The Washington Post:
Twenty years ago . . . She was my first relationship . . . My first boyfriend . . . I was 17 . . . She was 19 . . . We were crazy about each other . . . We broke up because . . . So much time has passed . . . I find myself thinking of her . . . He keeps appearing in my dreams . . . I’m happily married . . . I’m happily married, BUT . . . I can’t help but wonder . . . We recently reconnected . . . I know I need to move on . . . Please, help . . . What should I do?
If you spend enough time reading advice columns, you notice a pattern. In the stream of sorrows and quandaries and relationship angst, one word bubbles up again and again. First. My first love. My first time. My first ever. And unlike all the relationships that came after, with this one, the past can’t seem to stay in the past.
“Your first experience of something is going to be well remembered, more than later experiences,” explains Art Aron, a psychology professor at State University of New York at Stony Brook who specializes in close relationships. “Presumably there’d be more arousal and excitement, especially if it’s somewhat scary. And falling in love is somewhat scary — you’re afraid you’ll be rejected, you’re afraid you won’t live up to their expectations, afraid they won’t live up to yours. Anxiety is a big part of falling in love, especially the first time.”
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