In today’s article we are going to talk about how to use the power of silence after a break up.
Breakups are brutal. There’s no getting around that. However, there are some best practices when you’re parting ways with someone.
An article in Psychology Today suggests breaking up in person to show respect for the relationship, being clear and honest about the reasons for the breakup, and not trying to shift the relationship into a friendship to ease the hurt.
These are just 3 of the 14 suggested tips when it comes to breakups, but the last one I mentioned here might be the most important.
While it’s tempting to try to pick up a friendship where the relationship left off, it can often delay healing for both parties.
A clean breakup is necessary — at least immediately following a breakup.
How to Use the Power of Silence After a Break Up
In the following sections I will share with you some useful tips about how to use silence after a break up.
Why listen to me? I’m Crystal Jackson and I was a master’s level licensed therapist. I worked with couples and individuals and specialized in trauma recovery and empowerment. I now write content about relationships, self-improvement, and psychology. My work has been featured in large publications such as Elite Daily, Your Tango, Positively Positive, and Mamamia.
Go no contact
Most relationship experts suggest 60 days of no contact following a breakup.
This could require removing them from social media and even blocking them if necessary.
This is one of the hardest parts of the breakup, but ongoing contact will only make healing harder.
Take it from me. I tried to maintain a friendship with the person who broke up with me, and it was incredibly painful.
Having regular contact gave me false hope that the relationship could be repaired.
It was confusing to have him involved in my daily life while I was trying to grieve for the loss of the relationship that I wanted.
A 60-day silence allows you to spend your energy on your healing rather than trying to navigate a post-relationship friendship.
Your emotional resources will be needed to manage the grief, and the silence will give you the opportunity to create a life that doesn’t include your former partner.
You’ll learn, in this hard and hurting space, to become more self-reliant and to cultivate new interests in the time once invested in the relationship.
Recommended read: How to Become the Best, Most Attractive Version of Yourself
Find the lessons
Silence is a powerful weapon, and it doesn’t need to be a way of punishing or manipulating the other person.
Instead, we can use that silence to find the lessons in the relationship. This is usually when you acknowledge all the relationship red flags you previously ignored.
Don’t stop there. Go deeper. Begin to look at your own behavior within the relationship.
Learn to take responsibility for the times that you let your former partner down. If you don’t find any in your recollections, you’re not looking close enough.
We all let each other down, no matter how hard we try to avoid it. Identifying the ways that we could improve is not an exercise in self-recrimination; it’s a way to grow into better partners for the future.
Recommended read: How to Really Get Your Ex Back, According to a Former Therapist
Be consumed by grief
Another reason why silence is a powerful tool is lets us find the time to fully grieve.
This will likely take longer than the 60 days of no contact, particularly for more meaningful or long relationships.
While falling apart doesn’t feel like power, it most certainly is. When we fully experience our feelings, we don’t get stuck in them.
Let yourself be angry. Let yourself be sadder than you ever thought you could be.
Spend a little time in denial if you need to, but don’t go live there. Find your way through the bargaining and come out in acceptance.
Then, do it as many times as you need to, in whatever order you need, until you genuinely accept the other person’s decision even if you don’t agree with it.
Let the grief consume you so that you don’t become a lifelong prisoner to it. Let it come. Then, let it go.
In the powerful silence that follows a breakup, be present in your body. I know it’s painful. Grief can feel overwhelming. But it’s also an opportunity to take good care of yourself.
It’s tempting to distract ourselves from our pain with new love interests, new hobbies, or even work. We can find a lot of ways to ignore and distract from our pain.
But the most powerful thing we can do is to use this time of silence and healing to honor how we feel and what we need.
You could need an early bedtime for a while. You might crave rest more than anything else. You could need good meals and long baths.
You might need a massage to handle some of the physical aspects of emotional grief. Listen to your body.
Tune into your life.
It’s still passing even while you’re caught up in the flow of your grief. Make it count by being present for it rather than trying to numb it or ignore it.
Journal your way through it
Instead of calling or texting your ex when you think of them, journal your feelings.
It can be cathartic to write it all down, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be delivered to the intended recipient.
Sometimes, what you need to say is for your eyes only — for your closure and healing, not for them.
Reaching out to an ex after a breakup can muddle your feelings.
It can give you false hope of a reunion, and you can even experience powerful regret after reaching out and not receiving the response you wanted — or receiving no response at all.
If you feel a need to send the message, consider appointing a friend who will let you send what you need to say directly to them rather than your ex.
It gives you the feeling of getting it out without breaking the no contact rule.
You can’t drunk dial a person whose number isn’t in your phone. Drunk texts aren’t possible either.
Remove their contact information and remove temptation.
Beyond that, you won’t be triggered every time you open up your contacts and see their name.
Go a step further and delete the photos. You can always back them up or archive them if you aren’t ready to fully delete them, but it’s a good idea to get them off your phone and social media.
Release them. They wanted to go, now let them.
Or you wanted them to go, so let them do it. Release each other, and release yourself in the process.
Recommended read: The Spiritual Meaning of Dreaming About Your Ex
Having the time and space to heal will also allow for clarity about the relationship.
While you might be tempted to paint a rosy picture of a relationship you wanted or to paint a horrible picture of a toxic relationship, this is the best time to have a broader perspective.
You can harness the power of silence to acknowledge the complexity or relationships and the humanity of our former partners.
It’s a good time to catalog the parts of the relationship that weren’t really working for us. We can avoid those next time or better work on them. We can also catalog what went right.
Those become the criteria for future relationships.
Allow the time of silence to bring clearer vision — not just about the relationship but about what you want for your life.
Allow yourself a clear vision of the future by removing the vision that once included the other person. Allow yourself the freedom of imagining the possibilities rather than fearing them.
Rebuild your self-esteem
Rejection of any kind can feel devastating. Use this time to rebuild your self-esteem from the ground up.
Even if you had great self-esteem before the breakup, it might have been damaged in the process of hearing that someone doesn’t want to partner you any longer.
Let it hurt, and then get to work building yourself back up.
Accept that the breakup is their decision. It doesn’t mean that you’re not worthy of love. It doesn’t mean you’re not a good person.
Take the time to heal from the feeling of being rejected and to remind yourself of all the amazing characteristics that make you a phenomenal person and partner.
Dive into self-care and get your groove back.
Recommended read: How to Be More Confident and Build Unshakable Self-Esteem: 4 Strategies
Let them miss you
If you just want to be petty, silence is the way to go. I’m not saying this is the best reason for silence, but it is a powerful one. Let the person who let you go miss you.
Give them the chance to experience what it is to have a life that doesn’t include you. Let them see what they’re missing by no longer being available.
Honestly, it might feel petty — and sometimes, it is. You want revenge. You want them to hurt the way that you do. You want them to miss you.
You might even want to manipulate them into missing you enough that they come back.
But they usually don’t come back, do they?
The other way to look at this, the non-petty point of view, is that silence respects their decision. They don’t want a romantic relationship with you, so you’re giving them what they want.
Missing you is a natural byproduct of breaking up with you and losing that access.
Downgrading yourself to friend status doesn’t really allow them to miss you. They still get the benefits of you while you’re adjusting to the loss of the relationship you desired.
So, remove the benefits.
The Power of Silence, In Summary
Sometimes, there’s nothing — and everything — left to say. If they made it clear that they don’t see a future with you, it’s time to let your paths diverge.
Let your silence speak louder than words. Let it be what gives you the time, space, and energy to heal.
Perhaps after the no contact period ends, you’ll find a way to be their friend. While some people manage this, it can be tricky.
That doesn’t mean it’s not possible. If the relationship is important enough and if you gave yourselves enough time to fully heal, it just might be possible.
But don’t skip the no contact period that allows you to make this transition.
We all know the power of words to hurt or heal.
Silence has power, too. If harnessed, we can use it to grow into better people and better future partners.
We can learn the lessons needed, find peace with their decision, and begin to hope that the space they leave will allow room for something amazing to manifest in our lives.
- 13 Signs During Separation That Show Reconciliation Is Possible
- The Power of the No-Contact Rule and How to Use It
- 4 Signs the No Contact Rule Is Working & How to Use It
- How to Really Get Your Ex Back, According to a Former Therapist
- 7 Subtle Signs Your Ex Wants You Back, But Won’t Admit It