Famous people do it in the press, but the rest of us have always had to seek revenge on errant lovers in the courts, or by cutting up their clothes. Not any more. The internet is providing the perfect means for ordinary men and women to strike back at their exes.
Several websites have been set up to exploit the taste for vengeance, the latest of which is (now defunct) myexwifesabitch.com.
"Demonic, resentful and spiteful" is how one man describes his former partner during a lengthy rant about access to their daughter, who is named. He also describes his ex as "vindictive, malicious, mean and a cheat".
Most revenge sites are for women. But myexwifesabitch. com has been set up for men by Dave Schofield and Bryan Sibbald from Bristol.
"I went through a divorce and it ended up costing me over pounds 20,000," says Mr Schofield. "You end up financially stuffed and the worst thing is you are forced by law and by an angry ex-partner not to see your daughter.
"We wanted to help people get through the situation."
For a fee of pounds 25, members tell their own stories and look for friends in similar positions. "It's not anti-women," the site insists - although women may disagree. "In a world when the legal system penalises men and the world kowtows to women this is a great opportunity for men to stand up for themselves," it claims.
Mr Schofield is unrepentant about the name: "Every woman I have told the title to so far has laughed. My ex probably wouldn't, though."
Abused as she is, his ex-wife is at least allowed anonymity unlike the stars of www.cheated-on.com. The site was set up in June by Susan Hughes, 29, from Devon after she discovered that her dashing RAF pilot boyfriend had made like the hero of the song "Soldier, Soldier, Will You Marry Me?", and already had a wife.
So she got even, and created a forum for her fellow victims of infidelity. In the Cheats Gallery, devious exes are named and shamed. "For six quid for the bus fare he let my pet lizard lick Marmite from his nuts," writes one ex with admirable nonchalance, beside a named photo of the guilty man. "Revenge is a very natural human emotion," says Paula Hall, a relationship therapist with Relate. "How you decide to act on that varies. It can be constructive, very destructive or even illegal. But when it's done purely to hurt, one repercussion is the damage done to the self-esteem of the person doing the hurting."
Damaged self-esteem was not the only repercussion suffered by Paul Clarke when he took revenge on his unfaithful girlfriend. He created a website that showed videos of them making love, and told friends, family and colleagues. "I don't know who's seen this website," said his ex, Cara Whitehouse, in court. "My life is ruined." Clarke was jailed for three months.
So it may be worth thinking twice before visiting www.calastrology.com/spells and buying a "Retribution Spell" for your partner, or selling your "unwanted gift from a low-life rat" on eBay, like Sam Jones did when her partner denied paternity of her baby. But Thea Newcomb, of www.soyouvebeendumped.com thinks she has a better answer.
"SYBD is about positive revenge," she says. Since the site was set up, Ms Newcomb has helped dozens of cheated partners sell their stories to newspapers and magazines, and they have made a fortune.
"She went to university and from then on she started cheating on me. She is one of those girls that always gets her way and then gets away with all the bad things she has done. She even had sex with me after we broke up and was apparently in love with somebody else ... I can only imagine the stuff I haven't heard about her from my circle. Have I mentioned how much I hate her?"A Welsh dumpee tells www.is-a-cheat.com about "Gemma":
"He had three long-term girlfriends (that we know of) at once, spanning three years. None of them knew about the existence of the others. Two lived with him at different times in his flat. He spoke of marriage and children with all three of us! His explanation for periods of separation was his dedication to looking after his elderly grandmother."A member of (now defunct) cheated-on.com dishes the dirt on Jason from Hampshire:
Laura Milnes, 40, above, from Maltby, south Yorkshire, became involved with a married man when they met up again through the website Friends Reunited. Earlier this year she found he was cheating on her with several different women he had met on internet dating sites. Laura went to see his wife. Together, they worked out the password to his email account and Laura forwarded his intimate emails to everyone in his address book.
"I had it all ready to send but I was scared at first. I felt like I'd wasted a whole year of my life, being devoted to him, and it was all a sham. I thought, nobody will write back, nobody will say anything. So I sent it. But then I got all these emails saying, `How awful for you' and `Good for you' for doing it. I just wanted them to see that he was not the honest, nice family man that they thought; he was actually a pig."He didn't get back in touch until a week later. He wasn't angry or anything, he just said, `Why did you do it?' I said, `Impulse. I was just so angry with you.'
"He says he doesn't hate me. But we're not in touch.ORIGINAL ARTICLE
"I'm glad I did it because when somebody does something bad to you, you get all chewed up and angry and bitter and you've got to release it. It's like when you have a big argument; you clear the air.
"It's ironic how our relationship started on the internet, and that is also how I got my revenge. I think it's called poetic justice! I would recommend it, it's very satisfying."
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