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Why Can't People Shut Up About Their Exes?

Jesse James, I'm talking to you. But also, to most of the divorced women in my family.

I just read another story about Jesse James being douchey and talking smack about his former marriage to Sandra Bullock. Like pretty much everything I read about James, it got on my nerves. Shut up already, dude! But then I started thinking, Why the hell can't anyone ever stop blabbing about their "evil" ex ? My own mother is a perfect example.* Twenty-five years after her divorce, she still manages to reference my father in nearly every conversation we have, mentioning how rotten he is and how it's totally his fault she just got a parking ticket. I know I'm not alone. One of my favorite comics, Chelsea Peretti, has a great joke about her mother "helpfully" reminding her of the details of her parents’ divorce that happened when she was just a baby.

News flash: Anyone who says anything negative about their ex comes off as bitter, petty and, well...not over it. Now, on some level, they must know this, right? Yet they still feel compelled to talk trash. Here's my thinking: Hate your marriage? Fine, get divorced. Okay, now it's over, right? So why are you still talking about it? Of course, I realize that some marriage flameouts have exceptional circumstances that make it harder to just up and move on postdivorce. Some people justifiably feel like they need to talk about it publicly to sort of get "their side" of things out there. In fact, if Sandra Bullock were giving interview after interview about her snake-of-an-ex, I think we'd all be pretty understanding…for like three weeks, after which time, we'd all board the “Get Over it Sandra” bus.

So here's my question: Why do otherwise smart, lovely people (including women in my own family and some of my dearest girlfriends) insist on wading into the mud to trash their exes long after the marriage has been dissolved? Don't they know it makes them look bad?

*As I have said a zillion times, I write this blog under a pen name. So any hand-wringing you might currently be doing about my mother reading this blog and feeling hurt is unnecessary. My mama's sensitive feelings are safe, I assure you. In other news…no, divorced lady who still blames everything on her ex, I am (probably) not your daughter.

-- Holly