Finding the right mate can be challenging, and even when you do find someone who you believe is the perfect partner, problems can still arise that really put your relationship to the test. If you are in a relationship with a needy person, you’re aware of how extremely demanding such a relationship can be.
Not only does the person take all your attention until you have nothing left for family and friends – or yourself – but they can really zap your patience as well. If you’ve had enough and are planning on breaking up with your partner, then you’ve probably considered implementing the “no-contact” rule. However, you may be worried that your needy partner won’t respect this rule if you do implement it.
The no-contact rule is a rule in which you agree to break up permanently or take a break from each other for an agreed-upon amount of time, during which neither person is allowed to contact the other.
A needy person often calls, texts, and shows up unannounced and demands attention. This can make a no-contact rule unlikely to be effective. Needy people are often compelled to reach out to their mate constantly, desperately seeking attention.
It is a possibility that a needy partner will adhere to the no-contact rule if the alternative is losing you forever. However, most needy have a history of requiring higher than normal amounts of attention and not respecting their partner’s boundaries.
They may text you 25 times a day during your workday, require frequent reassurance that you love them, need constant physical affection and attention. If they are forced to refrain from engaging in this type of behavior, they often experience emotional distress.
This is not normal behavior, nor is it easy for the needy person to control, so it’s questionable whether a no-contact separation rule will be effective. Its effectiveness will totally depend on the person, the circumstances, and whether or not you respond to their text messages and calls if they do break the rules.
The purpose of a no-contact rule
A no-contact rule enables a couple to take time away from each other in order to de-stress, reflect, and process everything that’s happened in the relationship. Taking this much-needed time in a troubled relationship can enable a couple to “reboot” their relationship in the event they decide to reconcile after the break.
Not all couples are able to or desire to reconcile, and a no-contact rule can be a way to force them to take the time they need to heal after a breakup. Most couples who break up are often desperate to contact their ex immediately after because they miss them and desire some type of contact.
It’s as if they’re trying to hold on to the ex, which is not healthy in most cases. Attempting to hold on to an ex in such a way will only delay the necessary, post-breakup healing period.
The benefits of taking a break with a no-contact rule
In relationships without a needy party, a breakup with a no-contact rule can work wonders. By implementing a no-contact rule, a person hoping to reconcile with their ex in the future has hope that the time apart will cause the ex to miss him or her. By missing a person they were recently in a relationship with, they are likely to reach out and try to work things out once the agreed-upon period of time has passed.
A no-contact rule can also provide a couple with time to remember how things were at the beginning of the relationship before the problems began. They can reminisce about the fun and romantic times that were shared, which might inspire them to recreate those feelings once the break is over. The couple can also process exactly what went wrong in the relationship, encouraging troubleshooting in order to find ways to fix things should reconciliation be desired.
Another benefit of taking a break with a no-contact rule is the ability to explore other possible relationships. While it’s not always a good idea to jump right into a new relationship, there’s nothing wrong with looking and checking out future possibilities. You might decide that you are happy about breaking up with your ex and want to stay separated.
What if someone breaks the non-contact rule?
Breaking up is hard. You’re used to spending most of your spare time with a person and sharing your life with them. Then suddenly, everything changes, and you break up. At the beginning of the breakup, it can be very difficult to be separated from that person.
If one or both of you break the no-contact rule, then there is no way to know how things could have been otherwise. Perhaps the two of you will discuss the issues that led to the creation of the no-contact rule and breakup in the first place, profess your love for one another, and reconcile. But perhaps not.
The consequences of breaking the no-contact rule could also result in the other person failing to respond to a call or text. That would indicate loud and clear that the person is not interested in being contacted right now, if ever again.
Special no-contact rules for a needy ex
If you and your needy partner have decided to call it quits (or just you did), you may have to customize the rules to better accommodate your ex. You should understand your ex more than anyone else, and expecting him or her to refrain from contacting you for an hour was likely difficult in the past, so how can you expect him or her to go for a week or a month without contacting you?
It’s likely going to be difficult for your ex to stick to the rule, so you might have to impose mini breaks to help your troubled ex out. Maybe you can create a 3-day no-contact rule and once the ex is able to adhere to that, you can create a 5-day one, and so on.
Perhaps, in the end, you and your ex can reconcile, if that’s something that you think you can handle. Or, maybe your ex will find someone else in the meantime, which will mean that you no longer have to deal with their neediness and you can also move on.
The average amount of time for no-contact rule
Most experts recommend a 30-day no-contact rule for couples who are breaking up, although everyone is different. A couple is free to create their own no-contact rules. However, if you believe you’re breaking up permanently, then 30 days is best, as it gives you both time to heal before contacting each other again.
If you contact each other too soon, the emotions of both parties could still be raw, making any contact difficult. You could even argue and blame each other for the breakup, which isn’t good for anyone.
With time you can heal, so don’t cheat yourself out of the time you need to recover, even if your ex keeps pushing. However, if you both decide to end the no-contact rule sooner and reconcile, then that is perfectly fine as well.
What happens after the no-contact rule is no longer in effect?
Once the no-contact rule is no longer in effect, the two of you can either remain apart, become friends, or reconcile. The choice is totally up to the two of you.
A needy person will likely want to reconcile, but you shouldn’t feel forced to if that’s not what you desire. If you feel you’re not ready, but you still love the person, you might decide to seek therapy to help you work things out.
If you decide not to reconcile with your ex and he or she continues to contact you, you will have to be stern with them and explain that you’re not interested in getting back together.
If your ex’s behavior becomes extreme, which can happen with a needy person, you might have to get a restraining order. Don’t worry though, this is an unlikely scenario.
Will a no-contact rule improve a person’s neediness?
A no-contact rule alone will likely not improve a person’s neediness unless the needy person strictly focuses on improving their behavior. Your ex needs to be truly interested in getting better or it will not work.
Therapy will certainly help if the person works hard, but if the needy person doesn’t feel that they have a problem, they will likely not seek professional help. However, if your significant other is aware that you won’t even consider reconciliation if he or she contacts you, then the rule could work to improve their behavior.
A person becomes needy because of past experiences like being cheated on, taken advantage of, or generally having low self-esteem. These traumas will not go away on their own, and if you’ve struggled to control your significant other’s needy behavior throughout the relationship, you certainly can’t control it after breaking up. It’s totally up to the needy ex at that point.
As you can see, the no-contact rule can be very effective under normal circumstances. However, a needy person is likely to have underlying emotional issues which might make adhering to a no-contact rule difficult.
So, if you’ve reached the end of your rope with your extremely needy partner and your last resort is to enforce a no-contact rule, you need to be prepared for the possibility that things will not work out in the long run.
If you decide to take your ex back, even if he or she failed to adhere to the no-contact rule, be sure that it’s what you really want and you’re not doing it just because you feel sorry for your ex. Things won’t work out in the long run unless you want to reconcile for the right reasons.