There are two types of first loves; the almosts and the one you shared all your firsts. Benjamin Disraeli once said, “The magic of first love is our ignorance that it can never end.” When you are in the throes of the nights that seem neverending or sunrise and sunset with your arms wrapped around a person, you think that those times will go on forever. Or, that is the person you wanted to tell many times that you had feelings but never got the nerve. Perhaps you made declarations you’d never be apart. Or you began planning what your life would look like in five or ten years. That first relationship is a heady, all-consuming mix of the best part of life. Yet, if you are not happily married to that first kiss, the first person you ever said “I love you” to, the one you thought would never end, something did happen that ended it. Typically, first love is the one you went to Prom with or the quarterback you rooted for during high school football games. Although, a first love may have happened in college when you both shared looks across a library during finals. Or someone who sat a few seats away in Chemistry 101. Or, it’s someone you kept thinking about talking to, and you never did.
Getting back together with your first love has many mixed emotions. Many factors might have ended the romance. Romanticizing the first love is easy when you haven’t seen them in a while, and you have no idea what is going on in their life. You know that they don’t understand who you’ve become. It’s easy to think about the magic moments you shared and all things you did together that can never be that fresh and new again. Tiptoe kisses under the bleachers or holding hands, walking down a hallway thinking that everyone is watching and so happy for you. Maybe you took the long way to class, thinking you would run into them. After all, life doesn’t follow a script. It might have been that you both went to different colleges across the country or that you thought your lives were taking different paths. So many changes in a person, especially when we’re young and life is at our feet.
The memories of the first love never fade. You can’t forget what it was like and the innocence that comes with the time you fell for someone without really knowing where life will take you. Typically, first love is the one you went to Prom with or the quarterback you rooted for during high school football games. Although, a first love may have happened in college when you both shared looks across a library during finals. Or someone who sat a few seats away in Chemistry 101. It could also be a friend you shared coffee with late into the following day or the one who studied with you during a history final, whoever they are made such an impression that years later, you still think about them and find yourself reminiscing about more than you could have possibly imagined. Social Media has made connecting with people from all phases of our life an easy and sometimes inevitable reality. This can be good, but it also presents many pitfalls. If the love is decades or later, there may be only a handful of pictures that have never been posted on the internet. It’s more likely to be reconnected with someone over the internet than to run into them randomly. Although, if you live in your hometown and return for an event, serendipity may happen. It’s even possible you’ve run into them off and on throughout the years, but it was never right until now. Whatever the circumstances, the time may feel like now, and you’re the only one who can decide whether or not to proceed.
Later in life, you may find yourself post-divorce and think about the loves you were with before. Sometimes, one sticks in your mind, and it’s only natural it would be the first. Innocence too often is lost in life. It’s easy to get caught in the minutia. Everything can catch up and hit you at once. All of a sudden, you can’t stop thinking about many years ago when everything seemed perfect. You were young and thought that nothing would ever separate the one you shared all your firsts. A Cal State University professor found that 70% of first loves who get back together stay together. Yet, the emotions of returning to that first love are much deeper than the success statistics. Also, many real questions are to be asked before returning to a love that happened five, ten, twenty, or even more years ago. The moment you see each other will be unforgettable. If there are hours of talking, no question, you’re going to be swept away. Consider what Marilyn Vos Savant said, “If your head tells you one thing, and your heart tells you another before you do anything, you should first decide whether you have a better head or a better heart.” Before you let the flood of memories wash over, you ask the tough questions:
• Are they married?
• What are the challenges going to be if you continue?
Your Relationship is Not A Movie.
Many blockbusters glamorize rekindling a relationship with a lost love, and it’s easy to think the first one is the one who got away. Besides movies, there are songs, tv shows, and many more things that glamorize the heady rush of finding the one you fell in love with years before. But, before you search that person across five social media platforms, take a step back and ask yourself some questions:
• What ended the relationship?
• What’s Changed?
• Are you putting them on a Pedestal?
It would be best if you also consider their emotions. There is no point in begging and pleading if they don’t share your feelings. The dream of getting back together doesn’t always match the reality and emotional upheaval that returning to a lost love might encompass. Consider these thoughts before you make any concrete decisions:
• As you’ve grown, has your connection?
• Why now?
• Why weren’t you happy before?
Many different feelings happen when you begin to think about falling again for long-lost love. Of course, there is the thrill of seeing them again. Cliches will spring to mind. You’ll begin to think of romantic movies and “absence makes the heart grow fonder. A myriad of song lyrics will play a symphony in your head. Yet, beyond those unforgettable emotions lies a series of complications and realizing it will not stay a love story without work and lots of it. Remember:
• What makes you want to get back together?
• Are they already over you?
• What happened the first time?
Typically, there is an awkward pause when you catch your breath—seeing someone after so many years is going to catch you off-guard. An unexpected moment with someone you haven’t seen in years will make the emotions much higher than any situation. When this happens, the best thing to do is catch your breath and don’t carried away. It’s best to question what’s going on before getting carried away and getting lost in the moment:
• Does it feel like you were never apart?
• Are the odds still stacked against you?
• What’s still unfinished between you both?
If you read through this and decide to follow your heart back to the first time you fell in love, I wish you all the best. It’s exhilarating to know that the one you thought was the love of your life remains just that. Life and circumstances can make us give up on someone when we shouldn’t have, or we could never tell someone exactly how we felt. Time has a way of going quickly, except when we thought it would never end in the nights from years past. When you’re young, you may think that there is so much more in life, and you will inevitably fade and grow apart. Years later, you find you were wrong. However, there are those moments when you realize you grew back together, and all the feelings are still there and stronger than ever. First loves defy a lot of negativity we see on tv and read in articles. Janice Holly Booth wrote in an AARP article, “First loves defied the divorce rate, too: 78% of reunited happily and remained in love over many years of marriage, with divorce a minimal 1.5%. Time and tide had not ravaged those early, intense feelings: 71% reported that compared to all their other loves in the past, the first love reunion was their most intense romance of all.” Very likely, these feelings will last. Ensure that you both feel the same way. Remember that no matter how intense the emotions, there will be positive and negative things that this encounter will foster.