I hate my ex-girlfriend. How do I deal with her presence?
November 22, 2007 5:58 AM   Subscribe

My ex-girlfriend humiliated me, now I'm obligated to attend social events with her presence. Avoidance has worked wonders, but I can't keep it up forever. How do I 'move on' or 'just forget that it happened'?

As summarized as possible...

Not long after breaking up in messy circumstances my ex-girlfriend flirted with me on-line, and sent some revealing pictures, I reciprocated then it was revealed that it was actually her new boyfriend out to embarrass me and forwarded the photos to a lot of mutual contacts. When I called to ask what the hell was going on the boyfriend answered and I could hear her laughing in the background but I was told she wasn't there. Prior to this, although we had ended on ... non-agreeable terms, we were definitely friends and still enjoyed each others company.

This was about 7 months ago, and to be honest I'm still not "over it". I've tried to discuss it and try render things at least 'neutral' between us, but I get the "we've got nothing to talk about" block when I try calling. And when I ask her to at least tell me why she did that she said "did what?" and does everything to evade discussion.

Now. This wouldn't really be an issue, and I could just decide to never associate with these people ever again if it weren't for one thing. I co-author a zine and run a zine distro with her twin sister.
I haven't seen my ex in the last 7 months, and it's been good that way, but obviously I can't keep this up forever.

How do I get a resolution or at least deal with being in the presence of someone who frankly makes me want to chew off my own tongue.
This situation/relationship I have towards her has caused me a lot of anxiety and getting some form of closure would probably improve my current mood a great deal.

I know the answer is "just get over it", but how? Anecdotal advice gets bonus points.
posted by chrisbucks to Human Relations (53 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
How to 'get over it'? In a nutshell, stop trying so hard:

1. Accept the fact that you won't ever totally 'forget that it happened', you have a memory and life experiences, and this is one of them.

2. Stop trying to "...discuss it and try (to) render things at least 'neutral' between us.." open wound say hello to vinegar

3. I haven't seen my ex in the last 7 months, and it's been good that way, but obviously I can't keep this up forever. Then stop trying to keep it up; if you can't help but run into her, know it, accept it, and carry on.

4. Realize that you have learned a valuble lesson..for example, don't e-mail naked pictures of yourself to anyone

5. And, if all else fails, nail her twin sister.
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 6:21 AM on November 22, 2007 [13 favorites]

Your ex-girlfriend is an immature little girl. Have you told her this? Why are you still calling her?

Why does working with her sister have anything to do with her? If you haven't seen her it 7 months, it seems like you probably don't need to see her that often. If you do see her, smile broadly and be civil.

It seems like you think you have something to be ashamed of. From your description, it's all her.
posted by mpls2 at 6:22 AM on November 22, 2007

Now. This wouldn't really be an issue, and I could just decide to never associate with these people ever again if it weren't for one thing. I co-author a zine and run a zine distro with her twin sister.
I haven't seen my ex in the last 7 months, and it's been good that way, but obviously I can't keep this up forever.

Why? Editing a zine with someone means you need to hang out with their family members too? Be clear with the sister that you can only work on the zine in neutral territory, because your ex is a soulsick psychotic.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 6:25 AM on November 22, 2007 [1 favorite]

It seems to me your question contains the seed of your answer. "... This wouldn't really be an issue, and I could just decide to never associate with these people ever again if it weren't for one thing. I co-author a zine and run a zine distro with her twin sister. ..." If this is a business activity, sell your interest. If this is a volunteer thing, un-volunteer. Quit doing it, and get these people out of your life.

You probably can't make these people disassociate themselves from your ex's twin sister. You can control your own associations and behavior. If the public discomfort you're experiencing is great enough, do what you have to do to clean these people out of your life.

And in the future, don't send compromising pictures via e-mail to anybody.
posted by paulsc at 6:28 AM on November 22, 2007 [3 favorites]

Living well is the best revenge. Prove yourself to be better off without her, and you will be better off without her.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 6:28 AM on November 22, 2007 [11 favorites]

Sounds like a potential failure of communication. You believe she laughed about it, but are you sure she was complicit in the deception, and are you sure it was her you heard laughing?
posted by Estragon at 6:28 AM on November 22, 2007

Stop trying to call her, stop thinking about her, stop wasting your energy worrying about her. She's made it clear what kind of person she is, to you and to everyone you know (if I someone forwarded me naked pictures of their ex, I would judge the sender and not the ex!). You haven't seen her in 7 months, and you don't have to see her ever again. You don't have to be bitter to say, "No, thanks" to any invitation that involves her.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:31 AM on November 22, 2007 [2 favorites]

That is an amazingly shitty thing to do, I am actually aghast and that is a strong adjective.

Now the way I see it you have a few options, the first and best is that you forgive her, not for her sake but for your own, she is a shitty stupid terrible human being and doesnt deserve your forgiveness at all, but you really dont need to be carrying around this bitterness for the rest of your life, just let it go and move on.

The important part is that you erase her from your life, she no longer exists to you at all, it complicates things that you work closely with her dopplegangner, and while I would suggest that you end that and move onto a different group of friends it probably wont happen. Now if you see her she isnt there, if she calls you do dont pick up, she isnt even in your phone anymore. If she emails or facebooks you, do not even read the message, maybe her grandma who liked you died, tough shit she doesnt get to have you comfort her, thats a privilege reserved for her friends. You are never going to get a decent explanation from her as to why she acted like a twat so dont try to get it, if you are in a social situation with her just pretend she isnt there, if she tries to talk to you just ignore her. Also if this sort of thing happens again, and it shouldn't because you are never going to acknowledge her existence, and is a physical possibility you really ought to consider beating up her boyfriend if they try and fuck with you. I need to stress how that will not happen if you do not give them the opportunity, cut her off completely and try to move out of that social circle, her sister grew up with her and will probably understand that she shared a womb with a shithead.

Also if you have any embarrassing pictures/videos of her put them online somewhere with her name attached for google. (probably a bad idea, but you can enjoy thinking about it, until you forgive her without telling her and drop all this)
posted by BobbyDigital at 6:33 AM on November 22, 2007 [1 favorite]

You're seeing yourself as a jerk for falling for it. In fact, the guy was cruel, and she's complicit in a mean, not funny, vicious stunt. You have every right to be angry, and it might be healthier. You should be calm, minimally civil, and barely speaking to these nasty people. They should be embarrassed and ashamed. Once you change your attitude, others will perceive the change.

What a rotten situation. Good luck. You deserve better.
posted by theora55 at 6:41 AM on November 22, 2007 [14 favorites]

Yeah, I'm not sure 'getting over this' is the right move here--she's adequately proved that she'll happily screw you over giving the opportunity, and that's something you want to remember in a visceral way, lest you let it happen again.

I'd go with something closer to BobbyDigital's approach. Don't think about whether she's going to be at an event in making a decision to accept an invite, or what you'll say to her. Just go and don't say anything to her at all. There's a very old, very polite concept called the 'cut direct' that's very useful in such a situation and Miss Manners approved, too. Basically, as Bobby suggested, totally declining to acknowledge the existence of someone else, as if you'd never been introduced. Enjoy being the bigger man while staring right through her bitchy ass.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:46 AM on November 22, 2007 [6 favorites]

Step back and take the time to look at the situation from the long view. Recognise that in 10 years, this will (seriously) be a blip on the radar of your life.

Then walk from here to there, one day at a time.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:47 AM on November 22, 2007 [6 favorites]

My first thought was that you should just confront her aggressively. Just don't let her get away without explaining herself. But then I realize, that's fucking nuts. What she did is just absurd, and defies explanation. All she would be able to say is, "oh, sorry, I didn't realize that sending out naked pictures of you would hurt your feelings so much." Lies. That's a ridiculous, immature, hateful thing to do. You should accept the fact that she's an immature child, and move on, knowing that at least you won't have to deal with her anymore. If possible, just find a new social circle, as suggested. If that really isn't possible, ignore her as much as possible. I wouldn't say completely pretend she doesn't exist if she is in your presence. But if she talks to you, just give short responses that don't invite further conversation, and shift your attention elsewhere. If she doesn't talk directly to you, do not respond. But if possible, just avoid her completely.
posted by gauchodaspampas at 6:48 AM on November 22, 2007 [1 favorite]

So you have these naked pictures of her, then...
posted by bonaldi at 7:13 AM on November 22, 2007 [3 favorites]

How do I deal with her presence?

You don't. Your ex is a terrible human being and should be avoided at all costs. Should you ever accidentally stumble upon her in public, maintain a business-like demeanor. If your ex was being chased by a madman with a chainsaw, shoot the madman, save her life, but send her a bill for the bullet.

Make it clear to her sister that things between you and your ex are very sore -- and probably always will be -- and that you can't be at the same social events together. She'll either understand or she won't. If she doesn't, tough shit.

Tricking someone into sending sexy pictures and then forwarding said sexy pictures to family/friends/co-workers is a symptom of incurable, terminal social retardation. The sooner you excise that cancer from your life, the better.
posted by Avenger at 7:25 AM on November 22, 2007 [1 favorite]

23skidooo hit the nail on the head. You think that people are laughing at you and about you. If it's your ex and her boyfriend laughing, so what? Their behavior says a lot about them as people. And if it's third parties that you're worried about, don't worry. The average person would roll their eyes and think what a couple of assholes. Isn't that what you would think if you weren't the victim?

Why people send nudie pics of themselves is beyond me. If you're going to do that you should assume that they will be seen by a lot more people then the intended recipient. Lesson learned. Move on.

And think about this, how many girls do you think saw the pics and said "oooh, he's hot"? Probably a few :-)
posted by Juicylicious at 7:30 AM on November 22, 2007 [2 favorites]

I'm interested in Estragon's angle: is it clear that she was complicit in the whole thing?

What do your mutual contacts say about it? What does the twin sister say about it? Also the phrase "these people" is ambiguous -- are you avoiding her and the new boyfriend, or all these mutual contacts? I understand avoiding her, but it would be a shame for you to cut off a whole part of your social life for her if some of these 'contacts' were also friends of yours. In this case I think you should work to overcome your humiliation and bitterness. If it's just her and the new boyfriend you're avoiding, then I would say continue avoiding them; if you've run the zine with the twin for seven months without meeting up with your ex, surely you can continue to do this?

Also I have to say, I don't understand this whole humiliation scheme. He/she sends you revealing photos of the ex...you send back revealing photos...and then he/she sends your photos everywhere? But surely it is in your power to reciprocate, so I don't see how this scheme holds up to even a cursory examination. Maybe the other option, if you're not satisfied with just avoiding her, is to send her an email threatening to do the same with her photos and see how she responds. Or are your photos somehow a degree of magnitude more revealing or embarassing?
posted by creasy boy at 7:30 AM on November 22, 2007

moving on takes time. in the meantime, ignore her. don't engage her, don't ask about her, don't seek her out. if she reaches out to you, respond politely but tersely. if she says, "how are you?" say, "fine, thanks." don't ask her how she's doing , or engage in polite small talk. just say, "excuse me," and go talk to someone else.

closure doesn't exist, unfortunately. you just have to wait it out until it doesn't bother you so much.

continue to be gracious and professional with her sister.
posted by thinkingwoman at 7:39 AM on November 22, 2007

To borrow from the Dog Whisperer, there are plenty of ways to be dominant without being aggressive. These situations require time to heal, but above all, they require personal, spiritual development, at a time where all you want to do is "get back" or avoid the problem altogether. This event, for example, could fuel to become a hugely successful person, if you look at it the right way. It is Thanksgiving, and after all, you are not dead, you are not starving, and there are a lot of people in this world who are that you can help.

Men, including myself, tend to fixate on problematic relationships, instead of seeing themselves as belonging to a social fabric where, at any time, anything is possible. You just have to reach outside your habits. Unfortunately, you shouldn't call her anymore. She's not going to fix things for you. And frankly, doesn't sound like she can. Unless you want her to "love" you again. Which, let me be frank, there are better people out there than her, that wouldn't even dream of doing this to another person - just because they are better people. Not because they love you more. They're just higher quality.

Then there's the karma angle, where crimes of "passion" like this tend to turn on the people that commit them, despite their best efforts to act as if someone else has been "had". Some people would look at this as an opportunity to become a better person - to clean house.

Finally, go easy on yourself. Over time, you'll feel better about yourself. And don't think ahead about how you'll react when you see her. There are no answers in reactions. Just act. Be yourself. Might be hard at first, but it's so worth it. And don't try to solve all your problems in your head. Talk to people. I mean, it's funny that this dumb cow did this to you, and you still want to "fix" this by making them neutral. Oh, if only they were neutral, you'd feel so much better about yourself. Baloney.

Anecdotal evidence?

I meet girl at party, see some guy sitting in the corner staring at me and her, looking hammered and depressed. I ask who is that? She says ex-boyfriend, I just dumped him, and she whisks me away to another midtown party. I'm feeling like the shit; just moved to ny and i'm slayin' them! Months later, our relationship hits the bricks, she tells me its over, stops all communication, and I was destroyed. Start calling her to ask her if she's ok, if she heard about that little girl in the news that died, did she want to hang out for old times sake.. ridiculous stuff. So I start going to parties hoping I'll bump into her and magically make things better. Right? And so new years eve rolls by, and i go to this party, and she rolls in with ex-boyfriend, all happy now. And she sees me for a split second, and now I'm that guy - depressed, drunk. Doesn't say a word; ignores my very existence I picked up my jacket and said no way. I'm not going to be this guy. And walking away from that girl, in all honesty - in totality - was one of the hardest things I had to do. And it came months after we broke up. And then I realize I'm this little plant and I got to make sure I get watered, because I'm little and things don't always come easy.
posted by phaedon at 7:50 AM on November 22, 2007 [43 favorites]

I wonder if it might help to think about this experience as two separate pieces (embarrassment at having your pictures distributed and a serious, immature betrayal of trust). I think that 23skidoo's comment about pity makes a lot of sense, but it's going to be hard to feel sorry for her while you're feeling the immediate sting of something so humiliating. Recognize that the embarrassment will fade, and the people who saw the photos will forget about it or not care or at the very least realize that your ex the one who comes away looking bad. With that in mind, think of her as an immature person who can't handle healthy human interaction. You can't forget her or avoid her forever, but you can re-categorize her in your mind from a person with power over you to a small, sad person not worth expending the energy to hate.
posted by Meg_Murry at 7:54 AM on November 22, 2007 [1 favorite]

amateur psychology/tough love ahead:

you feel rejected by her (rightly so, she rejected you in no uncertain terms if she was in on the stunt)

this hurts your narcissistic core (you believed yourself to be so fantastic/hot/... that she would be salivating over a keyboard to get her hands on some hot pics of you, and then it turned out she wasn't)

it hurts, but if you face it, maybe things will get easier.

Try telling yourself: 'Haha, I'm such a narcissistic cunt to believe that she was still into me after we broke up. Won't make that mistake again.' Then move on.

"Nailing" the twin sister as suggested by someone in the thread would be quite pathetic, by the way.
posted by NekulturnY at 7:57 AM on November 22, 2007

Cheers for all the ace advice folks :-D

I suppose just to confirm/clarify/respond, I haven't tried contacting her in a few months... I feel better not having to deal with it. It only became an issue again recently when my friend (the sister) graduated art college, I was expecting her sister to be at the exhibition, but fortunately she left before I arrived.

The people in the situation are all under 23, so that might explain the 'lack of maturity' factor... (and the boyfriend always was a complete ass anyway).

And yeah, I know she was in on it, (distinctive laugh, and her talking in the background). That, and since that night she deleted me and blocked me on all social networks, and it was him answering her cellphone.

I'm not too concerned about the distribution of my naked self (agreeably she probably did me a favour), but the total betrayal of trust by someone I (mistakenly) thought I loved. And being totally shafted by the new boyfriend is an addition of insult to injury already.

I have contemplated ditching the friend and just saying "because of who you shared the womb with, I cant be friends", but given the relatively small size of the Auckland zine scene, I'd rather keep the friends I have and not be a drama queen too much. Besides, she's one of the closer friends I've got. And it sounds more cold than perhaps what the ex did. Fortunately the friend has been more than understanding about it, although she's been the one saying "hey sooner or later you're going to have to hang out with all of us, so ... yeah deal with it?"

The three of us share a birthday as well, and that's coming up soon, so there's no escaping, less I refuse to attend the party... I just need to find a smoking hot girl to take with me before then :)
posted by chrisbucks at 7:58 AM on November 22, 2007

the cut direct (scroll down):
For one person to look directly at another and not acknowledge the other’s bow is such a breach of civility that only an unforgivable misdemeanor can warrant the rebuke. Nor without the gravest cause may a lady “cut” a gentleman. But there are no circumstances under which a gentleman may “cut” any woman who, even by courtesy, can be called a lady.
It is a direct stare of blank refusal, and is not only insulting to its victim but embarrassing to every witness. Happily it is practically unknown in polite society.

---Emily Post

But, I think, perfectly forgivable here.
posted by Martin E. at 7:58 AM on November 22, 2007 [6 favorites]

In your original note you wrote that you broke up "under messy circumstances."

I think that phrase may hold the key to your ex-girlfriend's freakishly mean behavior.
posted by mecran01 at 8:03 AM on November 22, 2007

You are so much better than her and I'm sure you know it, so act like it. If she ever attempts to contact you or if you run into her somewhere, act subtly disgusted that she has the gall to speak to you or to believe you would want anything to do with her.

She was a friend but she fucked you. She should no longer exist to you. I really like what Martin E. had to say.
posted by Sufi at 8:18 AM on November 22, 2007 [1 favorite]

I've tried to discuss it

You mean you've tried to rake over old coals and thought again and again about the situation that you got hurt in? Is it any wonder you're still feeling the pain 7 months later when you keep dredging it up?

I co-author a zine and run a zine distro with her twin sister.

So what? Do you have to work with your ex? Do you have to see her on a regular basis? If you've managed to avoid seeing her for 7 months, I'm thinking not.

Yes, your circle of friends (I'm assuming that this includes the twin sister) have seen you naked. But this happened nearly 7 months ago - do you really think that people even remember the pics of you?

Is this really such an awful thing? If people seeing you naked without your consent is the worst thing that happens in your life, then I think you're actually pretty lucky. The situation is bad, but it could be a hell-of-a-lot worse. It could have been a video of the two of you copulating, that had been put on the internet. Etc.

Try getting some perspective on it. Stop thinking about it. And stop ringing her.
posted by Solomon at 8:23 AM on November 22, 2007

Isn't what they did an offense?
posted by wackybrit at 8:26 AM on November 22, 2007

I would make separate plans for your birthday.
posted by rhizome at 8:32 AM on November 22, 2007

Indeed, I would make separate birthday plans. If it's your birthday, you can celebrate however you want, and do not have to celebrate it with someone who brings up bitter feelings of humiliation and disapointment in you.
posted by creasy boy at 8:53 AM on November 22, 2007


It involved us breaking up, but still living together then her moving her new boyfriend into our house which we shared (with other people though) and me deciding "fuck this" and moving out the same day he turned up. (but still paid my rent for another 3 weeks until I could find a new roomie). After that she flirted with me regularly (whilst still being with him) and said "maybe we could get back together some day" and being the spineless person I was at that point in my life I said "sure, sounds good" and played through with it. But it got to a point where I just decided to block off all contact and live a drama free life in the hope that "maybe we could be friends one day" was more than just a cliche. That worked fine for a month until the above situation occurred.
posted by chrisbucks at 8:55 AM on November 22, 2007

So she's an attention-seeker, and mad because you cut her off, as was entirely reasonable in your circumstances. She tried to get a rise out of you because you had cut her out of your life. Escalating, replying, complaining to your mutual social group is exactly what she was hoping for.

As so many others have put it, ignoring her entirely, or being distantly polite if absolutely necessary is the best way to deal with her from now on.
posted by bonehead at 9:08 AM on November 22, 2007 [1 favorite]

As bad as you think the situation is now, it could easily be worse. You could still be in a relationship with this immature, vindictive bitch. You have dodged a bullet, my man. Stand tall and be proud. Sure, she hurt you with the nekkid picture stunt. But it would have hurt much more if she'd done it while you were still together!

As for the zine, just ditch it. Tell the twin sister (assuming she's an identical twin to your ex) that seeing her reminds you of your ex and that you don't really want to be reminded of your ex anymore, and just quit. If you really like making a zine or feel it is part of your identity, find someone else to make one with, or do it yourself.
posted by kindall at 9:14 AM on November 22, 2007

I (mistakenly) thought I loved.

I'm not usually one to get involved in relationship AskMeFis, but this comment kinda stuck out for me, so I thought that I'd poke my head into the thread.

There's nothing wrong with loving the wrong person, or loving "bad people", or loving in general. And as young as I am, it pains me already to know that those in the past that I loved (as friends or more) have wronged me, or wronged others, because I always feel that others' behaviors (whom I love) is a reflection on me.

But it's not. Your love for someone doesn't mean that you condone their poor behavior, or whatever other "bad" things they do. I'm slowly starting to understand that love transcends. My point is, there's nothing wrong with having loved someone that turned out to be so malicious or immature. You are not a bad person for having loved them. So don't work yourself up and try to deny that you once (or perhaps still do) have strong, loving feelings toward this girl. It's okay. You obviously know that what she's done is really bad form. But that doesn't reflect upon you; it's on her, and her alone.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 9:25 AM on November 22, 2007 [9 favorites]

Subculture scenes (eg punk, goth, ska, hip hop, what have you) in places like Auckland can be real social pressure cookers. Everyone knows everyone, and has for years, and probably will for decades to come, even after they get old and boring and go to law school. It's sort of like a big family reunion that lasts for years, not for an afternoon, complete with all the fights and hurt feelings that go along with family reunions. Those kinds of environments can really bring out the worst in some people, which I think you have just experienced.

I think that there is some really good advice here (well, except for 'nail her sister,' which was probably a joke anyway). What I would add is that I think that you would be happier if you expanded your social circle enough to no longer be so fully inside of the environment that is producing and rewarding this kind of bad behaviour. I don't mean that you should ditch every person you know, drop your zine activity, and become a different person overnight. Instead, I'm suggesting that you keep doing those things (because you enjoy them and they are fun and worthwhile), but at the same time start looking for connections to other social circles, ones that are less insular and inbred. If you have any chance for travel (to the south island, to Australia, away to go to school), that is a perfect excuse to readjust your social world; otherwise you have to do it the old fashioned way, by just being brave and talking to new people.

The saying "living well is the best revenge" is true, but not because you're living well actually makes such immature and nasty people feel bad (nothing other than being run over by a truck will make them feel bad) -- the saying is true because if you are happy and contented and self-fulfilled, with rich friendships and good stuff going on, this kind of pettiness just falls by the wayside. The "revenge" is that you are happy, and that their actions just can't have an impact on that -- that they are small and insignificant in your life.

The turning point, I think, will come when you can tell the story of this as a joke on yourself, without looking for sympathy or attention. (Because this has all the pieces of a great anecdote, except for a really good final puchline, which comes with time and perspective, and from the contrast between the excruciatingly poor manners of your ex-girlfriend, and your happy life at the time you are telling this story.) A lot of the things in my life that were just the absolute most miserable low points have become, years later, some of the best stories to tell, because they are stories that have real emotion, and with which everyone can connect. A lot of them were, at the time, things that I thought were so shameful or awful that I would have to keep them secrets forever, but now I can see the humor involved, and the pathos, and actually enjoy talking about those things.
posted by Forktine at 9:41 AM on November 22, 2007 [15 favorites]

First off, a little insight into what happened might be in order.

Her new boyfriend caught her texting you dude. So she sort of turned it into something against you to save her sorry ass with him at that exact moment. She took the low road to get out of another mess.

Second, you have not seen her in 7 months? I think not. You are seeing her every day. Someone with DNA IDENTICAL TO HERS is working with you all of the time. How could you get over those feelings with someone who is her exact physical duplicate right next to you?

Plus, forgiving her is going to go a long way. What she did had nothing to do with who you are as a person (other than your failure to pull the rip cord quickly when signs that she was not good for you presented themselves).

Also what else is going on with you? Check to see if this is bothering you when you are under stress for something else. Dealing with a problem at hand usually solves ones which are strangely bothersome despite nothing having happend in the last 7 months.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:42 AM on November 22, 2007 [1 favorite]

Great advice here, I hope it helps. I would only add one thing, which hasn't been said yet. The antidote to public humiliation is self improvement. You already sound like the better person, but how awesome would it be to show up at the birthday party with a smoking hot body, or be known as the witty conversationalist around Aukland, or write that short story that gets published. I mean, moving on here means actually moving forward.

One of the great things about getting older (I'm 37 now) is that being a decent human being is its own reward. Over time, the shit heads fall out of your life, but you hang on to the quality people. Seriously, I know of dozens of hateful people from my past that now have miserable lives with dysfunctional families and horrible jobs. The cancer analogy is a good one, you have so much to gain by cutting them out.

On preview, Forktine said it better.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:48 AM on November 22, 2007 [5 favorites]

I like the idea of quitting the current zine and starting up your own. I imagine you're the brains of the operation, if not the muscle as well.
posted by rhizome at 9:58 AM on November 22, 2007

Wow. That was a really horrible thing he/they did. You are best to move forward in life but never trust or waste your energy on those people again.

Look. Sometimes -- most of the time -- you have to be able to go on in life without "making peace" with people who hurt you. Because? People who have hurt you will rarely, if ever, say what you need to hear in order to feel peace. Maybe there is nothing they could say anyway. Or maybe there is, but they don't have the script, and maybe they wouldn't give you the pleasure even if they did. So right now, rule out the idea that her input is going to benefit you in any way. It won't be helpful anyway.

Your task is to find a way to accept what happened and accept that she is no longer someone you associate with. Without her help; without her consolation or her consent. The first step of this is just to come to terms with the idea that you're going to do it without consulting her. Then proceed to act like she is not part of your life -- because she's not, and it sounds to me like nor should she be. You will be better off without her.
posted by loiseau at 10:40 AM on November 22, 2007 [1 favorite]

Nthing everybody else here.

You're not to blame for this mess, your petty ex-girlfriend is. Trying to get closure or make things "neutral" between you is not possible, because she'll turn any communication from you to her advantage. She knows damn well she's in the wrong and is unwilling or too immature to admit it. So she's trying to cover it up by deflecting attention away from what she did (betray your trust) to what you're currently doing ("bugging her" by calling her). Walk away from her, and let her grapple with her conscience on her own.

Time and distance will help heal the wounds, but be aware that wounds like this don't heal overnight. Listen to Forktine on this one.
posted by LN at 11:36 AM on November 22, 2007 [1 favorite]

If you have any chance for travel (to the south island, to Australia, away to go to school), that is a perfect excuse to readjust your social world; otherwise you have to do it the old fashioned way, by just being brave and talking to new people.

While reading Forktine's post, I started thinking along these lines, only to see that s/he had already spelled it out.

NZ is small (especially in subculture scenes). If you do some traveling, then by the time you come back all this will be ancient history and you will probably be able to laugh about it. Go set up a zine in Wellington or Nelson or move to Sydney or London...there's a world out there.

(And just nthing everyone else that says don't beat yourself up, treat this as a learning experience).
posted by Infinite Jest at 11:58 AM on November 22, 2007

Oh yeah, and regarding getting over it? Go find yourself someone else to love, who makes your insides melt. Best cure in the world! :D
posted by LN at 12:03 PM on November 22, 2007 [2 favorites]

stop being bitter, that's exactly what she likes to see. you enable her to feel superior because she's happy and you are not. find someone new, someone who deserves you, and enjoy life. live it up and let her see how much better off you are without her.
posted by krautland at 12:35 PM on November 22, 2007

I disagree with the idea of ditching your friend because of her immature sister. She probably already knows you don't want to meet her sister under any circumstances; if you want, make it explicit and thank her for not letting her sister's idea of you affect your friendship. You won't always like everyone close to your friends.

By the way you don't need a smokin' hot girl. You don't have an immature boyfriend and you'd have (hopefully) dumped a SO engaging in such BS so here are two easy points for you. Have a good time in your party with your friends and don't bother too much with her and her silly provocations. Key phrase: "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn".
posted by ersatz at 12:53 PM on November 22, 2007

Sounds like a crappy situation, but also a great learning opportunity. But before learning you need to get some distance. The tricky way these kinds of situations are hard to escape is that our minds keep finding ways to bring us back to the source of our anguish. In your case you are worried of running into her, which brings you back to thinking about her and whatever feelings (bad and good) come up for you.

To get some distance (which you need) is to find a way to disarm her influence mentally. First, find your triggers, eg, when do you think about her, in what contexts. Limit and minimize those contexts to minimize the number of times you reengage in those thoughts/feelings. Second, when you find yourself going into that place of those thoughts/feeling, let yourself really and honestly admit everything you are thinking experiencing. The way these things take power and continue to dominate our thoughts is that we push away some things that are unpalatable and they keep coming back to haunt us. For example, admit to yourself maybe, that you feel you are a chump, that you are disappointed with yourself, etc, whatever it is that is hard to confront. As you start to deal with these things a few times in an honest way, their power will start to diminish.

Another thing I would suggest is whether you feel you are ready or not, to go out and just date people. This is a great way to regain some self-confidence and perspective, as just meeting new people of the opposite sex with their own unique personalities puts your ex into perspective.

Once you've gotten some distance you should sit down and try and learn from what happened. What was it about her that worked for you, what were the signs that this was coming, what would you have done differently/the same, what did you learn about yourself in relationships ...
posted by blueyellow at 4:09 PM on November 22, 2007

For what it's worth, after reading your story I don't think you have anything to be embarrased about. Your ex and her boyfriend do.

Stand tall and put it behind you. Closure is a plot device for bad novelists, not something living men need.
posted by ikkyu2 at 4:10 PM on November 22, 2007 [1 favorite]

Getting back at her, in any shape or form, is purely and simply a waste of your time and energy.

Now, let us never speak of this again.
posted by flabdablet at 6:28 PM on November 22, 2007

Also, I would imagine you are sick of her but if you arent "over" her, the best way in my experience has been to put a few notches in the old belt between the two of you, that will get her out of your head really well, believe me.
posted by BobbyDigital at 6:49 PM on November 22, 2007

I disagree with everyone. First, whenever anyone brings up the pictures, if they do, then tell them you were considering a gay encounter with the ex's current boyfriend. Say it with deadly seriousness. When pressed, say your ex caused you to consider playing "the other side".

Second, don't quit the zine. I think your ex has feelings for you that she hasn't owned up to, and she wants to hurt you. Every time you bring it up, she feels better for having stuck it to you. Don't let her dishonesty and inner conflict drive you out of your own life and accomplishments.
posted by ewkpates at 6:56 PM on November 22, 2007

Are your mutual friends still friends with her after she did that to you? I really think you need to reconsider what kind of friends they are if they didn't kick her out of the social circle in horror after what she did. How would you react if one of your friends did that to another one of your friends? Would you decide you don't want to take sides and stay out of it or would you kick them to the curb?

I have some anecdotal evidence that applies. A boyfriend of mine had his webcam on while we were having sex, unbeknownst to me. I have no idea what he did with the pictures he was secretly taking, but after I broke up with him, he loved rubbing my nose in the fact that he had them.

I know he sent a nasty e-mail to my mother, so I wonder if he attached some of those pictures. Both my mother and I are too embarassed to talk about it with each other, so I don't really know.

He also told me that he had taken pictures of me having sex with a boyfriend I had after him. I have no idea if he was telling the truth or if he just said that to scare me.

He and I were in the same social circle, which was actually quite a small circle, so there was no way to avoid him unless I dumped all my friends. However, it occurred to me that there must be something wrong with my friends if they continue to be friends with someone who did something like that to me (and actually liked to brag about it). I appreciate them not wanting to take sides, but this was way beyond two of their friends having a bicker. I'm pretty shy so it's hard for me to make friends, but I finally decided that these were not real friends and I left that social circle for greener pastures.
posted by giggleknickers at 9:19 PM on November 22, 2007 [1 favorite]

Repeat the following mantras as appropriate.

- They deserve each other.

- One day they break up and behave this way toward each other.

- Thank Heavens I got away from her. I dodged a bullet.
posted by 26.2 at 11:49 PM on November 22, 2007 [1 favorite]

Actually, I went through a stuck-in-a-clique with an ex situation last year. Couldn't escape the ex for long, and my friends all saw her regularly. And everyone here has excellent advice.

I felt a lot like giggleknickers, alone and abandoned. I stayed friends with the people who made an effort to be around me. And still felt alone, as they were all continuing to see her after a few petty conflicts. I get the impression that you feel the same, and like me, you haven't really opened up to anyone about those issues.

For me, after a while, something miraculous happened that was as close to closure as I got: they actually told me how poorly they thought of her for doing those things. At first it was one person I was very close to, and then the others soon realized they could talk about it to me openly as well. What a bitch, was the consensus. I opened up a small bit, acknowledged we can talk about the situation, and we became closer friends. And she entered into our conversations as did any other gossip, whereas before she was taboo. I hadn't asked them to reduce contact with her due to the offenses, and they really respected that (especially since she had continued pestering them about me without my knowledge). This gave me incredible confidence, and let me know they were judging HER not me.

They were still friends with her of course. It wasn't they who were offended. Neutral parties don't want to get involved; no one really knows all the details of relationships problems; and in a small town, what can you do?

I'm sure that the sister empathizes with you, but is far too scared to bring it up. Given the "small town" talk of Aukland, I'd imagine most people know. All but the most uncouth are on your side. Start opening up a bit. Let your friends know that you won't run away from anything with her presense. Let them know that you appreciate them giving you space. But also let them know you don't want the ex's actions to sour the relationships with them. Express all this without anger, without demanding pity, and repecting them for having to walk a fine line around you both. Don't be fragile, and they'll realize that you're not fragile. Start being open friends with them, and they'll probably be as supportive as they can.
posted by FuManchu at 2:42 AM on November 23, 2007

All I can say is that if one of my friends did that to their ex, I would not be friends with that person anymore. Especially if the ex was a friend. Unless the ex did something really terrible to the friend to deserve that kind of stunt being pulled on them. Like cheated on them or were constantly cruel or something.

Point is, people shouldn't be friends with people who do stuff like that. Because you never know if they'll try to pull some crazy shit on you if you displease them.
posted by fructose at 8:54 AM on November 23, 2007

p.s. don't quit the zine because of this. That would basically be running away and probably give your horrid ex and her stupid boyfriend some sense of satisfaction.
posted by fructose at 8:54 AM on November 23, 2007

There are some brilliant comments in the thread that have already expressed how sociopathic your ex's behavior was, so I won't repeat that sentiment other than to say you should feel no humiliation from this experience.

I just want to say that if you leave the zine, it won't be running away. Your emotional health is more important than "sticking it out" to prove a point. If you want to keep making zines, you can do it in a healthy environment. You shouldn't give a good God damn about what these psychopaths think about you "quitting". That's utter crap. Nothing you do from here on out is related to their reaction to it. If it's uncomfortable for you to be around them, walk away. If you think you can be around them and have it be cool, then do that. But don't do it for anyone but yourself. You gather yourself and realize that the people that are worth your attention are out there, and those that act this way are not worth paying attention to until they grow the fuck up. And continue your friendship with her brother if you can. Just don't trudge through hell to keep it going.

Above all, don't expect that this is going to happen to you again. This was rather uniquely shitty human behavior.
posted by dosterm at 10:37 AM on November 23, 2007 [1 favorite]

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