So it happened. You broke up and you’ve been demoted to “ex” status. Regardless of what killed the relationship, you now have two choices: to be the kind of ex who gets invited to their former partner’s wedding or to be the kind of ex your former partner will agonize over and complain about to their friends for the next 10 years. Sure, it’s good to be good, but being bad is so much better. Here’s how to be the ex that your ex will love to hate.
Text on your ex’s birthday. Text “I miss you” at midnight. Text “How’s your day going?” at lunch. The key to driving your ex crazy with texts is to keep them unpredictable. (It’s called intermittent reinforcement. Researchers do this with rats all the time.) When your ex texts back, start your reply but don’t send it. They’ll be banging down your door in no time.
Living well is the best revenge. Was there something your ex was constantly bugging you about? Losing weight? Dressing better? Going after that promotion at work? Pursue all self-improvement projects at full force. The next time your ex sees you, they’ll be impressed at your transformation and will be dying to get to know the “new you.”
Nothing hurts like seeing your ex get over you, and fast. Start hitting that Tinder hard, and make sure to trot your new, hot dates all over the places your ex frequents.
Every time your ex scans their friends’ social media, your avatar should be right there next to a flattering, clever, or funny comment. After enough exposure to your online charm, your ex will only remember the best parts of your personality and will start to wonder why they let you go.
If you must meet your ex’s new partner, be polite about it. Shake hands. Smile. Say “Nice to meet you.” Once they’ve stepped away for a drink or a bathroom break, however, start planting the seeds of doubt. Mutter something to your ex like: “I didn’t know you liked redheads/short people/artistic types.” When they say they do, simply reply, “Huh. Interesting.” Then walk away. You can also poison the well by mentioning rumors about the new squeeze to your ex’s friends. Gossip travels fast, and will probably morph into something even more sinister by the time it reaches your ex’s ears.
At some point, your ex might get angry. Let them tantrum all they want. “I can see you’re upset” and “I’m sorry you feel that way” acknowledge their feelings without taking any responsibility for them. If you stay as cool as a cucumber, they’ll start to question if they’re overreacting.
If you get the chance to have a post-mortem with your ex, revise the way things ended. Act apologetic but don’t actually apologize for anything. Say “mistakes were made,” but don’t take on the blame. If your ex was the only one who said “I love you” in your relationship, for example, don’t cop to your heart of stone. Try this instead: “I know I didn’t love you the way you wanted to be loved.” Your ex knows the truth, but they’ll glom onto that lie and believe it because it’s so much more satisfying.
Everyone loves a surprise visitor, right? Especially if they come bearing a boom box blaring “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel. Or leave a creepy hand-drawn portrait on their ex’s car windshield. Or come baring dead flowers. Just don’t be surprised when your ex responds with a restraining order.
Outside of the bedroom, there’s no space more intimate than the interior of a car. The next time you see your ex, ask for a ride home. Be quiet for a while, and when they ask what’s on your mind, admit that you’ve been thinking about how no one has the same chemistry as you two did. By the time they pull up to your place, asking if your ex wants to come inside is not only totally appropriate, it’s enticing. At the very least, attempt a goodbye kiss. If you’re lucky, it’ll evolve into breakup sex. Just make sure you don’t actually agree to get back together or you’ll have to do all this again in three months.
Never underestimate the power of suggestion. When you speak to your ex, be confident about how the breakup won’t stick. Tease your ex about how they won’t be able to forget about you or about how no one else will do that “thing” that they like. Put this phrase on repeat: “We can’t stay away from each other. You know it and I know it. It’s just a matter of time…”
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