Should you get revenge on an ex? If you've ever had a cold-hearted lout stomp all over your heart, you may be saying yes. Revenge makes you feel better, and if it's not illegal or violent, why not give yourself the satisfaction of seeing your ex suffer?
On the other hand, maybe getting revenge will actually make you feel worse. It's not going to win you any points in the integrity game, and that momentary gratification might give way to regret.
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Here, Ted McPherson (anti-revenge) and Judy McGuire (pro-revenge) debate: is getting revenge a good idea? Read what they have to say, and let us know what you think in the comments.
Judy: Why are you so anti-revenge?
Ted: I think when people feel humiliated, they have a strong need to restore order. Someone cheated on you, so you need to rebalance the fairness of the universe. My mom's a psychotherapist, and she's always saying that one of the most basic needs is the need to feel virtuous. Is Revenge Cheating OK?
Judy: See, I don't feel that need, which is key!
Ted: Playing some kind of prank on them isn't going to make them realize they've behaved badly. It's more likely to reinforce their feelings of being victimized and deserving to do whatever they want. An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind, as they say.
Judy: It's true that some people feel like victims when they're not. So many cheaters have a need to blame their partner for their transgressions. While yes, the partner did have a role in building a sucky relationship, the choice to step outside the relationship was theirs. I think things like alerting the other person's spouse, or mutual friend might be looked at as vengeful, when it's really not.
But when you have a nude photo of them, bloated and with a boa wrapped around their neck and you show it to a few girlfriends—who's that hurting? Besides my girlfriends, I mean.
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Ted: But that's something they might never even be aware of, which I'm not sure even counts as revenge.
Judy: I don't know—it makes you feel a little better at their expense, so it counts.