Man… I just got off the phone with my ex. Dude, she’s (bleeping) crazy, man. I don’t know why I ever dated her. She is being such a (bleep) right now!”
You might’ve been in a situation like this before, more or less extreme than this probably.
An ex might be running his mouth to anyone who would listen to him complain about how much of a bad girlfriend you were, and how you’re even more horrible as an ex. He could be talking to family or friends, or maybe – worst-case scenario – even saying these things about you straight to your face. If you’ve been in this situation before, then I want to apologize because now one should be described as or talked about in that fashion. It’s rude, hurtful, and very undermining to the woman you are.
And of course it hurts.
Ok, it really hurts!
Hearing bad things being said about you is painful no matter what the circumstances are. Throw in the fact that this is the ex you see yourself with, and that you want him back…well, things start to get complicated.
Is it even possible to get back together with this ex?, you might be thinking to yourself. Others, like your own family and friends, would probably advise you against it.
From an outsider’s point of view, staying away and not getting back together with an ex with a bad mouth seems logical. However, there is more than meets the eye in certain situations.
This is to say, think about all aspects of the story from both storytellers’ points of view. This means not only looking into why you’re wanting to get back together with this particular ex, but also looking into other factors. Like why is he being like this?
If you want to get back together with an ex who is badmouthing you, like any other problem, you’re going to have to stop and assess the situation before fixing it.
I am gonna have to be completely honest with you before I continue – I have never been in this particular situation before. None of my exes have ever said anything bad about me. Not that I know of, anyway. The only advice I can think of to give is, before confronting an ex about the things he’s been saying about you, I would think of why he’s running his mouth in the first place.
Is he upset about something you said or did in your relationship? Is he angry because you broke up with him? Is he angry at himself for breaking up with you? Are you doing better than he is? Are his friends and family egging him on because they didn’t like you?
There could be a number of reasons why he’s being unreasonable, so try to think of what could be the motivation to his bad words. While it’s not healthy to linger on these thoughts (and I highly suggest you don’t hold on to them for your own mental health), understanding why he’s so upset can help you figure the best approach to talk to him would be.
Sometimes, realizing why he’s saying what he’s saying helps you even see that maybe confronting him about it isn’t the best choice. Sometimes, you’re just going to have to let things run its course.
As I admitted, I don’t have firsthand experience in this scenario, so my advice could be easier said than done. With that said, I had to turn to some lovely ladies who’ve unfortunately found themselves in this this situations before. So, to validate my earlier advice, I’ll share the experiences of these girls (with permission, course!) and give you the advice they want you to know regarding an ex with a bad mouth.
The first brave soul to share her situation with me, Cassie*, admits that her breakup with her ex was messy, mostly because it wasn’t mutual and there was no closure involved.
“We broke up out of impulse, and I initiated it. There was frustration, jealousy, and betrayal,” she speculates.
She continues that after the breakup, she went out a lot more and having more fun because she was hurt that her ex wasn’t there for her during their relationship.
When he saw the change in her, that’s when the badmouthing began.
“My ex and I aren’t friends anymore. I wish I’d handled [the situation] better because my actions influenced his crap-talking, to be honest.”
I asked her if she had any advice for anyone whose exes are also bad-mouthing them, she had this to say:
“The only advice I would give is to talk it out once you go through all your emotions. It’s best to talk when you’re [both] calm and civilized, so you can really hear each other out. And be truthful to each other.”
While trying to talk to the ex and confronting him wasn’t an option for Cassie in her situation, it was for the next account, one told me by a third party about a girl named Sasha*.
The relationship was apparently unhealthy from the get-go, and it didn’t help things that Sasha and her ex were living together and working at the same place. They fought a lot, which eventually resulted in the breakup.
In the words of one of Sasha’s friends, her ex was “butt hurt” and called her a “crazy b*tch.”
He would also try to convince their mutual friends that she would go to his place and ask for sex sometimes. But Sasha says it was the complete opposite – HE came over drunk to Sasha’s new place and begged for her. And while her ex would hook up with other girls, he would constantly try to “run into” her and her friends while they were out on the weekends just to, as Sasha says, “ruin her fun.”
While Sasha constantly told her ex to leave her alone – stop following her and spreading rumors about her – he would stop until being told by her friend, a much bigger guy, to quit. Eventually, he did and while his taunting stopped, Sasha decided to leave the job she was at and move to a new city. For her, working with her toxic ex got to be too much to handle, even after the taunting ended.
Sasha’s friend didn’t share any advice in addition to sharing her story, as it wasn’t her own personal situation. But Sasha’s support group of friends were helpful in getting her ex to stop, even though her own confrontations with her ex weren’t. Sometimes, when you and the person you’re dating share mutual friends, however, things can get trickier, as they had for Jessie*.
Jessie had only been with her ex for two weeks, so she hardly considered theirs a relationship. They’d been friends for a while, and had been part of a larger group of mutual friends. They spent almost all of their winter break together, and had slept together. It was Jessie’s first time.
After winter break, they decided to end things mutually because they were both going to different colleges anyway, so they didn’t see the point of keeping things up. Jessie wasn’t upset by this decision as much as she was by her ex’s reason.
“He was about to leave to study abroad and he told me he didn’t want to see me anymore because he wanted the freedom to sleep with other [sic] girls abroad.”
Even though she was okay with he split, she let her ex know that it wasn’t a very nice way to end things, but still they ended things amicably. Or so she thought.
After the break, Jessie’s entire friend group pretty ghosted on her! They stopped talking to her, made excuses to not hang out with her – basically, they cut her out of the group.
She didn’t understand why and didn’t know until a few months later when she found out the truth. Her ex had told their mutual friends that Jessie was the one who ended things so she could sleep around in college.
Now, I’m gonna break the story here just to say that this guy is an ampersand and two dollar signs.
How could he play her like that?
To their friends?!
Those friends aren’t the best, either.
They’d turned their backs on Jessie without even hearing her side of things.
While Jessie never confronted her ex about his bad mouthing (what else could he have said?!), her sister did confront one of the friends to confirm the story. She wanted to, though, but thought it would be a fruitless effort. She remained to be friendly towards everyone in the group, no one made efforts to strengthen their friendships. She sadly I friended each one of them.
For her, the decision to end things with her ex and friends was a good one, a way to develop healthier and stronger relationships and friendships in the future.
“Some people would call it cowardly,” she begins, “But I don’t think there’s any harm in taking care of my own emotional and mental well-being first and foremost.”
And she does have a point, ladies. Sometimes, in the midst of a relationship, we (as in anyone in said relationship, not just women in particular) tend to forget to take care of ourselves and what we want. We sometimes forget what our worth is, especially when we hear someone isn’t saying kind words to us.
The last story I want to share with you is that of Emma*.
Emma’s case is more of the same as the rest. I got the chance to speak one-on-one with her about her experience, which was great. She was very candid about sharing this with me, and her honesty and openness with talking about this rough patch in her life is very much appreciated.
Emma knew she shouldn’t have dated her ex because of the past he had. She knew him to be a player, as it was pretty much the reputation he was known for. She resisted him for a while before finally giving in to him. She knew he wasn’t a good guy, but she wanted change him.
“He was known to lie and cheat…I realized towards the end that there was no way to change him. He gave me a reason not to trust him,” she recalls. “Sometimes, I was convinced he was changing.”
The breaking point for Emma, why she ultimately decided to break up was him involved a lie he told. One night, he told Emma that he was going to be with family. Instead, she found out he was actually with another girl, who Emma describes as a “bad influence.”
“It wasn’t an easy breakup,” Emma says. “He was hurt and blindsided [by it].”
Emma admits that while she was trying to move on from her ex, they both had a moment of weakness and slept with each other. After that, he’d tell her she was “being slutty.”
At some point after the breakup, he hung out with that same girl that caused his breakup with Emma. They eventually became a couple, and the ex started talking smack about Emma to his new girlfriend. It wasn’t long before his new girl picked up on that.
Not only this, though. Emma and her ex shared a mutual friend. Emma believes that this mutual friend had loyalties toward her ex more than she had toward Emma. She believes this because the mutual friend is how she found out about the name-calling and smack talking he ex was saying about her. Emma eventually decided to stop sharing her own feelings about her ex with their mutual friend.
“I talked crap about him and his girlfriend because he did it to me,” she says of what influenced her to mimic his behavior. She didn’t like this change, and knew hanging out with their mutual friend would only result in more hurt and anger, that she decided to move on from all of it.
It took some time for Emma to date again. She spent most of her time post-breakup with one or two people she trusted the most – her sister and her best friend. Something she advises people to do.
She also didn’t see a future in being friends with her ex, so she didn’t confront him about his bad-mouthing. And as a result of how traumatic this breakup was to her, she realized she didn’t know how to trust. When she first started dating her current boyfriend, it took her a whole year to stop “being a b*tch to him.”
“I needed to find myself again. I was lucky enough that after the breakup, I spent the summer traveling in Japan.”
Emma found herself there again, and made new friends along the way. “When you make new friends, the real you comes out,” she explains. “[It] gives you the confidence you never knew you had.”
When I asked Emma if she had more advice to give on what to do in this situation, and if she thought a friendship or rekindling a relationship with an ex was possible, she had this to say:
“You have to have a clean breakup. You can be friends in the future, but maybe not right away.” I asked her how she thought this was possible, she recommends to think of an ex as any other person, not as an “ex-boyfriend.”
“Think of an ex as a person, and if they are good in your life, like a positive person.” By doing this, it allows you to think of how an ex is benefitting your life. But Emma recommends to put emotions to the side while doing so and disassociate an ex from the romantic feelings.
“If you go off of your emotions, it’ll be an endless cycle [of hurt].”
Still, Emma thinks that it does take time for a friendship to develop again. “Talk to your ex without begging for him back. And still, give them time to settle their thoughts [and feelings]. A mutual ending could be beneficial.”
Breakups are hard, regardless who initiated it or why it happened. Things can get messier when it is your own ex, and when your ex is calling you names, saying hurtful things about you, and spreading harsh rumors.
Regardless, even though it’s hard to see it now, because you’re not only dealing with a breakup but also with an ex who talks a lot of crap about you, you will be fine. Just know that there are other women out there who are going through the same thing you’re going through. Some have gone through it and survived.
In the meantime, I hope these final thoughts will help you make it through this hard time.
- Think about your ex’s motivations for what he’s saying. Remember that whatever your ex is saying, there is some motivation behind it. No matter what the situation is, don’t feel entirely to blame because this step is to understand why he is talking crap in the first place.
- Don’t listen to their words. Like I said, breakups are hard. Most likely, your ex has a bad mouth because he’s having a hard time with the breakup and doesn’t know how else to deal with it. He is hurt, just like you are, and he probably doesn’t know any other way to express his pain. If you find yourself falling into their harsh words and believing what they say, then I recommend looking into this fantastic article written by a fellow EBR girl, Jennifer J. Bryant. It’s filled with self-love and affirmations to bring your confidence back up. In addition, if your relationship was, in any way abusive, please also read this article by another EBR girl, Carey Ann Berkle.
- Don’t stoop to their level. On the other side of the spectrum, don’t let your ex’s words pull you down to his level. It’s easy to call people names and spread rumors about them when they’re the ones who, as kids say, “started it.” But you’re an adult, not a child anymore, and you don’t have to stoop to that level. I think it’s normal for people to bad-mouth their exes because it helps them disassociate feelings of love for them and instead replace them with feelings of resentment. But don’t do it, especially if it’s easy for your ex to find out you’ve been trash talking him as much as he has to you. It will be a constant back and forth and there will be no end.
- Do a mini-NC. Chances are, if you know your ex is talking crap about you, it’s because you’re somehow still connected to his world. Give yourself a break from that negativity and limit your contact with you ex, or just don’t contact him at all.
- If you’re ready, talk it out. Once you’ve regained your confidence in yourself and remembered who you are and not what your ex says you are, and if you let enough time pass between the breakup and the present – talk it out. But, as Emma mentioned, make sure to disassociate your ex from the emotions you felt for him. Talk it out with him as you would a coworker or friend who hurt you. Let them know why what they’re saying is hurtful and explain to them why they should stop. Also remember to remain calm so you can carry on.
- DO YOU. Don’t be afraid to find yourself again. You don’t have to fly all the way to Japan to find who you are. But you can definitely find yourself by diving into new hobbies, activities, new friends, and goals. New hobbies and activities can be a fund distraction from a rude ex and what he’s saying. Making new friends can help you see what kind of person you are and what kind of people you want to be around. It can help you find a kind of confidence in yourself that you’ve never known. And making new goals can keep your eyes focused on the future rather than looking back on the painful past.
You are not a crazy b*tch.
You’re not a dirty slut.
You are not clingy or selfish.
You’re not immature or a prude. And if you give into what your ex is saying about you, you will eventually believe it. But you are not those things.
You are beautiful, kind, intelligent, and perfect how you are.