Stages Your Ex Goes Through During No Contact




Watch the video above all the way through as Coach Lee discusses the stages your ex will go through while you are using the no contact rule.

Then, read the content below carefully to help yourself retain and reinforce the knowledge you need about the stages your ex will likely go through.

This is what the dumper goes through.

Stages Your Ex Goes Through While You Are In No Contact

stages ex goes through no contactPeople often think that their ex walks away unscathed after they break up with them.

As though the leaver flicks a switch at the moment of the breakup and immediately starts having a great life that never includes thoughts of the person they left or doubts about their decision to end the relationship.

At the moment of this writing I have nearly twenty years in the relationship recovery service and I can tell you that thinking your ex has a simple path after they broke up with you is most likely untrue.

If you start applying the no contact rule after the breakup, you are not only giving yourself the best chance to get your ex back, but you are responding with maturity and dignity.

While you are not contacting your ex, they are forced and allowed to experience the true consequences of their decision to break up with you.

That is what needs to happen in order for them to realize they don’t want the breakup.

It is during this time that they go through stages of reaction based on the dumper's experience without you.

These stages could also be called dumper's regret timeline or dumpers grief cycle. (Also see my article: Stages To Getting Back Together With An Ex)

Dumper’s Regret Timeline or Dumpers Grief Cycle

stage one of no contact

Many things in life happen in levels, timelines, stages and cycles.

This happens as an emotional reaction or response to loss, grief, and various seasons of realization.

Stage 1 For Your Ex: The Relief Period

I know, you don't want to hear that breaking up with you gave your ex relief.

It probably hurts some, but it is necessary and in your best interest that your ex goes through this first stage during no contact.


Because you want them to get it out of their system so to speak.

Breaking up with you was difficult and they had probably been dreading it for a long time.

So the relief is less about getting away from you (though there is likely some of that) and more about being glad they got something over with that was difficult, awkward, and painful.

The sooner you leave your ex completely alone (did I say completely?), the sooner they will get past this phase or period and start experiencing the negative consequences of breaking up with you.

During the relief period, you might see pictures on social media of your ex going out with friends and even acting silly.

Your ex is doing this because there is an initial realization of freedom and all the possibilities that exist with it.

But, as the Eagles say in their song, Desperado:

"Freedom, oh freedom. That's just some people talking. Your prison is walking through this world all alone."

Most people desire a romantic companion and so the relief period is almost always short lived.

Your ex will then start to live in the new normal that they have caused which will be days and nights without you.

Leave them alone so that they enter the next phase/period as soon as possible.

Stage 2 of No Contact for Dumper: Curiosity

After the initial relief your ex will feel right after the breakup, the next stages of no contact (usually after a one to three weeks) put your ex in a stage of curiosity.

At this point in the timeline your ex will wonder why you haven’t reached out to them and why you haven’t tried to get them back.

This already puts you ahead of the game so to speak in terms of getting your ex boyfriend or ex girlfriend back because there are all kinds of stories of "crazy" exes fighting and chasing their ex to get them back.

Your ex’s curiosity will magnify each day because you continue to be silent and show no signs of making an effort to get them back.

Your ex begins to wonder what you are doing, since they used to be informed of your daily experiences when you two were together.

They are used to knowing.

Your ex also likely begins to wonder who you are doing things with and since they have no answers, this mystery sticks with them with growing intensity.

Their curiosity exists even if your ex is in a rebound relationship.

In fact, any new person will be easily accessible and informing your ex of their daily activities which makes yours a greater mystery and frustration.

It's a question in your ex's mind of which only you are the answer.

This is especially helpful to keeping you on your ex's mind since they used to have the answer.

Though  it might seem counter intuitive, this actually gives you an advantage over the new person since you will be the mysterious, untouchable one compared to the rebound.

Curiosity grows and intensifies in your ex boyfriend or ex girlfriend's mind and ushers them into the next stage of no contact.

Stage 3 of No Contact: Preoccupation

I’m this step of the dumper’s cycle (what the dumper goes through), your ex becomes so curious about why you haven’t reached out and what you are doing to the point that they become preoccupied with you.

You are practically all they can think about at this stage.

If there is a rebound relationship happening in this stage, your ex can begin to view them as a nuisance and even see their relationship as artificial.

Sometimes your ex can try to push past this or force things even more so don't be too upset if you start to see pictures on social media of your ex with this person.

If this happens, it's highly possible that your ex is trying to convince themselves and others that this is not a rebound and that there is validity to that relationship.

This usually causes your ex to exit the rebound even earlier so breathe a sigh of relief for that.

Every time your ex sees a text or call from the new person, it only further fails to relieve the curiosity and mystery that still exists from stage 2 because it is not you.

This is fascinating:

Though it starts off somewhat small, your ex can begin to associate disappointment in the calls, texts, and even in the presence of any new person there might be!

If there is no new relationship, this applies to anyone who contacts them because your ex looks at their phone thinking it might be you but only sees that it is not - again.

Even if it’s just not what your ex expected at this point and not necessarily them missing you yet, the fact that their expectations are not coming to fruition will create a level of disappointment with every occurrence.

As it repeats over and over, disappointment  can become the primary feeling and be a repeating, painful reminder of your absence.

As life without you begins to show itself to be disappointment, your ex enters the next stage of our plan.

Stage 4: Fear of Loss

Stage 4, in the stages of no contact for the dumper, is fear.

Fear of losing you to be specific.

It's the dumper's version of what you felt after they broke up with you.

Your ex was in control and so they didn't feel loss or grief right away -- but you did.

That's why you hurt so intensely and why you panicked.

Whereas you ex felt mostly an artificial breakup because it was within their control. 

They felt that they could get you back pretty much whenever and if they wanted to.

So your ex felt little to no loss.

It's like if you told me that you would fund my bad spending habits (if I had bad spending habits).

I could spend all that I wanted and never feel any loss because you were paying my bills!

That's to large degree how your ex felt after breaking up with you.

Since your ex "dismissed" you by dumping you, they figured they could easily get you back whenever they wanted, so there were little to no feeling of loss.

But that changes when your ex realizes that it appears you could move on with your life and be lost to another person or that you could simply stop wanting to get back together with them.

Your ex becomes afraid that they have permanently blown it with you!

They worry that you might have moved on and they lose the ability to expect you to reach out to them.

That’s when the pressure greatly intensifies.

The groundwork for this was laid by the previous stages of the timeline/cycle.

For some people and in many cases, this is when no contact starts working enough that your ex reaches out to you.

The reason is because even if your ex isn't convinced that he or she wants to get back together with you (yet), the concern that you could move too far away (emotionally speaking) or get into a relationship with someone else causes them to want to open the lines of communication in an effort to prevent you from drifting too far away

Your ex tries to pull on the reigns and say, "Whoa there!"

They at least want you to slow down (because they fear you might be moving on) until they figure out what they want.

All it takes is a little bit of doubt to achieve this (and Dumper's Remorse can kick in).

It often results in a text from your ex that says, “Hey, how are you doing?" or something small like that because they simply don't know what to say.

They just want to feel some connection with you and dig their heels in to keep you near just in case.

Or your ex's message can be more bold.

They could come out and say, “I miss you."

Your reaction at this point is vital to getting them back.

You must keep that mystery alive.

That doesn't mean that you say, "Well I haven't missed you."

In addition to being a lie and rude, saying such a thing is not helpful to getting your ex back.

You could simply say, "Hey there! I've missed you too. I hope things have been going well."

I go over more strategic responses in my Emergency Breakup Kit.

Yes, saying that you miss them as well is a necessary evil.

What I mean is that trying to act like you don't miss them (or haven't) can blow up in your face.

I've seen it happen too many times so just don't go there.

It's at this point that you need to keep some mystery, but you also need to get your ex face to face because that is when you can be your most influential and attractive.

Again, I go over this in a structured and more strategic way in my Emergency Breakup Kit or you can book a coaching call with me.

If you haven't watched the video above, scroll back up to do that since I provide more detailed information there and because most people say that they gain new insights that really help from that video (click here to go back up to watch it)!

I truly wish you the best in getting your ex back!

-Coach Lee
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