First Loves. Our Past Haunts Us Still
Are we searching for Miss or Mr. Right or have we already met them before? Did your Mr. Right once exist in your former life? Were they childhood sweethearts?
First love isn’t a new topic but I realized that first love is an emotionally potent one. With this in mind I realized that first love must have a much greater effect on the way we handle our lives that we perhaps want to admit. Until we first fall in love we are in effect emotional virgins. True romance has yet to touch us. We assume we know a great deal about life already and we assume we feel the same way that everyone else does, but we do not. Only those who have been in love that first time know the world has far more to it than meets the eye. Like death of an adult or parent or someone we love we can never be prepared and first love for many of us is a happy experience tinged with lifelong sadness and oddly, an element of grief. Because unless we marry our childhood sweetheart, our very first Mr. Right and live happily ever after, most of us will go on from our first love to be single again and learn from the experience.
I am not speaking here of first dates, first kiss or first sex. I am speaking earnestly about one’s first true love, the person you first fall madly in love with and cannot live without. It could be a childhood sweetheart but it doesn’t have to be. Childhood sweethearts have a huge influence though and mustn’t be underestimated in the legacy they leave. However I accept here that child hood sweetheart is too specific. Personally speaking, I was always kind of jealous of those who had childhood sweethearts as that was how it was supposed to be.
First love is the first time we learn to deal with pangs of angst, stomach churning adoration, lust, love, anxiety, salty tears that know no end. It’s the first time you learn what a deep communication with another person out-with your immediate family can be like on both a spiritual and physical level. You cannot live without them, you feel alive like never before, you exist wholly for another human being. It is fantastic, it is unbelievable, it’s the best thing in the world and it becomes your life, she becomes your life, he becomes your life. And it ends. In an instant the best thing that ever happened to you …stops.
I may overplay this scenario and of course it doesn’t happen to everyone, but amazingly, most of us have had some kind of experience like this. If we haven’t then we will so be warned. I say this because this may just be the thing that governs who we are. For many of us, our first great love occurs sometime between 16 to 21 years of age when we are still young and fresh and optimistic and ready for life. In that moment we are most open to experience and we are also at our most vulnerable. In this moment we may love like we may never love again, at least for quite a while.
During that time of first true love we open up ourselves to everything that love can bring us, elation, defeat, passion, sincerity, communication and contact, all on levels we had never experienced before. Our minds store away every small detail as part of our vertical new learning in love and romance and we cannot get enough. But the issue is that it gets taken away. It may be we are making a wise decision, maybe it is we who decides too much too young. It may not be our choice and our eternally loved partner walks away leaving us with life long questions that may never be answered. But whatever happens and however the end of our first love occurs, it will and does leave a legacy whether we like it or not.
Okay I hear you ask, what legacy, or is my legacy the same as your legacy? Well no, we are all different. First love in many people often leaves us with lifelong happy memories that are tied in with other close friends, with college and school, with times and places and particularly summers. For others, first love is a series of memories of regret, bad decisions and choices from which they have learned and become stronger hopefully. For everyone who has grown older with the legacy of a first love, future dating decisions are often too closely related to that first true love experience.
The first legacy is often physical. We want to recapture the feelings of being with our first love, our childhood sweethearts, our Mr. Right or Miss Right, and the easiest way for our brains to do that is to find someone who looks like them. How often have you seen a friend partner with someone who looks like their first love. Amazingly when I thought about this, there were quite a few people I knew who were dating the image of their childhood sweethearts. So we find comfort in being with someone who resembles our first love.
Next, we find that we are left with a legacy of the need to recreate a sense of love we have had time to heighten. What this really means is that if we have already experienced true love once, we want it again. Not a little, but the same or more even, just like the first time. Secretly, we crave it. Now this is a serious legacy from our past romance because what this really means is that we may not be satisfied by many relationships that come our way afterwards. Every time we date we want it to be like the first time, full of new experience, full of innocent love, with no preconditions. Yes we already now have preconditions because we have learned from our first love. We have set a base line for the presence of love.
Next this means that we will be tough in our romantic and dating decisions. Subconsciously we relate our first love to the perfect feeling of being in love and as such we crave it. We need and want love and that overwhelming wave of romance to be as powerful and magical as it was the first time and if it doesn’t come and come quickly, then the person we date will be penalized for this. We won’t want to date people who appear to be dissimilar to the person who showed us love, we avoid selecting people who don’t show such heightened potential in the early days of meeting. In other words, new dates are not reaching a perilously high love base line we have set and it may be that no one can. We want to date our childhood sweethearts a second time.
Next, the first love legacy means that we may punish those from who we don’t receive the same amazing love feelings by letting them go and continuing our search. In the end it can mean that we have set our sights so high that finding comparable love and happiness becomes difficult. Date after date we are looking for something we cannot find. I often here people say, “I don’t know what it is I am searching for but it’s inside me but I just can’t find it but I will know it when I see (feel) it”. In other words, they know what love feels like and want it again, but until it comes instantly they won’t accept, “I will not make do”, they say. And dating becomes difficult.
Of course what we forget is that our first love, our Mr. Right, is probably now some years older, a different person, maybe even looks different. That moment has gone now. It has been lost in time, and only lives on inside of us. I think it can be a good thing if we control it and let it be part of us but not take over. It governs some of the choices of who we are and who we wish to date, it guides and helps us in some ways because it clarifies what we know allows us to be happy. Even better is that it reminds us that true love can and does exist but that we are on a search to find it once again. To find true love in first love is an amazing thing and many say that to find that twice in a lifetime is impossible.
I disagree, I think as long as we accept that we must not try and recreate our first love, we are simply clear minded healthy people who know what we are about and are wise in knowing the experience of love, both good and bad. We should remember not to let this affect the potential of future even more powerful relationships than any that came before. Your Mr. Right, is somewhere waiting, just don’t let him be the one in the past.