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You may have seen some people out there talking about “No Contact” and you may be wondering, “Is this something I should try for my marriage?” Or maybe you’ve already been trying “No Contact” and you’re puzzled, wondering, “When is it actually going to start working?”
Today, I want to share with you a few reasons why “No Contact” does NOT work for your marriage. In fact, tactics like “No Contact” can actually have a negative impact on what you’re trying to accomplish- especially if your marriage is in trouble (and you’re willing to do whatever it takes to get your spouse back).
Defining “No Contact”
If you haven’t heard of “No Contact” before, it basically means that for a set period of time, you ignore your “ex.” You do not speak to them. You do not answer their calls. You do not respond to their messages. And a lot of times, “No Contact” refers to dating… and there is a MUCH different commitment level between dating and marriage.
In “No Contact” there’s even some people that go as far to say that you should also start doing FOMO on your social media- you need to get your “ex” to have a “fear of missing out” with you. So, you start posting about all these amazing things you’re doing with the motive of getting your ex to get jealous and want you back.
The main thought behind “No Contact” is “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” For example, it says, if you’re not talking to your “ex” and they’re not hearing from you, then they begin to wonder, well, where are you? Why is she not texting me? Or why is he not calling me? What are they doing?
But the reason that “No Contact” does NOT work all boils down your intentions. The biggest question to ask yourself is what is your intention behind it?
It could be that your spouse has left, they’ve asked you not to contact them, but you have the intention of, “I’m going to do whatever I can to get them to miss me.” And so you become stone silent. You don’t speak to them. Even if they try to contact you, you don’t answer.
Differences Between Dating Relationships & Marriage Relationships
But here’s the thing, “No Contact” works in a different way if you’re in a dating relationship. For example, if I am just dating someone, even if we’ve been together for two, three, five years, there’s a different commitment to that relationship than the commitment that I have in my marriage. So if my ex boyfriend were to break up with me, leave, or want to take a break, then it’s different for me to implement no contact. I have every right to not contact him since that relationship ended. I have the right to move on. I have the right to take 30 days, try and reset myself, understand how I feel, and all of that stuff.
But even with the dating relationship aspect of it, there’s still the question of what is your intention? If you’re using it as a way to make the other person your focal point- How are they reacting to me? Are they going to come back? What are they doing?– If that’s all you’re thinking about day in and day out, then it’s not healthy for you to do it as a person, even in a dating relationship.
But for marriages, there’s another level that goes into this. When we get married, we make a commitment. We say “I do” for better, for worse; in sickness and in health. The thing that separates married relationships from dating relationships is the commitment aspect of it. The commitment of, “I have vowed my life to you for the rest of our lives.”
And then, if your marriage comes to a point where one person wants to leave, wants a separation, or wants a divorce, it is devastating. Your universe is completely shaken. I understand that you want to do whatever it takes to get your spouse to come back. And when you hear about “tactics” and things like “No Contact,” you think maybe that would work… You think, “If I just ignore them and get them to miss me and to be jealous about what I’m doing, then they’ll come back and I’ll have my stability in my future back.”
But here’s why “No Contact” doesn’t work in a marriage- you don’t want to create unhealthy patterns of communication where you “ignore your spouse for a period of time” in order to get them to do what you want them to do. Simply put, it won’t help your relationship grow in the future.
And in fact, if you use these tactics to “just try and bring your spouse back” at the core of it, it’s manipulation. If you intentionally ignore a text message or phone call from your spouse because your intention is, “I’m doing this in order to get them to miss me so that they will come back,” then you’re not actually creating healthy patterns in your relationship that will help your relationship grow in the future.
If you’re ignoring your spouse, even if your spouse has left and wants out of the marriage, we NEVER recommend that you ignore your spouse when they reach out to you (regardless of how many days it’s been). We recommend instead that you use something called SMART Contact- but it’s even more than that… it’s smart communication.
Healthy Relationships Have Healthy Communication
At Marriage Helper, we believe that healthy relationships have healthy communication. It’s not a tactic. It’s not something you use “for a period of time” just to see if your spouse will do what you want them to do. Rather, SMART Contact is the best possible way you can communicate with your spouse- whether your marriage is in trouble or not. (But especially if your marriage is going through a crisis because communication has to happen for your marriage to continue on.)
So, what if your spouse comes back? What then?? What happens if for the short time they buy into that and they say, “You know what? I do miss them. I miss the conversation with them,” but then they come back… and then you actually have to start having the difficult conversations that need to happen in order for your marriage to reconcile.
Well, unlike “No Contact,” you can’t ignore the hard conversations. You can’t manipulate your spouse. Instead, you need to do the right things for your relationship. No tactics. Hard work. The real work of understanding how to have a healthy communication relationship with your spouse especially during hard times in order to make your marriage work.
You need to do things that will help your relationship get to where it needs to be. Healthy communication must happen for your relationship to continue (and for your relationship to grow!). Create patterns of healthy communication with your spouse using “SMART Contact.”
I understand the fear of missing the person who’s been a part of your life for so long and wanting them to talk to you. I get that. We get that, but when you shut that person out of your life with the intention of, “It’s going to make them miss me so that they will come back…” that is when everything begins to fall apart. Because in 30 days from now, in 60 days from now, when you’ve done “No Contact” (and you realize it still hasn’t worked) then you haven’t changed anything to make you a better person during this time to help get your relationship back to where it could be.
Now, some people ask me, “Why do I have to be the one to do all of the hard work when my spouse is the one who’s done the hurtful things or once out of the marriage?”
I understand your frustration in that. And sometimes, the honest truth is, when we love someone else we have to do some hard things because we see the best of the other person, even when they’re not acting their best. We want to hold on long enough to help rescue them and bring them back to the person that we know that they can be.
This takes sacrifice on your part right now. But I believe because you’re reading this, you’re strong enough to do that. If you have the strength to try and ignore your spouse for a set period of time, you absolutely have the strength to learn and understand how to create healthy communication patterns.
The Need To Communicate With Your Spouse
For example, we worked with a couple where the husband said, “Well, I know I’m supposed to do no contact, so I’m just gonna stop.” His wife tried to contact him about a couple of things during that 30 days… and he ignored her! He said, “My intention is that she needs to miss me.” But in reality, that only made her more angry.
And then, after 30 days when he started to contact her again, she didn’t say, “Oh, I’ve missed you so much, I want to come back.” Instead, she said, “Why would you show me that disrespect? I needed a quick answer from you. I needed to talk to you about something.”
I understand there are times when you need to set boundaries, but a lot of times people implement those too early with way too much force and it never ends up being good for the relationship. Instead, I encourage you to start with SMART Contact.
We have seen SMART Contact work! It’s not a tactic, it’s not manipulative. It is a way for you to understand what’s best for your marriage in the long run (and to learn how to create healthy communication patterns) so that no matter what happens- whether your spouse comes back, they start talking to you again, or ultimately, you start reconciling- you will have the tools that you need because you have been practicing them. In order for your marriage to be reconciled and be stronger than ever before.
Remember To Consider Your Intentions
So remember to ask yourself, What is your intention behind a “tactic” or “No Contact”? Are you shutting your spouse out with the intention of having them miss you to come back? To get them to do what you want them to do? If so, consider SMART Contact instead.
If your intention is to just do something in order to get your spouse to change or to do what you want them to do, then I encourage you to revisit that intention. Even with smart contact, you might be saying, “My intention is going to be for them to come back.” I encourage you to have the intention of learning the things that you need to do to create healthy communication patterns in your relationship. Regardless of the way your spouse might be acting right now.
With SMART Contact, you’ll be able to communicate in healthy ways, based on research and practiced in the lives (and marriages) of thousands! Get the SMART Contact Toolkit here.