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‘Why would you sue?’: If you’re being hexed by an ex – or three – don’t turn to the law for help

After months of misery, Australian women had a little laugh at the law’s expense last week. Banking IT consultant Constantine Arvanitis is suing one of three former girlfriends, Selina Holder, for defamation. The three exes “allegedly banded together to send a letter to his [current] fiancee telling her to leave him”. The case will be heard in the Victorian County Court in May. The letter, which Holder denies sending, claims Arvanitis is dangerous, a cheater, spent $220,000 on cocaine, sold Viagra at his workplace and juggled relationships with multiple women while claiming to be monogamous.

I’m exhausted just reading the list.

It’s very unusual for a case like this to reach court, says solicitor Amy Carr O’Meara, who gets approaches from men to represent them in defamation cases such as this regularly. “It happens far more than you would expect but I don’t take them on.”

Constantine Arvanitis has lodged a defamation lawsuit against his former partner.

Constantine Arvanitis has lodged a defamation lawsuit against his former partner. Credit: Supplied

“Why would you sue?” she asks. Which is a strange response from a solicitor yet also an admirable one. “Those personal defamation cases are often associated with an ugly family law battle … you do more harm to your reputation than good.”

But the banding together of the exes to write a letter to the current girlfriend is a new one on me. I mean, who among us has not contacted our former partner’s current partner to spill the tea? But collaborating with other exes? That takes a particular kind of sisterhood, the expression the three women used to describe themselves.

They wrote: “We are the sisterhood. We have to expose him. He will take all your money. He has to be stopped. You must contact us so we can protect you from this evil person. We all want to help you. We are in Melbourne together so please meet with us.”

Turns out it’s quite the thing with the younger set. They use Facebook and Instagram and are adept at tracking down formers using Google images and other excellent detection work. And then they set about letting new partners know what experiences they had. Truly a public service.

Here are some fascinating examples. One young man told his “one and only” girlfriend he was going away on a golfing holiday with his mates. A day later, the girlfriend received a text message from an unknown number, a woman who was on the “golfing holiday”. The woman had a bad feeling about the bloke, went through his phone messages, discovered he had a girlfriend, felt she ought to let the girlfriend know and left the “golfing holiday” midway. (Oh man, phones, text messages, privacy, I have a million conflicting thoughts about this but really lying and cheating deserve exposure. Utilitarianism for the win.) This was the ultimate act of the Travelling Sisterhood of Unravelling Pants Men.

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