I’ve written a few articles about No Contact which define the boundary and explain the exceptions of when to use it. I have not focused enough on explaining when and why not to use it and I am seeing LBS’s trying to apply the boundary too quickly or for the wrong reasons. No Contact also seems to be something that is becoming more heavily advised to newcomers to the forum as something to consider as a main tool to apply from the beginning.

No Contact advised as a general rule is bad advice! No Contact advised to anyone without consideration of the unique context of their situation is bad advice—even for those a few years past Bomb Drop.

I want to be very clear that I am talking about the No Contact Boundary. Many of you talk about not having contact with your MLCers, but how many of you have communicated that to your MLCer as a boundary with rules? If you do not set the boundary, you may still have no contact with your MLCer. I advocate not initiating contact and I advocate not responding to all of your MLCer’s attempts to contact you—and some MLCers will not initiate any contact with you. My concern is with the over application of the boundary.

No Contact seems to be popular on the boards right now. This is a forum specializing in midlife crisis and infidelity and my recommendations regarding No Contact are within that context. Though some of you are also dealing with personality disorders, addictions or other forms of abuse, these are not the focus of this forum and the guidelines for applying a No Contact Boundary in those situations will differ greatly. I am not in disagreement with No Contact from someone who has been violent toward you, addiction is a whole other beast and I personally advise wariness when Standing if there is a true personality disorder at play. Please understand that when I talk about No Contact I am not addressing those special circumstances.

No Contact: What it’s Not

  • No Contact is not when you stop contacting your MLCer—for whatever reason.
    Not initiating contact with your MLCer is something I advocate, but it does not mean that you will not answer a contact initiated by your MLCer to you.

The No Contact Rule
There is a No Contact Rule common to get your ex back advise: Do not contact your spouse (or girlfriend/boyfriend) for 30 days if they leave you. The idea is that they will miss you and return. I have also read articles encouraging No Contact as a method for getting over your spouse/partner.

  • No Contact is not a manipulation to get your MLCer to contact you
  • No Contact is not meant to help you get over your MLCer and accept the end of your marriage.

If these are your reasons for setting a No Contact Boundary, stop now! The target audience and situation for much of the literature about The No Contact Rule seems to be for couples who are either younger than the typical MLC-LBS couple and thus have been married for less time or not married (or in marital style relationships)—and so they too are likely to be in a younger age bracket than that for midlife crisis Left Behind Spouses. The purpose and situation for the target audience is different than for MLC situations which means those articles are not for your situation even if they seem valid since they are about getting your ex back.

Why No Contact is a Bad Idea
(Why Having Contact is a Good Idea)

No Contact applied without consideration can have negative consequences.

No Contact applied without consideration can have negative consequences.

Reconciliation is impossible without contact. Really it is that simple, how can you ever reconcile if you never contact each other? You can remain married, but being married does not make a marriage. Paving the Way is a vital part of Standing and the opportunities for Paving the Way directly may be greatest in early MLC soon after Bomb Drop. Admittedly this does create a dilemma. If you are in Panic & Anxiety and have not made progress in even starting detachment, contact with your MLCer may send you spinning and make things worse because you are more likely to beg-n-plead, pressure and guilt your MLCer. This is why it is so vital to get started on Detachment now, or rather yesterday! Start with Mirror-Work and by learning to redirect and reprogram your thoughts.

Absence Does Not Make the Heart Grow Fonder

Lee Baucom explains this concisely: Absence only makes a fond heart grow fonder. It does not have the same effect on the hurt, angry, or distant heart. (Baucom, 2015) In the beginning your MLCer has been fantasizing about escape and freedom. You may think that they will quickly figure out that freedom from you is not as great as the fantasy of having it. Sorry to burst your bubble, but with an MLCer, you are mistaken. They are often in the throes of in-fatuation with an alienator which means they are flooded with hormones which literally make the world seem brighter and more wonderful. In-fatuation is like a temporary insanity; now add that to an already unstable MLC situation. The alienator is filling in the space that might otherwise be used to miss you. Sorry, but that’s the truth and it is still true even without infidelity and in-fatuation.

Why? Because this is midlife crisis which is a crisis of identity. No matter how wonderful you are or how great your marriage was, you and your marriage are not the solution to their crisis. This is an inward journey and those who are at crisis levels of a transitional journey avoid. Fear is their driving force and they want to avoid who they are or what they might discover about who they are. This force is more powerful than your relationship—at least for now.

Part of avoidance is regression and you are the obstacle standing in your teenage MLCer’s way. You are either being angry and controlling or desperately crying like a puddle on the floor amidst beg-n-pleading. Who is going to miss that? In the beginning a Left Behind Spouse is so shocked and upset at what their MLCer is doing that their behavior often confirms the MLCer’s reasons for leaving.

No Contact: What It Is

No Contact is a boundary and you are supposed to mean it when you tell your spouse not to contact you. If you are Standing for your marriage, the boundary either comes with an exit plan—do not contact me until… or it is set for a specific and limited period of time.

Not having contact is not the opposite of a No Contact boundary. The boundary is applied to your MLCer and since it is a boundary, it is something you communicate. If you do not communicate it, then it is not a boundary and you are Dark. You can have no contact without being in a No Contact boundary; this is often how the situation plays out with Vanishers.

Purposes for No Contact

  1. Healing
    When Dark isn’t sufficient for your detachment, growth and healing
    Time Type: Time Limit

    1. It is a tool that can facilitate detachment, help remove the toxicity from your life and help you separate from the emotional cycling.
    2. The need for space to heal: It isn’t merely about removing the toxicity, but some MLCers are a constant presence which can be smothering.
    3. Space for your MLCer: Allows MLCer space and distance without your presence as a reminder of his guilt.
  2. Consequence
    Consequences for choosing to have a relationship with someone else, Monstering, choosing to no longer have a marital relationship, other abuses.
    Time Type: Until an escape clause is activated

No Contact and Reconciled Standers

I wouldn’t change a thing about my level of contact as my husband has told me that is what kept him going and what also brought him back.

I asked him what I had done to make it easier for us to reconcile and he said ‘Compassion.’ He saw losing me as a natural consequence of his actions and was trying to accept that. He didn’t expect me to be so kind and if I had gone quiet on him, he would have assumed that was natural and he deserved it.

Most of the cases of reconciliation did not use No Contact other than sparingly. Continuing positive contact with your MLCer maintains the MLCer’s hope—not just hope for reconciliation since many don’t think they want that, but you are helping them believe that they are worthy of being loved and that someday life will be better again.

These are good examples why I feel that you should beware of using a No Contact boundary; know the consequences that may result before setting this boundary. All tools have their uses when applied properly, but some tools are meant for a limited and specific use; No Contact is such a tool.


Comments

The No Contact Boundary: Beware10 Comments

  1. I was so happy to see this blog post. The one-year anniversary of BD for me is at the end of this month and I spent WAY too long doing all the wrong things (4 months of trying to make him see the good in our marriage, and a few slip ups after that, until finally in December I stopped being a stubborn fool and realized it really was hurting and not helping the situation at all). In December I did throw a whole quiver of truth arrows (I guess that was sort of my final act of "losing it" before I stopped for good). At that point, I thought I was supposed to go no contact and almost did, but almost immediately he started initiating contact with me here and there for no reason, which he hadn't done even once before that. I was torn, not knowing if I should respond; ignoring him completely felt like it was counterproductive to paving the way, but responding made me worried I was making him think what he's doing is okay.

    As for me, I'm moving ahead with making the immediate major changes I have to make in my life (most importantly, finding a new place to live), spending time with friends, etc, and since December, I don't initiate contact with my H unless it's absolutely necessary, such as when I need paperwork to get a financial support agreement drafted.

    There is something in this blog post that worries me about my particular situation. It's the part that says:
    "You may think that they will quickly figure out that freedom from you is not as great as the fantasy of having it. Sorry to burst your bubble, but with an MLCer, you are mistaken. They are often in the throes of in-fatuation with an alienator which means they are flooded with hormones which literally make the world seem brighter and more wonderful. In-fatuation is like a temporary insanity; now add that to an already unstable MLC situation. The alienator is filling in the space that might otherwise be used to miss you. Sorry, but that’s the truth."

    There is no OW in my case, at least not in the affair sense. I believe there are two potential alienators: the "OW" being H's mother, and the other potential alienator is my H's shady business partner, who I believe has no scruples whatsoever. H lives with his mother, doesn't party, hasn't changed his style of dress, isn't chasing after younger women and hasn't taken up with new younger friends, etc. He suddenly has some new friends, but they are actually older and married with children and they live over a thousand miles away. Mostly he stays home at his mother's. A lot of time and effort is going into his new business, his fourth attempt to create something successful with his business partner, a man who initially got H involved with a few scam business ventures where H lost a ton of money behind my back. After BD, H did a lot of projecting and blaming me for those failed endeavors. He then left home and started another new business, as if to "fix" his failure with no concern as to what will happen to me.

    But with no affair, and therefore no "in-fatuation" hormones mimicking temporary insanity, I'm finding it hard to see how he could be living apart from me now for 8 months and not have wavered at all in his choice. He knows I have to move out of our apartment at the end of the month, have yet to secure a new place to go, and yet he's still sure of his choice. If he were "addicted" to an affair it would be easier to see how he could be doing this. He has told me he has anxiety that is severe at times. He's extremely tired all the time and tells me "some nights are better than others" in terms of sleep. He seems depressed and has gained a lot of weight. He said recently his mother is "driving him crazy."

    I have done my best to listen, not offer advice or make suggestions and not say anything that sounds like judgment. But he left me and he's not any happier. In fact, he seems much more depressed. He's not enjoying "freedom," considering his mother is so concerned about the amount of drinking he was doing in early replay right after BD that she lent him money for his new business but she 100% controls the bank account for his business. He's clearly not living a fantasy and his world isn't brighter due to in-fatuation hormones. If there's no in-fatuation hormones, then it's not a situation where the hormones might adjust and he'll see more clearly.

    That worries me because it's like there's no end. And if that's the case, absolute no contact might become my only choice.

    • Thank you so much. What an excellent point regarding infidelity. In reviewing that I covered what I needed to cover, I obviously missed that. Infidelity is such a grande part of MLC–the overwhelming majority of male MLCers have some sort of affair–that it is easy to forget that there are those who do not.
      I have added to that section of the article.

  2. Hi my husband back home since January 2016. He is seeing a shrink and is being treated for depression and panic attacks. He is very cordial and helpful at home. He is texting alienator and her daughter all the time. Month ends he goes on week end away with her to casino. She is doing an early shift this week, he left to help her. He would get up at 2:30 and make her coffee he then goes back to bed and at 08;00 he gets her grand daughter ready for playschool. It was better when he was living there the past seven years as I did not know what he was up to. It hurts if I hear the length he goes for her and her family. I have asked him several times to go back to her as I cannot live like we are at the moment. We are great friends we are in separate rooms. Its nice having him home when he is not spending all his time on phone with her. They had such s tumultuous relationship with verbal abuse and third party from her side but they wanna be together. I cannot handle much more of this and rather want him out of my home. It will take a few months to adjust.

  3. Thanks for this article. However, I don't always understand he jargon. .. So do I contact my spouse or not???

    • It is not a simple black-and-white yes/no answer which is why I have several articles about No Contact. The main article about No Contact is linked in the first reference to No Contact and the others are in the related posts section after the article–for some reason this section is repeated, so they are shown twice.
      As for other jargon I have tried to put links to articles where terms may need clarification. I had done this already, but just went through and added a few more. I use maroon for colouring hyperlinks, so just look for text that is maroon.

      So should you contact or not? No Contact is a strict boundary that is only to be broken to end the boundary or when a boundary comes to an end of a pre-set time period or for emergencies–car accident, hospitilization… Child custody exchanges are not an exception and need a mediator if necessary. Most people go Dark when children are involved since a true No Contact boundary is not usually possible.
      Suppose you are no using a No Contact boundary, does that mean that you contact your MLCer? No, not necessarily, it often means your MLCer will contact you and since there is no boundary you may choose to respond back. In a No Contact boundary if your MLCer tries to break it by contacting you (and many will) it means you will not respond back–not by text, email, phone…

      I'm not sure if this explanation is helpful or not, hopefully understanding more of the jargony terms through the linked articles will help, but let me know.

  4. I initiate contact when I feel that God or circumstances are leading me to have a peaceful and loving conversation with my spouse. I allow weeks and even months to pass without contact. I pray before holidays, anniversaries or family events before deciding to reach out to my spouse. There are some things I can share and somethings I cannot because of safety and protection of my privacy regarding my life and our respective families. Lately, our conversations have been very very good. I get a visit maybe once or twice a year. I have protective walls up.. .and things that are just wise (for mental and physical health reasons). I don't recognize my spouse now. That hurts so much. My spouse says they are the same, but my spouse is not. The way my spouse speaks, their demeanor, habits are brand new. I pray and pray and pray that my spouse will make he right choices in life and will return to our marriage. I miss my friend. I miss being able to tell my spouse special things about my life, hopes and dreams. My spouse just does not seem interested. I know some of that is defense mechanism on my spouse's part–I get it, but I don't like it. The fact that my spouse returns my calls (sometimes my spouse does not) tells me something. None of this makes sense. I can't seem to put a pattern to the situation. I take and note the "nuggets of gold." I trust that God knows and has a plan. I am becoming weary and wonder if I am supposed to just give up and move on, but we standers probably do this (in our thoughts) quite often. Thanks for your website. I will , with prayer, resist the urge to give up. I know there is hope and a positive place for our marriage in God's timing.

  5. When you have a vanisher that rarely makes any contact and when they do doesn’t appear to be ‘checking the anchor’ as such but rather contacting regarding house or financial matters how does that fair with the ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder? This is quite unsettling to read because of course it’s already a worry that if they just don’t see us or have that contact then how can they miss us? Especially when there is an alienator. I think that them missing us is all we have really? It’s actually the case that LBS’s of vanishers are jealous Of those that have clingers or boomerangs because at least they are having contact even if it’s unpleasant or tricky to deal with!

  6. A few months back, right at the time he launched his new business, he had posted an article on Twitter called "Things to Remember When You Feel Like You're Not Good Enough." Last week he was complaining a lot about his mother, and one thing he said is his mother tells people she has low self-esteem but it seems like she really just says it for attention.

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