“Jack, I’m tired of things being the way they are right now. My life is out of control and I don’t know where to start”
If you took a look at Chris, you’d never have guessed he suffered from severe cognitive dissonance.
On the surface, everything seemed great. Chris had just turned 27 and moved across the country to California after finishing his degree in Finance.
He was in great shape, and his network of friends was growing rapidly in his new city.
But on the other hand, in his own words, he was “stuck” and absolutely lost when it came to “relationship success”.
Again, you’d wouldn’t know if he didn’t tell you. You see, Chris hadn’t come to California alone. His girlfriend Sabrina had come with him.
Chris got in contact with me about 6 months after he and Sabrina had entered into an on-again, off-again relationship. She had broken up with him shortly after their move because she didn’t think he was all in on their relationship.
That caught him with his pants down, as he thought things had been going great up to that point.
A few weeks after, he reached out to her and begged her to get back together with them.
Personally, I teach that you should never chase a girl if you want her back, but in this case, it worked.
It worked the same way that putting water in your cereal works.
Sure, you get to eat your Lucky Charms, but each bite tastes like shit and leaves you wondering why you didn’t just go down the street to get a gallon of milk.
He and Sabrina would get back together for a few weeks before an argument forced them apart.
Sometimes it was a small thing, like him missing a date because of his job. Other times their arguments would be more toxic – with the intent to hurt.
Their constant fighting left Chris questioning if he would ever find the love he really deserved, and that deep down, he really wanted over everything else.
Chris reluctantly admitted that he was part of the problem – as he let his anger get the better of him more than once.
The constant turmoil of their on-again, off-again relationship had left his life in disarray. He admitted to me that he had been skipping the gym, and he felt too emotionally drained to go out with his new friends because of how things had been going with Sabrina.
Even worse, he could feel his performance slipping at work. Everything he had worked so hard for seemed to be wriggling through his grasp.
Trying to work with her was stealing energy from the rest of his life.
He had tried other strategies, including hiring a few “coaches” prior to when we sat down together, but they hadn’t worked.
I knew that that we had to take things back to the basics.
Chris hadn’t heard of the no-contact rule, or how effective it could be.
I knew that his way forward included a steady diet of indefinite no-contact.
What Is The No-Contact Rule?
The way I explained it to Chris was simple: the no-contact rule was the space he needed to get his life back together without Sabrina’s influence.
Then I had him read my comprehensive guide to the no-contact rule to help him get all of the most important principles down.
If you’re not sure what the deal is with the no-contact rule, you should read it too. I’ll overview some of the important principles of no-contact here, but for a more in-depth look, you’ll want to go read it.
Because if you know how to use no-contact correctly, the benefits you get are like a snowball rolling down a hill. It’s not a lot at first, but once you start rolling, there’s no stopping you.
Unless of course, you approach no contact with the wrong mentality.
The Problem With How Others Approach The No-Contact Rule
Zan, from the Magnet of Success writes: “In short, the no contact rule is so effective because it gives the dumper exactly what he or she wants”
At first glance, that might sound good on paper, but our friend Zan is completely missing the point.
When Chris and I first got together, I had him read this exact line after I explained the no-contact rule to him. At first, he had no problem with it.
I can’t remember exactly what he said, but it was something along the lines of “If I want her back, I probably want to make her happy, right?”
Now let me ask the same question I asked him.
“Does it matter what she wants? What about what you want?”
Keep that question in the back of your mind for a minute. We’ll come back to it in a bit.
Getting the wrong idea about why the no-contact rule is effective is extremely dangerous. And honestly, most people have it wrong.
If you’re one of them, you’re doing yourself a major disservice.
Because at it’s heart, no-contact really isn’t anything more than a habit.
And if you have the wrong idea about why the habit is effective, you’re not going to want to keep it up when you don’t get the results you want.
What would you think if I told you the reason the no-contact rule is so effective is because it forces your ex to get back with you?
If you’re like I used to be, you’d probably be fucking thrilled to start no-contact. When I thought no-contact was the secret to getting back together with my ex, I had no problem executing.
I was consistent.
Only…it didn’t work (at least not right away, anyways). When it didn’t work, I bet you can guess what I did.
I went right ahead and tried to be friends with her. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Only…it wasn’t.
Had I know the real reason why no contact was so effective, I wouldn’t have broken it, and set back my recovery by 3-4 months.
So let’s be clear. Whenever I see people talking about no-contact, they’re always focused on things like how it:
- Helps you get her back
- Is the right thing to do for her
- Helps you break your addiction to her
- Gives you time and freedom
- Helps you get over the relationship
- Prevents you from mistaking mistakes
And I get it, all of these things are true. But they’re just benefits, not the reason why no contact is so effective.
At the end of the day, if you’re focused on the benefits, you’re going to have a rough time when she reaches out to you. You’re going to want to break no-contact bad. Trust me, if you haven’t experienced this yet, you will.
And when you do, the last thing you’ll be thinking about is “getting over the relationship” or “having more freedom”.
Nope, the only thing you’ll be thinking about is how badly you want to talk to her. You’re addicted to her, after all.
And it’s all because you’re focused on the what.
-cough- You’re too focused on the benefits jackass -cough-
Focus On The “Why” Not The “What”
If you’re a business/entrepreneur type like I am, you’re probably familiar with Simon Sinek’s “Golden Circle”.
In the business world, it uses the concepts of what, how, and why to help high-performance companies and entrepreneurs pull back the layers to understand their core values.
If you’re not familiar, here’s what it looks like when used in business.
High achieving businesses and organizations always understand their why, and it sets them apart from the rest of the crowd.
And chances are, you don’t need to look much further than the device you’re reading these words on to see an example of this in practice.
I know a lot of you are probably reading this on your iPhone, which makes me sad because I’m forever #teamandroid.
But even a green message producing heathen like myself can appreciate a company that understands it’s why.
Apple’s what is simple. The iPhone, iPad, and iMac are what they do. The how is the premium feel, pre-launch hype, and always being one step ahead with innovative features.
But the why is far more powerful.
Answering this one question has made Apple more valuable than all but 14 countries in the entire world. Yep. Apple’s value as a company is higher than the GDP of Mexico.
And it’s all because they make using your phone and computer incredibly simple and seamless.
Answering that why enables them to have a direction, which leaves their less adept competitors scrambling to catch up.
After studying hundreds of men and women I’ve worked with (and subtly shitting on many of them for being part of the #cultofapple) I realized that applying a modified version of the golden circle led to much greater success and overall happiness.
With no contact the what is simple. The “what” is all the benefits I described above.
- It makes getting her back easier
- It helps you recover from the breakup much quicker
- You experience a greater sense of freedom
- All that other preachy shit that “relationship gurus” try to sell you for $979.95.
The how is also very simple, and most of you should understand it by now. If you don’t, you really should learn how to use the no-contact rule correctly. It essentially boils down to:
- You don’t contact her.
- You don’t visit any of her social media accounts.
- You don’t talk to her friends.
- You don’t “bump” into her in public.
- You don’t keep her stuff laying around.
This is usually where most guys stop. They have the what, and they have the how.
They don’t go a step further and ask why – and honestly, I can’t blame them, because no one has ever explained this well.
So let’s rewind a second.
Remember when I asked you what you want?
Yeah. That wasn’t by accident, because…
Only You Have The Power To Make Yourself Happy
Here’s the truth you’ve waited for.
The real reason why the no-contact rule is so effective is that when you do it right, it forces you to put yourself first, which leads you to realize that you are the only one who has control over your own happiness.
If you want a first place life, you need to put yourself first.
And at the end of the day, if you do the no-contact rule correctly, you’ll realize that your happiness is something that you create, not something that someone else gives you.
The no-contact rule forces you to learn this. When you do it right, you remove a major source of stress and unhappiness from your life, even if that source of stress and unhappiness is a woman who you love dearly.
Once you get to the point where you realize this, your life will never be the same. Your outcome independence (which is the single most important dating and life skill you can have) will go through the roof.
When you realize that the only person you’ll ever need is yourself, you’ll be free to live the life that you want.
Chris felt like his life revolved around Sabrina, even when he didn’t want it to.
He had been trying to live the life he wanted, but Sabrina was pulling him away from it. For him, no contact meant adding to his life by subtracting Sabrina.
It meant refocusing on what mattered to him – not what she thought should matter to him.
Now I know a lot of you guys struggle with this. It’s almost always tied to self-concept issues. Dr. John Belford, a clinical psychologist explains that guys with difficultly letting go tend to have underlying negative feelings about their sense of self-worth or irrational, limiting beliefs about the nature of relationships.
But when you finally say no, and put yourself first, you’re challenging those limiting beliefs.
I’ll probably talk about this more in a future article, but the quickest way to defeat limiting beliefs is to challenge them.
Deep down, Chris knew he didn’t want to be with Sabrina. However, as he admitted, he was scared of being alone. So he put up with the arguments and the constant drama until he finally said enough after our coaching session.
He knew he wanted more from life, and he knew he had to take the plunge. It was now or never.
“Discipline = Freedom”
I’m a big fan of Jocko Willink. Besides looking like he could fight the Hulk in hand to hand combat and win, he’s a high accountability, no-nonsense kind of guy. And that’s putting it mildly.
I’ve talked about one of his books, Extreme Ownership several times on Men’s Breakup before.
One of the core concepts he talks about is ruthless consistency. You do things repeatedly, without complaint, and grow stronger (and happier) because of it. Even when it’s something you really don’t want to do.
Like cutting contact with your ex-girlfriend.
The more you practice this discipline, the freer you get.
As you know, no-contact is really just another habit like everything else. The more consistent you are, the easier it gets. The consistency burns away your self doubt.
Every time you say no to the urge to text her, you challenge the limiting belief that you need her. Or that she’s special.
For Chris, the longer he went without contacting her, the better he felt. He started to adjust to being alone. He went back to the gym and started meal prepping again. He formed new routines and quickly learned how good it felt to put himself first again.
After about 2 months of no-contact, he wrote me this:
Thank you so much for your help. The last couple of months have been tough, but it gets a little easier every day. I forgot how good it feels to be in charge of my own life again.
For once I’m completely okay with being a selfish bastard because I know now that it’s completely up to me to make myself happy. It was wrong of me to expect that from another person, and honestly, that’s probably why I was so unhappy with Sabrina.
Every day I choose to say no to going back I feel even better about myself and even more confident in my choice. I feel free, and even though it wasn’t been easy, I can definitely say I’m happy.
Of course, everyone’s journey is going to look a little different. But, there are certainly things that will tell you when you are using no-contact effectively.
4 Signs You’re Using The No-Contact Rule Effectively
1: You Feel Uncomfortable
Change is always uncomfortable. When you make a commitment to putting yourself first by going no-contact, most guys will feel something, whether that’s sad, anxious, withdrawn, etc.
This is completely normal. When you make such a big change, it takes your mind time to adapt to your new normal. The fact that you are uncomfortable means you’re in situation where you have room to learn and grow.
Embrace it, it means you’re on the right track.
2: You Think About Her Less
If you still think about her all the time, that’s okay. What you’re looking for is improvement over time.
When Chris and I started talking, Sabrina was at the top of his mind most of the day. After about 2 months, he would only think about her 1-2 times a day.
Over time, as you put yourself first and create separation from her, you’ll naturally begin to focus less on what she’s doing, and more on what you’re doing.
3: You Do Things For Yourself
I don’t think I need to explain this all that much.
This could mean anything from reading a book you want to read, or going to eat where you want to. In other words, you stop looking for others to approve of what you do, and you simply do things because you want to.
With Chris, some nights he wanted to work until 11PM because he loved his job and wanted to get ahead.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what it is. Putting yourself first doesn’t mean trampling over others, but it does mean shamelessly pursuing things you want.
4: You Realize She’s Not Special
It’s an eye-opening moment when you realize the ex-girlfriend you once fantasized about no longer elicits a reaction from you. The moment you see her for the ordinary girl she really is the moment you’re truly free.
The more confident you are, the easier it is to say no to people and things that don’t serve you.
TLDR; No-Contact Is So Effective Because It Forces You To Make Yourself A Priority.
Putting yourself first not only increases your confidence, but it also eliminates self-doubt and helps you crush limiting beliefs which leads to the ultimate realization: you are in control of your own happiness.
This is the reason why no-contact is so effective.
It won’t be easy.
But none of the good things in life are.
Put yourself back in the driver’s seat of your life. Every day you stay disciplined with no-contact, you get a bit freer. Each day is a small victory, and with each small victory comes control.
And that’s all it takes to make you start feeling better.