Ah, the beauty and the perils of young love.
For some, their first relationship ends up being their only relationship. For others, however, it’s a blessing that their first relationship did not turn out to be The One – and that’s something a recent theory prescribes to.
As explained by relationship expert and couples counsellor Melissa Ferrari on Today, there are at least two people that come before The One, and each relationship is significant in their own way in terms of what it teaches each partner about themselves and love in general. Watch above.
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“To go through life and experience things and not be too shy about falling in love is probably a good start, but it shapes us in a way of being able to recognise we are human, we tend to idealise our partner in the beginning,” Ferrari says of first love.
Each relationship, Ferrari says, is a learning experience, and part of maturing in love is reflection, such as telling yourself, “Oh, gee, I did miss that red flag, maybe I’ll watch out for it next time.”
We found eight people to tell us what they learnt from their first relationships – and maybe learning these lessons in theory will save you some heartache in pursuit of The One.
Contact Bronte Gossling at email@example.com.
“How to be sensitive and sympathetic to the way other people view things, and understand that your view is not always the most obvious one, OR the right one. ALSO, vitally, my first boyfriend taught me how to make up quickly and not fester on fights, because what’s the point if you love them and it was fickle anyway?” – Sofía, now 22, on her first relationship when she was 17.
“If you’re in an argument or breaking up with someone, never write what you want to say in a text or on paper, instead call them. What you say can be used against you later and if you write something down in the heat of the moment, chances are you will regret it later and look like a psycho…” – Nicole, now 23, on her first relationship when she was 15.
“It taught me that age is just a number, that when you connect with someone that’s all that matters. He was a bit older than me, and so was my husband! I suppose looking back, as I was really close to my dad but we were going through a rocky patch, I was more comfy with older guys? Now I am with someone a bit younger and keep reminding myself, age is just a number but in reverse. I really believe that. It doesn’t matter. True love and connection is so special and rare.” – Jo, now 46, on her first relationship when she was 19.
“One thing I wish I’d known before my first few relationships and the string of broken hearts (mine) that followed was to stop over-analysing every little thing! I used to overthink every single exchange, every phone call, every text or email, every chat in bed… and I used to drive myself crazy. I could never let things just be and I had to discuss every single detail with friends.
“In the end, these thoughts become destructive and self-sabotaging. If only I had known to just take a deep breath, let go of my insecurities and go with the flow more.” – Heidi, now 45, on her first relationship when she was 17.
“My first relationship was when I was 17 with a girl who I went to high-school with, and it taught me that I like men. My second relationship was at 21 with a man I went to university with, and it taught me not all men.” – Erik, now 25.
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“I learnt that the communication style I grew up with (direct) and managing conflict (very direct) was not necessarily the best approach for everyone, and that if there’s conflict, usually it’s best to approach it from the perspective of us versus the problem, not us versus each other.” – Charlotte, now 24, on her first relationship when she was 17.
“Being together 24/7 is not the same as spending ‘quality time’ with each other, and the little things count more than you think.” – Romeo, now 28, on his first relationship when he was 21.
“What I learned from dating a gay man in high-school when I was 16: We were both gay. My second relationship was with a girl I met on Tinder when I was 20, and it taught me how to manage a situation where one or both partners are in the process of coming out. It was a bit chaotic and we were telling different people we were friends/girlfriends, and the dynamics and gender roles are obviously different with a man so it’s hard to know who takes the lead in certain situations. We were dealing with coming out to our loved ones, going to our first Mardi Gras together, and this was only a couple of months after same-sex marriage had been legalised in Australia. So it was a lot. Plus men like to be creepy and fetishise us, so that was… so fun.” – Sophie, now 25.
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