Should you google an ex? Depends on your motivation

Before you fall down the rabbit hole of tracking your ex's life online, consult this flowchart to determine whether finding out everything about your former flame is the best idea.

Bonnie Burton
Journalist Bonnie Burton writes about movies, TV shows, comics, science and robots. She is the author of the books Live or Die: Survival Hacks, Wizarding World: Movie Magic Amazing Artifacts, The Star Wars Craft Book, Girls Against Girls, Draw Star Wars, Planets in Peril and more! E-mail Bonnie.
Bonnie Burton
3 min read

This is NOT the kind of photo you want to see when googling your ex. Cuddlr

Most of us have googled an ex here or there. If not googled, then perhaps innocently typed their name into Facebook, Instagram or Twitter just to see what Mr. or Mrs. used-to-be-right is up to -- in hopes of finding they're completely miserable without us.

Sadly, this time-sucking activity can become emotionally draining (not to mention borderline stalking) if one quick peek into an ex's new life turns into hours of looking at Instagram photos of their latest fabulous vacation, tweets about their awesome new job and Facebook posts about how in love they are with someone who's clearly not you.

For those who are tempted to look up a former soul mate on Google, San Diego-based company TruthFinder -- a service, which, it just so happens, "gives you instant access to sensitive details about the people in your life" -- has made a handy flowchart to help you decide whether it might be better to resist the pull. It presents questions such as "Why do you want to look them up?" and "How serious were you?" before telling you whether you should carry on typing.

Beware, however. This flowchart might end up pointing you to some harsh truths you're not willing to accept. For example, if you're with someone new now, why do you feel the need to google your ex at all? Leave the past behind and concentrate on this new person instead.

Or worse, what if you discover via social-media sites that not only has your ex moved on with someone new, but has also gotten married, bought a house and had kids? Ack!

TruthFinder suggests googling only out of curiosity but not making it an obsession (yeah, easier said than done). As long as you still don't harbor strong feelings for your ex, TruthFinder says, googling them isn't a danger. In fact, according to TruthFinder, 25 percent of Internet users look up their exes on Google. So at least you're not alone.

Googling exes is only a healthy endeavor if you don't secretly have a romantic-comedy plot device stuck in your head involving you somehow changing someone's mind and charming them into falling in love with you all over again.

To be honest, I've googled my exes many times just to see if they stayed married to girlfriends after me, or to find out if they still spend a ton of money building expensive models of Godzilla or play in that one band they thought would make it big.

Knowing when to stop Googling your ex is half the battle. Truthfinder

I love seeing Facebook photos of horrible exes who now have receding hairlines and beer bellies. Perhaps it's social-media schadenfreude, but there's something downright satisfying seeing that heartbreaker drummer who thought he was Keith Moon end up bald and playing in a wedding band.

I try not to obsess online over my failed relationships, mainly because I don't want to accidentally find out a certain ex ended up inheriting a vineyard, but it sure is nice to google exes once in a while to discover that their lives didn't end up perfect without me. I've found plenty of "it's complicated" relationship statuses and a few divorces. In fact, sometimes the more I've dug, the more I've realized I may have dodged a bullet.

Once you've had your look, stop there, especially if you're still heartbroken. Googling upon googling isn't going to get the person back, and looking at the image they present on social media won't make it better, especially since most people only post what they want people to see, not a true depiction of their everyday lives. No one's life is 100 percent perfect -- no matter what filter they're using on Instagram.

Keep your investigation quick, and then come back to appreciate your own life without them. Then, if you still feel the need to google, google funny cat videos. Lots and lots of cat videos.