When I was 16, I fell in love for the first time. I had dated before and honestly, I figured this relationship would be pretty much the same as all of those. Childish, fun, and headed for a demise within a couple of months. But that’s not what happened. Instead, I experienced the feeling of caring for someone more than myself, being a better person just for knowing someone, and trusting someone entirely. I found my “high school sweetheart.”
I would be lying if I said we were perfect for each other. We were complete opposites and had fairly different ideas about the future. But if I knew one thing, it was that I wanted to be with him for the rest of my life. I found myself doing things and feeling things that I never imagined I would. Even now, almost 6 years after our relationship began, I know for a fact that I was in love.
But reality is never as pretty as we think it will be. Our relationship only lasted for a year and ended with a mess that flipped my world upside down. He decided to walk away. I’m still not sure why but I guess the fact of the matter is, you rarely end up with your first love in the end. We grew up, we changed, and I know now we would not have stayed together anyway.
My thoughts were only further confirmed when he tried to get me back a couple of years later. Believe me, I considered it. But the relationship ended for a reason, and I couldn’t ignore that. There was so much I would never be able to reconcile about choices he’d made and the person he had become. So I said no. I walked away because it was easier for me to hold on to who we used to be. I didn’t want to take any risks and cause us both more pain.
But I didn’t want a world where he was out of my life for good.
I moved on and built a new life, yet still found myself fondly remembering our time together. As I had new relationships, I would be comparing the emotions. I used to wonder if that was wrong or if it meant something significant. What I’ve come to find is that it’s not wrong but it does have meaning. It means that he matters.
No, I don’t love him anymore. Not in a romantic way, at least. But he was my first everything and that’s important. Once I had loved him, it would never really go away. We both went our separate ways and we have both cared for other people. I even got married. But the fact is, love is different every time you experience it.
Your first love is a one time feeling and when you move on, you won’t love the same way ever again.
It doesn’t mean I love my husband less. That is far from true. It means I love him differently. Still passionate, still wonderful, still everything that love is supposed to be. But regardless of where I go in life, my first love will be part of me.
Your first love always holds a piece of your heart and there’s nothing wrong with that. First loves usually don’t last forever, but everything that came with them does. You take with you a lesson, a better understanding of yourself and what love looks like for you. Letting your ex go is necessary if you’re going to move forward but you shouldn’t feel guilty if you find yourself smiling at a memory you shared. You should know there’s nothing wrong with remembering them and what you had. Because that’s where your journey began, and in a way, that’s home.
There is a big difference between being in love with someone and loving what they mean to you. You can have no romantic feelings for a person but still love the person they helped you become and the part of your life they represent.
I don’t want to be with my ex. I barely know anything about my ex. But I could never cut him out of my life and I would never want to forget what we shared. We had wonderful times together and more than that, we grew up together.
Your past doesn’t have to leave you. Baggage is when you hold on to a person and what you went through to the point that it negatively impacts your future. My ex is not baggage. My ex represents a part of myself that I otherwise never would have and I am thankful for the love we shared. He made me a better person and I would not be where I am had I never known him.
My first love was a short chapter in my life but it was extremely meaningful. Yes, I’ve turned the page but I can’t close the book and for me, that’s perfectly fine.
Featured Image Via Gabi E. Mulder