No Contact Help: Ways To Stop Thinking Of Your Ex

Photo by Shifteye

As you might very well know by now, following the “No Contact Rule” is one of the most challenging things you’ll ever do.

During No-Contact, you have to try shielding yourself from all the thoughts and feelings that are flooding you.

To stop thinking of your Ex, day in day out, seems to be the biggest challenge of it all.

But it is one of the essential premises in breakup recovery because once you stop allowing them to dominate your mind, you subconsciously set a signal within yourself – like a beacon – that you finally WANT to get over them.

And once you manage that, you’ve made an important step forward in your journey.

In my coaching, I use a proven technique based on cognitive behavior to train yourself to not think of your Ex.

But are there other methods to control your negative thought patterns in such a way that they don’t harm you anymore?

Psychologist Jeremy Dean from PsyBlog – a blog about scientific research into how the mind works – lists eight more methods to defeat persistent, unwanted thoughts.

Among them are things like “Focused Distraction,” which I think is an excellent, “common sense” way to deal with unwanted thoughts – whenever your Ex comes to mind, concentrate on a specific piece of music, task, etc.

What I think is the best-presented method in that article – and which I also use in my coaching – is “Self-Affirmation.”

You practice this by replacing a negative “Ex-Thought” with a predefined self-affirmation.

One that works perfectly is:

“I love myself abundantly and unconditionally.”

or

“I let go of people who do not have my best interests at heart .”

This works in two ways:

  1. with a little practice, you can condition yourself to stop this negative thought process
  2. work on your self-love and self-worth.

Two birds with one stone.

One suggested way that doesn’t fit into breakup recovery too well is “Paradoxical Therapy,” where instead of repetitive thoughts, you concentrate on them.

This can do more harm in your recovery than good, particularly in the very beginning of your break-up or divorce.

So you will have to try different methods to learn what best works for you.

Whatever it is, start right NOW.

And remember – baby steps and one day at a time.

You can read the article about eight ways to defeat persistent unwanted thoughts here.

Your friend,
Eddie Corbano

  • Hi ,
    I’m in long distances marriage we live in different country , last year I meet this lady whom I didn’t want fall in love with her in the beginning and it was more like casual realition , however we fall in love with each others and things get deeper and she asked me to marry her and I always tried to run a way from replying back to her for 2 reason first I hardly trusted her behaviour and always knew she is hiding something from me 2nd I didn’t want leave my marriage of many years for her even I love d her . Anyway I introduced her to my best friend and she used to talk to him a lot when we meet I told her that I don’t like that and we fight many time about it how ever I went for short trip outside the country and when I get back I felt there is something wrong is happening between her and my best friend so I followed her one time and saw her meeting with him and I want crazy started to shaut at them and called them with names and my friend run a way with his car . Later on they tried to convinced me that she was feeling bad after our fight and she called him to meet and wanted to know why I refused to marry her and that was the only time they talked together later on same day I want to talk to him why he did that to me he said the same words, I asked him to show me his phone and he did and I found message from her saying to him that I just called her and if I left him , I couldn’t believe both of them and I asked them to show me their phone bills and the number they have been calling for the last 48 hours they rejected my request and it has been 2 weeks no with NC and both r blooming me in their fb , it hurts me so much every time I think about them. What shall I do to start feel better again I already go to gym almost everyday I get a new house but still can’t stop thinking of what happened from the ppl I loved

  • so i broke up with my what is now my ex because i was on facebook one day and saw that she was acting as if she was with this one new guy( that’s butt ugly lol) but i asked her whats ging on and she said its no big deal then alot of things happened after that and I ended up breaking up with her because it was a lot of lies that were coming onto me. now ive been missing her alot and i was on fb and she like a picture i posted a while back? I dont know if she still has feelings for me or what? help

  • Hi. I am having trouble getting over my ex. I am on day 30 of NC but probably since I didnt get closer, it is very difficult. We dated for 2 years but he kept me a secret.Most of our relationship was long distance but we were very closer nevertheless. Two weeks after my father passed away I found out he was still with his ex and I was just a mistress. He denies this and tells me he loves me but her facebook says otherwise. I even think they are living together. I dont know when he is saying the truth and thats making it very difficult to move on. I dont know if I misunderstood the situation and made a mistake. I have blocked both of them on fb but I am constantly tempted to check up. I am confused, lost and miserable.

  • We were only together 5 weeks. We’re an older couple. He was so quick to commit, and we had such dreams for the future. He had a traumatic childhood. He really opened up to me, gave me codes for computer, his phone. He offered me a key after 2 weeks.
    He over reacted to a comment, we had a big argument. He thrashed me. I apologized, to no avail. He said he didn’t want to break up, but I believe he did. He dropped me off, said he’d call next day after we slept on it and go to brunch.
    2 days later he text, hi, how are you? I know about the NC rule. This happened before and he was so upset he said he had to cool down. I responded a day later, ” It’s disappointed I didn’t get a call about brunch.” It’s been 11 days since I saw him. I know he’s stubborn, but it seemed that I didn’t make him happy. We promised we wouldn’t break up over something small. We really wanted it to work.
    If we only dated five weeks, does the NC rule prevail? I love him, but I think he has too many issues.he can’t get over things. I’m baffled. Thx…

  • I wish I would of found this site 7 years ago when I was going through my break-up. I found this site by accident trying to help a friend. Even though it’s been so long I’m getting so much out of these articles. It’s like I’m becoming a whole new person again. Thanks Eddie

  • Thank you for this resource Eddie! Reading these threads is so helpful in feeling normal about what I’m experiencing. My ex broke up with me after 10.5 years together. We lived together for 6 of them, and he was my first love and only partner. He saw me through some really difficult times in my life and we were very close friends. It all unraveled in about a month which totally blindsided me. After taking a solo vacation to visit a friend he came back wanting to take a break because he wanted to try being single. We went back and forth for about a month during which he treated me awfully, in a way he never had before, and when I pushed him for more details about the proposed break he dumped me. I had to move out and disentangle my life from him.

    I am 5 weeks into the breakup and on day 9 of no contact. We had kind of agreed to talk after about 3 months, but I think this is off the table now. I am extremely hurt but don’t want to become bitter toward him. I am not putting him on a pedestal because I recognize his flaws, and I did not deserve to be treated the way he did at the end. However, he is a good and kind person and I want him to be happy down the road. I guess my fear is that I have to either become very angry to get past this, or that I will live with a low level of pain underscoring my daily life for a very long time. I blocked all social media contact, but I also keep comparing my “recovery” activities with what I imagine his to be and it is so painful. I feel like I’m not healing fast enough.

    I know time will do the trick, but I plan to use these tips to try to stop thinking about him so much. I need to focus on myself now, not how he is doing or daydreaming that he will realize his mistake. Anyway, hugs to everyone out there feeling the same pain.

  • Thanks for everyone who put their personal life out there for complete strangers! I had a complete blow up around 6 months ago and my ex and I never talked or communicated. One random night I reached out totally expected a FU and it was just the opposite. We got close, after a couple weeks of fun and buying her things she kicked me to the curb. I feel completely used and maybe she planned the whole thing but for some reason I cant stop thinking about her and want to still make it work. I am a very smart person and realize what happened so how can I miss her and want her back!!? 🙁

  • I been broken apart and I feel like I will never get over the trauma my ex caused me. First, he starts treating me different avoiding me and finally when I confronted him he told me he was tired of me and needed a break I got so angry and he pushed me out of his house. Then a week goes by he doesnt contact me and im the one who is the one calling me, texting him. Then he contacts me on 12/25 to let me know he was leaving town and should be back by the new years but he crashed his car which was the last I heard he doesnt contact me until 12/31 to tell me hes been living in the streets witn no $ or a way to come back. I pick him up and he convience me to get him a rental car for 1 day. He avoids me after and i begged him to turn in the rental he turns off his phone and I find out by his credit card activity he was in Vegas, I start stressing 5 days later he still hasnt return the car or havent received a call I finally decide to file a report (stolen ) for leaving without permission. On his way back home he had an accident I pick him up and he tells me he was in Vegas with another women which I know I was so upset about the problems i have to deal. He finds out I file a police report and he threaten to hurt me and my family if i dont cancel the report. The next day he calls me crying begging to take him back and i stand firm with NO. Then the next day I sneaked into his place and I find him in bed with the same women he left to Vegas, he has nothing else to tell me but he dont want me. I am devastated I been for this guy for 8 yrs he has been in and out of jail and I been supporting him, I bought him his first car so he could get to his job, he had cheated in the past in 09 we were engage and cheated and left me for another women I took him back and now he pays me with this. I dont know what to do i changed my number but i feel like i will never recover.

  • THANKS A LOT EDDIE! 🙂

    Am in 30th day of my initial 60 days NC and trust me guys, It has been amazing to follow NC.

    The first week was terrible. The urge to call him was killing. I woke up from sleep, to call him. To hear him. To hear that voice which had held me like magic for years. BUT, Eddie’s posts kept me motivated to hold on to NC. My ex tried reaching me on phone. But I didn’t pick. I shivered the first time when I saw his call. I just didn’t pick. I was more composed in rejecting the call second time, without picking it.
    After that the next 3 weeks have been more and more revealing and relaxing. I am not completely out of my ex’ thoughts. I would say am 95% out of the hangover. But, I am feeling much much better now, than a month back!

    Some of the things I did during the NC time
    1. Read posts and comments in this website and some others, but not get depressed or discouraged because of the negativity.
    2. Start writing all the emotions in a blog. Also, started keeping an online journal.
    3. Prepared a list, with thoughts that came about my ex, how would I rate it on a scale of 0 to 100, what I did to handle that emotion, my rating post handling the emotion.. Initially, my self-rating was 90 to 100 on some days.. But as days passed, I was less emotional and eventually I stopped rating, because my emotions seem to have vanished after following NC rule.
    4. Mindless distraction. Cleaning stuff which I had left uncleaned at home for long, helping mom with cooking, walking down the road and observing things I had missed earlier etc
    5. READING. Started my book reading habit again. Finished two books, fiction and non-fiction. Trust me, reading is such a relief!
    6. Talking to friends who can understand and try to give other perspectives.
    7. Eating healthy, avoid binge eating/ drinking
    8. Partying in moderation with friends! 🙂

    So, I am doing much better than a month back. Thanks to Eddie and fellow folks here who gave some good insight into breakup management.

    All the best folks! Life’s exciting ahead! Don’t waste time on past people in life! They’re not with us for a reason 🙂

    • Haven’t posted for quite some time now. I was well into 90 days of NC. My only fault was the holiday and contacting my ex for email addresses and phone numbers of his family members for xmas. Well that went over like a lead balloon. I wasn’t expecting a call or a detailed text message. What I got was totally unexpected. “your gifts won’t be necessary!”. That’s it! That lit a fire under my ass and I started called and texting! I got no response which was good but I totally lost it. What gives him the right?

      The good news is it was a great reminder that this chapter is done, family and all. I guess we all have set backs from time to time and the only advice I have is to learn from the mistake, because it really is a mistake. Jane is so right about how God is in charge. Happy holidays to everyone and be strong, These milestones can be devastating but they pass as quickly as they come if we continue to remain positive.

  • hello well i was with my ex for over 5 years she left a year but we have a daughter together and honestly spent a lot of time together going out dinners movies taking my daughter places even though she stop living with me this year kinda felt like we were still together and i spent the whole year begging pleading begging some more for her to give me another chance which she says stressed her out so i left town to be closer to my family for a while 3 months really hoping the space and time would bring her back to me and i thought it was wworking she would tell me she missed me and was thinking about me but still didnt see us working but i wasnt ready to give up she told me a week ago she has met someone so i spent the week begging for another chance and told her i will always fight for us today after more begging she says there is no chance for us and i finally have to throw in the white flag i know i have to give her up i gotta let go for me for my daughter for her this is so hard and dont know how im gonna do it she was everything to me and this hurts

    The the a feel the most is fear honestly im so scared and of everything like how can i live with out her who would love me now im scared of being alone scared of being replaced scared to let go right now its hard to see anything good for my future and im a god fearing man leaning on my faith but its still hard

    Im a single father of a 7 yr from a earlier relationship and its being really hard being the type of father i should have being to her this past year because of this broken heart i have not all there mentally for her this break up comsumes my thought all day i get no escape from it

    I ran across the site tonight and gonna try the nc i do have a child with the ex so there will be some contact but i am gonna make it as limited as i can i have been up reading peoples comments and they have made me fee; better there are a lot of broken hearts out there if all of you feel the pain i do right now than my heart goes out to yoiu my concern is that i read a lot of post that were on day 40 and further alnoe but was still in pain that worries me but i need to change something up so i will give it a try

  • Hi all
    Was on day 40 with no contact when I get a text asking for a receipt of an iPad gift I gave her as it no longer works. The text was purely that she needed it. No how are you or anything and kind of business like. My response matched the tone although I did say nice to hear from you. Anyway her request was fullifilled without fanfare with a simple thank you from her at the end. My question is do I now restart the nc count or continue as the contact was for specific and not emotional
    Hmmm.

    • Hi Rick

      I’ve asked myself those same questions as I am still married and we must be in contact for business. There is a post here where Eddie talks about business contact and how it relates to our NC but I can’t remember how to treat it. Sometimes NC cannot be avoided.

      What I’ve done is keep the contact strictly business and count it as NC. Congratulations on day 40. I am only on day 13 but I am getting stronger day by day. My ex texted me for school transcripts that he needed. I did not respond. Not trying to be mean I just know if he is resourceful he will figure it out. Because he left me I have no desire to help him with anything. This way I feel no obligation to respond. What would he do if I was dead? Hope this helps. Stay strong.

  • I cannot tell you the hell I am going through with a breakup with a girl. Actually we have broken up 15 times in the last 2 years. Shes has been back and forth with me and another guy she knows from her workplace. Just recently, she told me we are done, and admitted shes been talking with him, seeing him, and now getting engaged to him. I’ve lost my job because I cannot focus, cry all day, constantly call her crying trying to get her back again.
    All my friends and family tell me to let it go. I can’t. I’m either going to get in trouble with the law, or hurt myself. I try and date other girls but can’t stop thinking about “her”
    She has done many things that have hurt me, and I have done the same. She even threw me out of her house last Xmas day but we still have gotten back together 10 times back and forth after that. We had great sex, etc. Did many things together
    I am just severly depressed Dont know what to do with myself
    need help

  • Hello,

    My name is Ely. I dated this guy , Bert, that lives an hour away from me. I have known him for 3 years. He has always been my best friend, someone I can go to for almost ANYTHING. He is a year older than me, so in my first year of college,
    I went through a really rough breakup where I was cheated on. Of course, here came Bert to the rescue and was my shoulder to cry on.
    Since that day, everything was going great and we finally decided to become a one day, I noticed that he would always talk to some girl on all his social networks.
    I didn’t see anything of it because I’ve always been one to give my partner space, you know, his does have a life as well.
    But it wouldn’t stop, he was starting to push me to the side for “school” but I noticed he would always talk to her when he would say “he was busy”.
    Until one day, she added me on almost every social network I had, and she ended up tweeting how she was going to find someone else they way (whoever she was talking about) had someone.
    This was literally 5 min after she added me.
    What I’m thinking is that she saw all my pictures and stuff with Bert, and so I finally I out my foot down and asked him and her what was going on,
    Turns out it was one of his ex’s but that they were only friends. I forgave him, but ever since that, my trust for him was slowly decreasing. He would always talk to all these girls, which of course I didn’t know because we didn’t live in the same town. He always claimed were his “friends”.
    Bert always just said that it was my jealousy and that I need to just “chill”. that he wasn’t doing anything wrong. He would continue with the messaging and always liking their pictures on facebook or instagram, but he would never like mine. Much less post a picture of us together.

    Finally, my uncle came into the office that I am an intern for, and asked to speak to me.
    He asked me if I still dated Bert. The weird thing about it was that my parents were the only people who have met and knew about Bert. So I answered him yes and asked why?
    Turns out Bert was messing with his niece through his wife side. That niece lives in the same town Bert lives in. So, I called him to ask him about it and he just went off on me, saying how I never believe him and that she is his cousin. I finally couldn’t bite my tongue anymore and I let everything out. He ended up dumping me for being to “insecure’ and “jealous”.
    Within the second day of the breakup he was already messaging girls, liking their pictures and so on. I even came upon a picture that a girl had with Bert, where she was sitting on his lap. This even took place when we were still dating.

    I am on barely on day 4 of NC, and already Bert has thrown the whole “I’m sorry” text on me bust said he wasn’t trying to get me back. He was going to graduate from LVN school and asked it I still wanted to attend because his parents didn’t know what was going on and that “they” were expecting me there.
    I didn’t want to reply. I am so mentally and emotionally hurt that I didn’t think it was fair for only that “sorry” for everything he has done. I admit I did feel like I was on top of the world because he messaged me and kept calling me. I had been doing so good, I was being very active, going to the gym, hanging with friends, even becoming closer to my family( at the fact that I had pushed them to the side because of all the stress with Bert).

    But The next day, I felt completely different. I felt sad. There’s times where I want to give in and just talk to him. I even came across the idea of going to the graduation, But I cant give in! I know this is my first week of NC, but I feel like breaking the seal.. What do I do?

    HELP!

  • Dear Eddie,

    I was on day 14 of NC and sent the recommended letter to ask that there be no contact. Just the basic template that was provided. He sent a very nice response pretty much wishing me luck, love and happiness. He has clearly moved on. I am soooo depressed and just hurting all over again. Like day one. It will be 2 months since he left and I am no better for it. I’ve followed the rules, I’ve done the work but I can’t stand this feeling anymore.

    This is too long to feel this way. I feel like I’ve made no progress. Please help..

    • Sue, I strongly recommend a book called The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. Perhaps you already know of it. If you have not read it, please get a copy asap. Combined with Eddie’s teachings and some other things I have done, it has made a big difference for me.

      • Thanks so much for the recommendation Blue. I do know this author as I have his first book. I will take your advice. I am also starting meditation with Deepak Chopra. I need all the help I can get. Eddie’s teachings are always a plus. You hang in there as well. It’s been very helpful to support one another on this website. Stay in peace.

        • Thank you Sue. Day 68 for me and I was really struggling for all I was worth until about the six-week mark. That was a bit of a turning point. I’ve also been trying to stay super busy with activities and not mope around my apartment too much where I tended to over-think things. I’ve been reading a lot of self-help material, crying when I need a release, taking long walks, and distracting myself with personal hobbies and/or passions. Give yourself until that six-week mark of strict nc and see if that doesn’t serve as a turning point for you.

  • Dear Lauren,

    You are not alone. The same thing is happening with me. I am on day 4 of NC today, 1 month after breakup. At night I think of her I wonder is she sleeping or awake. I even don’t remember the day when I laughed with my heart. I just laugh for my parents and relatives to show them I am happy but the feeling inside me is very painful. I just want to forget her.

    May God Bless all of us and Eddie our guru.

  • Today is day 7 of NC. So far for me the worst part of all of this have been the mornings. He’s the first thing I think about when I wake up-even before I open my eyes. It’s been so difficult not to let that initial pain not set a course for the tone of my day. I want to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind him out of my head. I’ve been reading a lot of self help books on learning to let go and move on, and how to survive a break up, but I just feel so hopeless and stuck. As much as I don’t want to love him and miss him anymore, I can’t seem to let it go. I’m not living each day right now, I’m surviving each day. And that sucks. I really hope that it will feel better soon. I miss being happy.

  • Hello
    I am new to here. 5 days ago my boyfriend told me that he wants to stop the relationship, because he thinks we are different. We have been dating for 10 months already. Our relationship has never been a calm one: always quarrels. But we could always end up being together because we love each other. He has always been so patient to me. I don’t know what to do. Until yesterday I was begging him not to leave me, but yesterday I found this website and I started to read and watch the videos and stopped stalking him. I can’t believe that it is over. He doesn’t believe it either, because he called me today though he was very cold. I can’t start No Contact now, I feel that I need some more weeks for that. Do you think if I don’t do anything he will come back to me , because I really don’t want to stop this relationship, even though we are different people? I am sure I can change myself and become what he wants to see, if that can save the relationship.
    What can you advice me? I am in a desperate situation.

  • Hi Eddie,
    I came upon your website at a most opportune time. I am in a desperate attempt to get rid of the pain in my heart from a recent breakup (of course).

    My bf and I are neighbours (he’s at 2C and I’m at 4D) so NC is going to be a challange, but I sent him the email respectfully asking him to not contact me so I can have the time I need to heal.

    We dated for just over a year, had a wonderful trip to the Dominican in March and then, almost as if he was looking for an excuse to argue so he could end it – completely shut me out – I mean drove right by me without even waving. Ouch. That really hurt.

    I packed up his crap and left it on his dining room table (I still have a key – not sure how to get mine back without contact).

    I was reading another users comments about having some good negative thoughts to run to whenever I miss him or think about him. I know in my heart that I am better off without him and that my happiness and worthiness is not dependant on what someone else thinks of me (or doesn’t).

    I am only on day two of NC. We broke up before Canada Day and I made up some excuse to go see him last Sunday just so I could see if he still missed me and see if we could be friends. That was a bad idea. I felt used and small and stupid.

    I’m taking my power back – and my life.

    Thank you for your exceptionally valuable website at a time when I REALLY need the help.

    God bless the broken hearted. May we find Peace and the courage to love again.

    • Hi Jeannie,

      Sounds like you are Canadian. So am I! I’m in day 48 of nc and some of the rawness and emotion over my breakup has dulled a bit but it took about six weeks to make any noticeable progress. I’m a middle-aged guy who got dumped by my girlfriend of 15 months. It happened somewhat suddenly. Despite the fact the relationship was relatively short, this breakup has hurt me more than any other, especially since she was my best friend. Unlike many others here (thankfully), this breakup was not angry or hurtful. There was no deceit or bad behaviour. One big problem was when I pressed my girlfriend for reasons for her decision, all she could initially say was “it’s not you, it’s me.” That can be incredibly difficult because we always look for reasons. Within the first week of our breakup, I was able to pull a little more info out of her via a series of emails and that helped a little bit. Still, I can’t help but think we had so many more positives between us than negatives. I’m still left scratching my head. I started no contact exactly one week after our breakup.

      You may find your progress is more measurable on a weekly basis than a daily one. Things that have helped me so far are interacting and conversing with friends, journaling, writing a daily list of all the good things about my day, reading self-help books, and trying to stay active either with a hobby or with activities out of the home. The first few weeks were very challenging. I wrote letters to my ex (which I did not send), had imaginary conversations with her, and I cried a lot. I think the crying was therapeutic. My work benefits permit me to see a family counsellor for a few sessions and that is helping too. This website has also given me strength. Pouring yourself into your work may also help in the short term though everyone says balance is your life is essential.

      As it stands, I think I’m being as proactive as possible but I also know that time must run its course. The healing cannot be rushed. I’m still incredibly discouraged and sad at times. I want to get better by tomorrow but it just doesn’t work that way.

      Anyway, I hope you find my rambling at least a little bit helpful. Good luck and keep us posted.

  • Hi Eddie….i’ve been in a reltnship frm 12th sept,2010 to 12th march 2012….my ex was even my best frnd….v used hang around all the time…..v used to talk whole night on phone….or through texting….bt nw things had changed alot…..she left me last year saying her parents won’t ever agree to our relationship…..n she dnt think that it was love b/w us…..it was just a mistake….v were frnds n v take it to wrong side…..the hard part is she was the one who proposed me n nw she dnt even want to hear my voice…..it’s very hard for me to let go bcz our relationship was very very intense….nw i’m on NC 1 n i knw after 60 days it’d b 12th sept again…..3yrs gone…..

    Rats…21yrs

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