Dating Tropes Explained – Part VI – Breakups, and the “No Contact” Rule

Here’s the situation: your girl dumped you, and you’re hurtin’ real bad. She’s all you can think about. You run out of lotion and kleenex at least twice a week. Times are rough.

All that, and you’re obsessively asking yourself “How can I get her back?”

Huh boy. That’s always a doozy.

But fear not! This is where the “no contact” rule comes in.

See, your bros, who are always looking out for you, will tell you that you have to go “no contact” with your ex if you ever want to have any chance of recovery.

No contact is exactly what it says on the tin – no calls, messages, texts, emails, love notes written in blood, or any communication of any kind. This includes not responding to messages from her, unless it’s a time and place for her to pick up her things from your apartment.

Furthermore, if you happen to run into her in real life, you can be polite, but you have to end the interaction as soon as possible, and without divulging any information about what’s been going on in your life, and you must absolutely NEVER ask questions about hers.

Basically, post-breakup, she has to become a stranger to you, and you to her as well.

I know what you’re thinking – “That doesn’t make sense. How can I get her back if I completely drop off her grid?”

Well, there’s a ton of theories about this. They can be boiled down to the following predominant analyses (none of which actually matter, in my opinion):

  1. There’s nothing you can say or do to change a woman’s mind about you immediately post-breakup, because the decision for her to break up with you probably took weeks, or even months (erosion of your Table legs) – whatever you fought about at the point of breakup was just one thing among many others on top of the Table that caused it to collapse.
  2. Therefore, it is her decision, after living without you for a while, to decide whether or not you were actually a benefit to her life, and re-open a dialog with you.
  3. Your persistence during her period of “go back or move on” can only push her farther away from you.
    1. There are literally thousands of theories about point #3 alone. Experimentally, in every case I have ever heard of (at least a hundred) of a man actively trying to get back together with a woman who left him, the woman got even more fed up with the guy.

I posted the following clip from the movie Swingers a while back, and it explains the above, minus the reasoning. Because, hey, if a woman doesn’t want to be with you, and you’re always working on improving yourself and being true to who you are, why does it matter what the reason is?

Watch the clip, because it’s an important part of this article. And is also from an awesome movie.


“But Vichet, what was last part that Ron Livingston mentioned, where you’ll probably forget about your ex before she decides to come back?”

Yeah. That part is where no contact worked. When you go no contact, you will forget about your ex. And everyone’s happy.

Right. I know what you’re thinking…

I’ll tell you why: Table Theory.

The relevant pillars of Applied Table Theory (Specifically “putting things on the table”) that broke in this case are:

  1. Chemistry– whatever you did to screw up has destroyed the chemistry. She has definitively decided that whatever chemistry you had together is not worth sticking around for.
    1.  No, champ, it doesn’t mean that you’re a horrible person. Doesn’t mean that no one will ever like you. It doesn’t even necessarily mean you did something stupid or wrong (though you likely did if you need my advice). It just means that for her, you are unbearable to be around.
    2. The solution is ALWAYS to better yourself. No, not to win her back. To be happy with YOU.
  2. Mutual Independence– if you “need her back,” you have none of this, and it’s what likely caused the relationship to fail in the first place. You don’t gain personal independence by needing someone.
    1. “But Vichet! What if I become a stronger, smarter, faster, more awesome independent dude!” Well, champ, then you’d probably already be swimming in girls who are just as good if not better than the one who left you. Oh, and you wouldn’t care so much about this “one-gina.”
  3. Issues on top of the table– even if you do get back together as two stronger, more independent, more fulfilled people, the drama of the last breakup will be a 50 lb deadweight sitting on the table that you will never be able to get rid of.
    1. It happened, and neither of you will be able to conveniently forget about it. When another argument occurs, you will remember that she had broken up with you before, and SHE will remember the REASONS she had broke nup with you before. That’s a stockpile of nukes on both sides of the argument.

See what guys like you did to such a beautiful, elegant act of male resourcefulness? The “no contact” rule is brilliant. It lets you get over the girl. Period. That’s the only real use.

But then guys like you, who “need” their ex back took it and started thinking it was some Jedi mind trick – “I know! I’ll go no contact! That’ll get us back together!”

Right. Hell, I’ll play this game for a second. If your relationship really was the one in a million (not likely, Romeo) that actually broke up due to actions and situations outside of you and your ex’s control, then yes, going no contact until she gets back in touch with you is the only way you will be able to salvage anything. That’s because we all know YOU want to go back to being in a relationship. If she’s the one who broke up with you, what matters is HER desire to reunite. If she decides to come back, and you decide to take her back (what?), well, then that’s a theoretical bonus to going no contact.

But the bottom line is, that’s a whole ton of effort for something that’s already beat up and broken. I wouldn’t exactly call rebuilding a Table that got smashed in a game of “you’re an unbearable dickweed” a bonus.

Furthermore, if I was a bettin’ man, I’d go based on my vast pool of statistics and say that ever guy ever who has pined after an ex (myself included) did so because he was unhappy with his own life.

So remember – no contact is not a tool used expressly for “getting her back.” It’s a tool meant for getting on with YOUR life.

You can’t go back, pard. The Table done fell apart, all the little annoying things that you and she did that were once neatly stacked on top are now all over the floor, and even if she comes back, neither of you will ever agree on who does what share of cleaning up.

If you think your particular relationship (that didn’t work) is unique and special and worth preserving, you would be wrong, sir. People have recovered from much worse than a little bit of heartache, and your immaturity is a grave insult to those who have been through true suffering. For shame.

Seriously, work on yourself. So that way, you’ll do better next time with another girl.