Ghost of Boyfriends Past
Reconnecting Made Easy
"A few years ago, I looked up my high school boyfriend through our school's alumni list," says Heidi, 36, a New York editor. "We got in touch. I blurted out that I still had feelings for him, and he responded with the news that he was getting married. We met up anyway, and though I didn't do anything naughty, I did come away from the meeting with the strong sense that he was marrying for all the wrong reasons.
"By the time my plane touched down in my home city, I had realized I was in love with the guy and not only should he dump the fiance, he should up and marry me," she recalls. I sent him a letter saying so, and heard nothing back. That is, until a few months ago, when he e-mailed me to announce his divorce. To which I replied, 'That's nice. I'm married, pregnant, and very happy, thank you very much.'"
Heidi's story -- or something like it -- is becoming more and more common lately. With the Internet right there at our fingertips, and the little rectangular box in the middle of the Google screen just begging for you to type in the name of anyone you're curious about, romantic nostalgia searches are not only easy, they're almost impossible to avoid. And it seems to be a harmless guilty pleasure: It can feel positively devilish to let your flying fingers find that old boyfriend, unrequited crush, or summer fling from years ago -- through Classmates.com, MySpace.com, college and high school bulletin boards, or just plain Googling their names.