**This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events that I have experienced firsthand; used with permission.
Oh, that first love.
The toe-tingling, euphoric experience of falling in love with someone for the very first time — and then — the absolutely soul-crushing experience of having your heart sharply broken for the very first time.
Some of us experience our first love as young teens and some of us do not until our 20s. Mine was at 17 years old. And I fell — hard.
When I was with this person I felt alive and consumed with desire. Everything was a haze of sensation and inspiration. This was my person — the one who was meant for me. I was sure of it.
And then it ended.
We didn’t get married, we didn’t have beautiful babies together, nor did we have that life-long, passionate partnership I had daydreamed about constantly.
Nothing about my first love turned out the way I had envisioned it. He broke my heart and I literally felt like I might die. Alas, I know I am just one of many who have experienced this.
The emotional aftermath of this particular relationship affected me for years after it was over. For years I still fantasized that we would somehow meet up again and rekindle our romance.
It was silly. And obsessive. I know.
But this was the first intense romantic relationship of my life. When I did finally move on to new relationships I compared every other man to him. Sometimes I even imagined it was him.
I know there are people out there who were just as crazy about their first love as I was. There’s something about falling in love when you’re a teenager that makes everything so much more dramatic. I’m not ashamed to admit it. I was full of passion and hope.
When you keep a feeling alive in your mind long after the actual experience is gone, you tend to rehash everything over and over again.
It took a while, but I did eventually move on with my life.
Over a decade later I was sitting at my computer looking at Facebook.
Facebook was something I certainly didn’t have when I was 17. Or 25. And then it suddenly hit me. I could look up my first love on Facebook.
And I did. Don’t judge me. I know some of you have done this too (and probably on multiple occasions!)
So — what did I find?
Well, actually, it wasn’t as glamorous of a story as I had expected.
In my mind, my ex-first love had run off with some impossibly stunning supermodel-type into the sunset, living an amazing, adventurous life.
In fact, it turns out he was living a pretty simple life.
As I scrolled through the information I found on the first guy to ever tear out my heart, I realized something. He wasn’t the love God I had always thought he was. He was just a normal guy.
He was living in a small town and working a modest job. And the supermodel? There was none. The woman he had settled down with was nothing like my fantastical imaginings. She was not a supermodel. In fact, she wore no makeup at all from what I could see.
And they had kids together — a few of them.
There it was. That was it. He was no longer a mystery.
I have to admit, seeing that social media glimpse into the life of my first love was kind of a buzzkill. Leave it to the internet to ruin all my delusions of grandeur.
However, he still had that smile. And those eyes. Sigh.
So, after all the years of wondering and daydreaming, I finally came to terms with reality.
My first love was just a normal guy living a normal life. He had moved on and — despite my internet snooping — I had moved on as well. The fantasy was over.
However, I did learn something from all this.
I learned that love is definitely fond of being blind and that a lot of the time reality just isn’t as exciting as our own imaginations.
I also realize now that we probably wouldn’t have worked out anyway.
The path I ended up on is exactly where I’m supposed to be and a long-term relationship with my first love just wasn’t in the cards.
At least in reality.