This artwork is Norman Rockwell’s ‘First Love.’
(Anybody surprised I love Norman Rockwell? I didn’t think so.)
Many people seem nostalgic, and maybe even full of regret about their ‘first love.’ I’ve heard and read a lot of accounts of ‘the one that got away,’ unsure if they gave up too quickly, if their lives would be better had it only worked out with that person. I know about marriages that have split up over one partner’s renewed contact with their first love. It happened for a lot of them in high school or college, and they’ve romanticized that time in their life, or that person from their past. It’s probably natural to idealize first love, because the feelings are so new and intense.
I’ve never imagined how different things might be for me if they’d only just worked out with some other person, though. I don’t have any regret about past relationships ending. I clearly remember why it never worked out with my first boyfriend or anyone else I saw. Sometimes, there were small, virtually meaningless events that showed we just weren’t compatible, or they ghosted me, or otherwise hurt my feelings. I don’t look back fondly and wonder ‘what if…?’ I didn’t put any of those guys on a pedestal. The real reason each of those relationships ended, and why I don’t view my past with rose-colored glasses is the same: I didn’t love them, and they didn’t love me. There wasn’t a real connection.
I’ve been told fairly often that I romanticize J and my relationship with him. I’ve literally written novels inspired by my love for J. I write things about him here that are well received, but as I wrote about yesterday, I’ve written about him in the past on other forms of social media that have prompted accusations of being ‘phony.’
‘You make him sound too good to be true.’
Even the supportive comments I’ve received in the past in person or other online outlets sound a bit negative. ‘It’s weird how you still get so worked up over him like that…’
I know I fawn over J like a schoolgirl in puppy love even though we’ve been married for years and are now ‘middle-aged.’ I’m not deluded, though. I know he’s not perfect. But he’s perfect for me. The connection I have with him is totally unique and stronger than any I’ve made with any other person, and it still feels magical to me.
I guess I’m just like everyone else when it comes to glamorizing my first love, after all. J IS my first love. He’s my only love.