When we break up a relationship, it’s normal for at least one of the people involved to be asked if there is any possibility of a return, if she can remain a friend of that ex. In the end, he still hopes it’s not the end.
A breakup is not a comfortable thing, but not pulling away from the other can make it worse. This is why on many occasions, and contrary to what one might wish, it is preferable to eliminate all form of contact with our ex-partner.
It’s called zero contact, essentially avoiding seeing photos, sending messages, or staying with the person you broke up with.. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of this strategy and understand why this is what is not working.
Zero contact after breaking up: is it useful to protect our emotions?
A void contact is a period during which an attempt is made to remove all form of contact with the ex-partner. While the term zero contact is mostly used for breakups, the truth is, it applies to all types of relationships, both personal and professional. You may decide to sever all ties with a very exhausting profession, a toxic friendship, or a parent. that she does not treat us as we deserve.
A very important aspect when applying this strategy after breaking up with someone is stimulus control. This not only involves eliminating physical contact, that is, avoiding staying with him or her.
You should also avoid talking to him, whether over the phone, instant messaging, or social media, and even avoid third parties, whether they are our ex’s parents, mutual friends, or anyone involved in any way. either in this relationship, in addition to memories, like photos or songs heard together. In other words, an effort must be made to remove any stimulus that reminds that person.
It’s hard to get over the idea of accepting a breakup. We always wonder if there will be a second part. But it is better to accept that the relationship is over and that the best way to overcome it is to try to move forward, not to anchor yourself in the past, and to prevent memories and temptations from soliciting. more suffering.
The zero contact should not be confused with the “phantom”. The “ghost” is to sever all contact with the couple without her realizing it. In other words, it is about severing the relationship abruptly, without explaining to the other why he decided to end the relationship or giving him a chance to explain what he thinks about it.
The “ghost” is an unethical way to end a relationship, while the zero contact technique is that, once the relationship is broken by mutual agreement (more or less), it is decided to avoid any form. contact, so as not to suffer. and prolong the process of rupture.
Difficult emotional times
Dry cutting off with the relationship and avoiding any subsequent contact is not an easy task, but it is necessary in many cases. We must stop making mistakes and accept that the relationship is highly likely to be over for good.
“We can be friends” or “I don’t want to lose you as a friend” is a way of cheating, of believing that sooner or later the relationship will be restored, which is very unlikely. For all this, it becomes so necessary to apply the zero contact strategy, but you must first think a little, either to ask yourself if it is the most appropriate or if you are ready.
The first thing to do is to think about the possible consequences of continued contact. Maybe if we keep thinking that we can see our ex on social media, have him on mobile contact, or see him every now and then, it will cause us emotional distress in the form of stress, anxiety and health problems. mental.
Based on this, we need to clarify what we want for ourselves, which is that we are, in essence, the most important people in our own lives. No one wants to feel bad, such a common feeling after a breakup, and we all want to take back control of our lives, which we didn’t have when we dated someone in a relationship that was going nowhere. We must establish what is best for us.
It is normal for the decision to cut off all contact to be frightening. After all, accepting the idea that you’re not going to be back with someone generates uncertainty, both in the fact that we don’t know what our life will be like without him or her and in the uncertainty of. find out if we’ll meet someone new. . Either way, we need to be strong and establish a strong will to change in the face of fear, focusing on improvements that lead us not to prolong the suffering.
When is it advisable to apply this strategy?
Use the zero contact strategy it is especially useful when you have been living in a grueling relationship for a long time.
As we have seen, while this applies particularly to relationships, it is also useful in the context of work, toxic friendships and hurting family. If these people have not given us anything and it does not seem like they need to change, it is better to remove all means at their disposal to contact us and vice versa.
Controversy over zero contact
The zero contact technique has been quite controversial, not for the technique itself but for the purpose for which many end up applying it: get the ex. Many love gurus claim that the best way to get someone back after a breakup is to stop all contact with them.
According to them, sooner or later the other party “will see that they cannot live without us” or “will understand the mistake they made in leaving us, making us miss a lot even though we did not contact them. “.
It should be understood that the main reason why no contact should be made with our ex is overcome breakup in the healthiest and fastest way possible. By stopping seeing her, talking to her, and avoiding any stimuli related to her, we will avoid stretching the psychological pain associated with the breakup. It’s not about thinking that there will be a future together, but it’s about accepting that, most likely, the relationship is definitely over. Resisting this will do us more harm than good.
Wanting to bring the couple together is a legitimate thing, but doing it this way is not. Using this technique with the intention of getting our partner back is a dysfunctional way to deal with the breakup. It’s emotional masochism combined with dishonesty with our ex, since, at first, we imply that we have mutually accepted the breakup, but we orchestrate how to get back with her.
In short, we are manipulative if our intention is to show that we are breaking contact and accepting the end of the relationship. How do we intend to get back with our partner if our new relationship is going to be based on lies and mistrust? Of course, that’s not a healthy way to treat an ex or ourselves.
- Blumer, MLC, Hertlein, KM and VandenBosch, ML (2015). Towards the development of basic pedagogical skills for technological practices of couple and family therapy. Contemporary Family Therapy: An International Review, 37 (2), 113-121. doi: 10.1007 / s10591-015-9330-1
- Celano, M. (in press). Couple and family psychology skills for health service psychologists. A Fiese, B. (Ed.), APA Manual of Contemporary Family Psychology. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.