Part of the human experience is trying to find a partner with whom we can share our lives. To find this partner, we can go through several relationships that might succeed or fail depending on compatibility. For most, relationships that end are viewed as milestones toward the end goal, and most people are willing to split amicably in pursuit of happiness.
You likely have a few ex-girlfriends or ex-boyfriends from your time dating that have since moved on with their lives as you have. Unfortunately, not every ended relationship is a clean break where both parties can move forward. Some breakups are more catastrophic and can turn your ex into a spiteful enemy determined to get payback for “your sleights.”
While most people lack the resources to damage another person significantly, a former romantic partner has access to average information strangers do not. This information allows a spiteful ex to wreak havoc on your personal life and reputation. Given the importance of one’s public image in modern society, having someone drag your name through the mud can be very dangerous.
If your breakup was particularly unpleasant, your ex might be willing to use the information they have about you to try and damage your reputation and impact your future. When an ex is attacking your reputation, it can be difficult to figure out what to do next, given your history with the individual.
Are They Releasing Personal Identifying Information?
When in a relationship, we will end up sharing certain information with them that we normally guard. This is not to say you are going around sharing your social security number with everyone you date, but your address and possibly a few passwords might fall into their hands. This information is innocuous when you are in a relationship, but the hostility of an ex can turn this information into a dangerous weapon. Sometimes, your ex might use the information you shared to harm you. How they might do so can vary but will almost always include the distribution of the information to other parties.
While your address might be more public than other details about your life, having your home details broadcasted can cause serious issues. It lets people track you down who might present a physical threat to your safety and enables certain fraudulent behavior. The more people who have your address, the easier it becomes for people to use that address to file paperwork tied to that address or use it to determine your Internet Protocol (IP) address.
Your ex might be distributing this information to make your life difficult and might be unaware of the danger associated with making your private information public. Though some people are painfully aware of how releasing this information can adversely affect your reputation and safety. It is also worth noting that your ex might use your address to fill out financial forms, which can impact your credit. If your ex abuses your personally identifying information, you might be forced to pursue legal action against them.
A common mistake people make when in a committed relationship is sharing login information for personal social media accounts. While originally devised to connect us to friends and family worldwide, these accounts have become a window into our personalities and behaviors for strangers and friends. As a result, modern social media has become one of the primary tools for curating and managing a reputation. When a post on social media goes awry or becomes politically charged, it can cause serious repercussions with some of the more vocal community members.
If your ex has access to your login information and feels spiteful, they might be willing to access your account and intentionally make inflammatory posts. Doing so can severely harm your reputation by making you appear an enemy to certain demographics. If your spouse has ever had access to your social media accounts, you should immediately change your login information after the breakup to ensure your account remains private. While your ex might try to tag you in posts defaming you, they are less severe than posts made under your name that intentionally antagonize the rest of the community.
Are They Posting Intimate Images Online?
One of the most devastating privacy breaches is when someone we share intimate imagery with posts those photos online. Intimate images are meant to remain private between us and our significant others, though some couples refrain entirely from exchanging them.
If you and your ex were among the couples in the country who exchanged images of this nature, you might have been planning on their discretion to keep those images safe. Unfortunately, not everyone has the integrity necessary to keep the images private, especially exes with a grudge. These less trustworthy people might be willing to post these intimate photos online to “get back at you” over the failed relationship.
It is no secret that having your intimate images released online without your consent can destroy your public image. It also opens the door for harassment from those who can locate the images your spiteful ex posted. Additionally, having an intimate image posted publicly can adversely affect your career prospects, as most reputable employers will be averse to hiring someone with a “scandal” behind them. Even if the image was posted against your will, most employers would view its existence as an example of unprofessionalism.
If your ex is posting images on public domains, you will need to act immediately to have the images removed. Several tools allow you to request the removal of images or videos that show you in a compromised position. When this content is posted against your will, virtually every website is legally required to remove the content. The key is to act fast before people can begin downloading the image for themselves, rendering the post almost permanent. Unfortunately, no matter how fast you are, the person posting this content remains the issue. Eventually, you will have to confront your ex about their behavior.
Consider Civil Conversation
When your spouse actively sabotages your reputation, it is usually born from a place of pain over the relationship’s end. This is not to say there is any excuse for their toxic behavior, but that it comes from a place of hurt that might be resolved with civility. When an ex behaves in a way that causes reputational damage or jeopardizes your safety, it is reasonable to want to see them punished for their malfeasance.
Despite that desire, it is sometimes in everyone’s best interest to sit down and have a conversation before jumping straight to a reprisal. You might be shocked that your ex is more open to talking things through than you initially believed.
Breakups are emotionally turbulent and can leave people feeling like they were not good enough for the partner they lost. Most modern breakups do not allow for a processing phase where both people can talk through their issues with the split. Sometimes, this leads to your ex attacking your reputation rather than because they harbor genuine hatred toward you. While we must stress that this will not necessarily solve the issue, sometimes taking your ex aside and having a conversation can resolve some of the issues.
These conversations will allow you to identify the core issues contributing to your ex’s hostile behavior and open avenues for resolving them. Unfortunately, this solution only applies if your ex is open to discussion and not damaging your reputation out of genuine malice. Most ex’s willing to post sensitive information and destroy the public perception of you will do so because they have come to loathe you. As disappointing as this might be, it is an outcome you should be prepared to address.
Do Not Give Them What They Want
Usually, an ex will use behavior like this to get a rise out of you and draw you into a confrontation better left avoided. While there are rare cases where this confrontation can yield a positive result, most times, your ex only wants your attention because they want to see how their efforts affect you. Many exes sabotage their former partners to make themselves the center of attention and intentionally upset their victims. It is similar to the psychology behind bullying from our days in school, with the bully receiving satisfaction from their victims’ reactions.
As odd as it sounds, one of the best ways to neutralize an ex sabotaging your reputation is to not react to them. This is not to say you should ignore what they are doing, but that you should address it without making a big deal unless it puts you at physical, emotional, or financial risk.
Even when the issues are significant, the best course of action is to take the necessary steps to undo what they have done and report them to the proper authorities without directly confronting them. By going straight to confrontation, you empower their actions by showing them how much it bothers you.
While it is understandable that you are likely upset with your ex’s actions, giving them the satisfaction of a reaction will only encourage them to continue. Conversely, ignoring them while undoing their actions discourages continued hostile behavior and resolves most of the problems they are causing. While this advice might not always be viable, it is worth considering if your ex seems to be escalating their efforts the longer you go without acknowledging them.
Hire a Reputation Management Professional
Reputational damage is one of the most common yet complex issues facing individuals and corporations in modern society. The public perception of a person or entity can make or break their future success, and allowing your ex to dictate your reputation can leave you struggling to create a future.
The biggest problem is that the internet is a big platform that people can use to spread information further than possible before the technological revolution. This means there are millions of websites that your ex could use to disburse private information and content or talk negatively about you to a willing audience.
With so much ground to cover, it can be impossible for one person to curate their public image on their own. Fortunately, there are tools available that will allow you to protect your reputation without having to do everything yourself.
Reputation management firms can offer the services necessary to identify your ex’s handiwork and eliminate it before it can do lasting damage to your reputation. High-quality firms will be able to operate on your behalf when requesting the removal of sensitive information and content your ex might have posted. While hiring a 3rd party to manage your reputation might be daunting, protecting your reputation from a spiteful ex could make all the difference.
Take Your Reputation Back!
Breakups are a common part of the human experience and not something you will likely avoid. Relationships come and go, with some ending amicably and others leading to extended feuds with your former paramour. If your ex becomes hostile after the breakup, it might be in your best interest to safeguard any accounts or devices they previously had access to so they cannot use them against you. If they launch a campaign to destroy your reputation, you might find yourself in an uphill battle trying to keep up with them and undo the damage they are causing. This complexity makes getting a little extra help a good idea.
We at Reputation are a well-established reputation management firm based in Canada, ready to assist with any reputational threat. We offer services that allow us to manage your social media presence and take the information down from websites on your behalf. We offer several additional services that can help individual clients and businesses depending on your needs. While dealing with a hostile ex might require a little finesse, we are prepared to help you manage your reputation so you can continue life as originally planned. So, we invite you to visit our website and take your reputation back!