It doesn’t matter if it was 65 years ago. It doesn’t matter if it lasted just one summer. And it doesn’t matter if you went on to find a far-better-suited partner, one who provided you with children and a lifetime of love and care.
Memories of first loves are etched into our brains forever.
And—as such—they should be etched into our life stories as well.
Ask anyone about their first love and they’ll remember. The first butterflies, the first kiss, and the agony of that first crack in a once unscathed heart.
First loves are their own category. It’s not just you, it’s everyone.
According to a recent article in The Washington Post, there’s a scientific reason why first loves leave permanent marks. The intensity of that earliest relationship, experts say, is similar to that of skydiving. You remember the first time you jump out of a plane…even if future jumps are from a higher altitude or result in a better landing. There’s just something about that initial jump.
Experts point to other reasons for the fervor of first loves:
- Arousal, excitement, fear, and anxiety—powerful emotions that accompany a love relationship—are intensified when they occur during adolescence, a time when everything feels exaggerated.
- Many experience a “memory bump” between the ages of 15 and 26. So many “firsts” occur during these critical years and people tend to remember those firsts fondly.
- Our first love becomes the standard for which all future relationships are compared. We hold it in our memory as the ideal.
Whatever the reason, if you’re like many people and still remember the ferocity of that first love, be sure to give him or her a few pages in your memoirs. Honor the role they played in your life and the way they informed your selection of future loves. Tell your readers—some of whom may be teenagers themselves—that they too will survive a broken heart.
And if you’re among the few whose first love was their only love, you need to share that too. Highlight that fact in bold, explain why First Love never needed a successor.
Memoirs are filled with stories of your spouse and children, the most central people in your life. But who came before them? Who stole your heart first?
They were important too. Tell their story.