Sometimes ignorance is bliss. New information, years after the fact, is more trouble than it's worth. Sure, it's fun to see if your ex has a MySpace page, but really, is it going to make you feel better if you find out that his new girlfriend is 50 pounds lighter than you? My advice is never Google an ex-boyfriend.
Most people have experienced the joy and ultimate heartbreak of their first love, that person whose presence etches a blueprint onto your heart. My first love happened at 19. It was an interracial relationship, and I eventually realized that while I made a great "friend with benefits," my ethnicity - and, most importantly, my unwillingness to stay in that role - meant that it was never going to be more than that. My insecure, young white boyfriend from a small town was looking for a socially suitable girl he could bring home to Ma and Pa, but he still liked getting some black tail on the side.
One of the highlights of the relationship was an unplanned pregnancy and eventual abortion. He didn't want to be seen with me as we left the hospital, so he bolted, leaving me to walk (limp) to the waiting taxi alone. Five days later, he dumped me.
While I tried to rebuild my self-esteem and eventually dated a number of equally dysfunctional men, I remained friends with him. After all, you don't throw the friendship built over four years of a relationship out the window, do you?
He started to date an Asian woman who, he told me, had all the qualities that I didn't have - she was passive and exotic. I intimidated him, he told me. She would eventually follow him to Europe. Even though he promised that he'd keep in touch, I didn't hear from him for over three years.
One day, as I was regaling a friend on the phone with my previous night's sexual conquest, my call-waiting beeped. I was shocked to hear the voice of my ex-lover, who had moved back to Toronto. Eventually, we met for a drink, and within a month he was back in my bed.
Thinking that he must have re-entered my life for a reason other than to torture me emotionally, I told him of my plans to move into a larger apartment and asked him to move in with me. While he never said no, from his lacklustre response I knew he wasn't interested. After some prodding, I discovered that he was still with the same woman who had followed him abroad. After I told him that I felt like a whore and prayed that having an affair with a man who had a live-in girlfriend wouldn't come back and bite me in the ass, I ended it.
Years later, I typed in his name into Google. One of the first web pages to appear looked like a bio. After reading a few paragraphs about his culinary background, the bio mentioned that he had been married for nine years (to the same woman), had two dogs and a child. I couldn't help but feel upset and jealous - first about the kid, since I now have some issues "down there" that were exacerbated by the abortion. But as I went out to cool off with a walk, I thought, "He's been married for nine years? Hold on a second. That was when he and I... Jesus! That means he was married when I was sleeping with him!"
Of course, I went moaning to a girlfriend, who chastised me for doing the search. Then she suggested that if I ever saw him on the street with his wife I should tell her the truth. I thought that throwing him in front of a moving truck might make me feel better, but he's not worth going to jail for.
I don't think I will ever fully trust a man for the rest of my life. Anyone who can remain friends with an ex-lover without it wrecking their self-esteem deserves a medal. I have learned to let sleeping dogs lie - literally and figuratively.