Lindsay Crouse, a senior New York Times editor, wrote a piece for the newspaper that was published on Thursday, which describes the surreal experience. Crouse says she dated Polansky -- a Harvard graduate who co-founded and runs Facebook co-founder Sean Parker’s philanthropy foundation -- in college and that their relationship lasted even after they graduated.
"I dated this normal, mystery man for seven years," she writes, referring to the headlines about Gaga's new romance that noted she was now dating a "normal" non-celebrity. "Our relationship lasted all of college, and then a few years more. (A popular song from back then described being 'caught in a bad romance.')"
"I don't follow my ex on social media," she writes about Polansky, whose Instagram account is set to private. "We were 'friends' on Facebook. Then we were 'in a relationship' on Facebook. After we broke up, I noticed I was 'blocked' on Facebook. And then we moved on. I hadn't googled him in forever (I promise). But this month I knew everything about his new relationship status, within hours of when it was disclosed."
"Friends from college liked it -- along with nearly three million others," she shares. "If you've ever googled an ex’s new partner (be honest) you've probably played a certain game with yourself. You're either just curious -- which is healthy of you -- or you want to know how you compare. Ideally the ex's life didn't improve too much without you? In this case, though, that's all upended. How do you compare yourself with Lady Gaga? Instead of thinking, 'Why not me?' when I see them together, I think 'That was me.' It pulls the illusion of celebrity down."
After the initial shock, Crouse says she was able to compare herself to Gaga in a more positive way -- namely, being unapologetic about getting what she wants and pushing herself out of her comfort zone.
"Lady Gaga is amazing," she notes. "Comparing yourself with her is incredibly motivational, and I recommend you try it, regardless of how you relate to who’s dating her. ... The point is, Lady Gaga is living the ambitious life that we keep saying women should embrace. A quote I remember reading from her, probably on Instagram, says, 'Don't you ever let a soul in the world tell you that you can’t be exactly who you are.'"
"It's so easy as you get older to find the best in who you've become, to make the most of it -- and maybe even to get a little complacent about it," she continues. "But if Lady Gaga can do what she wants, and even expand on what she wants, why not me, too? Why not let being 'exactly who I am' mean trying to be the best I could be? Lady Gaga continues to challenge herself, to try new things, to thrive."
Later, Crouse brings it full circle, sharing that according to Polansky's social media footprint, he also saw a recent picture she shared with the man she moved on with after their relationship.
"Recently someone sent me a photo of my fiance and me dancing at a wedding, and I posted it on Instagram," she writes. "I saw Lady Gaga's boyfriend in the views, and I realized we're actually all the same: strangers, smiling on a screen."