Diary of a Marriage: The Google Epidemic

I love my husband. So why did I Google my ex?

I don’t want to write about this because I don’t want to admit it. It’s embarrassing, and also kind of creepy. But, in the interest of honesty, which is what this blog is supposed to be about, I’ll spill, though I’m inwardly cringing as every keystroke brings me closer to this admittance…

… I Googled my ex-boyfriend.

Right, we all do it (more on that later), but it gets worse. When I Googled his name, up popped a wedding registry. Nomadic Writer is getting married. He’s getting married on Sunday.

I hesitated before clicking on the link, and then curiosity won out. Could it really be him? Nomadic Writers don’t get married. Plus, I’m a lifestyle and home editor, for God’s sake. If it was him, don’t a have a right to be intrigued about what dishes they registered for? I scrolled through a few items on their Target wish list, and they confirmed what I already knew: It was definitely the wedding registry of Nomadic Writer. All practical stuff, no frills. Certainly no monogrammed sheets from Bloomies or Vera Wang china. I hated the picture frames. Sigh of relief. Thank God I don’t have to live in a house with branch picture frames, I thought. And then, thank God he found someone who will.

I clattered on my computer for a while, did an interview for a story I’m working on, sent a few emails, and then, once again, curiosity got the better of me. After a little more Googling, I found the mother lode: their engagement photos. I think I might have squealed.

She looked just like I thought she’d look. Wholesome, with a roundish face and rosy cheeks. She wore little makeup and minimal jewelry. She was wearing flat sandals. I glanced down at my own brass-studded suede four-and-a-half-inch mules and armful of bangles and laughed. I bet the girl in the picture doesn’t wear shoes that make her feet hurt. She looks practical that way. She is just the kind of girl I’d always pictured him with — even, I think, when we were together.

Bottom line: She was lovely, and they looked really happy.

I closed out of the screen, determined to never speak of my stalker tendencies to anyone. After all, what did that say about my marriage? Could I be happily married if I did some mindless Google searching of exes at work? This resolve lasted about 45 seconds. Then I barged into my colleague’s office.

“Nomadic Writer is getting married. I Googled him.”

I expected her mouth to drop open. She’d just hung out with J. and me the other night, at a gathering of work friends. She loved him. Would she now think less of me?

“Oh, please.” She waved her hand. “I’ve Googled my exes before. And my fiance’s exes, too. In fact…” And right then and there, she Googled the guy she dated in college, also a Nomadic Writer-type. (What was with us back then?).

“Oh. My. God. He’s getting married, too,” she said. We looked at each other and laughed.

It seems like an epidemic, this Googling of exes. Why is this, I wondered? Why do we care? Is it just morbid curiosity? Are we secretly hoping for a news article: “After gaining 700 pounds, John Smith, 32, of Cherry Hill, needed to be removed from his home by five firemen and a giant tarp”? Or is it simply that we spent a significant amount of time with these people; we cared about them, and, maybe, we even loved them. Isn’t it human to wonder how they turned out?

Nomadic Writer and I — both wide-eyed college kids when we met — had grown up, and had found what we were looking for. I don’t know what he’s doing or where he lives, and I don’t care. He looks happy, and that’s enough. In any case, I felt a little bit older as I flicked off the lights in my office and walked to the train, clattering loudly on the sidewalk in my heels.

Ok, brides — I spilled, so now you spill: Have you internet-stalked your exes before? Why do you think you did it? How did the info (and maybe pictures!) you found make you feel? Confess in the comments!



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