Reuniting with a First Love
Do you remember your first love? I bet the question made you smile. He may have been a grade school crush, or she may have been the girl next door, but this person is someone you never forget.
There may even be a lock of hair or a few love letters tucked away, reminders of what it was to be young and in love for the very first time.
Of course, research has been done on first loves, although looking at love under a microscope does not seem very romantic.
While there are those who fall in love at a tender age and stay together, researchers say that the most common reasons romance ends was parental disapproval, being too young, moving away, or leaving to attend school.
Nancy Kalish, PhD, is considered an expert on rekindled romances and lost loves. She has written Lost & Found Lovers: Facts and Fantasies of Rekindled Romances, and an e-book The Lost Love Chronicles: Reunions and Memories of First Love. She also has a website: lostlovers.com.
Professor Kalish’s research shows many people reporting great bitterness toward parents for breaking them up years earlier. “This research may serve as a cautionary tale for today’s parents to think twice before they interfere with a teen’s romance or dismiss it as ‘just puppy love.’”
Here’s an interesting statistic. A study done in the United States shows that people who rekindled a youthful romance at least five years after the breakup had a seventy-six percent chance of staying together. Compare that to the forty percent chance of the rest of the population having a successful union.
Real-life stories about lovers reuniting can be found in Donna Hanover’s book My Boyfriend’s Back. The former First Lady of New York dated, then was dumped by, her high school boyfriend Ed Oster.
More than thirty years after they broke up, Oster called her. Turns out they were both divorced. A coffee date led to their wedding a year later.
One review states, “Whether it’s Googling an ex-boyfriend or attending a class reunion, My Boyfriend’s Back encourages readers to find out whatever happened to the ex they can’t forget; it is the book single, widowed, and divorced romantics everywhere have been waiting for.”
A long-time acquaintance, whom we shall call Mark, was willing to share his experience. Out of respect and caring for his ex-wife, he requested anonymity.
Now happily married to the woman he never forgot, Mark says, “In our case, it was more than thirty years since we had seen each other. We had both gone our separate ways, made our mistakes, met and married other loves, raised children, eventually divorced like fifty percent of couples do, and then found each other and reunited.”
The story gets better. “I found her again by mistake when I was online one evening. I sent her an e-mail not expecting more than an update of what she had been doing the last few decades. I figured she had moved on, and so had I. As it turns out, I was her ‘what if’ just like she was my ‘what if.’ Like, what if we had stayed together—what would have happened? We started e-mailing, calling, and eventually met again and started a long-distance relationship.”
Mark then moved to be with her. He adds, “It was nowhere near as smooth as it sounds.”
He says that after he and his first love reunited, “It was amazing how many other couples we came across who had gotten back together as well. It’s more common than you think.”
He finds one recurring theme for reuniting couples is they met when they were young (high school/college) and the relationship left a deep, lasting impression that they carried with them for a long time after the relationship ended. “It’s almost like a scar that doesn’t heal.”
Why do these relationships outlast others? Mark says, “I think the reason for longevity may be that you’ve seemingly waited decades to be with this person, so you have no intention of going anywhere. And that’s a strong mutual feeling.”
He adds, “There seem to be pivotal points along life’s highway that bring people back together. First and most important is that indelible impression that is left when you knew the person. Second is that life event that leaves you thinking about the past—often a divorce or perhaps the death of a spouse.”
In Mark’s case, “The whole getting back together thing was a happy accident. But, life could have taken one of several other turns. I guess what I’m saying is, I like how things turned out, but I could have found someone totally different and had a nice ending as well. This ending just comes with a cool story—lost love, long break, reuniting, happy ending.”
It appears love really is better the second time around. Besides, who doesn’t love a happy ending?
Judith A. Rucki is a public relations consultant and freelance writer. Readers may contact her via the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org with ideas for making the golden years sparkle, sizzle, and shine.