How does our first love affect our love life?

6 out of 10 people think about theirs regularly first love and 4 in 10 still harbor feelings for him or her, according to a UK study published in 2020. That’s a fact: First love often leaves an indelible and incomparable imprint. How first romantic relationship does it build us? Does it affect our love that is coming?

First love, first feelings and discoveries

“Every first time is important,” explains Géraldyne Prévot-Gigant, a psychotherapist and romantic relationship specialist. For the specialist, first love is defined first and foremost by the context in which it was born, namely adolescence. “It is a period where we are very permeable to everything that happens to us, where we do not yet have the maturity due to experiences, so we are a little more raw. The events will leave a mark on us, whether they are good or bad, a deep and lasting mark, ”she clarifies.

“I was 18, it was love at first sight. It was an exciting and passionate relationship, it was magical,” remembers Isabella, 28. “Today I am married and my husband is like Kevin, carefree, free, he lives for his passions. I often think of Kevin, “admits the mother. If the first love disturbs so much, it is because it marks the beginning of our love life. It becomes a reference, a point of comparison. “It is the first event that is the source,” analyzes Géraldyne Prévot-Gigant. create a kind of similar tone in our subsequent meetings, and that’s how the repetition cycles sometimes start. “

The idealization of the first love

Some seek to relive feelings of first love. This is the case with Sabrine, 25, who remained in a relationship for 3 years with her first boyfriend. “I was 17 years old, we met in high school, we turned around a lot, and then we found each other when I came to college. I told myself he was the man in my life, we had many projects together, we were going on trips, I knew his family. He really was my best friend, ”she says.

First love is imbued with novelty and above all intensity and magic. ONE first passionate relationship which today leaves Sabrine with a sense that any other relationship is either boring or meaningless. “We agreed on all points, we laughed a lot, we could spend days and days together without getting tired. Now, everything that is not fused, everything that does not surpass me in love, I reject it, ”admits the young woman. “People who have sublimated the relationship, or who have not grieved over it, will seek to relive the same with others,” notes Géraldyne Prévot-Gigant.

“I have a somewhat idealized, fantasized image of love. I am not interested in a temperate relationship “, admits Sabrine. The young woman has not had a serious relationship since d the end of his first great love. “I only had one, a bandage relationship, right after him.” “We will seek, unconsciously, to solve the riddle. We will try to find what we do not accept to have lost, to see what happens, what did not happen the first time. Either we make sure the story is different, or we systematically try to relive the same thing because we only know it, because it reassures us, or because it reflects our beliefs, our stories. , describes the psychotherapist.

First love repetition patterns

The first love can leave a more painful and less pleasant trace than the magic and carelessness of the first times. Sara, 28, had a first violent relationship that left marks on her love life. “He was the perfect guy in my eyes. Everything got worse during the first year of the relationship. He started being more than violent towards me in words, in actions, in gestures. He cut me off from the world, no more friends, no “More family, I had to quit college because I could no longer cope with this team and this tension, I could not talk to anyone. I was 4 and a half years with this person,” she says. happy she stays after all ten years after the consequences. “I have wounds, evil in me, which will not be erased. TCAs (eating behavior disorders) that I have developed and that sometimes come to the surface. A lack of trust in the person I love persists, even if it is minimal. The worst thing is that I can not forgive myself that I have not gone before ”.

Emma *, 28, also had a toxic first relationship. “Quickly, his dominant character took over: He often humiliated me publicly to show others that I was his thing. I thought it was normal and he just wanted to mark his territory. So very quickly it deteriorated. He made me believe that he was unfaithful to me, that I was ugly, not ‘good’ enough “, she remembers. “He was everything that should not be, and brought out a part of me that I did not know, that never came back, and that I hate.”

For Géraldyne Privot-Gigant, first love also helps build a good or bad self-esteem. “Lthe way in which one has been wanted, loved, sublimated, or rejected and abandoned will condition the person in his relationship with himself. If we have been deceived, joked, betrayed, humiliated, it will leave traces, and it is important to be aware of that ”. “I have often repeated the pattern with the bad boy, the guy you have to try to treat, you have to help get better. I dated tortured men who needed attention that my compassion and my altruism, abused, could fill , ”Says Emma, ​​who admits to having taken the time to get out of this repetition pattern.

‘Whatever the reason, there is a kind of unconscious system that illustrates that certain people are not randomly selected. We will choose the one who will resound our first love, ”says Géraldyne Prévot-Gigant.

Free yourself from your first love to flourish in your relationships

When we experience a destructive bond, we carry the wounds of it and we develop defense mechanisms. “I’m having a lot of trouble trusting, I’m too guarded and I’m ruining my relationship because I’m trying to be two steps ahead instead of letting go and just admitting we’re not deciding to be in love.” Emma explains. Mike, 22, struggles to forgive himself for the mistakes he made with his first true love. “This relationship leaves in me a completely immeasurable sense of guilt as I am at the beginning of the break. A sense of guilt accompanied by an eternal question of my ability to be happy and make a girl happy over time.

Staying attached to this memory can trap us in endless regret, preventing us from moving forward. To learn that get rid of the image of his first love, who is able to dictate our expectations, psychological work with the help of a therapist is necessary. “Consciousness is not enough, it liberates enormously and prepares the earth to then pose new behavior and having a different relationship to oneself, to others and to love. This allows you to allow yourself to move in the direction of news, ”emphasizes Géraldyne Prévot-Gigant.

In addition, the psychotherapist systematically asks the question of the first love for patients who come to see her for romantic problems. “I do not ignore that, because there is really essential information that you need to look at if you want to help the person understand their love pattern, to understand what they are putting in place unconsciously.”

But as the specialist reminds us, first love does not determine our entire sentimental life. “Like any experience that leaves its mark, the work with itself only gives the opportunity to keep the memory of it and no longer something imprinted in us that will condition us ”.

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