The idea that people never forget their first love is a universal one, and almost everyone retains some sentimental value for their first experience of romantic love, the first time they felt the sweet sensation of being the object of someone's romantic affection.
But what is it about first love that makes it unforgettable? What’s the element about that first time in love, which elevates it to an untouchable, incorruptible place in the hearts of many?
One obvious reason is for the fact of the novelty that first love always comes with. The headiness, the charm of it all, the newness of every sweet feeling you get in that period… it’s simply... new. It's nothing like you ever felt... quite unbeatable. Many attach that special feeling to that time, and invariably, the person who made them feel that way.
“First love stories are so compelling… because there is something so powerful about a young love experience… it happens when our hearts are still innocent and pure…” writes Arlene Nisson for Huff Post.
Moments like that easily become sentimentalised, especially with the passage of time and the gathering of more [unsavoury] love experiences.
That first time will always remain untainted for many because it came before the heartbreaks, before the first hand men-are-scum ordeals and other drama that people eventually witness in relationships.
So as time goes on people experience the other side of the love coin, it becomes easy to associate that time of blissful innocence and ‘teenage love,’ to a time when pubescent boys were dreaming in colour about girls in pinafores and white socks. When bits of lunch monies were saved ahead in order to get Valentine’s Day cards and chocolates for their crush, who sported natural hair all plaited to the back.
First love is reminiscent, for many, of time when love was guileless, unpretentious, without deceit, pure and devoid of games and toxic patterns.
“It’s true, too,” according to Nisson, “that we tend to get even more sentimental as we age.”
Helena Frith Powell of Daily Mail adds that “that’s the secret about first loves - the memories are not encumbered by the trials of mortgages, school fees and post-baby bulges. They are a reminder of a time when life was much more simple.”