Recently, I reconnected with an ex. Not just any old ex. It was my first boyfriend.
But not only my first boyfriend, the first guy to break my heart.
It was so exciting, seeing his name pop up on social media after all these years.
As exciting as it was, I still felt like I was about to open Pandora’s box.
So many deep emotions were attached to this person and even though I felt over it – was I REALLY over it?
I started seeing my life as a romantic comedy.
Was this some kind of serendipitous moment where fate had brought us together again?
And would Drew Barrymore be available to play me in a movie?
Falling in love for the first time is like falling into an emotional abyss.
You fall deep, you fall hard. Your heart is open and untarnished, and you haven’t gained nearly enough emotional intelligence to deal with it.
My first boyfriend and I were pretty smitten. It was the “no, you hang up first – no, you hang up” kind of relationship that makes me cringe today.
My mum was always going on about having my own life as well.
She could see I was totally consumed by the relationship.
And if I listened to her the next part might not have been so painful.
I still remember the day he broke up with me. It hurt so much I would go to sleep crying, wake up crying, go to the toilet crying.
Every day I would ask my mum “why, why did this happen to me?” pressuring and interrogating her for answers.
My poor mum. Sometimes she would take me out for lunch to try and distract me from my inner turmoil.
But the food was a reminder I used to eat food with him too – like the time he stuffed Doritos into a cheese roll, what a dreamboat.
Everything I looked at panged me with a memory. I was inconsolable.
When we fall in love whether it be the first time or the tenth time, our brain releases that feel good chemical, dopamine.
And dopamine is bloody addictive and how dare anyone take that away from us.
So when it is taken away, we can be prone to behaving similar to a drug addict.
And it can hurt too! Yeah, like, really physically hurt!
Heartbreak can trigger the stress hormones in our brain which can lead to physical symptoms (such as nausea, shallow breathing) and it can also weaken our fragile little tickers.
I’d always envisioned seeing my high school boyfriend again.
I’d scripted conversations in my head about what I would say to him.
But I never thought it would actually happen.
While I was expecting that scene from The Notebook where they make out in the rain, it wasn’t exactly like that.
The truth was, he wasn’t Ryan Gosling. And we weren’t 17 anymore.
While you might feel a little bit bruised, the lessons you learn from your first love carry on through your romantic life.
They make up part of your emotional tapestry. They are important notches on your belt.
My pop once framed the lyrics to a song called The Rose for me after a break-up, hoping that it would console me.
It read: “It’s the heart afraid of breaking, that never learns to dance.”