The new movie The Other Woman, starring Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann, and Kate Upton, features three women who join forces to get revenge on the guy who, it turns out, was sleeping with all three of them (and married to one of them). But while creative, collaborative revenge on an ex makes for catchy movie taglines — “The oddest friends are about to get even” — and meme-a-rific blog posts, it rarely feels as good in real life. Why? Because revenge keeps the focus clearly on your asshole ex. No matter how humiliating the situation, you are continuing to make him or her the star of your show.
The best kind of revenge is the kind that has nothing to do with your ex, and everything to do with you. Sure, if your ex happens to witness any of these acts of transformation, you will feel a sense of sweet justice, but that’s not your primary motivation. The whole point of these acts is to erase your ex from the picture and make you the star of your own life once again. Because, trust us, taking the high road in any one of these ten ways can feel just as good as selling your ex’s prized Mercedes or closet of Louboutins for a dollar at a tag sale:
1. Getting a Breakover
Nothing is more motivating on the treadmill than the revenge of looking hotter than ever post-breakup. Work out, eat right, learn how to lift weights, take up hot yoga, pluck your nose hair, do a hundred sit-ups before every shower… by the time you’ve done all this, you’ll have forgotten who you were trying to get revenge on in the first place. Hint: Listening to the Flashdance soundtrack may help.
2. Being a Better Person
Volunteer somewhere. Because nothing puts your own problems in perspective like helping out people who are even less fortunate than you are. You know, people who fought for their country and ended up in a wheelchair; people who are dying in a nursing home with no one to visit them; kids who have nowhere to go after school; people who can’t get a date to the soup kitchen. We won’t be so crass as to suggest you might meet someone new this way, but we know it crossed your mind. We won’t tell.
3. Getting Busy
Start a blog, take up a new hobby (preferably one where you’ll meet new people, like joining a running club), read a Russian novel, write a Great American Novel, paint your room, learn how to take really good photographs, sort out your closet and host a clothing swap, learn chess with a friend, teach yourself Mandarin—basically, keep yourself busy with something that will make you feel good about yourself afterwards. (Meaning, watching Friends re-runs doesn’t count.)
4. Buying a New Sex Toy
Splurge on a high-end sex toy for you or your next partner and put the sex you had with your ex to shame.
5. Cutting the Cord
Disconnect with your ex on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and any other ways you continue to be weirdly “social” with each other. Maybe one day you can be friends again, but for now, if you’re even considering creative forms of revenge, going cold turkey is your best bet. Trust us, a complete lack of information about your new life will be more frustrating to your ex than a hundred pictures proving how “happy” you now are and how quickly you’ve “moved on.”
6. Getting Rich
This is a metaphor, people. Sure, you could buy a lottery ticket or sell your pristine collection of vintage action dolls on eBay. But what we really mean is, be successful. Finally get your own dance-studio business off the ground. Go for that promotion. Insist on a raise. Revamp your resume. All that creative energy you were thinking of applying toward a meme-a-rific revenge strategy? Apply it to your career, instead. Think: What Would Beyoncé Do? (W.W.B.D.)
7. Reading a Saucy Sex Manual
The best sex of your life is yet to come! Don’t just mutter this like a mantra, though, or tape the saying to your bathroom mirror to help dry your tears in the morning: Instead, actually make it happen by learning a few new tricks and tips to apply to your next relationship.
8. Marking the Occasion
We get that you want to mark this occasion — you want to do something to prove to the world that you’ve moved on. But your ex shouldn’t be invited to this party! And that’s exactly what you’re doing when you try to mark the occasion with revenge. Moving on should be all about you. So get a tattoo, whether permanent or henna. Have a breakup party with all your friends. Get a new haircut or hair color. Change up your style. Create a new email sig file. Whatever works for you!
9. Having a Rebound Fling
Never underestimate the benefits of distracting yourself with the joys of being single so that you won’t be tempted to indulge in any late-night revenge-planning. Try masturbation, online dating (if only to get a few nice emails from strangers in your inbox), or flirting therapy (it’s like smiling — forcing yourself to do it will make you feel better). You don’t even need to have actual rebound sex with someone, though a rebound make-out sesh may just make you feel happier than a room without a roof.
We’re guessing your friends, family, and distant acquaintances are all sick of hearing you talk about what went wrong in your relationship by now. So why not tell us instead? We’re putting together a collection of stories about failed relationships, and we’d love to hear yours! You can send it to us here, via our contact form. Think of it as a chance to put it all down for posterity, or to help others avoid the same pitfalls. Or, if you prefer, think of it simply as venting to two complete strangers who promise to take your side.