dating

'I'm married. But my first boyfriend was the purest, most beautiful love of my life.'

It was the summer of 2007 and orientation week at the university campus I’d moved to a few days prior. I was pottering about in my dorm, putting posters up or whatever you did to your dorm in 2007, when a boy walked past.

I didn’t see him, but he saw me and he later told me that he ‘knew there would be something’ when he saw my blonde head bobbing around to one of his favourite songs.

I was later told there was a ‘hot guy’ on campus. We were a few days into o-week and although I was single, I was still pretty shy.

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I agreed that he was pretty hot but was a bit nervous about trying to talk to him. Given his new rep, I knew he’d be inundated with offers from frisky freshers.

I mustered up the (Dutch) courage to chat to him that first night at a mixer and we chatted all night, ignoring everyone else around us giving us knowing eyes.

We ran into each other the next day and continued to talk non-stop, so after getting a bit tipsy at a hazing ritual in the afternoon, I made the first move when I ran into him later, leaning in for a kiss.

And that was it. No games, no drama, no questions – we were a couple.

After that first night, we slept in a single bed in my dorm for the first year. In the second year, we asked for adjoining dorm rooms and pushed the single beds together (how we slept in a single bed for a year is beyond me) and in the third year, we moved into our very own flat.

Loving each other was as easy as breathing.

We didn’t fight, we didn’t hurt each, and we never questioned being together forever (until we did question that, but you know what I mean.)

I didn’t even have proper friends for the first year or so and honestly didn’t really care. He was the only person I wanted to hang out with and we never got sick of each other, staying up all night in our single bed, chatting about anything and everything.

We were together for a few more years after we finished university but have since gone on to marry other people.

That said, I still feel such a sense of nostalgia when I think of him.

We made the right decision not being together for sure (we’d actually be TERRIBLE together now) and as mentioned, we’re both super in love with our spouses.

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But I don’t think there’s anything as pure and full and beautiful as your first love. I will never love anyone as fiercely as I loved him and I’ll never be loved the way he loved me.

I hadn’t been very popular with boys in high-school, nothing lasting longer than a few months, meaning I went into this relationship a virgin, with no concept of what love is.

Of course, you THINK you’re in love at 15 with the boy who bought you a PROUDS necklace, but… you’re not. You just feel like it when he dumps you for not wanting to give him a blow job… Just me?

I’m not saying this guy was the love of my life. I don’t believe in that. I’m not saying I didn’t love my boyfriend after him and I’m not saying I don’t love my husband – I’m just saying there’s no love like your first and it’s just not something many people openly admit.

Your first love is pure.

You’ve never been hurt before; you enter the relationship with zero baggage, simply marvelling at how fantastic it feels to be with the other person, you don’t really think of any negatives at all.

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Belgian psychotherapist and writer Esther Perel says that ‘beginnings are always ripe with possibilities, for they hold the promise of completion. Through love we imagine a new way of being’ and I like to think that with each new relationship, the beginning is a little bit less ripe.

It’s still fresh and wondrous of course, but it’s not a ripe pear from a tree, it’s like the grocery store pear that’s been sitting out for a while. There’s just something not as unadulterated as that first pear you pick from a tree.

My god, I hope my ex never reads this. Worse, if his wife or my husband read it and think they’re pears with brown spots on them. Or have worms.

Ok, I’m sorry, I’ll stop with my pear analogy now.

Sometimes I look at Luke (my husband) and I wish I could love him as freely and fiercely as I loved my first boyfriend.

He’s a better person and he’s far better for me; but with age, and with hurt, and with baggage (all that delightful stuff you get in your 20s), the love he receives is more guarded in many ways. It’s more cynical and less romantic.

I wouldn’t go back to that time in my life for anything in the world, but sometimes when I hear a song or see a cheesy movie, the nostalgia for first love is real.

I would like to know what you think? Is this something you’ve felt but never wanted to admit out of fear of hurting your ‘now’ person? What’s the ripest pear you’ve ever tasted? KIDDING.

Feature Image: Supplied.

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