Old flames and friends...

Has anyone ever looked up someone from the far-ish past and had it be a good experience? Or have you learned, painfully and in repeated strokes, that it’s best to let the dead rest?

I think I’ve learned. Finally.

A girlfriend from high school emailed me out of the blue 20 years after the fact. There was a pleasant-two way update that lasted for maybe a couple of rounds, and then there was really nothing to say after that, so the conversation just ended.

A few other people (two from high school, one from grad school) emailed me as well over the past few years. I did not respond to any of them. I’ve been curious enough to Google the names of some people from my past to see if I could suss out what they were up to these days - but not curious enough to participate in an awkward, short-lived conversation with them.

Sure, I’ve looked up an ex on Facebook, and we’ve gotten back in touch. I think the main things are that neither of us has an ulterior motive, and the main reason we weren’t in touch in the first place was geography.

Hmmm. I’ve never had anyone contact me, although I am reasonably easy to find from the bits of personal info an old friend would have.

I’ve succumbed to the urge maybe five or six times over the last ten years, as the plethora of information on the net makes it easier and easier. It’s been uniformly depressing. A few didn’t even remember me (drugs and alcohol in the intervening years, mostly). A few would have been as thrilled to hear from a random school administrator as from me. Others seemed pissed at me for no reason that would surface in our brief exchanges. The worst was a very, very hot old flame who I expected to be at least pleased to hear from me… but her life had spun into deep shit in the years after our time (a severely disabled child, end of her career as a result, and a marriage rocky for those and other reasons). She was actively upset that I had contacted her and took out a number of minor complaints at me, stemming from our very, very hot two years together long ago. One friend I have not contacted is apparently mentally disabled, living with an older sibling. Oh, and one, a friend’s GF for a time in my 20s, let me know that I’d missed my chance with her, pretty much the time I was wondering if I’d missed my chance.

These were all people I was very, very close to - either committed lovers or blood bros. Not people I once sat next to in math class. Not a one I parted from on bad terms.

I think I will just let the dead past rest from here on out. Does make you stare out the window at 3 a.m. and wonder what the hell it was all about.

It didn’t end well, but I was dumb to think it would be ok.

I’ve reconnected with some of my old high school classmates. They are all doing well.

I kinda wish I could find my first love. And then again, I don’t. I’d like to think that things turned out well for her, that she’s happy where she is today. But I’d also hate to find out she’s dead from an overdose or something like that.

My first HS girlfriend found me on Facebook when she moved back into the area 5 years ago. We’re getting married next October.

It was my first head-over-heels GF that was so drug- and booze-scarred she had no recollection of her early high school years or me. (And her slide into that pit began because her father thought I was an untrustworthy jerk and her brother’s date-rapist teammate was a fine fellow.)

That one stung, too.

I lost touch with a very good friend for about 14 years. We both got married, moved a bit farther apart yada yada yada.

I had occasion to see her again when I had a meeting where she works (we are both in County Gov. Different County’s).

That was about 4 years ago. Since then we see each other about once a month for drinks. We’ve gone to a couple of concerts together and even went on an overnight music fest. It’s been great. She is pretty much one of my best friends again.

I would say about half my exes are happy to catch up every now and then and we have the mild friendship that exists when you really only see someone through facebook posts.

I would say about a quarter of my exes would be perfectly happy if I died in a fire.

The other quarter doesn’t really care. I don’t talk to them, they don’t talk to me, we have no desire to do so afaict.

I did have one friend that had a crush on me, and while I was friendly I knew we’d never make it long term so we never dated or made out. She told me not to invite her to my wedding and wished me a good life. That was a weird moment for me.

I suppose all things considered, it’s a decent ratio.

I just googled my first serious boyfriend - and found a bunch of lovely mugshots from his numerous drunk driving arrests. He was the “bad boy” of my teen years. I grew out of it. He, obviously, did not. The alcohol and years have not been favorable to him, either. He always had the most gorgeous silvery blue eyes. Now they’re faded and difficult to see in his swollen face.

A few years ago, a guy friend from high school looked me up and we went out a few times. It was… weird. He changed a lot since high school. Back then, he was the fun loving jokester, always surrounded by his group of buddies, had goals he was certain to acheive. When he looked me up, he was back living at home with his parents, unemployed, lonely. Everyone else had moved on with their lives, he was still trying to reach his goals. He wanted his high school years back and I (obviously) couldn’t give that to him.

Looking up my ex-wife on Facebook, I found her second husband (who she’d had an affair with on me) had died of cancer in his late 30’s, leaving her with two small kids. That was…kind of depressing. But she later hooked up with husband #3 and produced kid #3, so I guess she’s OK now.

One of the two women I was dating in a triad is now apparently living as a man. I say “apparently” because this woman was fond of making up internet aliases, and this could be another one. On the other hand, she did talk about transgender issues a lot, although she never suggested that she herself was considering a sex change. Still, I think it is likely she is living at least part of the time as a man based on the small amount of info I found while looking for her in a fit of nostalgia. Whatever she (and I use that pronoun because it’s so hard for me to think of her as anyone else, not out of ignorance) identifies as today, I do wish her nothing but happiness, even if she did break my (our) heart/s.

I am, however, most shocked by a former girlfriend who had a heart of stone and who my friends nicknamed as “the ice queen” or “the heartless one.” Her Facebook picture shows her with KIDS! I refuse to believe they are not plastic mannequins, or maybe some other person’s kids who she paid $50 to have in her Facebook profile picture. I think she might have also eaten them afterwards.

All of my experiences with this have been good except one. I have contacted or been contacted by a couple of old girlfriends and a handful of old friends. With the old girlfriends I exchanged a few emails, friended them on Facebook, and we occasional interact there. A few old friends have turned into Facebook friends with whom I exchange posts daily.

The one bad experience was a kid I had an informal “big brother” relationship back in the mid 70s, a relationship that would probably raise eyebrows now. We shared a common interest and I took him on some field trips exploring that interest. We lost contact when he started high school. I found him on Facebook and we exchanged a few emails. He was nice in the emails, expressed gratitude for the role I had played in his earlier life, and that was that. Except he turned out to be one of those tea party types who prolifically posts hateful stuff on Facebook every day, and I unfriended him.

My first girlfriend and I both work for the same organization, in different buildings in the same city. I think we dated in 1973. Occasionally we run in to one another at various functions.

When her sister organized and ran an alumni function that I attended at my alma mater last year, I dropped her an brief email letting her know about it, and got a polite reply.

So, we are aware of each others presence on the planet. That’s all.

I have a few different experiences.

I’ve contacted old friends I lost touch with and in one case an ex gf who had dumped me back in High School. We didn’t have much to talk about, and besides being retroactively glad to have been dumped by the person she turned out to be, it wasn’t much value. I suppose it gave me closure in that particular case.

I tracked down a girl who had an unrequited crush on me in high school and apologized for not being more sensitive and gracious at the time. I wasn’t a straight out jerk by any stretch, really not at all, but I always dwelled on it in the years that followed and wished I could have been more understanding. Anyway, I told her I often thought of her and regretted not being a better person when it mattered.

I had a friend from elementary school track me down. We went to different Junior Highs and lost touch. It was a shame because we get along great now and continue in a great friendship. I am only sad to think that we lost so many years of a great friendship due to a minor distance.

My HS girlfriend and I found each other a few years later when I was in college and we had a pretty intense relationship where we were each others’ first loves. It didn’t last and it wasn’t too pretty when we broke up and I was very bitter about it for years.

A few years later we befriended each other on Facebook but never talked or updated each other until after she posted her condolences after my dog had to be put down. We talked back and forth a bit and she is now married with a kid to someone we both knew in high school (who I always liked) and doing well, so good for her.

Yeah, it wasn’t very pretty 18 years ago when we broke up but life’s short. She didn’t steal my VCR or burn my favorite t-shirt or anything. It just didn’t work then and we both moved on. There’s no point in holding any animosity towards her any more.

I went on a day-long date to Geauga Lake with this kid I met on a BBS when I was 14. Not sure why we didn’t hit it off but probably because he was a 14 year old boy.

When we were 25 or so I looked him up again. We dated for a while, then were just friends for a while, and I haven’t heard from him in a couple years. It was fun while it lasted but we weren’t meant to be.

There was this one kid from elementary/middle/high school that was part of our group. He went churchy-weird and everyone lost touch with him. Then at the 10-year reunion everyone was trying to ask me about him and if the rumors were true that he was a woman now. I had no idea. I conferred with the rest of the clan and through group knowledge and Google found out that he was now a woman. And everyone was cool with it, and now everyone is friends with her on Facebook. She’s hung out with me a few times - and it’s funny cuz she doesn’t seem any different than in school. I’m very happy it all turned out all right. I’m glad she still is cool with us.

Good for you - congrats!

I’m not on FB, but I’ve looked up some folks from my youth via Google. None of them were ex-girlfriends. For all but one, it hasn’t gone any farther than a “Hey, how are you?” and updates all around.

The one exception is a kid I was mean to when we were both in junior high - I never hit him, I was just rude and mocking of him behind his back, and I’m sure he heard about it. I’m still ashamed of myself; still don’t know why I acted that way, which was very uncharacteristic of me. A few years ago I located him, got his email and apologized for being such a jerk all those years ago. He acknowledged my email very briefly, but clearly didn’t want to say more, and I didn’t force the issue.

I’m fortunate that I’ve stayed in touch with just about everyone I’ve wanted to over the years. Five high school buddies, and two summer camp pals, and I are still in regular contact, for instance.

see userid

2 out of 2 ended with very depressing obits:

The brilliant “professional student” forced to take a job in what was, for her, hell - and then died of cancer of the brain - the only disease endemic to N. America which scares the shit out of me. Nice going, Katie.

The sweet-but-dumb ended up with 2 kids with no father, and lived her life with her parents. She died morbidly obese at 60, 4 years after her parents died in the pop 9000 burg from which she never could break loose. Actually, she did end up going to school after all - got an RN. Took a job in the town (pop 23,000) 20 miles down the road. She was found dead in the new place within the year.

Advice: remember the smiles and laughs you had. If you find a facebook page, read it. Don’t push - very few schoolmates have the lives they thought were ahead of them the last time you saw them.

Uh… please PM me your name, so I don’t accidentally befriend you. :wink: