Dealing with breakup

Why Ignoring Your Ex Is Powerful And How To Do It Right


You must have heard that if you ignore your ex, they’ll miss you and come back to you, but is it true? If the only thing on your mind is getting back together with your ex, I understand the need to know right now whether it works.

So I’ll cut to the chase and ease your mind: it’s possible, even if it’s not guaranteed. This might not be exactly what you wanted to hear, but don’t underestimate silence.

I know that underneath your desire to get your ex back, what you want is for the heartbreak to stop and to be loved. And cutting contact with your ex will help.

The real reason why ignoring your ex is powerful has nothing to do with getting them back and everything to do with taking control. And when you have control, you become the center of your world instead of someone who hurt you.

The Real Reason Why Ignoring Your Ex Is Powerful

boyfriend ignoring his girlfriend

There’s a lot of relationship advice available about the no-contact rule. It helps you heal from the breakup. In some cases, it does make your ex want to get back together. It can also help you move on, according to relationship experts.

The reason why ignoring your ex is powerful is because it gives you control and makes the absence of your ex from your life your choice. It lets recover, reflect on the breakup and decide what it is that you really want. 

When you ignore your ex, they lose their power over you

At first, it might not seem that way. Breakups hurt. The pain you’re feeling is a constant reminder of what you’ve been through and what your ex has done to you. It seems like everything you’re experiencing, feeling and going through has something to do with them.

Maybe you want your ex back, so you think about them, obsess over them and crave them. Or you just want to be done and move on, but it’s not working.

When things seem too hard or too much to handle, that’s when you need to stay committed to your goal of getting through the breakup. Be kind to yourself – you can survive the period of no contact. 

Find strength in deciding that your self-respect and mental health are more important than the temporary satisfaction you would get from knowing that your ex wants to get in touch.

If you persevere in ignoring your ex and keep pushing forward, I promise you things will look up. In time, you’ll stop feeling like your ex and your breakup is all you can think about.

How Does Ignoring Your Ex Help You?

woman raising hands because she gain control over her life

Keeping your ex out of your life after you break up – even though it can be painful – gives you clarity if you stay strong and ignore them. It’s difficult at times, but the benefits of the no-contact rule make it all worth it.

As your thoughts become less and less occupied by your ex, you gain more and more control – over your life, your reactions and your feelings. And as each day passes, you’re closer to being free.

Ignoring your ex is a power move

It gives you the freedom to decide what to do without having to consider what anyone else wants or feels. Whatever you eventually choose – moving on or getting back together – ignoring your ex gives you time and space to make that choice yourself.

But it’s possible only if you do it right. 

Ignoring your ex in the hope that they’ll miss you and come back asking you to take them back won’t work. Spending all that time without reflecting on what went wrong won’t help you have a healthy relationship in the future, with your ex or anyone else. 

It doesn’t matter if you were the dumper or the dumpeeif the breakup has happened, it didn’t happen for no reason. Please don’t forget this.

Unless that reason is gone, going back to your ex won’t end well. I guarantee you that if you do, you’ll break up again and again, and each time you go through this cycle, you keep getting hurt.

I believe that you should never take back an ex who dumped you, but also that you should never go back to a relationship unless you and your ex completely solve the problems that caused you to break up in the first place.

See also: How To Act Around Your Ex Who Dumped You? 20 Ways To Heal

What Is The Best Way To Ignore Your Ex?

woman sitting in an armchair and thinking about best ways to ignore your ex

You’ve heard the saying, “Living well is the best revenge,” but have you thought about what it really means? If you have, you know that it isn’t about showing your ex that you’ve “won the breakup” or anything of the kind. 

It’s really about living your life fully until you realize that your ex doesn’t matter at all. It’s about learning that you don’t need validation in the form of revenge because you’re happy.

Ignoring your ex is the first step towards letting go and living your life without being concerned about what someone who doesn’t matter has to say.

Here’s your ultimate guide on how to do it.

1. Do your grieving

Allow yourself to grieve your loss. Even if your relationship was making you unhappy and you’re relieved that it’s finally over, you’ve still gone through a breakup. Give yourself permission to experience your feelings.

Let your broken heart be broken. Feel all your feelings of hurt, anger, loneliness or disappointment. Dealing with negative emotions and allowing yourself to feel them makes it possible to leave them behind and move forward.

You must go through all the stages of a breakup to heal.

Be careful not to engage in self-destructive behaviors to cope. Don’t try to convince yourself that you’re over your ex if you’re not. Don’t give up and, eventually, you’ll realize that things have changed. You’ll see a way ahead through the haze of sadness. 

2. Don’t wallow

man sitting on a bed facing his feeling after a breakup

Give yourself time to be sad, but don’t feel sorry for yourself. If you need to stare at your phone and mindlessly scroll through social media for a little while, that’s okay, but at a certain point, it hurts more than it helps.

The period after the breakup should be focused on improving your well-being. And you know that what’s easy isn’t always what’s best for you. Instead of running away from your feelings and trying not to think about your ex, facing them is the quickest way to get over them.

You don’t have to deal with your breakup alone. Your loved ones can help you when you’re at your worst and keep you accountable – stop you from indulging in self-pity instead of trying to get better.

3. Accept yourself

Ignoring your ex after your breakup is for your own good. If your ex is the type of person who only wants you because they don’t have you, if you cut them off, you won’t go back to them only to get hurt all over again.

Instead of succumbing to temptation, choose yourself over your ex. What is more important, your happiness or their whim?

If you’re hesitating to make yourself a priority, that means that your self-love could use some work. To love yourself is to accept yourself, all of your good sides and your flaws. Use this chance to learn how.

A method that can help is to decide that you are your own friend. Treat yourself as you would treat someone you care for. Little by little, learn to accept yourself as a human being, just like you would another person. 

You deserve love and happiness, unconditionally.

Next, forgive yourself. Blaming yourself for your breakup isn’t helpful; punishing yourself even less so. Instead, learn from your experience without judgment. You’ll never be able to move on until you realize that you’ve done the best you could.

4. Improve yourself

woman focusing on herself while doing yoga outside

What to do after a breakup but before you’ve healed? When you’re not feeling as heartbroken as you were at the beginning, but you’re still dealing with your feelings? Being free from your ex and the breakup is still ahead, so what to do in the meantime?

Start with forgiving your ex. Why? Because that’s another step in getting rid of them. Letting go of resentment is a move forward. Their behavior has nothing to do with you.

Really think about this carefully and try to be as detached as possible. Your feelings will try to convince you to either want your ex back or hate them.

If you’ve gone through the previous step and decided to put yourself first, you can fight this and choose to let go for your own sake: set yourself free.

Focus on your mental health. Try to identify what’s holding you back.

This is much, much easier said than done, but now is the perfect time to start working on yourself. Focusing on self-growth can be immensely helpful in getting over a relationship that didn’t work because it lets you focus on yourself as an individual.

If you don’t know where to begin, journaling is a method that always helps me with insight and self-awareness. There aren’t any special rules for journaling – write down whatever comes to mind and see where it takes you.

Don’t try to make sense or think about who might read it because it’s just for you. Be as honest and open as possible. The little lies you might be telling yourself will vanish as you write. The deep secrets you can’t quite reach will rise to the surface.

Your true feelings and true self will make an appearance before you know it.

5. Take your time

There’s no time limit to how long you should ignore your ex. Ignore them forever if that’s what it takes. Take all the time you need until you realize that the no-contact rule is working and that you’re getting over your ex.

It might not take a long time at all to feel the effects or it might take longer than you hoped. Either is okay. Go at your own pace and make sure you don’t let a moment of weakness ruin your hard work.

Don’t try to convince yourself that you’re feeling better than you actually are. There’s no need to appear strong or resilient in front of anyone.

Don’t rush your recovery by trying to prove to your ex that you’re ahead of them. Ignore them in every possible way, including worrying about what they’ll think if they hear how you’ve been.

6. Create boundaries

man and woman talking over a cup of coffee about defining each others boundaries

The power of silence is that it helps you understand and deal with your feelings. It lets you be the one who decides if and when you want anything to do with your ex.

After you feel like you’ve recovered from a breakup, you’ll know if you’re ready to get in touch with your ex or if you’ll ignore them indefinitely. After you reach this stage, the right thing to do is to prepare for any future relationship by defining your boundaries.

Using what you’ve learned from your previous relationship and its aftermath, start by defining your limits: emotional, mental, physical, sexual, etc. Pay special attention to those things that really bothered you in your ex’s behavior and reflect on whether it had anything to do with your boundaries.

This is also important if you intend to be friends with your ex at some point in the future. Boundaries will help you act like friends instead of lovers or exes, because that can be confusing and damaging.

7. Solve future relationship problems

If you decide to get back together with your ex, the last thing you want is to break up again in a few months for the same reason it happened the first time.

Make the decision to get back together carefully and with a lot of confidence that it’s the right one. Don’t forget how painful it was to break up the first time around and make sure you spare yourself the heartache of going through it again.

Breakups happen because of issues that can be solved or those that can’t.

Problems that can’t be overcome include different values, one of the partners doing something unforgivable, a relationship that became a habit or a toxic relationship. However you approach these problems, they can’t be solved. It’s best to give up on this kind of relationship.

On the other hand, if you didn’t want to break up but had to because of circumstances or the reason for your breakup no longer exists, you can still have a healthy relationship with your ex.

If you broke up because of something that you can solve, make sure you’re both working on dealing with it before you start the relationship again.

8. Move forward

worried man with hands on the hand trying to move on

So you decided that you don’t want to get back together. Where does that leave your ex?

Unless your breakup was mutual and there really are no hard feelings or romantic feelings left, you shouldn’t stay friends with your ex. If you want to keep them in your life, be polite but distant.

Maybe in the future, if both you and your ex move on, things might change, but it’s more likely that it won’t matter at that point. It might seem impossible right now, but soon enough you’ll forget about your ex.

If your relationship ended because you realized that you’re better off as friends, you might be able to handle it. But if either of you has hope for reconciliation or still feels hurt, friendship is impossible.

All the effort you’ve made so far will help you move on. You’ve worked hard: you improved yourself, learned about your needs and boundaries, gave thought to your relationship patterns. Your next relationship will be much healthier and happier because of that.

If you immediately jump ahead or grant your ex more access than necessary, you’ll make the same mistakes and face the same challenges in the future. This is why ignoring your ex is powerful: it gives you time and lets you control your narrative.

Is Ignoring Your Ex The Best Way To Get Over Them?

a woman ignoring her ex boyfriend because it's the best way of getting over him

Some breakups are more complicated than others. Ignoring your ex is the best way to get over them, but you need to adapt this principle to your own situation.

  • Longer relationships require a longer recovery period, so you’ll have to keep your ex away for longer. If you’re honest with yourself, you’ll know when you’re ready to loosen up – once you come to the point where your ex doesn’t occupy your mind.
  • Having an ex-husband or an ex-wife is more challenging than having an ex-boyfriend or an ex-girlfriend. Also, if you lived together before the breakup and one of you moved out, you might have to see each other and deal with issues related to your former shared space.

The best course of action is to only communicate with your ex when you have to. If they try to provoke any emotional reaction in you, resist as much as you can.

  • If you have children together, following the no-contact rule can seem impossible. When legal matters or a third party are involved, things get tough.

Get in contact with your ex only about matters concerning your children. Be polite and don’t let your feelings get in the way.

  • Different reasons for breaking up and ways it happens result in different feelings. It’s not the same if your breakup was amicable or if you went through something ugly. If you’ve broken up and didn’t want to, you’ll experience heartbreak rather than relief.

Common reasons for breaking up are too much fighting, a lack of emotional intimacy, infidelity, or realizing that you don’t love each other any longer. Whatever the reason, you’ll come out of a breakup in an emotional state you must deal with.

How Does Your Ex Feel When You Ignore Them?

a man sitting on a chair missing his ex girlfriend because she's ignoring him

How your ex feels because you ignore them depends on how they feel about the breakup.

If they’re trying to get over you, they might be relieved. If they didn’t want to break up in the first place, they probably miss you even more. And even though it’s hard to admit, maybe they don’t care.

The point is, there isn’t one definite answer to this. 

It all depends on your specific situation – specifically, what your relationship and your breakup were like. Silence isn’t a quick fix that will get your ex obsessed with you or magically get them back. There isn’t one.

If your ex still loves you and wants to be with you, no contact will make them want to reconcile sooner. But if your ex is done with you, it won’t have any impact.

Be careful if you have a toxic ex. If they want to go back to the same kind of relationship as the one you ended, your lack of contact will make them reach out. If this is the case, you need to resist with all your strength, or you’ll end up hurt just as much or more than the last time.

People get back together with exes all the time. Sometimes, those relationships go on to be healthy and happy, and sometimes they get stuck repeating the same mistakes over and over. 

Even though ignoring your ex is powerful, its purpose is to help you get back on your feet, not get back at your ex.

In Conclusion

happy woman taking care of herself

The reasons why ignoring your ex is powerful have nothing to do with them at all – it’s all about your own happiness. 

After a relationship ends, rather than focusing on someone else, make your own emotions and mental health the priority. Deciding to stop all contact with your ex makes it possible to direct your attention to what matters.

If you refuse to let your ex interrupt your recovery process, it will go much faster. You won’t be distracted and you’ll be able to think about where you are and where you want to be.

Getting over your ex will happen anyway as time passes. If you consciously focus on dealing with problems related to your breakup, you’ll be a happier and healthier version of yourself after you’re done.


Category: Dealing with breakup

Roberta Carroll

My approach is eclectic and holistic with a focus on mindfulness. I have received certifications in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Cognitive Processing Therapy (trauma), among others. I spent over 10 years at the Veteran’s Administration in Louisville, KY, working as a psychotherapist with veterans of all ages and genders on a wide variety of issues. Prior to that my focus was on young adults and their families and older adults dealing with loss. Individuals have met with me for help to address depression and anxiety, grief, trauma and relational issues as well as work-related/everyday stressors. The therapeutic process provides a safe place for the client, in collaboration with their therapist, to process distress, discover areas of “stuckness” and move forward into a life of increased meaning and joy. Accepting our imperfections and practicing self-compassion can be a difficult as well as rewarding process. I have lived and worked in different areas of the country, have come to understand how regional differences affect our outlooks and appreciate the contrasts. I have relished the opportunity to assist clients as they carry the burdens of life. It would be my privilege to hear your story.

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