Relationships rarely end on a good note. There’s always one party who is incapable of letting things go and goes out of his or her way to make the other person’s life a living hell. Whether it’s a bruised ego or a genuine desire to spark an old flame, messy breakups can lead down a rabbit hole of chaos. Most of us would like to admit that we’ve always done things by the book, but statistically speaking, we can’t always be the victim in ugly breakups, can we? Looking back on ￼￼your past relationships, have you ever been the shitty ex? Here are 7 signs to watch out for.
Here’s How You Know If You’re a Shitty Ex
You suddenly have feelings for him when he starts seeing someone new.
Before you even step into the realm of being the shitty ex, there is always one tell-tale sign that you’re likely to give into temptation. There you are, trying to get over the heartache of a failed relationship you knew was going nowhere, and you find out he’s seeing someone new. Suddenly, you realize that you never got over the guy and that your relationship deserves another chance.
Having those feelings and allowing them to be triggered by the fact he’s moving on means there are red flags ahead. If you stopped loving him when you broke up, why let your ego try to change your mind to prove a point?
You text him on a weekend night when you know he’s out having fun.
And so it begins. How dare he try to move on with his life? How dare he try to get his mind off of your failed relationship? You start to imagine him out ￼￼with his friends getting to know a new group of girls and you allow yourself to be tortured by the idea of him not thinking of you. So what’s the solution? You ruin his night. Whether it’d be a casual text about the fact you still have his old camera or a full blown, “Hey, I miss you and how we used to cuddle and Netflix every Friday,” you’re being a shitty ex by purposefully interrupting his social life.
In fact, you’re always interrupting.
Popping in out of the blue and sending an ‘innocent enough’ text asking how he’s doing is still being a shitty ex, especially if you ended things knowing he was still into you. When a relationship ends, even with a mutual decision, it means the two of you are expected to heal and move on. By being a brat and feeding off the ego boost you get from knowing that you still have the power to fuck shit up, all you’re doing is hurting him and making it harder for him to move on. In fact, you’re doing the same thing to yourself.
You put up a fight about giving things back and get off on making things hard.
Concert tickets you bought when you were together? Clothes he left in the bottom drawer that you let him use? Keys to his place? Is there a reason you’re putting up a fight to give his shit back? Whether you think keeping his things will increase the likelihood of you getting back together, or you’re just doing it to be spiteful, there’s no reason to make everything hard. Breaking up after you merged lives is hard to do as it is, and you don’t need to add fuel to the fire.
You stalk, you harass, and you allow yourself to get crazy.
What’s your end goal here? Do you think that keying his car and showing up at his work will be revenge enough for the fact he fucked your best friend, or do you think he’ll suddenly realize how great he had it when you were together? Not only is this unlikely to bring you the results you want, but all you’re really doing is hurting your self-image. Ask yourself, are you really this type of girl?
You’re spiraling downward, undoing any self-respect you ever had for yourself, and you’re giving yourself a bad name.
And under no circumstances should you be reaching out to his new girlfriend. I repeat, under no circumstances.
You’re milking mutual friends.
If you were together for a long enough time, chances are you have a few mutual friends who ended up getting caught in the middle of your break up. The right way to deal with them is to tell them you don’t expect them to choose sides and to never, ever bring up your relationship to them. That said, when you’re a shitty ex you do everything but that. You trash talk every chance you get, you ask questions you know they don’t want to answer, and you find ways of making them choose sides. It stops being about your friendship and becomes a game of tug-of-war.
You don’t understand that when you break up with someone on bad terms, you break up with their family, too.
The longer we date people, the more likely we are to get entangled with their family members. If you’re a shitty ex, you find ways to keep those ties alive. Again, is it an ego thing or are you hoping that by making your mark on his family, he’ll want things to go back to the way things were? No matter how close you were to his family, it’s his family and not yours. He needs to be able to turn to them for support in getting over your relationship or being excited about a new one. You have no business getting in the way of that.
Sure, this all seems a bit rough. But really, you have to be able to ask yourself what is your end goal; and, most importantly, how you would feel if the roles were reversed? Would you want him texting you every Friday night? Would you want him popping in, pretending to be on the fence about making things work, when you know he’s just trying to keep you from moving on? What about him trying to keep things you left at his place? How would you feel if you walked into your parents’ house and saw him watching a game on TV with your pops?
That’s fucking crossing the line, right? So why is it so for him, but not for ￼￼ you?
No breakup is ever easy. Even the ones you think ended amicably end up leaving a bit of an unexpected mess behind. Going crazy isn’t going to help you heal any faster, and neither will allowing your ego to act on your behalf. The longer you remain focused on beating this breakup to the ground, the longer it will take for you to see new relationships on the horizon. After all, we’re all just trying to live a happy life, aren’t we?
Live and let live, baby. Move the hell on.