As I settled in for another routine night of eating dinner, watching Will and Grace, and snuggling in for a good night’s sleep, the phone rang. A strange number came across the caller ID but my heart knew exactly who it was before I answered it. It was “Him.” After a very brief conversation of “How are you’s” “What’s going on with you” and “Tell me what’s new,” we ended the conversation, wished each other well, promised to talk again later, and that was that. It was like any other phone call that I’d had that night or any other night. But this one was different, because it was a conversation with “Him.” “He” was my First Love. As I laid in my bed I thought about all of the relationships, and everything that went wrong in those relationships–whether their fault or mine–and I realized that I had done the same thing that everyone else does. I had taken my very first relationship and what I had learned from it and applied it to whatever relationship I was in at the time. But was that the right thing to do? Love is often described as something that is pure, unconditional, innocent, and good. Well, when you don’t know anything else, and you have that experience for the first time, that’s what it is. Pure and unconditional love. Then later on we find our “True Love” in the mist of all the experiences we had after our first love. So would it be right to assume that whatever experience that was taught in our “First Loves” determines how we find our “True Loves” later on? Is it true that our “First Loves” become the teachers of what love is supposed to be or is it an experience of what love can grow to be?
Everyone has one. While we all wish our first love’s turned out to be the love story the Cory and Topanga had, everyone had their first experience with someone, usually at a very early age. And I’m willing to bet, you still hold something special way down deep inside. You could be married with kids, had hadn’t spoken in years, but that person is in your mind right now as your reading this post. That one person if your life that no matter who we meet, how deep we fall in love, or how long we’ve been with someone, there will always be that very first love that loved you first, and loved you like no one else had ever loved you before. You met when you were young, and never knew what that strange feeling was that was growing inside you that made you say things you’d never said, do things you’d never do and feel things for the first time that you didn’t understand. You just knew that it felt great! And when you finally did understand, you realized how special that feeling was and never wanted to let it go. You didn’t know how to describe it or put it into words, and you realized…. “I’m in love!” Then one day, that feeling was forced away and replaced by tears over a broken heart. You would never really heal from that first broken heart, but instead you’d take that experience, learn from it, and without knowing, make that experience the basis of the next relationship you had–and for the many relationships you would have after that point. It’s not something that you mean to happen or even do on purpose, it just kind of happens and we’ve all been guilty of it.
There are definitely things that my first love taught me. He was my first date, my first kiss, my first time, my first heartbreak, my first make up. I spent the better part of a decade in love with the same man, you can only imagine the lessons that I learned about loving a person that I still hold onto in relationships I have today. Although I must admit, I have learned more lessons along the way as I have met and dated other men. Each relationship becomes a lesson. The trouble begins in whether or not those lessons that I learned coincide with the ones that the person that I am in a relationship with. What if I was taught to be affectionate and he was taught that less is better when it comes to affections? Or, what if I was taught to work out problems and he was used to cussing, screaming, and yelling, then saying his apologies and heal the emotional wounds later on? I think that what happens eventually is that you take what you’ve learned, he takes what he’s learned, and you decide what works best for the two of you in your relationship, and not what worked better in the previous one before yours. And when you stop wanting to learn from a person and do things your own way, the relationship ends, and you’re left with the decision of what to do with the things that you learned.
One thing that I have learned over the years is that you can’t love everyone the same. It all comes from learning and getting to know each other. What worked with one person, may not work for someone else. You can’t talk the same in every relationship, argue the same, make up in the same way, compromise on the same things or change the same things. Their breaking point may be different then other people you have dated, and vice versa. You may give up sooner than the other person is ready to let go. And the hurt is different with each and every person you date. Relationships will never end the same way every time. Even after you say your I”I do’s” there are still lessons that will be taught as you continue your journey together. The teaching never ends.
After thinking of all the wonderful things that had been taught to me by my first love and the loves after him, I realized that the ultimate goal is to find that “True Love” by taking the lessons learned and the lessons taught and applying them to present and future relationships. The next step is eventually finding that one relationship and getting that same old feeling that you had from the very beginning. Those things that you had never experienced before, where you once again find yourself feeling things you never felt, doing things you’ve never done and saying things you’ve never said. Except this time, you know that all the lessons have been taught, but there are still things that are yet to be learned. Like taking this “True Love” and making it into an “Everlasting Love.”