Your Call: Is Revenge a Dish Best Served Cold or Not at All?

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We get a lot of advice questions coming in at EMandLO.com, but sadly, we just can’t answer them all. Which is why, once a week, we turn to you to decide how best to advise a reader. Make your call on the letter below by leaving your advice in the comments section. 

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Hi Em & Lo,

Love your article “10 Things That Feel Better Than Getting Revenge on an Ex.” Although I completely agree with your points, I just found out my ex was cheating on me. The other girl he was seeing found me on Facebook and we’ve been talking. On one hand, I don’t want to give this jerk any more of my time or energy. But on the other, this other girl is insisting on revenge (making gay dating profiles, egging his car, hooking up with his friends… high school stuff). I know we’re better than this, but this is the third time I’ve been cheated on. He looked me the eyes and told me he would treat me right. That I could trust him… So I can’t help but want revenge this time. I’m sick of being the bigger person, even though I know it’s the right thing to do. I just can’t seem to walk away from this and move on.

He doesn’t know we know about each other and I think he at least deserves to know he didn’t get away with this. But what do you suggest, Em & Lo? And if it’s to be the bigger person… how did you guys find the willpower?

Thank you for hearing me out :),

— A Woman Scorned

What should A.W.S. do? Leave your advice in the comments below…



  1. There are more ways to get revenge on someone without resorting to egg throwing, or anything else that would be unlawful. Eggs can damage the paint on a car, so that to me seems extreme. I’m having a different type problem with a frenemy. She pretends she is my friend, but in the background, she plays games. I’m not that kind of person, but I’m beginning to think fighting fire with fire might be called for. She is family in a round about way through my husband, so I can’t exactly cut her out of my life. Oh if only I could. Some of her machinations recently came to light through a mutual friend, and I realized she is NOT my friend. Yeah, I want some revenge for 30 years of her condescending attitude and her mind games. I refuse to do anything harmful or against the law, but I do have a couple of ideas up my sleeve that will drive her up a tree. It won’t solve the immediate problem of the games she’s been playing, but it will feel so good to one up her, especially because she brags about how much smarter she is than everyone else. Let the games begin.

  2. I’m in the camp of “skipping revenge.” When I’ve felt vengeful and lashed out, I feel worse afterwards instead of better. You’re giving extra time and effort towards someone who isn’t worth it. Confronting him, telling him how you feel, and being clear that he isn’t worth any more of your time may be cathartic and would be fine, I’d think. I certainly wouldn’t egg his car or hook up with his friends out of revenge. Plus, by hooking up with his friends, you’re using (and potentially hurting) them as well as getting into relationships that you may not want to get into. If they’re his friends and he’s a cheater . . . do you really want to be with them?

    The other girl sounds quite immature, frankly. How you treat your enemies says a great deal about your character. Also keep in mind that however she treats him may be how she treats you in the future if she feels hurt or slighted by you. If she’s willing to act out towards one enemy, she’s probably willing to act that way towards ALL of her enemies. Enough said.

    Lastly – you mentioned that this is the third guy who has cheated on you. I do not want to engage in any victim blaming, but I would take a long, hard look at how and why you pick the guys you do. This sounds like a pattern, and if you want to change the pattern you need to be self-aware, identify what’s going on, and change it. I say this as a man who was in an abusive marriage and went to years of therapy afterwards. One of the most empowering and liberating things that I have ever done is to compassionately look at why I made the choices I did that led to that marriage, because it gives me much more confidence that I won’t repeat my own pattern. Again, this is not meant to blame you at all, but to encourage you to understand your past and claim your own power so that you can have a better future.

    Best of luck to you.

  3. In my experience, the best thing to do is write him a letter and tell him what a fuck wad he is, that he’s caught, etc. Don’t hold back. Let him have it. Try to work in the phrase “you should be ashamed of yourself.” Then actually give it to him. It’ll be cathartic as hell and more mature than egging his car. Once that’s out of your system, hopefully you’ll be free to find someone who will treat you right!

  4. Normally I advise against revenge for exactly the reasons you already touched on – ultimately you’re just pumping energy into something negative, and that prevents you from moving on; you’re hurting yourself too. I also believe that the best revenge is living well.

    … buuuut you seem like you’ve got a pretty good head on your shoulders. This guy sure deserves it. And as a former suburban juvenile delinquent, I’d be a hypocrite to tell anyone not to throw eggs. If it were just you, I’d say you seem like a pretty good candidate for childish acts of revenge. You could probably throw an egg, laugh your ass off as you ran away, and feel better afterward.

    It’s this new friend of yours that has me a little concerned. The truly childish thing would be getting peer pressured into egg-throwing by a bad influence. If you really don’t feel that this is something you need to do, then don’t do it. Also, if you feel like this girl isn’t quite as level-headed as you, maybe you’d only be feeding the demon by encouraging acts of revenge.

    … but if you DO decide to, say, buy a can of cat food and smear it under his car door handle so it goes squish when he touches it, I wouldn’t judge you too harshly.

  5. As the refrain from a popular Disney song goes, “let it go, let it go, . . .”

    As you said, revenge is high school stuff. Some of this high school stuff can also have legal ramifications. Until fairly recently, it was per se slander to call someone gay in New York State. Earlier this year Justin Bieber was charged for throwing eggs at a neighbor’s house.

    Your time and your energy would best be spent on yourself rather than focusing on the cad you’ve been dating. So, “turn away, slam the door!”

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