Is revenge ever an option?
Last week, after a wonderful six-week relationship, my fiancé, Ned (his real name), cleaned out my apartment, sold everything off, and left me penniless. He drained my checking account, then wrote a bad check on our joint account to buy a $36,000 Ferrari.
He even killed my fish.
I have vowed to devote every waking moment to tracking him down and well, probably not killing him, per se, but getting him back really, really good.
But before I quit my job, I wanted to check with you to find out what relationship etiquette dictates in this sort of situation. Are there any rules governing this type of thing? I mean, what sort of retaliation am I allowed to commit? Can I push his new car off a cliff? With him in it?
Or should I just drink heavily until the feeling passes and forget about the whole thing?
“Revenge” is such an ugly word. I prefer vengeance, requital, reprisal, repayment, quid-pro-quo, retaliation, retribution, avengement or spite.
But that’s just me.
Women are not vengeful by nature. We are nurturing, loving, and slow to anger. Our patience knows no bounds.
Unfortunately, men often force us beyond the limits of our sweet dispositions. At these times, revenge certainly is one tool at our disposal to restore our emotional equilibrium.
Knowing when it’s appropriate to exact revenge is something of a science. However, it’s safe to say that when a man tells you he made his fortune in “securities exchange,” when what he really means is “I knocked over an armored car filled with stock certificates and then sold them to my fence,” this would be a case for requital. And if he says, “I bought you this beautiful purebred Quarter horse/appaloosa/pinto stallion because I love you,” when he really means, “I stole this horse in Texas and rode for days across the New Mexico desert in order to outwit law enforcement officers,” then probably you’d be justified in retaliating.
Generally speaking, these guidelines provide a framework for knowing when it ‘s all right to give in to your feelings of vengeance:
- If he lies to you.
- If he cheats.
- If he steals any of your possessions or money.
- If he conceals his criminal past (or present).
- If he’s late picking you up for a date.
- If he snores.
- If he makes obnoxious slurping noises while eating soup.
- If he watches too much TV.
- If he spends too much time in the bathroom.
- If he refuses to take you shopping.
Keep in mind, this is only a partial list.
As far as your own behavior in exacting vengeance, let me just say that revenge is a beautiful art. It requires skill, finesse, timing, and intelligence – all qualities women possess in abundance. For example, embarrassing a man in front of his friends (or boss, or parents) always works well. If he disparaged your cooking skills the night before, tell his co-workers at a cocktail party the next evening how much happier you’ve been since he went to the doctor for that “little blue pill.”
Your case, Perplexed, justifies more drastic action. Setting his Ferrari on fire (though not with him inside) would make a bold statement. Lashing him to the mast of a catamaran and setting him adrift on the ocean also comes to mind. And, of course, there’s always that old standby: getting him really drunk and putting him on a plane (without his wallet or passport) to any communist nation. A one-way ticket, naturally.
Revenge provides a tonic for the soul. In fact, its health benefits recently were documented in a study by Johns-Hopkins University, which found that two out of three people who retaliated against others who had wronged them felt significantly better afterwards. So, don’t be afraid to indulge your spunky side!
Good luck, dear!
© 2000-2002 Elizabeth Hanes