The traditional definition for the past perfect tense is thT it's used to convey that something occured before another action in the past. Here are some example sentences from a website:
I had never seen such a beautiful beach before I went to Kauai.
(me having never seen such a beautiful beach comes before me going to Kauai)
I did not have any money because I had lost my wallet.
(Me having lost my wallet comes before me not having any money)
Tony knew Istanbul so well because he had visited the city several times.
(Him visiting Istanbul comes before him knowing Istanbul so well)
When I look at the other websites, I see similar examples. My question is that can we use the past perfect to describe an active that isn't true anymore. As in:
John hadn't seen Joe for quite some time.
In the sentence, it isn't clearly stated if an action happens after John having not seen Joe; but assuming John hadn't seen Joe for some time before he saw him in a party yesterday, is the sentence above acceptable?
We have other alternatives for the past perfect, but I think they might not mean the same thing, or might not be correct. For example, if I said:
John didn't see Joe for quite some time.
John hadn't been seeing Joe for quite some time
I think the first sentence would suggest John still haven't seen him, and for the second sentence, I'm not sure if we should use "see" in the progressive. Since it's a state verb, it's mostly used in the simple tense, e.g.
I see a man outside.
I'm seeing a man outside.
So should I use the past perfect continuous or past perfect or what?
Edit: Per Katy's comment, it's okay to use the past perfect continuous with "see". But what if it's another word? Consider "to lose". If I said:
I lost my keys.
I think it would be understood I still hadn't found them. Can I say:
I had lost my keys.
to mean that I'd lost them but later I found them. And can I do this with, say, "to dye" too?
She had had her hair dyed red. (She had had her hair dyed red, but later she had it undyed.)