Monday, July 5, 2010


Today is July 5th. Every year this day rolls around and I pause, take a moment, and remember my first love. Today is his birthday. This is the 15th year he will be celebrating it without me.

As an aside, and I won't stay stuck on this, for those of you who participated in looking for Patterns Among My Crushes, the only Pattern that no one picked up on was First Love. I suppose that it wasn't so much a trait of the person (as in personality or the way they looked), which explains why. However, it was the tie that bound all of those really young fictional characters together. First Love. (Michael Guerin (Roswell), Adam Rove (Joan of Arcadia), Lucky Spencer (General Hospital), Jason Morgan (General Hospital), LLoyd Dobler (Say Anything), Seth Cohen (The O.C.), and even Logan Huntzberger (The Gilmore Girls)

I know that there are some people out there who marry their first love. They get it right first shot out of the gate. They live with that person for their entire life, raise a family, and eventually are laid to rest side by side. It happens. I know people that can claim that as their story.

Then there are the rest of us. First love. There is nothing better than first love and it will never feel quite that way ever again. The beauty of first love is ignorance. You rush headlong into it fearless. You wear your heart on your sleeve, trust everything that the other person says, believe that everything will work out fine, are fierce in your devotion and commitment, and if the other person says jump, you do. It doesn't occur that they might not catch you. You are reckless with your heart. Now, if you have chosen well, that turns out fine. If you have chosen someone who isn't ready to hold it, well that ends up hurting a lot. There is nothing quite like jumping off the cliff, sure that the other person is going to catch you, and when you are in the freefall, you see them turn and walk away. That is one hell of a landing.

After a landing like that, you don't approach relationships the same way ever again. You aren't fearless, trusting, reckless, and ready to jump. You now have "baggage" or "issues." I mentally picture people dragging all of their old relationships with them everywhere they go. In a way, they are. Each new hurt, gets thrown into the pile. It gets added to the list of "things to watch out for because I am not going to fall for that again."

So, even though this is my first love's birthday, and I think of him on this day, I also think of me on this day. The old me. The me before I knew him. The crazy thing is that he isn't a bad guy. He's actually one of the good ones. He just didn't know what he wanted when he met me. Check that. He knew what he wanted. He wanted to play baseball (catcher) and he blew out his knee playing football and that nixed his baseball aspirations. So, he couldn't do what he wanted, and he was floundering. Whatever he felt for me wasn't enough to anchor him, and it wasn't as much as I felt for him. However, I let myself get jerked around on his crazy treadmill for seven years, when I should have stepped off much sooner.

Just before I graduated college, he called me to tell me that he had joined the Army. We were broken up at that time. At this point in the relationship, it was very on again, off again. Granted, this was the longest off it had been. The fact that he didn't call me to ask my opinion before he made this decision should have told me something. (This was a potential time to call it off.) What it did was suck me back in.

He went to Boot Camp and I moved to New York City. I wrote him tons of letters and received none. Before he left for Boot Camp, he was going to see me after, because he was going to be stationed overseas. Boot camp ended and no calls from him. (This was a potential time to call it off.)

One night I drank way too much and called his house. He went on and on about how he read my letters and how mad I sounded. He said that he wasn't writing me back (true), but that he couldn't write or receive mail in Boot Camp. He knew he had really hurt me and thought it would just be best to leave things as they were. (This was a really good time to end it. When a man pretty much tells you he is too big of a baby to explain a situation and he would rather just allow you to sit in a mucky pool of hurt feelings, that says a lot.) However, I was really drunk and way too forgiving.

After Desert Storm ended, he was transferred to Fort Stewart in Georgia. I had a job in publishing and was at the point of advancing in my career. I could jettison my career and move to GA or I could stay in NY. (I should have stayed in NY.) I moved to GA. After he got out of the military, we moved to MI, and lived at his parents lake house, and I got an admin job (after various temp jobs), but I wasn't loving it. Our relationship went downhill fairly quickly after that. I left and moved back home to OH.

I couldn't see it when I was in it, but he was walking away from me all of the time. That was why our relationship was on again, off again in college. I never wanted it to be off again. The only reason it was off again was because every time I turned around I was looking at his back as he was leaving me. I got used to the hard landing. It started to feel normal. If a relationship isn't painful, well than it must not be love. How else do you explain taking someone back after that whole letter fiasco? I don't care how drunk I was, there was a next day to process everything. That was the day to call him back and say, "Thanks for explaining that Boot Camp made you more physically fit as a person, but you are still emotionally a baby who would rather walk away than do the work in a relationship. You have saved me years of pain."

Of course, the problem is that it has taken me 15 years to see that my turning point was that moment. I didn't know that until today. That phone call took place in the summer of 1990. So, it has only taken me twenty years to nail down where it all really went wrong. Of course, the best idea would have been to not call at all. Let him make that trip to Germany, go to Iraq, and the whole time be thinking about how he screwed up. Let him do some growing up. Some manning up. Because, like I said, he actually is a good guy. I just never could quite forgive him for always walking away. So, in the end, I walked away. I walked away probably about the time he was getting it together. I was just tired.

Anyway, if I hadn't made that call, chances are pretty good that he would have called me after it was over. Would I have been available? That I don't know. There are a lot of men in New York City. Would I have moved to Georgia? Not if I was smart. Let him finish his time in the Army, and if he wants the relationship enough, he can enroll in NYU. That is what he was doing ~ going back to school after he got out of the military. That would have changed my feeling about that relationship all the way around. It wouldn't have felt like me chasing him and giving up everything, while he had done nothing but walk away. That was the missing piece of our relationship, and why it didn't work. He needed to do something to indicate that he really wanted it.

Some people seem to have latched onto the idea that this is Music Monday. Well, I am all for anything that is music-related. Of course, this is the perfect song to complement this post. There isn't actually any video. It is a blank screen. It's just the song, but I think the songwriter must have lived through something like my story.

Don't forget to turn off my music player at the bottom of the page...

So, what do you have to say about First Love? Did you luck up and marry yours? Are you still friends? Am I right, wrong, or something in between? Please share your story....


  1. Tom is the very first one I've ever made up with, who's ever wanted me back ... no good history here. I can't help but think of this song for you --

  2. Yes, I married my first love.
    I dated in high school but never fell in love.
    I met tim and fell in love and then we got married.
    Then fell in real love after a couple of years of hardships.
    There are different layers to love.
    Good post.

  3. WOW...I can relate to a lot of things you say here, kiddo!

    It dumbfounds me though when I hear stories of people marrying their first love. I think its all in the mind, really. Personally, marrying your childhood sweetheart is not for me as I'd have this little worm ruining our relationship saying "Think of all the experiences you've missed!" And really, living alone, being independent, making my own choices was very valuable for me and has helped me in my marriage (and I still think cohabitation is tough!)

    I think timing has a lot to do with things, and I really don't believe there is just ONE Mr. Right. For me, it's Mr. Right at the Right time. Perhaps love is an over-rated thing. Perhaps life is just a journey of self-discovery. You can't take anyone with you ALL THE WAY. It's you ALONE with co-travellers for part of the journey.

    Now for my first love. My "first (consumated) love" (different story to First Kiss)was also with a very nice nice, that he hasn't found me on FB (I see this as a good thing). He had asked me to marry him 13 years before I was ready to make such a commitment and I looked him in the eye and said. "Yes, but if I married you I'd always wonder what I'd have missed." And then I broke his heart by leaving the country and not taking me with him though he was a romantic and imagined he could give up his architect career and become a fisherman. I learnt a lot from him and am grateful to have met him even though I know that I angered him.

    BTW, You look good in the photograph. So cute! But I think our career choices say a lot about us...Soldier? Nah, can't quite see you with a soldier, my dear.

  4. PS My first love's birthday is sometime in March...don't remember the actual date anymore though (and that's a good sign)...

  5. I finally got together with a crush... after gathering a lot of courage to tell him. I get broken up because his family is Mormon and they don't want him dating at 14... I feel still REALLY like him, but is it true that once you break up... you never truly get back together? I would like to get back together when he's 16, but will we be able to? I honestly don't care for religion myself, it's good but it can be such a hassle in the real world... i really want to get back together... will it work? can a tenrikyo be compatible to a Mormon? Or should I give up if he's one of those 'more than one wife' Mormon? (tenrikyo is my chosen religion)

  6. Very interesting that you should write about this (yesterday)when Mr. D and I were having this exact conversation due to a Facebook post that my 1st love and vise versa had posted a huge Thank you to me on his status. (he is also the father of my children) I was blown away by the huge thank you, but he is also getting ready to deploy for the 4th time, and this time he is getting his affairs in order. (he's never done this before) We remained friends all these years, and I helped him when he was battling with Alcohol and nearly died. He thanked me & said because of me he met his wife and gave him 2 beautiful children. I was floored. We didn't divorce on bad terms, we just were the couple that should have stayed at just friends.

  7. Most of us hold sadness in our hearts pertaining to first loves, but in order to move forward, we need to let it go. In my mind, all the experience at sadness teaches us to appreciate the good things when they come along.

  8. @Mary ~ I listened to the song. I saved it to my favorites. I will give it another listen. Not sure it applies to how I feel about this, but I liked the song.

    @Chris ~ I agree with you about the layers of love thing. One of the things that I was trying to say (and probably not all that effectively) is that I believe if I had made different choices that relationship might have worked out. Or it wouldn't. But, it definitely didn't because he would leave and I yanked him back. I needed to let him go. If he came back, it needed to be his choice.

    @Purple Cow ~ He only joined the Army because he didn't know what he wanted to do and was at loose ends. After he got out he went back to school for a business degree. Word is that he was an accountant for a while (but really didn't like it). He took over his dad's business when his father died. His dad was a stockbroker. Apparently he likes that better, but in this economic climate, it is stressful.

    @Mitzi ~ Ironically, our breakup wasn't ugly either. In fact, I could probably call him today, and after we got past this initial oddness of it all, he could tell me about everything. We were good friends. He would tell me about his wife and two kids. (I am friends with his mother and sister on facebook.) And his job, etc. I don't have any desire to rekindle anything and I know he's happy. We were good friends before we ever dated. Strangely enough, I think we could go back to that.

    @Mitzi ~ I don't hold sadness in my heart so much about my first love itself. I hold sadness in my heart about me. Know that I see my actions in that relationship clearly, I see a pattern that isn't pretty. I better understand how all of the other reltaionships that I had went to the awful places that they did. It started with me thinking that someone walking away = love. That is not a great foundation.

  9. Robin - I tried to leave you a comment earlier today, but I was having problems with blogger, for some reason.

    This blog is simply the greatest blog you have written, and you've written some cracking ones. You make me want to hug you.


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