Later, after we have drifted apart from our young loves, and after changes to our lives and personal growth, we might mull over past circumstances and the roles we played, the choices we made. "It's part of the natural process of reintegrating our younger selves into who we are now," says Dowling. We may need to work through feelings of remorse, or let go of regret over choices we made. Or, if a significant break-up has left us facing loneliness and unfamiliarity, we might yearn for a time when we felt part of a deep and comforting relationship. Trying to understand who we were then "is part of the evolving sense of the self," she explains.
If strong interest in our young selves and circumstances long past can lead to strong interest in the people who were closest to us during that time, what happens when we can't accept what came to pass back then and move on? Some people who are looking for closure become convinced it can be reached only by revisiting that past. Face to face.
When "googling" a former flame out of curiosity gives way to a concerted effort to reignite a relationship, it becomes what experts call "rekindling." According to Dr. Nancy Kalish, professor of psychology at California State University, Sacramento, and author of Lost and Found Lovers, it was always a widespread phenomenon, but "the Internet has made it easier, and more people are doing it."
Indeed, there is no shortage of ways we can track down a former flame. While sites such as reunion.com and peoplesearch.com charge a fee for services, Google or another search engine can do the trick for free. (Unless your former flame is determined to remain off the grid.)
If he or she participates in a social networking site, such as Myspace of Facebook, or better yet, if he or she blogs, you've hit the jackpot! The juicy details are laid bare. Did he indeed become a journalist? Did he fulfill his dream to climb Mt. Everest? And if there are photos, is he still cute? Is that gorgeous mane of hair still intact?