Readers’ dilemma: I hate my ex’s success – he doesn’t deserve it


I almost feel stupid writing this. My ex and I broke up about three years ago, and I can’t stop thinking about him. I don’t want to get back with him; he was a liar and cheated and made me miserable. The problem is that he has gone on to big success – his life seems more glamorous than ever, I can’t go anywhere without seeing his name, and he looks like he’s having a fantastic time. He has the job of his dreams and loads of friends. It couldn’t happen to a nastier person. I can’t seem to get over that our break-up had no effect on him at all. If anything, it was the beginning of a fantastic new era for him. Meanwhile, I was left broken by our relationship, and feel like I still haven’t made it in my career – like I’m useless and it’ll never happen. It doesn’t seem fair. I know I shouldn’t care but it’s driving me crazy.

Michael, by e-mail

The Guyliner replies: As acerbic raconteur Gore Vidal once said: “Whenever a friend succeeds, a little something in me dies”. With an enemy, it can be even more gut-wrenching to watch them flourish. You don’t say how news of these successes is reaching you, but I assume social media is involved. Social media is a wonderful thing, but can be dangerous for anyone prone to negative thinking or self-doubt.

The main issue here is your ex is thriving and having a gay old time, all without you and with no regard to the way he hurt you. But, remember, you are only privy to the good stuff he shares, the things he wants people to see. Who knows what happens when he closes his laptop – the insecurities, the worries, the tears. Beyond the glamorous locations, hedonistic cocktails, career highs and fabulous times, lies the mundane: bills to pay, spots, trips to the loo. Perhaps even, fingers crossed, someone is screwing him over right this minute too. But why should you care?

The blunt edge comes now: you are wasting your time over this and preventing yourself from achieving anything of your own. How can you ever hope to match or better his success when you’re hell-bent on obsessing over what he’s up to? His life and career should mean nothing to you, because, if I may be frank, it looks like yours means nothing to him. The best revenge you can serve this shark is to make your own life a success. Cut the constant comparisons, delete him off all social media, avoid places you know you’ll see that name, and make bettering yourself the focus of your energy. Get on with your life and achieve, and do it for you, not bragging rights on Facebook. Take comfort that if he truly is as reprehensible as you say, truth will out. While it may seem like this cat lands only on his feet, goodwill can run out pretty quickly – eventually his mask will slip and people will see him for what he is, and the successes will become fewer and far between.

I’d like to say that you’ll be there to revel in his misery, but what you’re going to do next is concentrate on your own aspirations and totally forget about this social-climbing moron, right? Right.

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