Pros and cons for searching for an ex online

Emotional Aspects of Searching for an Ex-Partner Online

The internet has made it easy to check up on former spouses and boy or girlfriends. In some cases, one may feel relief, “I dodged a bullet on that one.” In other instances, it can lead to the what ifs – “What if I had stayed with him/her.” When deciding whether or not to look up an ex-partner, first think about your motivation. Is it idle curiosity or pondering the question of getting divorced, if an ex may be available?

One acquaintance’s wife went on social media to discover the whereabouts of an old boyfriend. She contacted him and they started having long weekends together that she passed off as business trips. When her suspicious husband confronted her, she confessed about the affair. This couple soon divorced and she later married her former boyfriend. Be clear why you are seeking out information, especially when already in a committed relationship.

People may be delving back into the past to see if they have made good choices. This can get into the dangerous territory of regrets. There may be one person who slipped through their fingers and got away. Seeing that individual’s fabulous lifestyle online can have one questioning why they broke up with them, especially if currently going through a divorce. People may wonder if they were too hasty in letting a love interest go. Instead of saying “what if” think about the great children you now have or the life experiences you would have missed if you did not take the road that you did.

Social media and online searches hit the surface- the great professional accomplishments- but usually do not get at the character traits and values. What tore you apart before, can still do so today unless you both have changed or had some type of enlightenment.

After much prodding by a friend to look up people online, I recently decided to give it a go. I searched for a former fiancé and got quite a surprise. I had broken up with him because of a few character issues and I am sure I had my quirks too. He got married within a few years after our parting of ways, which ended in a divorce fairly quickly. What I discovered online is that he is one of the top surgeons in his field, won all kinds of awards, including “Best Doctor” and is employed at a prestigious institution.

What comes as a surprise is the intensity of emotions that arise as a result of searching for a person from your past. My fiancé and I had a clean break and two years later bumped into each other which ignited our passion. We decided to pursue getting back together again. It  seemed like miscommunication on both of our parts led to us each thinking that the other had changed their minds. When I realized our mistake over two decades later, I went through profound grief  which manifested itself physically, as if big waves were crashing against me. I mourned not having his loving parents, siblings and extended family in my life. I felt a sense of loss. Others may experience anger, sadness, or wanting a time machine to go back into the past. When deciding whether or not to do a search, be prepared for some strong reactions to what is discovered.

If having problems after doing an online search for an ex, consider a session with a life coach. They can give you a reality check and get you back on track.  Thinking over our last phone call, I thought maybe my communication was not clear.  The coach pointed out that my fiancé had the responsibility to clarify what he thought my message was, in case of misinterpretation.   He easily could have popped in where I worked to see me. This was before cell phones, so I did not have a way to contact him. My life coach suggested perhaps a marriage for us was not meant to be.

In some instances, former boyfriends and girlfriends have found each other again through social media and got married. The common thread is that they are both single and what broke them up is no longer a factor. These include having been too young, parental disapproval or a long-distance relationship, such as going to universities on different continents. It was not a character flaw.

There is a way to satisfy curiosity regarding old classmates and high school sweethearts. See if your class has a group on social media, such as on Facebook where you can catch up with these friends. You can find out what is new with your former flame in this group setting, without contacting them directly.

After a traumatic divorce, one can be lonely, especially when losing friends and some in-laws because of it. One can feel vulnerable and trying to get comfort from past relationships may not be the right path. Give yourself time to heal and gain self-understanding before attempting any social media searches for past partners. When feeling alone, consider networking, meeting new people and joining clubs. Take up old hobbies and follow your interests. Surrounding yourself with supportive people may be what you need most, rather than searching for former loves.

My article was originally printed in DivorceForce   https://www.divorceforce.com/   Affected by Divorce? Join DivorceForce, the online community committed to empowering those affected by divorce. Many helpful articles for those facing divorce.   @divorceforce (Twitter)