A long period of no contact is important after a breakup if you want to have any chance at all, however slim, of getting back together with your ex and building a healthy, enduring relationship. A good rule of thumb is thirty days – a full month – without communication of any kind between you and your ex. That means no texts, no calls, no emails, no activity on social media, no letters (ha ha, does anyone write letters anymore?), no visits, no driving by their house in the middle of the night (or the middle of the day), no flowers, no candy, no semaphore, no smoke signals, no telegrams – nothing at all.
But at least one of you readers out there recognizes that this is a time of peril. During this whole month of silence, of no contact, stuff could be happening. Your ex might very well meet someone new and start dating them. And what will you do then? You will have missed your chance at getting back together!
Let’s be clear about this from the beginning. You and your ex have broken up. That means your relationship, at least the romantic, sexual part of it, is over. There’s a slight chance you will stay friends, and an even slighter chance you’ll get back together. You’re starting from zero here, trying to give yourself the best possible chance to build a completely new relationship with this person. But that’s all it is – a chance. You are rolling the dice and the odds are stacked against you much more severely than at any Las Vegas casino. It’s no fun facing that fact, but that’s the way it is. You two broke up. Your relationship wasn’t working. It was so badly broken that one or both of you decided to abandon ship.
So there are many risks you will have to take if you hope to get back together with your ex. Them finding someone new to date is just one of the risks. It’s possible they might do some serious thinking during the period of silence and decide they don’t want anything more to do with you again. Or they might decide to move across the country, or around the world, to Tahiti or Timbuktu. There’s nothing you can do about these possibilities except accept that they might happen.
Your main job during the period of silence is to focus on yourself. You need to get your life back together and fix some of the problems that led to the disintegration of your last relationship. That means you need to spend some time thinking – and that means serious thinking – about what led to the breakup and how you can change to become a different, better person so that if you do get together with your ex things will be different this time.
Another benefit of this is that even if you don’t manage to rebuild a relationship with your ex, you will have worked on making yourself a better and more attractive candidate for any future partners you meet and date — your ex included.
Back to the question that has led you to panic. Your ex has met someone else during this necessary period of separation and silence. What can you do about that?
Strictly speaking, you can’t do anything. But you don’t have to panic. Just because your ex met somebody else and went on a date or a few dates with them doesn’t mean you have no chance whatsoever of ever getting back together. It’s possible this new person might not be a long-term candidate – especially if your ex started dating them during the chaotic rebound period right after a breakup. Relationships started on the rebound have a less-than-average chance of lasting, as most people realize. So, if you hang in there, play a long game, and focus on improving yourself and making yourself more attractive, you still have a chance.
A good way to think about this situation is to turn it on its head. What if you met somebody new and fun and interesting during the first month or so after your breakup? How would you be likely to feel? And how would you want your ex to handle it if they found out about it?
Keep that in mind as you move forward. Don’t panic, and don’t do anything spiteful or rash that will certainly ruin any chance, however small, of you and your ex patching things up and starting anew.
Maintain the period of no contact even if you find out your ex has met someone else. Don’t try to rush in and do “damage control” or pour out your heart to your ex. You want to keep yourself in a strong, safe position, without coming across as bullying, pleading or becoming pathetic and whiny to your ex. The best way to give your ex a good impression of you (eventually) is to stay focused on cleaning up your act. Try learning something new – how to cook or sail or skydive or paint or speak a new language. Using your brain will give you more to talk about with your ex when you meet again, or with strangers you meet who may become your future romantic partners. Getting out there and learning and having fun with other people will also remind you of an important lesson – that you are able to have fun and enjoy your life even without your ex, even if you’re single.
Once you have truly accepted that and learned that lesson, that life goes on, and it can be a good, happy life, even without your ex, then you’ll be much more centered and relaxed. That in itself will make you more attractive to your ex and to others. It’s kind of a Zen paradox – you have to truly let go of your ex to have any chance of ever getting them back. I know that’s probably not what you want to hear, but it is the truth. Hang on tight, bombard them with messages, overwhelm them, and you’ll come across as pathetic, or worse, as a stalker. Let them go, even if they seem to have found someone new, and you will give yourself the greatest chance of ever getting back together.