The TRUTH About “No Contact”
So, you stopped contacting your spouse. And now you’re trying this thing called “No Contact” to try and get your spouse back. You’re trying it to get them to see what they’re missing. You hope that they’ll want you back and that they will come crawling back to you… Or at least, that’s what you’ve heard.
You’re spending so much time trying to understand “No Contact.” “What are they thinking right now?” Or, “How do I know that No Contact is working?” It’s taking up all your time, energy, and mental effort.
You’re wondering if you’re doing it right. You’re wondering if it’s working (and what signs you can look for to make sure that it’s working.) But here’s the thing: No contact is a complete sham.
I’m telling you this because you deserve to know the truth about the concepts behind “No Contact,” why it doesn’t work, and what you should do.
“You deserve to know the truth about the concepts behind “No Contact,” why it doesn’t work, and what you should do.”
If you didn’t know, I have my master’s in psychology. I’ve been practicing in this field for about a decade, if not more, of real, hands-on experience. I study research. I make sure it works in the lives of people before I teach it to the masses.
And, I make sure it’s applicable, logical, and implementable. I make sure it goes along with ethical beliefs and a value system. I feel the need to tell you this because there’s a ton of people out there who really just want your money. They’ll give you false promises and false claims because, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter to them…
But at the end of the day, it matters to me what I say to you! What you hear from me matters. I want to tell you the truth and I want you to know everything about what you’re getting yourself into. I want you to do the best things possible for your relationship to make it work.
In this article, we’ll explain the TRUTH about the theory (and psychological concepts) behind NO Contact. We’ll explain why it doesn’t work for marriages and teach you what you should do instead.
“No Contact” Comes From Reactance Theory
If you study where “No Contact” stems from, it originated from a psychological theory called Reactance Theory. It’s all about perceived freedom.
The concept is this:
If I’m going to lose a freedom I have in my life, or a perceived freedom that I have in my life, then I’m going to react negatively. I don’t want freedoms taken away from me. Therefore, when I see freedoms taken away, I’m going to fight to have it back.
It’s an interesting concept.
Basically, it means if you take a freedom away, then a person will fight to get it back.
That is where “No Contact” comes from, but it’s a bastardization of the psychological principle. Let me explain what that means. If I were to tell you, “Don’t think of a pink elephant,” the first thing that you think of is a pink elephant!
If I tell you, you can’t do something, then your automatic urge is going to be: to do it. But here’s where it starts to get interesting…
The more you understand about the brain, psychology, and deeper into reactance theory, there are two parts that make this work.
But the person losing the freedom has to care about that freedom.
The first part that has to make this work is the individual who’s losing the freedom has to care about that freedom.
For example, if someone told me I could never eat fast food again in my life, I would legit NOT CARE. Not one bit. Honestly, even if you mandated me to never do it, cool. I’m good with that. Even though I would be losing a freedom, it’s not a freedom that I care about.
The idea with “No Contact” is, if you take away the “freedom” from your spouse to talk to you, they will fight to get that freedom back. That they missed it and no longer have access to it. But here’s the thing, an individual losing the freedom has to care about that freedom.
On the other hand, if someone told me I could never go outside again for my morning walks or gym workouts, I would lose my MIND!! Those are everything to me. It’s a freedom I deeply care about.
There are freedoms we care about and there are freedoms we don’t care about.
So what’s interesting about “No Contact” and Reactance Theory is it’s taking the perception that your spouse cares that they’re not going to hear from you anymore…
Please don’t mishear me. I’m not taking this lightly. I know I might be sounding rude. But, most of the time, if your marriage has gotten to where your spouse wants out, your spouse probably won’t care that you’re trying “No Contact.”
If your spouse is already disengaged, they won’t care about the contact being taken away.
In fact, they may welcome the break and silence. Again, I don’t say that lightly. What I want you to hear is “No Contact” is a type of manipulation at its core.
“No Contact” Uses Manipulation & Control
If we look even deeper into Reactance Theory in psychology, you see warnings about it. Businesses talk about Reactance Theory and study it as what not to do to their customers. Customers don’t like feeling pressured. They don’t like the feeling of freedom being taken away.
Reactance Theory is a no-no for businesses. They don’t want customers to feel pressured or manipulated.
It’s used more as a warning of what you shouldn’t do. As opposed to what you should do in order to manipulate someone to do what you want them to do. It’s not the way that you want to save your relationship, and it’s not going to work.
I want you to be in a place where your spouse wants to hear from you. I want you to be in a place where you get your relationship back. But, if you’re using gimmicks and manipulative tactics, such as “No Contact” to get that to happen, I’m warning you. The results are not going to be what you want them to be.
Reactance Theory is all about taking away someone’s choices and taking away their freedoms. The results of doing this will absolutely make someone angry.
“Reactance Theory is all about taking away someone’s choices & freedoms. Doing this to someone will absolutely make them angry.”
If your spouse knew you were using this as a tactic to:
- Get them to do what you wanted them to do
- The way you wanted them to do it
- When you wanted them to do it
How do you think they would react? The result is that it makes the person angry. Why? Because they feel controlled.
“No Contact” attempts to control & manipulate your spouse. It does NOT form a healthy relationship.
“No Contact” is a way to try and control another person. And it is not what forms a healthy relationship going forward. When you have a healthy relationship, you don’t use gimmicks to get your spouse to agree with you. You don’t use control tactics in order to get them to talk to you when they don’t want to talk to you.
When you have a healthy relationship, you figure out how to be there for them. You listen to them. You try to be an ever-present person in their lives. This is what ends up making strong relationships, not using bastardized versions of psychology.
“When you have a healthy relationship, you don’t use gimmicks.”
“No Contact” Pushes Your Spouse Away AND Makes Them Feel Controlled
And that is the number one reason using “No Contact” is ruining your chances. At the heart of it, not only are you pushing your spouse away, but you’re making them feel controlled. Even if they don’t feel that right now, and even if they don’t know what’s going on.
“No Contact” Can Lead You To Form Unhealthy Habits As A Spouse
Additionally, “No Contact” is how you are programming yourself to be as a spouse. It’s not good and it’s not healthy. You are better than that. I believe it.
I believe you have good intentions and a good heart and I believe you are wanting to do the best thing you can to save your relationship. And I want to help you do that.
But to do that, I want to teach you what actually works to move your relationship forward. But there are a couple other reasons I want you to be aware of. First, why you shouldn’t be using “No Contact,” and second, how it can be ruining your chances of saving your relationship.
And, It Can Make Your Spouse Start Looking For The Next Best Option…
Here’s the other part about Reactance Theory that they don’t teach you… When a person feels like one of their freedoms has been taken away, then the natural human instinct is to look for the next, most attractive available freedom.
This is the, “What is there that I can turn to next?” Or, “If this has been taken away from me, okay, how can I cope with that? Let me find something to replace it with.”
When a person finds one of their freedoms taken away from them, they tend to navigate toward the next available option. The next, less restrictive option becomes more attractive to them.
So with “No Contact,” if you’re withholding comfort, companionship, or anything from your spouse that they may NEED from you in any given moment, then it gives them an opportunity to find that in someone (or something) else. And I don’t think that’s what you’re wanting to happen.
So you want to stop talking to them? Great. But just realize it opens a chance for that person to find comfort and companionship from someone else.
But What If Your Spouse Is Already In An Affair? Ask Yourself This One Question.
You may be thinking, “But Kimberly, my spouse is already getting that comfort and companionship from someone else! So if I stopped talking, then how is that going to make any more of a difference than what’s already happening?”
Here’s the thing we’ve already mentioned. We’re not using this as manipulation. If we look at what actually works in creating strong relationships and healthy marriages, it’s the ability for someone to know the person they love will always be there for them.
Your spouse may be doing some terrible things right now. They may be involved with people they shouldn’t be involved in. They might be and doing things you never thought they would do.
But at the heart of it, I have to ask you this question: is your spouse a good person who is doing a bad thing, or is your spouse a bad person who’s doing a bad thing? If they truly are a bad person doing a bad thing, then you have some difficult decisions to make in the future.
“Is your spouse a good person doing a bad thing, or is your spouse a bad person doing a bad thing?”
But the majority of the time, our spouses are good people who are right now involved in bad things. Even though it’s hard, what makes change happen in our relationship is giving unconditional love. (Even when the other person doesn’t deserve it!)
So, Be There For Your Spouse (Even In The Worst Of Times) With SMART Contact™
It’s being there to talk to your spouse if they call you in the middle of the night. Even if they’re in the middle of an affair, listening to them, not condoning what they’re doing. So that when they do finally wake up, you’re that person they remember was there for them in the worst of times. In our marriage vows, we said for better or for worse. Right now, you’re going through the worst. I am so sorry for your pain, but don’t buy into things that won’t work long-term. Don’t use gimmicks that have more potential to damage your relationship.
Instead, do the things that actually work. At Marriage Helper, we want to help you. We have coaches that are amazing, that know exactly what you need to do. They can guide you through how to navigate the situation that you’re in. They can teach you how to implement SMART Contact- which is our way of communicating with your spouse that works. It builds healthy relationship behaviors within you as well.
We also have online courses to help you save your marriage. The Save My Marriage Course is amazing. It teaches you principles based in research and tested in the lives of thousands of people. It works and it changes lives.
Lastly, we have Workshops that you can do as a Solo Spouse or with your spouse. Even if your spouse wants out of the marriage, we have a three out of four success rate in saving marriages.
We care. I care about you. I care about your marriage being saved and I care about you becoming the best individual possible. You can find out more about how we can help you do that.
If you want to learn more about SMART Contact and how to implement our strategies for better communication with your spouse, check out the SMART Contact Toolkit here!