Forget Facebook to Forget a First Love

The other day I answered a question from a 20-something on whether you ever stop thinking about your first love.  The answer was yes. But some people take longer than others, especially when you can keep tabs of your exes on Facebook. Not that we need a study to tell us this, but I read a survey yesterday that said “nearly 60% of Americans say that the Internet is making it impossible to truly get over an ex because they are “always a mouse click away”.  For some that may not be a bad thing. Some people are fine being friends with an ex. But it’s the “getting over” part that’s tricky. A lot of 40-somethings look back and wish they had spent less time thinking about a lost love.

It’s really a matter of moving on and being open to new things and new loves. Keeping in touch can hold you back. Looking back many women can pinpoint the day they finally shut the door on that first love and  how it opened a window. Today’s new version of “wash that man right out of your hair” is delete that man from your friend list. And definitely take him off your cell phone. It makes it just a little bit harder to drunk dial or text him. It’s hard because that person has probably had a big impact on your life and meant a lot to you. You can’t see that you have so much more ahead of you. If you are not heartbroken . . . then more power to your friendship. If you are, then break the ties that bind. Maybe some day down the line you can reconnect with him and enjoy the good parts without longing or wishing for more. Or in the case of bad break-ups, the vulnerabilty to slide back into a relationship that is not good for you. Wait until you can look at his or her profile on Facebook and your reaction when you see  “in a relationship” is  “thank god it’s not me” or “so happy he found the person that’s right for him”.

Otherwise, take it all in, internalize it, give yourself time and keep a little space in your heart to remember that first love. It probably has changed you in some way and changed your view of life. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t move on if it wasn’t right. I found this quote from Michelle Williams in this months Manhattan magazine a moving and real testament to the power of our first love:

Williams agrees that the role (in Blue Valentine) stuck a chord with her. She was suffering under the casualty of her big first love, “When you have those feelings so strong that they overwhelm all your sensibilities. It rearranges the entire world and shakes you up and sets you back down”, she says. “Cindy is at that moment in a relationship when you stop and take a backwards-facing glance and say, ‘What happened? How did I get from there to here? How did something that started out with all that promise and all that love and the best of intentions end like this?’ I have faced it. And you cannot pinpoint the day and you cannot work out how to go back and fix it”.

I got the sense at the end of Blue Valentine, that while they showed a point in time in a relationship, 3 days in the life a couple 6 years after first falling in love, that it wasn’t the first time they had nearly broken and come back together, holding on to lingering embers and memories of how wonderful it had been. But sometimes as they say, love is not enough if you just can’t find a way to grow together.

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