Is Low Contact Better Than No Contact?

Savva Smith

Entrepreneur, Coach


Low Contact vs. No Contact: Which Yields Better Results?


You will learn:

The key differences between "low contact" and "no contact", and how each strategy impacts your recovery
How power dynamics and subjective value influence post-breakup communication and emotional healing
How consistent no contact can facilitate a more effective recovery process, fostering personal strength and confidence
Breakups are brutal. In their wake, they leave a tangled mess of emotions, memories, and a plethora of what-ifs. One such what-if revolves around contact - or the lack of it. You might be thinking about striking a balance between keeping a line open and cutting it off completely...As you navigate these post-breakup waters, i am here to answer your questions. We'll delve into the depths of human psychology and emotions, armed with comprehensive practical experience, to unravel the comparison between low and no contact:

One scenario where low contact proves more beneficial

A man and a woman in heated argument in kitchen
There's a specific scenario where low contact can be more effective than complete no contact in mending relationships. In this unique circumstance, maintaining minimal communication can present an array of opportunities to rebuild bridges. The crux is this: when you engage with your former partner in a specific manner - neutral, devoid of heavy emotional weight - it can potentially expedite the healing process. More so, it may prompt them to re-evaluate their decision about the split more quickly.

However, this approach requires one crucial condition: post-breakup, you must find yourself in a state of emotional equilibrium. This means being genuinely okay, exhibiting calmness, and not being plagued by anxiety. If anxiety is in the driver's seat, this method is destined to backfire. The reason being, if you're emotionally turbulent, every encounter with your ex will be a tempest. The fact of them being physically near, yet emotionally distant, will wreak havoc on your psyche, slowing down your healing. Furthermore, there's a risk that the ex might intentionally or unintentionally provoke emotional reactions in you, further delaying your recovery.

Drawing an analogy, imagine the breakup as a wound. Now, low contact is akin to occasionally touching the wound. If you're calm and the wound isn't too deep, this touch might not hurt much. It may even give you a sense of how much it's healed. But if the wound is fresh and raw, even the slightest touch can be excruciating. For low contact to work as a strategy, you must be rooted in a state of calmness. This calmness allows you to approach interactions without getting ensnared in a web of overwhelming emotions. However, achieving this state of tranquility post-breakup is often an anomaly: breakups have a tendency to strike where we're most vulnerable, blindsiding us and plunging us into an emotional maelstrom. In such situations, it's challenging, if not impossible, to maintain the equilibrium needed for low contact to be beneficial. This is why, when possible, it's best to go full-on no contact. It provides a place to stand firm and heal without the constant threat of being submerged in turbulent emotions.

This is why you should be careful when implementing low contact

A lone man walking near the seashore during sunset
Low contact is like walking on a tightrope: every step you take - be it a text or call - can tilt the balance, causing you to lose footing. When you initiate communication, even with the best of intentions and utmost caution, it's like sending ripples across a still pond. Those ripples, to your ex, often translate as signals of neediness or dependency.

There are, however, circumstances where communication becomes a necessary part of daily life. Like two co-workers sharing the same office space or parents co-navigating the challenges of raising children post-separation. Here, the tightrope of "low contact" is somewhat broader, with a bit more room for maneuvering, but it still requires delicate navigation.

Taking a step back, remember that post-breakup, the dynamics have shifted dramatically. They've chosen a different path, essentially classifying you both as strangers on parallel tracks. In this new context, even the most innocent outreach can be perceived with a tint of skepticism. They might think, "Is this just a pretext to reconnect? An expression of lingering emotions?" Such interactions, more often than not, tilt the power dynamics, placing you in a position of perceived lesser strength.
In the grand tapestry of post-breakup recovery, the threads of "low contact" often weave a pattern of delay and regression. Every initiative, every message, every call, no matter how innocent or pragmatic, can be a step back from healing. Essentially, "low contact" might not just hinder your personal growth but could inadvertently reduce the esteem in which you're held.

Now, let's delve deeper into why, in most scenarios, no contact proves to be the more beneficial route (If you want to skip the in-depth explanation and read more about low contact impact on post-breakup recovery first, jump to the fourth paragraph.)

The hidden mechanisms of no contact that NO ONE told you about

A graph visually depicting the setbacks in the recovery of your subjective value when initiating contact
Don't worry, I'll explain this image shortly. Let's imagine that you initiated no contact in February. The moment you start this, your subjective value (which is an individual's perception of worth or importance) in the eyes of your ex-partner starts to increase. Your attractiveness follows a similar trajectory. To clarify, attractiveness is a subjective term - one person may find you appealing, while another may not. Currently, your ex may not be as attracted to you as they once were, but implementing no contact can change that.

In the image, you'll notice a point that symbolizes the level of your subjective value when your ex sends you a message such as "I made a mistake" or "I love you". This level indicates a point where they can't control their feelings, start missing you, experience nostalgia, and harbor a desire to reunite. The timelapse is given just for example, it depends on the level of the imbalance in your relationship at the moment of the breakup, and many other factors. In your case, it might be shorter (1-2 months) or a bit longer. Also, it's important to note that the graphic is simplified - there may be insignificant ups and downs that don't alter the overall trajectory. The recovery process is still gradual and consistent.

So, why does the no contact increase your subjective value (which leads to the reunion), and how does "low contact" differ from it?

The fundamental reason behind the effectiveness of no contact

A close-up of happy hugging couple sitting on a lawn on sunny day
This is the moment we delve "deeper". When you're in no contact, your perceived value in your partner's eyes gradually increases, as the power imbalance in your relationship starts to diminish. In the initial phase of your breakup journey, when your partner ends the relationship and you're seeking reconciliation, they hold all the power. You may not want them to leave, but you're forced to accept their decision. The desire for the relationship is one-sided. However, the no contact rule shifts this power dynamic.

You do not take the initiative to communicate, you refrain from sending texts or making calls that might be perceived as needy or desperate...When a partner departs and we pursue, any activity from our side is perceived as neediness. Yet, when we halt this chase, it creates a scenario where both parties are on more even ground in terms of emotional investment and dependence. In the initial phase of no contact, you might still feel devastated, while they might not. However, in terms of observable behavior, we demonstrate courage, autonomy, and resolve. In essence, we too, choose to walk away.

I hope you're still with me. This is not an easy concept to grasp (and it's quite challenging to explain as well). If this concept still remains unclear, please feel free to send me a message with your questions. My assistant will redirect them to me, and I will add further examples to this article to aid understanding. I want to help more people understand this idea so they can get over their breakups faster. I know how hard a breakup can be because I've been through it myself.

Now, guess what happens when you're using "low contact" instead of no contact?
Closeup of a man embracing a woman from behind on a bed
The two blue lines on the graph represent the setbacks in recovery after each instance of contact (there are two moments of contact depicted). The overall progress is delayed, that's all. Depending on how you communicate, the setback could be significant, even dramatic. The recovery, in this case, isn't just about the relationship - you'll inevitably feel worse after breaking no contact, because your initiative will likely receive a far less enthusiastic response. Usually, you may instantly regret the act of reaching out. Of course, I'm not suggesting you shouldn't do it. If you wish, you can try it and observe the result.

Generally, people consider employing low contact for two reasons: they're unable to physically cease interactions with the person, or they're looking for excuses to contact this person. In all of my experiences, no contact has proven to be significantly more effective. The approach is straightforward and unambiguous: you do not reach out, period. Your brain and heart eventually accept their decision and the anxiety of "what happens when I reach out" diminishes. There's certainty: you won't reach out. Besides, after a breakup, you usually hope that your ex will be the first to reach out. Why not let them take that step? With low contact, they'll quickly catch on that you're still willing to initiate communication - so why should they bother?

Do you know what happens when your ex reaches out while you're in no contact? From my experience, you feel immediate relief, strength, and confidence. You were right. And you successfully stayed on course without wavering. You did it. They left you - yes - but now THEY are reaching out. If there was any anxiety - trust me, it'll dissipate. You might even start pondering whether you should respond or not.

Of course, this is only possible if your no contact is effective and consistent. To ensure your no contact is conducted in the most effective way possible, make sure to get my updated "No Contact Guide". It's completely free for readers of my website - simply enter your email below to gain instant access:


Key Points

Initiating contact, even with seemingly logical reasons, can be perceived as neediness by an ex-partner, potentially setting back the recovery process.
Low contact usually delays recovery and reduces subjective value, while no contact fosters a steady, consistent healing process.
Maintaining consistent no contact leads to an increase in personal strength and confidence and can expedite emotional recovery.

Not knowing this astonishing secret practically guarantees the negative experience during no contact:
Not feeling any better
Having relentless thoughts of an ex
Battling those near-impossible-to-resist urges to reach out