Home Advice & How-ToDating The One That Got Away: Where Are They Now?
Home Advice & How-ToDating The One That Got Away: Where Are They Now?

The One That Got Away: Where Are They Now?

by Spokeo

Do you still dream of the one that got away?  Are you wondering whatever happened to your high school or college sweetheart?  Do you find yourself imagining what-if scenarios about that sweet summer romance you had while on vacation?  Whether you’re hoping to reconnect after all these years, or just want to know how their life has turned out, there are ways to find that certain someone, even if you lost track of them decades ago. 

Here’s a quick rundown of the most common ways to find people you’ve lost touch with, with pros, cons and special considerations.

Just Google Them

Google is pretty amazing these days, and a simple search engine query could turn up the person you’re looking for, especially if they’re notable in any way.  Googling someone is a very low-key way to find out more about them — it doesn’t take much effort, and in most cases, they’ll never even know you were peeking. 

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Five tips for using Google to find someone

  1. Enter as much information as you can about the person in your search query.  Their full name, the state and city they lived in, their school — the more information you provide, the more targeted your results will be.
  2. Add their profession if you know it.  It will help narrow the choices in the search results.
  3. If you know the names of any of their relatives, try searching for their names, as well. 
  4. Add “obituary” to your search term.  That’s not as morbid as you might think — obituaries often include the names of surviving relatives.
  5. Different search engines use different algorithms, so if your Google search doesn’t turn up anything likely, try Bing, Duck Duck Go and other search engines.
ProsCons
Low friction and easy to do.
Private.
Free.
Very low chance of success unless the person is fairly well-known.
Needs a lot more information than other methods.

Look for Them On Social Media

Nearly everyone has at least one social media profile.  Facebook alone has nearly 3 billion active users worldwide, and LinkedIn has about 930 million users.  In addition, social media apps are optimized to make it easier to connect and network with others, so there are more ways to find that certain someone.

Five tips for using social media to find someone

  1. Use the site’s search function to find someone.  Use their full name and last known city for better results.
  2. Use Facebook’s filters to help you narrow search results.  Here’s how:
    1. Type their name into the search bar.
    2. Click on People.
    3. Filter by Friends, City, Workplace or Education.
    4. For even better results, combine filters.
  3. On Facebook, look for Groups they may have joined.  For example, many schools have alumni groups.  Even if they don’t belong, you may find people in those groups who have kept in touch.
  4. On LinkedIn, look first at the “People you may know” section, especially if you worked or went to school together.  Search for them by name and profession, or search for people that may be connected to them. 
  5. Search for their email address and/or phone number if you know them.
ProsCons
Anyone can do it.
Free.
Many people set their information to private so they don’t show up in search results.
Some people use third-party apps to see who is searching for them.

Go Old School

Like, literally old school.  If you’re looking for someone you knew in school, or through work, you may be able to find them by checking the school’s alumni association or old company directories.  This can be especially helpful if you don’t know a lot of details about their life since your connection.  

Five tips for finding someone from your past

  1. Start with the obvious — your school’s alumni association.  If you don’t already belong, Google “your school name alumni association,” and join for free. 
  2. Check the member listing for their name.
  3. Browse old yearbooks and reunion photos looking for more information.
  4. Look for newsletters and alumni updates.
  5. If you don’t find anything, you can try making a post on the group’s forum asking if anyone has heard from them.
ProsCons
You have a guaranteed start for your search — a place where you knew them.
You may find mutual connections who can help you reconnect.
Sometimes free.
Many alumni sites are Freemium — if you want current information or yearbook access, for example, you may have to pay a membership fee.
You may end up reconnecting with people you’d rather not find. 

Connect Through Old Mutuals

If you’re still in touch with other people from those days — or can find them via an online search — they may be able to reconnect you, or at least give you more information about your former sweetheart.

Five tips for finding a long lost romance through mutual connections

  1. Your chances for success are best if you’ve kept up a relationship with other people who knew you both way back when.  It can feel a little creepy to get a message from someone you haven’t seen in 20 years asking how to get in touch with someone else.
  2. Be open and honest about why you’re trying to reconnect with the person.  People are more likely to help you if they trust your intentions.
  3. If the mutuals are local, offer to buy them a coffee or get together over lunch to reminisce.  You may be surprised to learn how much they remember when you get to talking.
  4. If they indicate they’re still in touch with your old flame, ask them to pass your contact info along.  It’s respectful of everyone’s boundaries and privacy. 
  5. Be prepared to be rebuffed.  Even if your old sweetheart isn’t interested in rekindling the flame, you may still reconnect with friends and acquaintances.
ProsCons
You may reconnect with other friends and acquaintances in the process.
Free.
There’s a lot of work and research involved.
People may not feel comfortable giving you information.

Hire a Private Investigator

If you’re really determined, you could consider hiring a private investigator (PI) to do a search for you.  Private investigators are experienced at finding people who have disappeared, and may have access to tools that aren’t available to regular citizens — or at least, have a better understanding of how to use them.

Five tips for hiring a private investigator to find someone

  1. Hire a qualified private investigator.  Check their license and do a search for any complaints about them online.
  2. Look for a PI that specializes in finding people.
  3. Determine exactly what you hope to accomplish, and any restrictions you want in place if they should find the person you’re seeking.
  4. Get a signed contract that specifies exactly what they will do, and what it will cost before handing over any money.
  5. Trust your gut.  While most missing persons investigators are legit, the field does attract con artists who prey on desperate people.  If something feels off, walk away.
ProsCons
PIs have access to tools and databases that aren’t usually publicly available.
They have expertise in finding missing persons.
Hiring a private investigator can be very expensive.
You run the risk of being scammed by an unscrupulous actor.

Use People Finder Tools on Spokeo

Technology has made it easier than ever for you to find people online.  Spokeo’s advanced search tools can help you find information on your lost love, even if you don’t remember their last name.  Using Spokeo, you can learn:

  • Where they live.
  • Their marital status.
  • Any other names they may be using now.
  • Where they work.
  • Their social media profiles.
  • Any dating profiles they may have.

In short, Spokeo combines many of the methods listed above — and can do it with one search on one site.  Best of all, many of the tools are free to use, though there may be fees for specific types of searches.  It’s the quickest, easiest way to find the one that got away and take the first steps to reconnecting with your long lost love.

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