real life

"The song was about me": 5 women share how they fell in love for the first time as teenagers.

I often think that if our lives were a book, then the page that tells the story of our first loves would be the one we reread the most.

For many women, the story of how they first fell in love during their high school years is one that goes on to shape them as adults, even the ones that still leave a bit of a sting.

Here, five women share how they fell in love for the first time as teenagers and what those experiences mean to them now.


When I was 17 I went to the Year 12 music night for the boys’ school near ours.

I was there to see a friend play the drums (he wasn’t that good, to be honest…), but then a guy got up, played piano and sung and he was amazing. I knew him vaguely and he was very quiet, but when he got on stage he was like a different person.

I got to know him over the next few months and he was the only guy I had been able to spend time with without being nervous. He didn’t make me awkward or act weird, I just felt like myself with him. We were still in the ‘getting to know each other’ phase when he had a trip planned overseas to go visit his dad.

When he left, he dropped an envelope at my house with a cassette tape in it. It was a tape of him playing the piano and singing a song where he changed the lyrics to make them about me and that’s when I knew. 11 years later and we’re still together!


When I was 15 years old I started taking the bus to school by myself. During the first week of term, a boy who was new to my school asked if he could sit next to me. He asked so quietly I could barely hear what he said. We didn’t say anything else for that whole trip but when the bus got to school he kind of smiled at me before he left.

For the next couple of weeks, we’d often end up sitting next to or near each other on the bus, thanks to the bus hierarchy of juniors sitting near the front.

I finally found out his name was Liam and one day he asked me about the music I was listening to. I’d never heard of the band he was listening to so he slipped one of his earbuds into my ear so I could hear it and as his hand brushed against my cheek I swear my whole body started shaking.

We listened to music together on the bus for another few months before he first held my hand and after that, we dated all the way to our senior year.

It was a huge moment when he got his license in grade 12 and came to pick me for school in his mum’s car for the first time. Before we drove away he put on a CD he’d made for the ride and it was those same songs we’d listened to when we’d first met on the bus. I knew at that moment I really loved him.

We broke up after we left school but in my mind being in love with him was the most important thing that happened to me in high school, my first relationship taught me what a real relationship should always look like.

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My first flickering of love was when I used to live in the Middle East and I was in school there.

I met a boy named Scott, he had two dogs and his mum used to make us fairy bread when we went to his house (looking back maybe I was using him for that..?).

Anyway, when I moved to Australia and I was unpacking my bags, I looked in my school backpack and found that he had hidden a little heart-shaped stone in there just for me to find.

We were really just kids back then but to this day I still look for him on Facebook, but to no avail.


I was 15 and I stayed back after school one day for musical practice.

I ended up walking home with a guy who was a friend of mine at the time. It was a 40-minute walk home and in that time I had such intense butterflies in my stomach while I was talking to him. I couldn't eat for like three days after that, I fell head over heels for him.

Then when he broke up with me a few months later, I use to go to Myer (it was called Grace Brothers at that time) and spray his cologne on those little white cards they have and then smell them while listening to love song dedications.

I do look back at that time now and feel a little mortified about how I acted, but I can also still feel that really intense sting of teenage heartbreak, it never leaves you.


My parents sent me to boarding school when I was 16 years old, which I hated because I'd just started seeing this really nice guy from my school.

It was a three-hour bus ride between home and my new school but I took that bus home every single weekend just so I could see him.

There's not much to do in my town on the weekend except walk around the one shopping centre holding hands, which is what we did pretty much every weekend and it was honestly the best.

After we'd been together for six months he was waiting for me at the bust stop one Friday night, it was pouring rain and so the bus had been delayed and it was so late at night, but he was still there. He was holding this small bunch of flowers I could tell he bought at the petrol station (they were actually kinda withered and a bit dead) but it was just so sweet so I told him I loved him.

He said it back and now I try and hold onto that as the good moment from that bus stop because we ended up dating for another year and had plenty of nasty fights in that same spot. I once got onto the bus after he'd told me maybe I shouldn't come home the next weekend because we needed a break and cried so hard the bus driver asked another passenger to get me some tissues.

Now that I'm married and in an adult relationship, I can see how being teenagers made everything feel so much better and also so much worse than it really was for us. Things got very dramatic for a while there.

But it was still real love, I will never change my mind about that.

How did you know you had fallen in love for the first time?

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