Q: Do you ever stop thinking about your first love? – 20-something
A: Yes….you do. You stop thinking about them. And then they become a memory.
For many, a good memory that recalls the excitement of first love, nostalgia for a more innocent, if naive side of ourselves, and most importantly a learning about ourselves that will last a lifetime. If it was a heartbreak….time will be your best friend. You will get over it. My first love and I didn’t make it easy on each-other. We stayed in touch and always called each other on holidays and birthdays. Then one year I forget his birthday. That’s when I knew I was over him. And when I knew that a desire to keep in touch with him was not a sign that I was “able to be friends with my exes” it was something that held me back from truly being open to someone else. I’m not saying you can’t be friends with an ex, but don’t confuse a genuine friendship with staying in touch because you think you may get back together. I have amazing memories of him, but I didn’t need to be in touch with him once I realized we weren’t destined to be together. That’s just me. Looking back my advice would be to question why you are keeping on touch with an ex and whether a clean break will help you stop thinking about him in a longing way sooner. Here’s some recollections on first love from other 40-something women:
“I’m not sure anyone ever stops thinking of their first love. It was our introduction to love, innocence, innocence lost, intimacy and in some cases a myriad of deep emotions that we will cherish for our entire lives as it has helped shape us into the women we are now. That is not to say I am still pining over my first love at the age of 45…rather it’s just a pleasant memory that I will always cherish.”
“With each new relationship the space in your heart gets smaller and smaller. You never forget, but the longing is gone.”
“You do and you don’t. I don’t think you think about that person in the same way. You always feel nostalgic, but there is a certain set of variables in place that change over time. We’re not the people now that we were back then. If we were, we’d probably still be with that person we fell in love with.”
“I think of my first love but not in a longing way. Rather, in a way that is happy for him and happy that we decided to separate. He wanted babies and a stay-at-home wife that had dinner ready when he came home. Despite having seven good years and essentially growing up together, we separated — and within two years he was married with children on the way. It was right for him. And I was destined to travel the world, have a successful career and not stay-at-home in my 20’s. I think the biggest decision you need to make is whether you wish to be married and mortgaged in your 20’s, or wait a while and do more and then have that in your 30’s and 40’s. But it’s a difficult decision to make in your 20’s because you think that nothing exciting will be happening in your life in your 30’s or 40’s. That isn’t true. You just need to decide what you want.”
“I owe so much to my first love and my first heartbreak. To my first love, who taught me to be honest. We dated all through college and it was just expected that we would get married, especially being from the South. I was at his graduation and I thought, oh my god this is it. I told him…I just can’t do it. You’re one of my best friends but you deserve to be with somebody that craves you and I just don’t. He thanked me, ‘Finally I can breathe.’ He sensed it and was grateful I ripped the band-aid off and just said it. They were the hardest words I ever had to say. It was devastating. He will always be part of my heart and soul. He made a huge impact me. He was a selfless, loving, caring human being. He taught me to be honest. I wanted to be honest with him because he was so honest with our relationship and he deserved that. It still feels sore when I talk about it.
And to my first heartbreak who was the other person who formed me as a person. I was 22 and he was 32. I was doing 50 cent drafts at bars and he was doing lounges and cigar bars and that was hard. I tried to live his lifestyle instead of having my own moxie. If there is anything I learned from him it was not to depend on someone else to build you up. I was constantly asking, ‘Am I smart enough? Am I pretty enough to go out with you?’, instead of gaining self-confidence within myself. I just didn’t have it back then. To some degree I want to run into this guy and say, ‘Look I grew up. I did grow up finally.’ Because that’s the best advice he ever gave me. He told me, ‘You still have so much life to live, so many experiences to experience and so many heartbreaks to go through. You’re just not ready to stay in one place. Go. Go young grasshopper to Manhattan and go and find yourself. That was really the encouragement I got to jump off and come to New York. I owe a lot to these men. Because of those men I came here and I learned so much from them.” – 40-something, married, mom, retired finance executive