There are few periods of my life I remember as vividly as my first serious relationship.
I was 17 and to my mind, completely in love. I remember every intricate detail of his bedroom. I remember the season. I remember how he smelt and the movies we watched. I remember sharing things with each other that we had never told anyone before.
He looked like Hayden Christensen (the hot one from Star Wars) and I was the luckiest girl in the whole world.
But, if I’m honest, the thing I remember most is how I felt when it ended.
I was consumed. Suddenly all the lame love songs and romance novels I’d been forced to read at school made sense. I was feeling things that I had absolutely no idea how to explain to anyone else. I felt embarrassed, stupid, worthless and most of all, profoundly rejected. Like any feeling we experience for the first time, I was convinced it would never go away.
If you remember your teenage relationships with unparalleled intensity, you’re not alone.
A few years ago I was interviewing a man in his mid 60s for a research paper. We began talking about his first girlfriend, who he had started seeing when he was about 15. He was absolutely infatuated - until one day, out of the blue, she stopped speaking to him.