Why It’s Not Worth Throwing Dirt on an Ex

Ask Demetria: Instead of letting him live rent-free in your head, it’s time to get over him and move on.

Posted:
 
180623713-torrei-hart-and-her-husband-actor-comedian-kevin-hart
Torrei Hart and her then-husband, Kevin Hart, arrive at the MGM Grand Garden Arena Sept. 14, 2013, in Las Vegas.

Bryan Steffy/Getty Images for Showtime

Dear Demetria:

How do you feel about getting revenge on the ex that hurt you? Nothing involving harm to the person or property—just to expose him for what he is. He portrays himself as this great guy, but I know things about him that would shock people, especially his new girlfriend. I’ve spent months going back and forth between thinking he deserves it and others should know, and thinking he’s not worth it, move on. —K.I.

You’re still hurt. I get it. But you have to let it go. He is living rent-free in your head. You’re spending months thinking about a man who is thinking about the woman he is with—not you. You think you have some sort of upper hand because you have information about him that you think could ruin his reputation. What you don’t realize is that you’ve already given him the upper hand by spending months of your life still dwelling on him.

He hurt you. I get it. Forgive him anyway. Not because he deserves it but because if you don’t let your anger go, you’re going to remain stuck in it even longer. And while he’s enjoying life with the next woman, you will not meet anyone of worth or substance to treat you the way you deserve because you’re holding on to so much animosity about your past. Frankly, your bitterness is going to block your blessings.

Several celebrity ex-wives have been in the news for spilling secrets and talking greasy about their ex-husbands and, allegedly, their affairs. There was infamous basketball player Dwyane Wade’s ex, who, among many things, publicly accused him of giving her an STD and then alleged that Wade, a multimillionaire, had left her homeless.

Meanwhile, Swizz Beatz’s ex was writing open letters to his alleged mistress on Instagram in 2009. And earlier this week, Kevin Hart’s ex Torrei Hart blasted him for allegedly cheating on her—with dates and all. To her credit, maybe she’s mad, or maybe this is all just a cheap promo for her new reality show.

You’re not a celebrity, so you’re not going to get press—or money—by spilling your ex’s tea. Here’s what will happen, though. Your friends and his friends will listen to your stories, and they will laugh and they will call others and retell your tales. It may get back to your ex, and he’ll be mad. He might even call and flip on you. Maybe his new lady will hear about it, too, and she’ll look at him sideways. You and your stories will be the center of attention for a little bit.

But after the initial shock, no one will think, “Ooh, what sweet revenge!” When they’ve sobered up from their gossiping high, they’ll wonder why, if what you say is true, you stayed with him. Then they’ll wonder why, all this time later, you’re running your mouth about the past. They’ll ask each other why you are still so hung up on a guy who, by your own account, didn’t even treat you right. (That’s also a question you should ask yourself.)

Your ex will get over it quickly. He has a new woman and she’s not leaving him. The women D-Wade, Swizz Beatz and Kevin Hart moved on to are still around and ain’t going anywhere. Now, maybe that’s because of their celebrity. But it’s also because those women listened to their man’s version of events regarding his ex. Also, few people think that someone who did his former girlfriend dirty will do them the same way. Add to that, all the information you have is about the past, not the present. Even if what you say is true, it’s months-old info.

Move on. You’re giving your ex too much power over your life. It seems that the relationship meant more to you than it did to him, or perhaps he just healed from the breakup faster than you did. Or maybe your assumptions are right: He was cheating and had emotionally (and likely physically) exited the relationship before the two of you were officially done. Whatever happened, the bottom line remains the same: He moved on and, despite the months that have passed, you have not. You need to.

Demetria L. Lucas is a contributing editor at The Root, a life coach and the author of A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life and the upcoming Don’t Waste Your Pretty: The Go-to Guide for Making Smarter Decisions in Life & Love. She answers your dating and relationship questions on The Root each week. Feel free to ask anything at askdemetria@theroot.com.