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Here are the acceptable ways to get revenge on a cheater (and one unacceptable way)

By Amanda Marcotte
Friday, August 22, 2014 16:29 EDT
 
cheating birtds

So I wrote earlier at Daily Beast about a horrible story of a vindictive ex-boyfriend inciting crowds of haters online to target his ex-girlfriend with a harassment campaign to punish her for allegedly cheating on him. The pathetic douchebags behind this are flailing around, grasping at straws to excuse their disgusting behavior, but the efforts to justify their behavior are so paper thin that they would be funny if there wasn’t a real human being being doused in a firehose of misogynist abuse. (And, of course,the depressing female haters who all imagine they are Special Snowflakes and whose attempts at building self-esteem by bashing other women are so pathetic they often cross the line into pitiable.) Unsurprisingly, I had to turn my mentions on Twitter off again because the misogynist abuse is drowning out anyone who wants to hit me up with a productive comment, but that’s par the course these days. Anyone who thinks sexism is dead needs to spend two minutes looking online to see that outrage at women for daring to be full, flawed humans instead of easily managed toys is all the rage.

Being cheated on sucks, of course. It’s happened to me—it’s very common! (Though good luck actually getting an internet mob together to wail on a man for cheating for weeks. Men aren’t considered women’s property and so there’s significantly less interest in policing their sexual choices. Not that I would ever do such a thing because only people whose moral compasses are so screwed up that they should never date again would do such a thing.) But cheating, like I said in my Daily Beast piece, is a screw-up and it’s not abuse and the way to deal with it is the way you deal with other problems in your relationship: Either fix it or bail, but either way, know that the other person is not your property. If they choose to cheat, then choose not to be with them. People break promises all the time. It’s human, mistakes happen, don’t be such a massive narcissist that you mistake an everyday, ordinary betrayal with the worst thing that ever happened in the history of things happening.

That said, there are some minor forms of revenge for cheating that are on the table. I’m not a complete saint, people. Since many people are confused about what is and isn’t kosher post-break-up, here is a list of perfectly ethical ways to get even with a cheater after the fact:

1) Go on to live well and act like you only vaguely remember who they are when their name comes up. Living well is, after all, the best revenge.

2) Write a piece for the Modern Love column in the New York Times, for XO Jane, or just for your blog detailing the relationship’s crack-up, without calling out your ex by name. This is a critical and long-standing rule. You are allowed to write memoirs! Your experiences belong to you, after all, and no one can take them from you. But it’s not only tasteless to use the person’s real name in a piece that will be widely read, it’s overdoing it. The people in your direct social circles will know who it is. That’s the appropriate level of embarrassment. Cheating on someone doesn’t mean you deserve to be publicly shamed in front of the entire world.

3) Similarly, go write a song, do a painting, or write a fictionalized account of your relationship’s demise. Again, to keep this tasteful and proportionate, you are obliged to leave their name and any strongly identifying details out of it.

4) Go out and do that thing that you always wanted to do but your relationship was holding you back from: Get a pet, travel the world, move to a new city. Bonus points if it involves sleeping with that person you had a crush on but you refrained from fucking because you were faithful. Extra bonus points if your ex was jealous of that person.

5) Lots and lots of Facebook pictures of you looking hot and happy.

I’m sure you guys can come up with more in comments! But remember, naming and shaming is childish and tasteless, and sending the internet mobs on your ex is so morally bankrupt that it means you never deserve to have a relationship with a faithful partner again.

Richard Dawkins and the problem with focusing on abstractions and hypotheticals over the concrete

By Amanda Marcotte
Thursday, August 21, 2014 11:09 EDT

So Richard Dawkins has stepped in it again by talking about the decision to abort a pregnancy after a positive test for Down’s syndrome. @InYourFaceNYer Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice. — Richard Dawkins (@RichardDawkins) August 20, 2014   This understandably offended a lot of people who have chosen to go forward with these pregnancies, because the implication is that they…

 

Fox News suggests foxes are more objective than hens when assessing henhouse safety standards

By Amanda Marcotte
Wednesday, August 20, 2014 11:56 EDT

Don’t worry, hens. He’s got your back. After a very brief flirtation with the idea of being consistent with libertarian ideals, the right has—to no one’s great surprise—decided to go all in with the racist fear-mongering approach to Ferguson. That was put fully on display on Fox News when Eric…

 

Happy to see liberals calling out other liberals for bad faith

By Amanda Marcotte
Tuesday, August 19, 2014 11:23 EDT

He’s a bad guy, but political attacks on him need to be clean. Simon Maloy has a good piece up at Salon about the fishy Rick Perry indictment and the way that liberals are speaking out against it in a way conservatives never would if the shoe was on the…

 

Start telling your coworkers they need a vacation, folks

By Amanda Marcotte
Monday, August 18, 2014 11:23 EDT

Evan Soltas at Vox reports on how Americans just aren’t taking enough vacation, even when they are actually entitled to take it. Around 80 percent of workers took a weeklong vacation in the 70s, and now only 56 percent do, and it seems its continuing to decline. Some of the…

 

Ferguson protests show serious problems with libertarian arguments

By Amanda Marcotte
Friday, August 15, 2014 12:56 EDT

I have to admit that I’m intrigued by the fact that a few libertarian types—besides someone who has always been a consistent sort, like Radley Balko—are actually trying to sound consistent on the topic of the police overreach in Ferguson. Rand Paul was surprisingly bold on this front, decrying the…

 

Why are Ferguson cops so completely out of control?

By Amanda Marcotte
Thursday, August 14, 2014 9:53 EDT

The situation in Ferguson is spiraling out of control and, as anyone who has been following the story can attest, it’s because the police are thoroughly committed to stomping the protests out with a show of force. From the way they’re carrying on, in fact, you start to get the…

 

Yes, everyone should be allowed to take photos of themselves having fun. How is this a thing?

By Amanda Marcotte
Wednesday, August 13, 2014 9:12 EDT

If you’ve been following this utterly horrible story out of Ferguson, MO—a small community outside of St. Louis where an unarmed teenager named Michael Brown was killed by the cops, who have a completely fishy story to try to justify it—you’ll know that one particularly poignant response of solidarity online…

 

A proposal to end the “misandry” wars

By Amanda Marcotte
Tuesday, August 12, 2014 16:56 EDT

MISANDRY Oof, saw this one coming: Sarah Begley of Time is pushing back against all the hilarious “misandry” jokes that feminists online have been making recently in an attempt to inject some comic relief in the endless tide of false accusations that feminists are out to get men. “What feminists…

 

Anti-tampon Twitter attack results in proposal that the U.S. instate child marriage

By Amanda Marcotte
Monday, August 11, 2014 18:25 EDT

I have a lot to say about Jessica Valenti’s proposal that governments do more to make menstrual products affordable and the absolute shit ton of misogynist abuse she got for even daring to ask questions about it. But I thought I’d take a moment to toss this out to the…

 
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