When I was 17 years old I met and fell in love with a man who became my prince. I thought it would last forever. We were soul mates and we shared everything together. This lasted for about eighteen months when we had our first big blow up. This also happened at a time when I needed to make some decisions about my future studies and where I wanted to live. The wants of each of us became devastatingly incompatible and we parted company.
Thoughts of him stayed with me for a long while as I then continued on with my life and fell in love with someone else who ultimately became my husband. Even now, nearly forty years later, I remember my first love with fondness and know that, despite what we had, it could never have been more than a high school fling though a great one at that.
Really there is nothing that will ever be the same as a first love. The feelings in your body and mind are intense coming from a place of innocence and naiveté. It’s like the first time you do anything exciting, like going on a roller coaster ride for the first time. It’s exhilarating and scary and irresistibly draws you into making you want to experience the ride again and again until you’re exhausted.
Of course this feeling cannot last as you must come back to reality. This sometimes happens with a resounding thud as you come to understand that you are actually not well-matched or your wants from life is not the same. Sometimes you just come to realize that you don’t really like this person anyway or they really don’t like you.
Then it’s all over! You are left to pick up the pieces of your life and move on. The reality is though that most often this happens for one or other of you first. The result being that while one of you has decided to move on the other hasn’t got to that stage yet.
This is where the other of you is left with some unanswered questions and consequently what we call in the industry ‘unfinished business’. This most often comprises the need to grieve the loss as well as to get some answers to the most obvious question ‘is this about you or me?’
For anyone going through this distress generally the first reaction is to try to avoid it. And how do you do that? You quickly distract yourselves with a new love. Often the outcome of this is, once the initial attraction has somewhat waned, to feel once again the sadness of the previous loss. This may be recognized by you, or your partner, as a belief that there is still love for that person, the Ex.
So how do you get past this? If you’re the one feeling like you can’t get over a lost love you need to remind yourself of the reality of the situation and focus on what is now possible for your future.
If you’re the one with a partner struggling with this know that this is their struggle and they are the one who needs to do the work. This is not about who you are or what you do. There is consequently not a lot you can do in this case except to be as supportive and as loving as you can be. This will then be his/her reminder of what s/he really does have to be thankful for in his/her life now.
If both of these options seem like too big it might be time to seek some counselling with someone who can work with each of you separately or with the two of you together to find a resolution.
So until next time – Relate with Love