Style & Substance: Haunted by your first love

Dear style & substance,

I feel haunted by my “first love”. Even though I broke up with him after 2 years, I can’t seem to find that sweet feeling with my new boyfriend. What is it about first love and can I ever get “that” feeling again?

First love is something to be reckoned with! So what is it about first love that you and we all seek to recreate? Prior to your first “fall”…romantic love had only been read of in books or seen in movies; so it is quite shattering to experience the emotional and physical aspects when we do fall in love. To take a healthy approach to this question; we believe that it is crucial to have experienced the unconditional love of family first and secondly, the love of self. These two loves are the foundation on which to build a mature love relationship.

Part of first love, is that it helps to develop our self-love, especially if it happens during the teen and young adult years. It is during this intense, growing pain filled time that we are figuring out who we are and what is important to us in a relationship.

If you have not experienced unconditional love and/or self-love (all is not lost), you can start with getting to know and accept yourself; physically, emotionally, spiritually and intellectually, all of your strengths and weaknesses. This can be a gentle process, if you reflect on it daily through awareness and acceptance. Continue to move toward unconditionally loving you for you. Arm yourself with a sense of humor and an assurance that most people, even the most confident, are working on and possibly struggling with self-love regularly. It is very personally a “me” process, not a “them” process.

When seeking your next love, begin to change the focus of your question from “can I get that feeling again?” to “what do I need from a relationship to feel energized, loved and fulfilled?” Remind yourself of the qualities that first attracted you to your new boyfriend. In that process, also remind yourself of the reasons your “first love” and you are no longer together. Does your current relationship bring you closer to self- assurance or self-doubt? What qualities can you not live with and not live without? Reflecting on your first love is remembering your capacity to feel 100 % alive and to truly connect with another person. Use it now as a touchstone to continue to develop your best self.

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