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Whatever You Do, Don’t Google Your Ex-Boyfriends

And I'm here to tell you why.

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gif of lady opening her laptop googling ex
Alice Mollon
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To Google or to not Google, that is the question to ask yourself.

Knowledge is power. Our generation went on dates, well before the ability to check out someone on the 'net was possible. The closest you could come was pumping your "set up" friend for further intel, to see if there was a bad breakup, a gambling problem or anything else that made you want to stay home and instead watch The Golden Girls and eat ice cream straight from the pint container.

I'll admit that I'm regretting recent Googling. I wondered what had happened to two of my ex-boyfriends. So, I let the magic and wonder of the search engine's algorithm bring this information right to me. “Be careful what you wish for, you may receive it” is an old saying with a lot of truth to it.

They're both dead. Yes, D-E-A-D!

My first thought was selfish, realizing that we've reached the age where this is a possibility. You can be curious about someone from your past, only to find that they are gone forever. When you're in your 20s, it's an unspeakable tragedy. At 50, it starts to be something that is just a natural progression: You're alive … and then you're not. That song from The Lion King about the circle of life starts to softly play inside your head. It's not pleasant to have reached this life milestone where Googling brings you such sad surprises.

Both relationships did not end well. One of them broke my heart into a gazillion, glittery pieces as I was just starting college. He was incredibly charming, and not only did that work successfully on me, but also on about four other girls who I managed to figure out existed before I broke up with him. It was a young-love relationship where I loved hard, and then ended it just as hard. I realized in that romance to watch what a guy did instead of just listen to the sweet things he said. The other guy was about a decade later, someone with whom I was set up on a blind date. A couple of dates in, I discovered we were not a great match. When I broke up with him, he did not take it well. For months after, he sent me rambling notes and odd little gifts. I didn't understand why he couldn't let go of someone whom he'd been on only about three dates with. So, I'll admit that I wanted to see where he was — the way you want to keep track of a dog that once bit you.

Still, part of me wondered where life had brought the two of them, after all of these years. On our dates, they had mentioned career dreams, places they wanted to travel and other plans. But now they'd reached their final chapter, and the book was closed: The End.

This hit me harder than it might have for some. I am one of the few people who will actually say they are grateful for the pneumonia that landed them in the hospital, because it meant the doctors were able to find something that, if not discovered, would quickly have ended my life. Without the pneumonia, most likely it would have silently existed until it suddenly decided to turn to the final chapter of my book, writing "The End." Six months later, I turned 50. “Circle of Life” did not play for me. I get to sing other songs and chase my dreams.

I have to say that I really love Google. I don't know if I'm "in love" with this search engine, but I do use it often, probably every day. And it makes me realize that when you search at our age for someone from your past, they may now be entirely in the past for good. Ladies: Search wisely.