Keeping your reputation is more important than destroying hers in a breakup or divorce.
She hurt you. She used you. You were the victim.
She had an affair.
Her materialism put you in debt.
She had the secret bank account.
As if working through a breakup isn’t difficult enough, she’s out sharing memes about “wanting someone that treats her like a princess” while pulling a Pontius Pilates washing her hands of any wrongdoings. I get it, you’re frustrated that you’re on the defensive as she sweeps her sins under the rug while throwing you under the bus.
There’s a desire to just expose all the shitty things she did to you that culminated to this point. I sympathize with you on so many levels.
For months I was becoming increasingly aware my ex was having extramarital affairs, the overwhelming evidence progressively increasing my paranoia and distrust. Meanwhile, she began using the insecurity I was generating from an extensive list of her distrustful behaviors to create a narrative of me being emotionally suffocating and angry (duh).
That’s not to say I wasn’t also genuinely guilty of my own mistakes in the years we were together. The deterioration of our relationship was a vicious cycle we both contributed to; however, I struggled to watch her play the victim card as people rallied around her with half the story – a flawed one at that.
Of course, I was distrustful and mad at being lied to. Being cheated on tends to cause that.
I was never going to be the same.
I was never going to trust someone the same.
I was never going to love in the same way again.
And you know what, I was going to be damned if she was going to walk away from that with her ego in the clouds. I had this urge to retaliate and hurt her emotionally as much as she hurt me.
And I’m going to urge you not to.
There were times I did. I wish I hadn’t.
Eventually, her infidelity was exposed by a third party and I’d be at the bar and someone would say, “man, she really fucked you over!” And I’d respond, “oh, you don’t even know the half of it” before divulging a story that pulled no punches on me being the victim.
No, they didn’t know the half of it. They didn’t really need to either. And they should not have. It didn’t make me feel any better in the long run.
In fact, I often found myself feeling betrayed by the same people I had opened up to. People would be patting me on the back with condolences over my situation and struggles. People would be encouraging me that “karma would find her”. But so many of those same people would turn around and congratulate her with comments on “looking so happy” and “congrats on the engagement”. They’d call her a narcissistic bitch with me at the Pub on Friday night and then feed into her need for attention on her Instagram.
Talk about spiraling my trust issues down further.
All I knew was I was hurting and my children were hurting, and I had been blasted as being something I wasn’t. Yet, in an effort to avoid internalizing my hurt, the more I sought to express my perspective of how she had hurt me. I started to become the very thing I claimed I wasn’t out of revenge. It only served to make me look worse as she held her composure.
So Keep Your Composure
As soon as you go on the offensive, you’re just giving your ex the very material that she can then use against you going forward to “justify” her actions. The more effort you put into painting her as the villain, the more obsessive and suffocating you’ll be perceived. If you don’t want people to have a perception of being emotionally abusive, put your effort into building yourself up rather than tearing her down regardless of what she did to you.
I know – I know, you’re going to have to swallow a bit of pride to do so but if you don’t, your ego will be used against you.
- If she had an affair, she’ll just say she felt trapped in an emotionally abusive relationship.
- If she took a bunch of money and ran, she’ll just say she felt financially controlled.
- If she lied about your anger issues, she’ll just exaggerate claims of intimidation against her.
- If she threw away all your shit and kicked you out while you were at work, she’ll call you a moocher.
See, smear campaigns tend to be a trait of emotionally abusive people who want to maintain control – if they can’t have you then they don’t want other people to desire you either. Except, although your smear campaign will be in response in an effort to clear yourself, people won’t realize that to be the case and you’ll just shoot yourself in the foot.
Aside from that trait, the problem with retaliating is that:
- People that already know the truth, don’t need further validation. People that are loyal to you don’t need to be reminded why.
- People that only know her stories will have their perception of you reinforced. People that are loyal to her aren’t going to change their minds.
- People that know both sides won’t have their perception skewed. People that don’t give a shit will never give a shit.
And honestly, in the long run, most people really don’t give a shit about who did what to who. And so many other people just want you to both be happy. Then you’ll have people tell you what you want to hear at any given time and they’ll tell her what she wants to hear at any given time. And you’ll just feel further hurt by those people who feed right into her desire for attention.
This is politics. You just don’t get ahead running a smear campaign.
Keep these things in mind.
Take note of the emphasis of your continued actions.
You Can Still Defend Yourself Without A Smear Campaign
Listen, I’m not suggesting you completely turn the other cheek and let your ex walk all over you and damage your reputation. There are times and places for bringing up your side of the story and setting the record straight, but choosing the higher road of keeping it brief and vague is often a much better way of handling rather than pouring out the details.
Proactively blasting your ex all over social media is not the right time or place.
It might seem like you’re defenseless, but presenting yourself as sane, calm, and confident enough to not still be wrapped up over how she hurt you is exactly the mature response that people will notice. Many people will read an obsessiveness to hurt an ex as representative of an existing attachment to them. The idea that you can just amicably part ways in the event she seriously hurt you shows that whatever she did must have been bad enough that you really couldn’t care less if she is in your life any longer. It shows you’re confident enough to not require turning to demonizing language to destroy another’s reputation to maintain your own.
Women Talk – Don’t Open a Can of Worms for Your Dating Life
Here’s the thing, people talk and they’re going to talk about your relationship and they’re going to perpetuate rumors and half-truths. How you respond after the break up is going to determine how much ammunition you give her for her smear campaign and how you’re presenting yourself to those spreading the truth. I know this is incredibly difficult in divorces or break ups that can leave one person feeling ruined, but the greater your ability to put it behind you, the greater your ability to move on – especially if you want to date again.
Women that might only know half the story might have you pinned as an emotionally abusive person – don’t feed them by your actions.
That said, there’s also a lot of women that don’t even have a clue of either side of the story. You don’t want their initial perception of you being the guy that can’t amicably walk away from a relationship!
Being a Passionate Person is Not Grounds For Being An Angry Person
A lot of people that have anger issues cling to this idea that anger is just a representation of passion (hence this meme I don’t agree with). You’re angry over your break up because you were so passionate about the relationship. It is normal to have feelings of anger. It is normal to have a wide range of emotions when dealing with a breakup.
But how we handle those emotions is very indicative of our emotional maturity.
Having an affair is not a mature thing to do, but falling prey to pointing fingers isn’t either and letting our anger control us sets a bad example to those around us. If our objective following a divorce or following a break up is to build our confidence and make ourselves more attractive, then we have to act with attractive actions of maturity and control.
No one wants to date the guy with anger issues and being the guy that was able to walk away from a cheating spouse while controlling his emotions shows a huge level of emotional responsibility.
Your Problems Can Quickly Extend Beyond Your Reputation
And into the courtroom…
Failing to control your emotional response is exactly the type of behavior that can wind you up with harassment charges or even slander/libel.
You think you’re pissed now because she’s getting alimony, just wait until she takes that same alimony check to take your ass to court.
Not cool, bruh!
In an effort to ruin her reputation, you could essentially be digging your own financial grave even further – and charges against you aren’t going to be positive against that reputation you’re so desperately trying to defend.
I don’t necessarily know if time truly does heal all wounds, but I do know that people forget, people move on, people come into your life giving you fresh starts. Let the girl that hurt you go without a struggle because there is one out there that would never think of doing so and won’t be a struggle to love. Focus on yourself and focus on becoming a better you instead of focusing on your ex and tearing her down.
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