I fell in love for the first (and only) time when I was 18 and just starting university. It was an exciting and slightly scary experience that I thought would never end. But, of course, it did. It’s an unfortunate reality that love doesn’t last forever. But try telling that to someone who is in love for the first time. No matter how many people we love or how many dates we go on, here are 9 ways your first love will always affect you.
You learn who you are. We all grow up and have a certain vision of who we are, but when someone else loves you, it makes you see yourself as they do. It’s different than getting a compliment from a parent or having the support of your friends – your first love doesn’t owe you anything. They don’t have to love you. But somehow, magically, they do. If you like who they see you as – a good friend, a talented artist, whatever it is – then you can carry that with you the rest of your life. They might even see something in you that you never knew was there, and then you’ve still won even when the relationship ends.
It involves a lot of firsts. Of course, your first love might not mean your first time having sex, but it often does. But sex isn’t the only first involved. There’s the first time you say those three not-so-little words to someone, the first time you hold their hand, the first time you meet their friends, their family – when you realize you’re a part of their world and they’re part of yours, too. Those things will happen with other partners but it won’t mean as much as the first time, when it’s all brand new.
Your first love is your most emotional relationship. This is debatable but it generally seems to be true. I know that I got mad about a lot of stupid stuff when I was 18 because, well, I was 18 and had never been in a real relationship before. Every fight or important talk you have with subsequent partners will remind you of those silly arguments whether you want them to or not. You might be amazed that you’ve matured enough to stop getting jealous when there’s nothing to be jealous of. Or you might realize you’re still having the same conversation with everyone you date.
Your first love shows you that love can end. This is a sad reality. But if love was enough, then no one would ever break up. Growing up and watching 90s teen shows (my first love, actually, if I’m being honest), I knew that not every relationship works out. But I was enough of a hopeless romantic – or just a lifetime believer in the power of Joey and Dawson – to think that if you love someone, it stays that way.
Any romantic gestures will haunt you forever. Like most girls, I’ve got a fierce Starbucks addiction. My ex bought me a cup of coffee once where he wrote “You’re beautiful” on the side. I don’t think anything that adorable will ever happen to me again, because now I’m older and wiser, or at least more cynical.
You might be afraid of another bad break-up. If your first love ends, it’s rarely a no-big-deal type of situation. It’s always a hide under the covers and binge original 90210 Or maybe that was just me. I’m sure I’m not the first girl to stay single for a few years after getting my heart broken because I wasn’t sure I wanted to feel that pain again.
You will have a dating blueprint. Like it or not, you will find yourself comparing every guy to your first love. It’s just a fact. This can be awesome when you finally meet someone who has your ex-boyfriend’s good traits but none of the bad, because with enough time away you know that there were some not-so-amazing moments. After all, it did end.
You will find some memories never go away. Eventually you forget what it’s like to spend your daily life with that person, because you have to or you would never get up in the morning. But there are some things unique to that relationship that will remain. You might remember those funny things that seemed funny in the moment but now lack the punch line, or that one awkward fight that still feels embarrassing.
You’ll be doubly glad when you fall in love again. It may not feel the same but you will appreciate your second love even more. You not only survived an epic break-up but found love again.
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