Want Revenge On Your Ex? Live An Amazing Life Without Him

The jerk broke your heart. You’re playing Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats” on repeat and it’s giving you ideas. But as visions of keying his car or discrediting him on Instagram dance through your head, just pause a minute and take a deep breath. Instead of plotting to tear him down, start plotting to build yourself back up.

  1. Nothing you do to him will make up for how much he hurt you. It sucks but it’s true. You can’t undo the damage to your heart by wreaking havoc on his life. Even if you get a little momentary satisfaction, you’ll feel hollow and disappointed again before long. You can’t get over him if you keep fueling your passionate feelings for him. Yes, hate, spite, and anger are all forms of passion—and they don’t bring out the best in you.
  2. All the energy you put into your schemes against him will actually flatter him, so don’t. What you see: a badass chick who won’t let crimes go unpunished. What he sees: a girl who’s still so hung up on him that she can’t move on. You reassert how strongly he affects you every time you take a shot at him.  If you want to quit boosting his slimy ego, you need to leave him in the dust and focus on your own healing.
  3. Natural consequences are best. The way this guy treats others will bite him in the butt eventually. You don’t even have to be involved with his downfall—no manufactured revenge will ever match the regret he suffers when he’s expended every good woman in his life and figures out that he’s alone. Take a step back and trust the universe to set things right in good time. Meanwhile, make consciously positive choices to support your own development. He’ll get what he deserves one day.
  4. It’s completely okay to grieve. Every woman needs to vent when her romance sours. That’s human nature. Feel free to yell, throw stuff, and sob out the hurt over an extra glass of wine. Gather some of your strong, amazing ladies and immerse yourself in the process. Hell, it’s fine to imagine all the ways you’d like to make him pay for what he did to you. It’s even fine to miss him—just do it out of his sight. If you do see him again one day, you’ll be stronger than ever and he’ll see how ultimately insignificant he was in your life.
  5. Positive self-talk is key. Whatever you repeat to yourself will tend to stick in your brain and shape your reality. Maybe you feel crummy at the moment, but reassure yourself each day that you’re an incredible woman and that you’ll come out of this experience better than before. Even when the feels hollow, it certainly can’t hurt to enforce self-love—and it may help more than you’d think.
  6. Good health is a big source of happiness.  The food culture surrounding broken love tends to be fried, sweet, and intoxicating. Nothing wrong with a pig-out session to take the edge off. Still, it’s hard to feel good emotionally if you’re sluggish physically. Remember the basics: drink water, get some sleep, and lavish yourself with self-care. You deserve the best, and concentrating on your own well being removes him from the spotlight.
  7. You have time now to strengthen the truly important relationships in your life. The loser is out of the picture. Your friends have rallied to your side. Now you get to bond with the people who always have your back when times are tough. Plan a girls-only sleepover, attend opening night of your bestie’s one-woman show. Reengage with the ones who matter most. Show the world that you’re nobody’s sad-sack ex. You’re a powerful, vibrant woman with a whole network of equally amazing babes.
  8. If you channel it, your pain can make you powerful. The early stages, huddled with your girlfriends, are vital, but you’ll eventually need a more long-term outlet for your frustrations. Let your particular energy guide you to the best pursuit. Feel like hitting somebody? Take women’s self-defense classes. Want to run away from your damn problems and start fresh? Start training for that marathon. Need a more creative solution? Paint, sing, or write your anger into something beautiful. He’ll realize what an amazing woman he lost, and you’ll be so far ahead in the game that you’ll barely even notice he exists.
  9. Now’s the time to do all the things you never got to when you were with him. All right, so it’s a cliche, but it’s repeated so often because it WORKS. Nobody wants to get all Pollyanna after a bad breakup, but sometimes the renewed independence is ultimately rejuvenating. Life nudges us in weird ways. Maybe your detestable ex needed to be out of the picture so you could finally take that trip to Florence. When he sees the travel photos on social media, he’ll be kicking himself that he missed the opportunity for an adventure with you.
  10. Get a breakover if you want to, but remember that you’re already hot. Renewing attention in your appearance can be a fun confidence booster. It’s amazing to leave your stylist’s chair feeling like a new woman, but there are tons of ways to show how fierce you are after romantic trauma. You’re strong and beautiful whether you’re fresh from the salon or (not so) fresh from a long, sweaty hike.
  11. Think carefully before moving on with a rebound guy. A rebound relationship is a tool. Like any tool, it has a purpose but, if misused, can cause more destruction than good. If you and the new guy stand on equal terms (you don’t want to mess with his feelings if he’s looking for something serious), a fun fling could help you put the pep back in your step. But if your sole motive is to “prove” something to your ex, reevaluate your priorities.
  12. Let your healing happen naturally. Nobody expects you to be okay minutes after you suffer a huge blow. (Those who appear to bounce back the quickest are sometimes actually cramming their emotions down to handle them later.) Take all the time you need. Someday, when it feels natural, you can reflect on the whole journey–and celebrate the dismissal of a toxic man from your life. It’s hilarious that he thought you were the one losing out in this whole disaster. Instead, you’re tougher and more determined than ever. Revenge is so sweet.
Jackie Dever is a freelance writer and editor in Southern California. When she's not working, she enjoys hiking, reading, and sampling craft beers.