Does the No Contact Rule Actually Work if You Have Kids Together?
Can I use the NCR if we have kids together? This is a question that I am asked so often.
So, if this is something you are pondering about, let me first ask you these 3 questions:
Are you planning on using the No Contact Rule to try to get your ex to come back to you?...
Or,... Are you wanting to use No Contact Rule to keep your children away or limit their time with your ex?...
Or,... Are you feeling like your world is falling apart, you can’t seem to get over them, and you are genuinely just trying to move on from your ex-partner?...
If your reason is anything but the third, I would say, the No Contact Rule will NOT be suitable for you, especially with children involved.
But if you are grieving your marriage or long-term relationship and you are looking for a way to get a hold of yourself, to take your power back, and to begin to see yourself again with the opportunities for a wonderful new life, I say the NCR will definitely help.
The No Contact Rule can absolutely be successful, active and in place with children involved, however, this is one of the very few instances when no contact shouldn’t be performed to its extremity, instead, it must be approached in a way where you are always prioritizing your children. And like the saying says “divorces are like snowflakes, no 2 are alike," -meaning every divorce has unique legal and/or parenting issues that require different strategies, so the NCR will require some editing and adjusting to fit your situation.
Here are 3 ways to properly use the No Contact Rule while having to co-parent with your ex after divorce:
1- Do not use the no contact rule and your children to try to get your ex-spouse back. If you attempt to use NCR and your children as leverage to get your ex back, you are not only going to come off as manipulative and controlling, but you will actually push your ex away even further, and most importantly, you will risk sabotaging your relationship with your children. So, you need to figure out a way to put your emotions aside and take care of your parental duties first, which means there will be times when limited contact with your ex will be necessary and maybe even mandatory. However, this doesn’t mean that NCR goes out the window, during these times, it’s important to keep your interactions with your ex very platonic and very professional, or business-like. This would be a good situation where doing some deep meditation or a breathing exercises prior to the event may help tremendously.
Also, keep in mind that unless a court authorizes such action, one parent can’t block another parent with custodial rights from contacting their child.
2- Keep your interactions professional
When you absolutely have to see your ex, -for instance, if one of your children needs immediate medical attention, faces a major crisis, or has a special event, you will have to put NCR on hold and reach out to your ex. However like I mentioned before, try your best to keep the interaction very business-like. Keep it as platonic as possible, and devoid of emotion for the time being. Your goal here is to do right by your children, while keeping the active No Contact Rule in place. Once the situation is over, it’s important that you go back to your commitment of going into no contact state.
3- Use a co-parenting app when dealing with a toxic or narcissistic ex. If you are dealing with a toxic ex where civility is not possible or a narcissistic ex-spouse, then I don’t have to tell you how much they don’t like not being in control, or how manipulative they can be. In these situations going to NC is best handled by using a co-parenting app.
This is an app where the conversation between you & your ex gets recorded, dated, etc., and is submissible in court, which will help keep the conversations in check (well behaved) and strictly about the children. You can find a list of recommended co-parent apps right here on my website.
You can also use a court-appointed email system or set up a new email account for communicating about your children. If you use this route, make sure to respond with yes or no answers as much as you can. Do not engage in any discussions or arguments. Again, keep all interactions professional. No sharing stories or joking about your child and no veering into marriage or divorce discussions or arguments.
Please note: If you are dealing with an abusive ex, this is a lot more complicated. So I strongly suggest seeking out the advice of a qualified professional for both you and your children. This is the most responsible course of action you can take in co-parenting situations with an abuser because you don’t risk making any mistakes. This person will be able to guide you and put you in a position from which you can go NC when the time is right. And please, if you are a victim of domestic violence, please make sure to get help ASAP! If you are not sure where to go, you can start by contacting the National Domestic Hotline: 800-799-7233
Having children does add a new dimension to the No Contact Rule, but the principles remain the same where you are taking some much-needed time to heal and get emotionally stronger because divorce can be really traumatic for many individuals.
1st, You absolutely can use the No Contact Rule even if you have children together. And it can be very successful for you as long as you:
-Yield to your parental agreement and remember that setting boundaries are key.
2nd, Do this for you—not them. Don’t do the no-contact rule because you want to get your ex-partner to change their mind and come back to you. Trust me, we never want our exes to come back because they are temporarily manipulated. This will never work out in the long run because your marriage or relationship ended for a reason. And soon enough, your ex-partner will realize this. And they will remember that all the problems or reasons they left in the first place are still there, and you will be left out in the cold again, having to try to get over them all over again.
3rd, Do use the No Contact Rule because you want to move on and own your power… Because you want to slowly detach from your ex-spouse and remember what it feels like to be in control of your own life again...
Because you want to look your divorce and your ex-spouse in the rearview mirror and fall in love with your life again.