jealous girlI am often asked whether making your ex jealous is a good or bad idea. The truth is, it depends.

What is your goal in making your ex jealous? Jealous people don’t typically behave very well – Shakespeare wrote quite a bit about it, and you know those stories didn’t all end on a happy note!

But it does feel good, whether you hope to hook up with your ex again someday or not, to zing them a little bit and remind them of what they’re missing by not being with you. Just don’t let it become an obsession (Shakespeare wrote plenty about obsessed people too – hello, Macbeth! – and those stories ended pretty badly, too).

If you don’t want to get back together with your ex, I have to ask you why would you want to make them jealous? Better to just ignore them and get on with your life. On the other hand, if you hope to attract your ex back and start a new relationship with them, it might help to make them a bit jealous. But, be careful – manipulating other people’s emotions is not easy, and it can often backfire. If your ex senses that you are somehow scheming to make them jealous, it may remind them of negative aspects of your past relationship which led to the breakup. You don’t want that. So tread carefully. [RELATED: How to Establish Communication With Your Ex ]

The good news is that there are some good ways to focus on yourself, have fun, and make your own life better, and all those things work very well to make your ex jealous, too!

I always advise people to go out and exercise, particularly after a tough breakup (is there any other kind?). It isn’t for the reason you might think. You aren’t necessarily going to suddenly transform your body into a toned model like one of those Greek sculptures and watch your ex-lover’s eyes pop out when they see you. That sounds like a wonderful scenario, but real life just isn’t like that. Turning your body into a sculpted superhero figure takes years of dedication, no matter what the infomercials tell you. [RELATED: Will He Take You Back? How to Tell if Your Ex-Boyfriend Still Wants You ]

exerciseBut what exercise does give you is a boost of endorphins – brain chemicals that make you feel better about yourself. And feeling good about yourself, feeling happy and well adjusted makes you a hundred times more attractive. You’ve met people in your life who had that certain je ne sais quoi about them, that verve, that joy for life that made them fun to be around. Working out regularly will give you that kind of glow, and that is very attractive to other people. When you feel better about yourself, you look better to other people. You laugh and you smile and you are fun to be with.

Think about it – you bump into your ex and you’re happy, laughing, feeling good about life, having a great time, whether you’re with a group of friends or out on your own. They are likely to be a bit jealous, for sure. Your life seems to have gotten better since you broke up with them – that will probably zing their ego a bit.

Similarly, if you go out and join a club or take a class – cooking, sailing, backpacking, boxing, first aid, dog grooming, whatever interests you – you will have more fun, be more social, and also be happier. When you bump into your ex and they see that, it will remind them of what they lost when you two broke up.

Be sure that when you do resume contact with your ex, that you follow the rules that others and I have suggested about how to talk to them. Text messages about non-triggering subjects are best – keep it neutral. Tell them how much you’re enjoying your new cooking class, or that you’re learning how to sail.