t sound like to me you really need any fixing. Sure, both couples in a marriage end up defining the marriage. But by my read of this situation, the problem emerges from an unrealistic, somewhat immature approach your husband is taking with his relationship with you. It seems to me the most pragmatic approach is to focus on your own healing and lifting yourself up without any emotional reliance on him. Focus on being the best version of yourself. I know you are still struggling with the bizarre turn this has taken. Hopefully he will realize what he really wants and needs and see that it has been in front of him all this time.

  8. Chris,
    Thank youso much for this. I’m starting no-contact today. It will be tough but I need to feel like me again before making any decisions. Most of me feels like I want to stay with him; however, I need space to no longer experience the panic attacks and the constant state of dread I have been in since he told me he had a one night stand 2 months ago and recently she sent him the pregnancy test and ultrasound. I need this no-contact. I need to feel like me again. I feel like you’ve saved me with this. Thanks again!

    1. Best of luck to your Arizona! You will find yourself. Just keep striving to better learn how to love yourself and embrace yourself and trust yourself. Go on dates with yourself. Be sweet and loving to yourself. Do new and interesting things with yourself and others your care about. Life is full of many paths and any ways to find meaning and fulfillment. With healing, you mind broadens as to what you want and how you can achieve it and those anxious and panicky moments and episodes go sliding away. Your previous worries become so much less concerning and impactful and you begin to dream and think creatively again.

  9. Hi Chris:

    Unfortunately, I became acquainted with your expertise as a result of a break up in early December.

    The breakup was the result of a handful of disrespectful things I stated throughout a 1.5 year relationship that festered within my girlfriend and exploded at once. Think of it as a volcano that was dormant and exploded at once. Yes, she could have been more direct in her feelings.

    Interestingly, I was not even aware of how disrespectful my comments were at the time until I was made aware of them (lack of empathy on my part).

    I was told by my girlfriend that I needed to enter therapy and figure out my problems on my own because despite deeply loving this loving and caring man, she could not tolerate such toxic language – even if it was just a handful of times. She wants an amazing relationship, and this is not amazing. That was her exact quote.

    I agreed to therapy (which surprised her) and she requested space. Of course (tell me if you have heard this before), I violated the YES contact principle to the point where I was blocked on her phone. My fault completely. I had a severe anxiety attack for the first time in my life that resulted in a visit to the ER.

    Despite this, she was on the phone with a family member post blocking me and reiterated in a crying voice that she loves and cares for me but I need to work things out but is uncertain to or future.

    I am going to truly implement a 21-30 day no contact rule now to focus on ME. My weekly therapy sessions are productive and I’ve discovered that everything comes down to one word – BITTERNESS. In particular, as it relates to a divorce I experienced.

    Now that I have greater clarity, I have allowed myself to forgive and get past the bitterness because it does not serve any benefit and only harms those we love, including myself. Life is too short and I’m very blessed to be where I am today – after all the divorce allowed me to meet her.

    It turns out that my bitterness has led to anger outbursts to someone ho did not deserve it.

    She has not said it is over. She has also not said she is committed. Is this common? Also, what is the best way to reach out when the time frame expires if she hasn’t by then?

    Thank you

    1. Best of luck Frank and keep your focus on becoming the best “You”. It will be hard for her not to notice, particulary if it is for a sustained period of time.

  10. My husband left before thanksgiving after having a huge fight about his dishonesty and not wanting to work things out. He lies about little things but this time he bought a whole car. And when I got angry he said he didn’t want to work on things anymore and 2 weeks later he moved out! He never gave me any indication that he was so unhappy!
    He’s not good with communication and stonewalls me as well as makes me feel unappreciated and unattractive. He does not pursue me whatsoever, and when I want to make Love I have to ask! I feel like he’s been avoidant and has intimacy issues. I didn’t realize these things while dating cause I thought men grow into things for the women they love.
    He spent time with me and our dog (no kids) on Christmas but New Years he went out with two divorcee friends of his and flirted with some young girl he met. He also began following her on social media and sending messages though he never did anything with her. This is killing me. The girl told me he didn’t have on his ring but he swears on his life he did and won’t take it off till the fat lady sings. Anyway he lied about stuff yet again and I got the info from her, through gritted teeth!
    He avoids the topic of signing papers and moving on now unless I’m the initiator. I told him I’m not ending the marriage and he will have to do it if that’s what he feels in his heart. But then he goes quiet. He still says he loves me and misses me but he’s not right for me. This makes me feel like space is best, but I’m also conflicted if he can be the person I need. I’ve seen him step up before, in fact just before this he was doing everything and I finally started to feel loved so now I am just shocked and confused!

    I do deserve better and he says he definitely thinks I do too. He just needs the tools as he’s not been in a relationship longer than 6mo-1yr before me. We’ve been married 2 1/2 years but together for 4.
    He says he’s better alone.
    My question is do I move on from someone like him? Or would no contact possibly give him the opportunity to come towards me and fix things? Maybe show me the attention and affection and respect I’ve craved our whole relationship?

    I’m heartbroken as I thought we were going to start a family soon!

    1. Hi Sarah. Yes, some guys do have attachment issues and your husband may have an insecure attachment style. Now, that doesn’t it mean he cannot learn to modify his his natural style. A lot depends on how strong the connection is that exists between the two of you.

      He may not realize just how good he has it and it might take him some time to see the bigger pictue. Sone Men can act impulsively (buying a car, break up) and that kind of behavior can create stumbling blocks.

      2 1/2 years of marriage is not a short period of time, so despite what he might say, those feelings of loving you and missing you are probably very real. I think creating some distance between you and he for a short period of time would be good. Briefly explain to him that you need some time to heal and get in touch with yourself and your feelings about what you want for the future and therefor you can choose to limit your contact with him over the next 3-4 weeks.

      This can all be conveyed in a positive wway. This will allow you to let some of these fresh emotions settle down. YOu should focus on becoming the best version of YOU. Men are attracted to things they can’t have and if he sees you working on your needs and aspirations and begins having doubts about whether you even want him part of your life, his whole attitude might change.

      He too needs to figure out what he truly wants. You have your whole life ahead of you and so don’t feel like he must be part of it. Time will tell if you wish to invest any more emotional energy into the relationship. What you are asking for from the relationship is normal and reasonable and if he cannot truly commit to doing these things for you, then that speaks volumes.

      But give this some time. If you continue being positive and upfront, he will eventually have to choose if he is willing to change and adapt in some areas. If he cannot, then you always have options. You need not live a life that is a broken record of heart ache.

      1. One more quick question… Would you suggest I take down our pictures in our home and have him remove the remainder of his things? As if I’m moving on? Or just take that space for now and figure those things out later? Thank you! I’m reeling from this so all of this advice makes me feel like I can prioritize myself and demand better things…

        1. I wouldn’t invest any time or emotional energy in taking down the pictures for now. Keep the focus on your own self healing. Men who compulsively lie are usually insecure. I could be wrong, but my guess is he will try to come back into your life in the future. Ultimately it will probably come down to you deciding if you want him in your life…if you want to give him another chance…if he is really the man you want by your side and as the father to your children. You won’t have to decide such things in a moment. It likely be gradual as you pragmatically assess, with as little emotion as possible, what is in your best interst.

          1. Hi Chris! I listened to all of your videos! Boy do they help! We officially haven’t spoken in a week but he is still visiting our dog on Wednesday nights when I got to yoga. Last night I returned to some late Christmas gifts, very seeetly wrapped! He took some time! Anyway, we are doing no contact but I feel rude not thanking him? Can I just thank him when we are speaking again and let him know I loved them in a few weeks? I never know the right thing haha…

            I feel like it’s best if I don’t… then he might wonder more? Help!

          2. I thinks its Ok you you send out a brief text about the gifts, thanking him. Something like, “Thank you for your gifts” or “I appreciate what you did with the wrapped xmas gifts” Just keep it short and brief.

  11. Hi Chris, my ex and I were engaged for 5 years and together for 6 years. We have 2 amazing boys together also. I am the one that wants to work out the problems in our relationship but I’m also the one that caused them. I was taking too much from the love bank and not putting any into it. He told me he needed more affection but I didn’t listen. Now he is saying he has no feelings for me and has a negative view of me as a person. He doesn’t think I can change so he doesn’t see any reason to try. He keeps saying there is no connection anymore. He is one of those people that doesn’t believe in therapy so that is not an option. Do you think the Yes contact principle is a good fit for this situation?

    1. I do think utilizing the No Contact Rule will be of help. But let him know that you are working through some things…healing, focusing on being a better version of yourself, etc…so you are going to curtail communications with him for the forseeable future (21-30 days). When you come out of the No Contact period, there are various tactics you can employ to initiate contact with him in an effort to restart the relationship. Feel free to go visit my website at exboyfriendrecovery.com and you will also find numerous articles there about your situation including how to pull off a first contact text message (lots of examples of text messages you can send) with him when it’s time to re-ignite the relationship.

  12. Hi there,

    My boyfriend and I have been together for a total of 4.5 years and we lived together for 3. The first 2 years were idyllic. I’m talking over the moon happy, to the point that we once had a stranger tell us that we’d made his day because of our unconsciously loving interactions.

    So the back story. Before we even moved in together, his ex sued for custody to take their kids to another state (they had joint custody, nearly 50/50). There was a trial that summer and she lost. She sued again the next year. He fought her at first but at some point, he lost the energy to keep fighting and he agreed to let the kids go, as much for them as for himself. During this time, I often threatened to leave, saying right person but wrong circumstances. Once I did leave. It was only overnight but it had a big effect on him. When he begged me to support his decision, even if I didn’t agree with it, I said no. He is a very emotional man; he used to love me so much that it sometimes brought him to tears. But these were big issues for him and he became numb to me…and he put up a wall. Then I started to chase.

    I was constantly trying to “fix” our relationship. I talked about it all the time. Literally. I treated him very badly. I said I’d change but I didn’t really know how or what I needed to do. I’ve realized since, after finally finding the right therapist, that I have a form of abandonment ptsd. My father left when I was 6 and never came back. I have always either not let someone get too close or went too fast too soon if they were somehow unavailable. I made a conscious decision to try and be different with him but it still It took me a long time to let him get that close to me. I’ve never let anyone in like I let him and at one time we had a truly wonderful relationship. We tried therapy here and there once the problems started but it was never a good fit. And so we’d just go along, hoping things would improve. They didn’t. And he finally just shut down and said he couldn’t do it anymore. That was the first break up, in January. I moved out about a month later. He started contacting me the next day and asked to see me within a week. We went slow at first, as slow as he he needed to. But about 6 weeks after I moved out, I went over to talk. We ended up having sex. Sex was never a problem for us…it was always frequent and intense. He even started saying we used it as a bandaid. After that, I had trouble with going slowly. If he wanted to spend the day together, I wanted the weekend. And I pushed. Sometimes he stood up to me but mostly he gave in. I ended up pretty much living there the last 5 months, only not. He wouldn’t let me move fully back in but I stayed anyway. He started to feel like he never really got the break he needed. That his wall was still up with me, etc.

    So he broke up with me again, 2 months ago. He says still loves me but he’s just not sure I’m the right person for him any longer. He said he’s been trying but his heart just isn’t in it. That he has a lot of uncertainty and he isn’t sure he even wants us to work. Even though he called me his soulmate at one time. I am the same person, just one that did some terrible things to him. I’m not making excuses by saying they were out of my control but rather trying to understand how and why I would hurt someone I love so very much.

    We are still in touch most days…often because of me, but not always, and I am struggling with letting go. He’s been traveling for work and I found out that he has been spending some time with someone there. He has told me that I’m making it much more than it is but that we aren’t together so he can basically do what he wants. That hurts. A lot. We spent a lot of time discussing it the week I found out because I insisted. It was awful. I asked him if I could stay the night at the end of that week…he was leaving the next day again, for 3 weeks, and I wanted him to leave with good feelings about me. He asked to think about it and I said ok. He later said it was fine (his words). We actually had a really nice time…the first in a long time. He held me when we got in bed…like he used to. But the really important thing, in my mind, is that in the middle of the night, he had his back to me and I kissed it. Then I rolled away with my back to him. He rolled towards me and spooned me, tangling his legs up with mine. It makes me think that somewhere those feelings for me are still there because t he has them buried so deep that he mostly can’t reach them except in those brief moments that he seems to forget about everything that happened and he lets his guard down. I know I’m not imagining this. But still, he says he’s not sure about us, not sure there is a chance for us to work or even if he wants one.

    We are still in therapy together when he’s home…we finally found a good one. But it’s slow going. She says for so long I didn’t listen to him and that I put my needs first, to the point that he no longer wanted to be in such a one sided relationship. She’s right. And sometimes it feels like that’s still what I’m doing. We are also spending Christmas together…I told him I didn’t want to if it was only because he feels guilty or obligated or because he wants all the kids to be together (we have 5 between us and they are close). He said the kids were part of it, but not all, and that he’d like to spend it with me. It’s all very confusing because I truly believe that we aren’t “done”, that he isn’t “done”. Even the therapist says that although she certainly can’t predict the future and there are no guarantees, he doesn’t seemed to have closed the door completely. But he needs to figure that out for himself. She says that the ball is in my court and I need to stop pushing him, cajoling him, etc, to do what I want. I do know that when I push him for reassurances, he digs his heels in and says he doesn’t know, isn’t sure. I know we need a period of no contact because I have not been able to move on, take care of myself, etc. I am still as distraught as when it first happened. But I’m terrified of losing him forever. Even though I don’t have him now. We see the therapist again next week and I plan on telling him then. I have not been able to heal and I can’t live like this anymore.

    I’m finding it will be easier said than done. Sorry for the marathon post and thank you.

    1. I am glad you both are getting couseling. That might help you both discover more things about yourselves and each other.

      Think in terms of small steps. Let the negative emotions go. Focus on the positive, calmy doing nice little things for each other. A landmark study of couples was done by a guy named John Gottman. He said that those couples that observed the 5 to 1 ratio (positive interactions vs. negative interactions) in their daily interactions with each other are highy predictive to be successful. I think of it as the Kindness Study. Kindness rules. It is the number 1 success factor for a successful marriage.

      1. Thanks for the reply. I think at this point a period of no contact is the only way to go though. I can’t live in this state of limbo anymore…it’s killing me. He can’t give me any reassurances about the future, he isn’t even sure he wants one. So I’m not sure the 5 to 1 ratio would work for us right now because we aren’t actually together, even though we still talk and occasionally see each other. I just don’t think that’s something he would want to do because he wants space. I don’t but I’m going to need to take it anyway, so he can figure out for himself what he wants, without me in the picture. And even more, I need it to heal, to find me again. For over a year and half, I’ve been pretty much solely focused on him and our relationship. I can’t do that anymore because I’m miserable and sad all the time.

        I guess I am wondering, from what I told you, if it’s even possible that he can come back from this. The wall, the uncertainty if he wants a future with me, seeing someone else such as it is, etc. If I’m reading too much into those moments when it seems like he briefly forgets all the negative stuff and shows just love. We had something incredibly special and I meant the world to him. I just want him to feel that way again.

        1. The No Contact period is intended to do the things you talked about….to help you heal and draw closer to your feelings. To help you become the best versio nof yourself. It is also intended to help your boyfriend acheive the space he needs and gain some perspective and learn to appreciate what he had with you and also come to value this somewhat different, emotionally attractive version of you. So yes, it could work out for the two of you. And you are right. You need to find yourself again. You need to learn to love yourself again and be prepared to go forward without him again, if it comes to that. Sometimes it is when we don’t need something or pursue something directly, that it comes available to us.

          1. Hi again,

            I really do appreciate that you get back so quickly. I think the thing I struggle with the most is why he even needs space…what he thinks it will do, what it’s for. Although I suppose I really need it to, because I realize that I can’t get the me back that I was without it. But I don’t want it and I wish it wasn’t necessary. I think I mentioned that I was planning on telling him this at our next therapy appointment because I think it will be helpful to Gabe a mediator. I don’t think he’ll balk at the idea. I honestly think he might be relieved. But I still feel like having her with us for this conversation will be beneficial. It’s a week away though, and we have Christmas together in the meantime. So we will have to talk before that to finalize our plans. He gets back from his trip tonight. I think I’m finding today to be especially hard because of that. I have been staying at our house while he’s gone. My friends and parents don’t think I should do that but most of my stuff is still there and I hate my temporary apartment. I probably shouldn’t going forward I suppose…if we are making a clean break. I go back there tonight and I’m finding it hard to think about. After Christmas I guess I shouldn’t talk to him at all until the therapy appointment? I just wish I could wave a magic wand and make everything better. This is the hardest thing I have ever been through.

          2. It will get better. You will learn how strong and independent you truly are when yo focus on becoming the best version of YOU.

          3. Hi Chris , to already know some of my story from a previous post but I do have a follow up question. We are still in therapy (again), which started a few days after we broke up. It’s not consistent because he travels a lot for work. But she’s really good (this after several other tries with a few others that didn’t help).

            So are not exactly in the friend zone, in fact I’ve told him that we can’t be. But we talk in some form most days, he hugs and kisses me when we see each other, we even did end up spending Christmas together. But he still isn’t sure about a future for us. I can’t do this anymore because I’m not healing. At all. I end up still asking questions about our chances, etc…things I shouldn’t do. When I do, he tells me he won’t be forced along. So I need to walk away for now. We have a therapy appointment this Friday and I plan on telling him that we need to have a period of no contact. My question is, how do I tell him while still leaving the door open? What should I say? The therapist will obviously help us but I need to start the conversation.

            Thanks!

          4. Full honesty is going to work here. Explain that you have come to believe that each of you will benefit if you both agreed to give each other some real space which would involve a period of no contact. Explain you do not want anything between the two of your feel forced. But you do need this for yourself. Explain that you desire time to heal and re-eavaluate your relationships going forward. And that he should do the same thing. Explain you were thinking around 21 to 30 days (3-4 weeks) of no contact, after which you would like to meet up with him some place casual to touch base. Explain you are not thinking about time limits or anything formal, but you feel it is in both of your interests to work on “self” and get in touch with your feelings. Explain that right now, you are not sure what you really want going forward on the relationship front, but you do know for sure that you have been neglecting “yourself” and that has to stop because you are injuring yourself and those arouond you that you love.

          5. Hi Chris,

            So we had our therapy session last Friday and I told him during it that we needed to take real time apart. He said he’d felt like what we had been doing…some contact most days and seeing each other occasionally was better then nothing (I guess for my sake? He wasn’t really clear) but that he understood. We talked a lot after we got home, not great stuff but it was very honest. He is now saying that he needs to figure out if he’s afraid to be alone. Which is incredibly frustrating to hear because he was the one that pursued me for the longest time and I was the one trying to set boundaries. It feels kind of unfair of him to do this now although I do believe that if I hadn’t hurt him in the ways I did then he wouldn’t be trying to figure that out now. I did try to get him to have sex with me that night, saying it might be the last time. His response was that it might not be and there was a better chance of it down the road if I didn’t do this. He didn’t clarify what “this” was but I assume it was me trying to force things. Which he’s told me more than once he doesn’t want me to do. Needless to say, we did not have sex because he felt it would be too confusing considering the circumstances. He has said often that we used it as a bandaid because there was never an issue there…even in the worst of times we had sex 4-5 times a week. And our attraction to one another is still high. Anyway, I left and we were supposed to not talk after that. But of course I asked him something the next morning. We ended up talking on the phone. We texted some after that and I was of course looking for reassurances. He said things like yes, our relationship mattered and that’s why he’s agreed to therapy, but he’s still trying to figure out if I do. He also said never say never and that love was never the problem and that he’s always said he loves me. That’s all very hard to hear because it means even though he loves me, he just isn’t sure he wants to be with me. He talked in therapy about how I was mopey when I got to the house and he thought to himself that nothing has changed. I think I’m ok and then I see him and I can’t just be happy around him. I’m too busy worrying about the future or regretting the past. Sometimes I think he’s waiting for me to get that back…the ease we used to have. That it’s why he’s still around, because he keeps hoping. Maybe but I don’t know for sure because he’d never say that. I found out when we talked on the phone that his dad had gone into the hospital the night before. So he’s been sending me daily email updates (that’s how I told him to communicate going forward, if we had to). He wished me happy new year in one. And when I didn’t respond, he sent another saying he wanted to make sure I got the first one. I answered after that because it felt a little like I was going to opposite extreme. First talking too much for too long about us, and then I can’t even say happy new year back. It seemed like I was still showing that I can’t just be normal with him. So pretty much we’ve had email contact everyday since we went no contact, mostly because his dad is still in the hospital. I didn’t always answer but sometimes I did, sending well wishes. Anyway, I’m not totally sure what my point was with all of this except to vent about how confusing this all is, still. And to say that I suck at no contact. It’s been almost a year since the first break up and over 2.5 months since the second. And he’s still s presence in my life. I can’t figure out why.

            Lisa

          6. No contact is really hard. Essentially what the two of you are doing is practicing a from of limited contact, hoping that is will allow you both to heal more and clear up what each of you really want. I think a lot of the emotions and memories from the past and and the anxieties you have about what the future will hold is influencing your behavior. His too. You both are in love. That is clear, but it shouldn’t be too surprising given the history you have with each other.

            Men can be confusing when they tell you they love you, but are not sure if they want to be with you. I suspect that is really what he feels and is trying to reconicile how to make the marriage work in the future. I think your husband is also unduely influenced by his emotions and is bouncing around, waffling, switching back and forth about what is best.

            Putting some space between each other may souond counterproductive, but it can help a couple get more centered around what is important. Idententifying the 3-4 key things you need to work on as a couple will also be very important. If neither of you are ready to identify those things and committ to diligently working on them now, then you probably need some time away from each other to get in touch with your priorities and to heal from some of your wounds. That is what No Contact or Limited Contact is intended for. It’s intended to get you out of this purgatory or limbo land….where you want to be with each other….but you don’t…where you feel you are ready to resume your relationship again…..but your aren’t.

            I think you owe it to each other to agree to take some time away from each with no or very minimal communications using that time constructively to heal and work on “self” and then come back to each other gain and come up with an action plan and throw your entire heart and all your efforts into making the marriage work once and for all.

            Hope that helps. It at least gives you some thinking and talking points with your husband before you seriously embark on a No Contact period.

          7. Hi again, and thanks! We aren’t actually married but we lived together for 3.5 years. Personally I think he’d be trying harder if we were but that’s another story.

            I think if I actually asked him to commit to working on things he’d say he isn’t sure he wants to. That he’s mentally and emotionally exhausted from all of this and he just wants to be. So if he feels even an iota of pressure from me, real or perceived, he digs his heels in and says he doesn’t know if he wants a future with me. And yet he is still going to therapy with me. Still loves me, keeps saying he’s never said never, etc.

            My own therapist said last night that we are swinging past each on the pendulum. That in the past it was me that was very assertive, maybe even aggressively so (he told me recently that I used to be confident to the point of being cocky…go figure because that’s long gone). I usually got my way, controlled the narrative, etc. And that now that he’s found his voice, he’s swinging past me to the assertive to the point of being aggressive side, while I’ve become more passive. It’s like he can’t tell me he wants us to work things out because it’ll feel like he’s giving in to me. And he absolutely will not do that. Not right now. Maybe never. He even once said that he thinks that I’m having such a hard time with our break up because I didn’t initiate it, can’t control it. Maybe he’s right. I do know I gave lots of my own work to do in dealing with my abandonment issues that caused a lot of my negative behaviors. The bottom line is that treated him very badly…pushing him away while at the same time trying to make him “prove” his love. It wasn’t always like that…for a long time I just knew. But then I got scared. And I drive him away. That’s hard to live with.

          8. Hi Chris,

            So just a quick question about no contact vs. limited contact. It’s been two weeks since we were supposed to start implementing no contact at my request. Since then we have communicated most days via email or text. We have a lot of logistical things and it seems as if we can’t get around them. His dad was in the hospital, his phone broke and he needed me to add him to my plan as an administrator so he could get it fixed, I never received the insurance card for my new car and I’m on his insurance, I never changed my mailing address so I have to pick up my mail…which I do when he’s not home but I still need to find that out, I do my laundry at our house, the majority of my stuff is still there, etc. I’ve kept interactions brief and business-like, but friendly, with no mention of our relationship or how/what he’s doing. That has been a big issue…the constant talks about us that went in for many months before we broke up the first time, and were still happening to a degree since the second break up. That and that when I see him and just be sad and mopey (or even in texts sometimes…ones he would call my cold texts). He just wants me to be “normal” I think…like we used to be. It’s not just me that reaches out, we both have. Anyway, is this limited contact detrimental?

            Also, I don’t know if you sa my last post…

            Thanks!

          9. Waht you described is a form of pragmatic limited contact. Just keep working your your own life. If he cares for you in a meanginful was, he will find ways to follow and reconnect. Let him be the catalyst. Kill him with kindness.

  13. Hi Chris,
    My husband and I had an arguement half month ago. I was angry with him when I found out that he was communicating with his daughter from his first marriage. I admit it was his right to do such but I was angry because when we were ok he seems to have no plan of opening a communication on his past. He is set to have us as his new family not until we had a major issue two years ago that leads to us literally separated with contacts and support. I told him that he he will continue to talk to with child then he can spare my kids and I will migrate our kids and that he has no way to see them. I knew that saying those words was very wrong but my anger tooks over me. Now as a result he cut our communication nor our financial support. That is a big problem to me now because I don’t have a job for I am a full time mother to my two children(2 years old and 1 year old kids) . Since then we did not have a chance to talk but I found out he told his bestfriend that he is no longer caring for us and he does not mind if he will not see the kids or if I will migrate them . He did not send money also for the last two consecutive months. I dont know what is the right thing to do , if I will still push and ask him to send us money or just do the no contact rule. Please help.

    1. It may be best to take some time and let things cool down. Your husband appears to be angry and resentful toward you. With the passage of time, some of that anger may dissipate. when you reach out to him again, it would be best not to mention financial assistance, but to offer your regrets that the communications between him and you got out of control. That is the crux of the problem it appears.

      1. Hi Chris,

        It is Jaya again, am so thankful about this advice . It would be very helpful to me to have an insight like this now for am so confuse on what to do lately. Before we started this mess he told me he has plan to let us move to a new house but honestly now that he is so resentful about what happend I have this feeling of uncertainty about me and my children if he is so sure of abandoning us for good. The thing that you said about giving him some time or space, would it be best for me to wait for him to reach out to me first? And wait for him to return in the country this February and look at if he will come to see us? Thanks

        1. Hi Jaya,

          Yes, it would be best to let him initiate contact first. But after a no contact period of around 30 days, if you have not heard from him, you can reach out to him with a text message. If you go to my other website, exboyfriendrecovery.com, you will find several examples of initial contact messges. As far as meeting up with him in February, I wouldn’t get into all that until some positive communications gets underway.

          1. Thank you Chris. My marriage had been sufferung for two years, our contact for that long was on and off . He often block me on social media everytime we have some arguement that leads to fight through chatting. We are literally seperated because he insist that me and my children would just stay in our home country while he is working oversees. That was not the plan before we had a big tormoil in our marrige. He said that our marriage was over but inspite of all those words of him he continued to financially support us even we had a shaky communication. Recently as I mentioned earlier( Nov 13th ) I found that issue of him communicating with his first child made our relationship goes into much reck. I have this regret that if I only used my silly brain and dont let my anger controlled me over then I am not having a hard time financially now. It is really so hard now and thinking that he will financially abandoned us because of it , made my life gooes into deep uncertainties on how to handle my childrens future or if I will file a case against him which is the last thing I dont want to do. Chris how can I make may marriage back into track if my husband is always doing the things on his way and seems not to respect me. Is there any way or chance to win may marriage? Thanks a lot to such a big help.

          2. I think my best advice would for you to take a little time each day and read some of the posts you find on this website. They are full of insights and good ideas. There is always a chance for a marriage to recover, particularly when children are involved. In time, you will get a better gauge if you husband will ever want to really work on improving the relatiionship for not just for the two of you, but for the sake of the children. If it turns out that he doesn’t and you truly believe that to be the case, then you will want to turn your energies to another path focusing on your priorities. All of this won’t happen quickly, but it will be clearer in time.

          3. Hi Chris,
            I was thinking about what you told me, to give it a little time each day and am doing it, I am on the 22 nd day of NC to my strange husband. I knew from the post in your website that the NC is for making the best out of ourselves and to heal and keep in touch with our feeling. It does make sense to me but this days I found it so hard to focus and keep calm. Day by day my anger to my husband keeps stronger speacially when it suddenly comes to my mind how on earth he can do such kind of thing( not supporting financially) the more days pass by and I haven’t heard from him makes me more angry. I am thinking how selfish he is to abandoned us and not supporting us for almost two months now. How can I help my self to focus and heal doing the NC is everytime I think of him is I feel anger. Please what is the best? Thank u Chris.

          4. Sometimes to rid ourselves of negative or anxious thoughts it is best to get physically active. Long walks, jogs, hiking, bicycling, or just about anything that gets you outside and gets your heart and body moving. Activity can release chemicals that benefit you in positive ways. Also, yoga or meditation can tremendously helpful to some people.

            Utlimately, you wnat to chase out all the negative energy and thoughts about your husband because they do you no good and you cannot control his behavior or change the past. It is much healthier to focus on things you do have control of….your own attitude and behavior.

          5. Hi Chris,

            It has been a month of NC to my husband and I followed your advice to take some time each day. I still I never heard from my strange husband but I found out that he did not deleted me on the wechat app, he just blocked me.It is also about two months of not having a financial support from him. My only way if I will decided to contact him is through his colleague or his bestfriend whom I have their contacts on my wechat app. I am thinking what is the best to do now because I am really having a hard time financially. If I will contact his colleague or friend and ask if I can talk to him and tell that we need the support even I know he knows that because I don’t have a job right now, but I have this part of me who is so hesitant to reach out like that because I knew he got all of the personal power in our marriage that made him see me little . And also on his last message he said he will not accept me and my kids and he does not care anymore to us . He also said that even if I will migrate the kids , he does not care but accept it also. I am afraid that if I will reach out now I will get the same response to him and my attempt will be useless. I also have this feeling that if I will reach out the reason why I made a decision to argue with him will be useless( I argue because of him talking to his first child which I found disrespectful) . I dont know what is the best to do now for me to gain some ground and uplift my self and personal power. I knew the fact that once I reach out he will laugh at me and gain my personal power again. What should I do Chris? Please help . Thanks.

          6. I know it tough on you right now. And it doesn’t seem you can rely or depend on your estranged husband for any kind of support…emotional or financial. It seems he only makes you feel worse when you initiate the contact. Perhaps there are family and friends that can help you get through these difficult times until you can find some work and become self reliant. That is probably the most pragmatic thing you can do right now given your situation. It is always darkest before dawn. Keep up your good attitude and know that things will get better for you and your children in the future.

          7. Good morning Chris ,
            Thank u for your reply, yes Iw as thinking about what is the best thing to do lately and wondering if I will reach out to him after a month of NC because maybe his anger subside and he change his mind but as I say am hesistant because am afraid that he is still angry and have the same response. On your advice will I continue the NC and let him go? He is coming this Feb back in the country, should I just wait if he will come to see us? My friend says that staying quiet and let him go will give me some ground. Chris I still want my family to be whole again but I feel like it is so uncertain now.

          8. No Contact allows you to focus on YOU! Emotionally, you should move on. But if your husband chooses to initiate contact and wishes to explore getting back, then you always have the option of considering if that is what you wish to do. After the no contact period has elapesed, you can also choose to initiate contact. I have examples of different initial contact text messages you might wish to send at that time. You can find them at my website, exboyfriendrecovery.com

          9. Hi Chris,

            Thank you for the advices and also for telling me about the EBR, I was reading the articles and those that I had read was very helpful to me , so now am sure I have another site to be busy browsing again. I was thinking if it is too late for me to do the NC because it has been two years since my husband and I are having the marital problem. We are literally seperated because he works in other country , Through the first year of seperation he keeps on telling me that we were done but we did have an on and off communication until November 2017. He also came to spend time with us when he had a vacation for that two years. But as I mentioned just this November it became worst and I had been blocked and neither the support stopped. I am currently on my 35 days of NC.Is it useless to do the NC since the problem has been to long? Thanks

          10. It doesn’t appear you are getting a lot of traction with No Contact in terms of your husband missing you. Perhaps it has helped somewhat. It is usually not very effective after 45 days. I think going forward the most pragmatic thing for you to do is plan on a future without him in your life. I am not saying that is what is going to happen. The two of you may come to draw closer to each other and actively work on your issues. But since he doesn’t seem to show much willingness for this, then your should continue to focus on YOU and a possible life without him.

        2. Hi Chris,

          It is Jaya again here, after two months of NC I tried to message my husband last January through his colleague because we have no direct contact. He told his colleague that he is going back to the country on winter vacation and just three days ago my sister told me that she saw some photos of my husband through facebook because they are common friends on that social media. She told me that three days ago my husband arrived. But until today I never heard from him. From the photos he posted my sister said he seems so busy fixing some stuff on his parents house like fixing the cars. I am not sure if he has plan to contact me at all and see the kids knowing the fact that he did even give us financiall support for almost three months. I was wondering if it is a wise move for me to reach out to him now asking him if he wants to see the kids? Is it wise to reach out first on him given these situation that he never seems to care knowing pur whereabouts . Pls Chris advice me what is the best move? I am thingking that If I will contact him it will lead a way for us to talk and mend over the problem or it will lead him seeing me as a desperate one and that after he did not support us I am still reaching out. I did not pursue any move until now because am confuse what is right to do so pls help me Chris . Thank u

          1. Hi Jaya….One would think that as a father he would care about the welfare of his children. That doesn’t seem to be in the forefront of his mind. Nor does he seem to have you in the forefront of his mind.

            I think you are an amazing person with a caring heart and deserve better. He knows where and how to find you and the kids. If he choose not to follow through with checking on everybody’s welfare, then that says a lot about the man.

    2. Thank u Chris, I knew the fact that it is his responsibility to think of our welfare. It is just I feel regretfull of thinking maybe it is all my fault because I told him that I will migrate the kids and he has no connection to them. Maybe that is the reason why he decided not to care at all now, because prior to that he has plan of letting us move yo pur new house and he supported us before.

  14. Hi Chris,

    We are apart for a month..last time we talked was last week and i have never comminicated since she still does not to reconcile and wanted a separation..does the month count or just he last time we talked for the no contact rule? Thank you

    1. The last time you spoke would be a good starting place. But as I previously commented, make sure she knows why you are shutting down communications. Briefly explain that you want to give her space and that you want to take some time to work on becoming the best version of yourself.

  15. Hi,

    My wife and I got a simple fight which led to worst. She cannot forget the past fights we had. we are now separated for a month and when i tried to reach out to her she is insisting to let her go. I am now in the No contact rule for almost two weeks now and i need some advise to see if there is a possible of us being together again. We have one beautiful daughter aged 2.

    1. The notion behind the No Contact principle is that it give you each time to heal and evaluate how to proceed in the future. Usually 21 to 45 days is the period of no contact. Sometimes it works really well as some of the anger and resentments dissapate. Ohter times, it doens’t work. When you resume contact again, be sure to keep it positive. I offer a lot of examples of the type of text messages you can employ when the time is right to try and rebuild communications. Go to my website I created specifically for men called Exgirlfriendrecovery.com

      1. Thank you for the reply. is the contact contact rule start from the last time you have talked or from the last time you have fought? Thank you so much as this is very helpful

        1. It usually kicks in shortly after a break up or seperation has occured. But when you start it, you should be very open about it. It is not a form of punishment. One is simply telling their partner that they need some time alone, without communications or contact, in order to heal and work through things. And that the time apart hopefully will open a gateway for a better future.

        2. Hi Chris. That last time we talked was then again she brings up what happened in the past.she said she gave me all the chances. After that i just left and never communicated as she insist that her mind will not change..

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