Why the first isn’t the last.

I’m a hopeless romantic, and I have no shame. I love love. The more sappy, mushy and unrealistic, the better. It’s no surprise that, all through high school, I tried to convince my family and friends that my high school boyfriend was absolutely the love of my life. I was sure if I could convince everyone around me that he was more than his tough exterior, they would understand why I adored him.

One night over dinner (and, of course, margaritas) with my momma and a dear family friend, we got into the bickering over my future with my beloved boyfriend. My mom’s friend wanted to calm the storm, so she said “you know, now that I’m divorced, there’s one thing I’ve learned with dating. The first question you have to ask yourself is, ‘would I be okay with this being the father of my child?’ Look at the very worst qualities in that person. Take a handful of them, and pretend for a minute that those are the only qualities your child inherits.” My hot head fizzled instantly when I pondered her statement. As I began to chug down a marg, I realized how wrong I had been over the years. I wasn’t trying to show everyone what a great person my boyfriend was, I was attempting to convince myself. Worried that I might never find a soulmate, I tried to make my first love my forever love.

First loves are scary, thrilling and overwhelming. At 16, it’s impossible to have it all figured out. I was convinced I knew who I wanted to be, but you change, and that’s okay. Growing up often means growing apart… It doesn’t mean you can’t still care about someone, but you also can’t hold yourself to the promises you make at that age.

This brings me to my next point. I believe your second love is the true love of your life. Your first love brings so many experiences, emotions and overwhelming heartbreak… but it also teaches you who you are and how you love. First loves teach you who you are, what you bring to the table, and what you need to kick to the curb in your next relationships. The next few tries in the dating pool are easy when weeding out the crappy candidates, because you can see qualities from past relationships that you want to avoid altogether. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that your first love can’t be your forever, but don’t feel like you’ve struck out if it doesn’t work out.

My fiancee… He’s a social butterfly, always craving to be the center of attention and make friends with everyone we meet. He is extremely to the point, there’s never any question as to what he is thinking, because he always puts it all out there from the get-go. Typically he is extremely set in his ways, and no one can change his mind… but I think he might have a little bit of a soft spot for me, on rare occasions. I have never imagined that loving someone could be so effortless and real. He was the total opposite of my first love, and was the last love I would ever need to experience to know I had found my heart.

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As unromantic as it sounds, the first is somewhat of a trial run.  Take all of the nasty, selfish mistakes you made that were hard to forget, and don’t make them again. Be honest about the problems that popped up in your last relationship so you can avoid them altogether this time. Most of all, never make excuses. Find someone that makes you love love, and don’t think you’ve failed if it takes you more than your first to find your forever.

Xo, N.

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