Cosmo November 2013: Ex Management


Article: Ex Management

Author: Jessica Knoll

Summary: As expected from the title, this gem offers advice on how to deal with a variety of what are evidently stereotypical exes. The degree of horrible to which Cosmo’s advice descends is pretty dependent on the stereotype they choose to talk about, but it’s all pretty bad. Of note is the fact that Cosmo enjoys engaging in some totally healthy self-blame and simultaneously caveman-ifying the men by focusing on six ex stereotypes.


1. The Dirtbag Who Cheated on You

John Oliver carlos danger

Obviously, this focuses on an ex who cheated, except Cosmo calls this “your own personal Carlos Danger.” This is, admittedly, kind of hilarious. However, the hilarity ends shortly after the subtitle. There is one piece of less than horrible advice; Cosmo advises you to look at successfully relationships, maybe your parents, to remind yourself that “healthy relationships do exist, not all men cheat.” If a cheating ex has left you with some trust issues, maybe this is a good idea.

However, what is not a good idea is the advice that comes later. Here, the article tells everyone that “a lot of times we project onto people what we want them to be.” So, that’s nice. Evidently some of this whole thing is your fault. Personally, I kind of doubt that his cheating is your fault even if you did have trouble seeing his true personality. Finally, we end with a discussion of how you might have lots of questions for the guy, but “he’s probably not self-aware enough to understand fully why he did what he did.” Because men are simple creatures who can’t be expected to perform like full-fledged humans: “Me caveman, you cavewoman. SEX?!”


2. The guy who said he wasn’t ready for commitment…but then proposed to the next thing with boobs. Not cool.

First of all, I seriously doubt he proposed to the “next thing with boobs.” What, he broke up with you, walked out onto the street, saw a “thing” with boobs and produced a wedding ring? I think not. Also, at least say “another woman” rather than “a thing.” The word choice is simply demonizing some innocent woman who did nothing but start dating and eventually get engaged to some man who previously dated you.

Beyond this lovely subtitle, perhaps people should just accept that you aren’t going to marry the first man you date. Cosmo does eventually obliquely acknowledge this, and the article advises its readers to just wish him the best and leave it alone. Good advice! Do that! Don’t demonize the poor woman.

In addition, perhaps you don’t need to take Cosmo’s final piece of advice, which is to make all your friends confirm that you are “way prettier and funnier” than the fiancee.


3. The ex who’s still in your life

This advises you on how to deal with an ex who is in your circle of friends. You hang out with the same people, go to the same parties, and just generally see each other a lot. Admittedly, this is not an easy situation. Cosmo offers that it’s ok to take time away from your ex and events he will be at. This is good advice.

However, it stems from the implicit assumption that everything is about the guy. You need to prove how awesome you are, how much of a mistake he made by breaking up with you, and the like. Here’s a thought – you do you. Do some shit that makes you feel better without being burdened by trying to be “awesome” all the time.

Finally, Cosmo wants to make sure you know your “ex rights.” Ah yes, those new human rights that are just gaining international attention – the ex-rights.


There is no international agreement on ex rights everyone.

4. The guy who turns out to like guys

Truthfully there isn’t much horrible about this. A “reader” complains about how one of her exes is now gay and is offended he didn’t tell her. Cosmo essentially tells her to stop being so self-centered and accept that he probably went through a difficult time and respect that. This isn’t about you. Kudos to Cosmo for actual good ideas!


Cosmo so rarely (read, never) offers good advice they deserve some applause for this one.

5. The guy you destroyed

Here, we discuss how you might dump a guy but then continue to message him just to check in. Admittedly, the reader this is based on genuinely seems to want her ex to do well, and she checks in to make sure he is. Cosmo emphasizes the need to “cut the cord” in order to stop stringing him along. If you are in fact stringing him along, this is a good idea. If you two are somehow legitimately friends, this is not. This is a case by case assessment, just like courts assessing knock and announce rule cases.


Just accept my bad legal analogies.

6. The one that got away

Really, there is absolutely nothing of interest in this segment. It is just really oddly focused on having coffee with “the one that got away.” The entire thing is about how having coffee is the magical panacea cure to being hung up on this guy. Which, I suppose if you’ve built up this guy in your mind, seeing him again could help remind you that he isn’t a god among men. On the other hand, it really could hurt. What if seeing him only intensifies your longing? That is not a good idea. Again, perhaps this should be a more individualized assessment?


Of our idea. Not Cosmo obviously.

BONUS: What his Ex Says About Him

This little featurette included within the article is probably the best part. If his exes all look like you, this isn’t a reason to worry as long as he is “committed to getting to know the real you.” Most people have a type, and that’s totally fine. Though the use of the term “sister exes” is suspect in my book.


The feature also looks at what to do when the ex has gone psycho on him. Evidently, this is a huge warning signal that you are dating a crazy man. I suppose this could be true if ALL his exes are like that, but one psycho ex does not indicate an unhinged boyfriend. It just indicates an unhinged ex. Cosmo is also doubtful of men who don’t have an ex; you should only date them if you are “up for doing a little training” (like a puppy?). Look, if you like the dude and he isn’t immature or showing any other signs, go for it.


Finally, if his ex is his BFF, Cosmo believes this is a HUGE LIFE-ALTERING PROBLEM. Admittedly, this is very difficult. It’s a hard situation to navigate. But this does not mean that you must drop him like a hot potato like the article advises.

Overall, not the worst article I’ve read. It had some admittedly solid advice buried in the crap. However, I’d still be a bit hesitant to take any kind of relationship advice from Cosmo. Alright. That’s an understatement. Don’t take advice from this magazine. Don’t. Just say no.



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