Do people ever get over their first love?

I’m a sucker of comedies and romantic comedies. Last night I was watching American Reunion on my computer and shed tears when Kevin tells Vicky how he loves his wife but no matter how time passes, Vicky will always be his first love.

I met my first love in college. He was not my first boyfriend, first kiss or first whatever-you-are-thinking. I had dated and thought I knew what love was before we met, but looking back, he was the first guy whom I genuinely love.

We had the picture perfect college sweetheart relationship, despite our extremely different upbringings. I was this very Chinese girl from Hong Kong lost in a typical college town. He was a very patriotic Republican grew up in a conservative Catholic family.

We met working at our college radio station for fun. I didn’t pay any attention to him on the day we met. He later told me he thought I was beautiful. I always find it hard to believe cuz I don’t have small eyes and small Asian frame, but anyway. He remembered my last name and found several email addresses from our school’s who’s who directory bearing the same last name. Till now I still don’t know if he tried them all. The email conversation soon turned into our first lunch “date” at the cafeteria. I remember vividly how he walked me to the biology building after lunch and how he said “wow” when I gave him a quick peck on the cheek.

Thinking that we ought to have a more proper first date, we decided to go to one of the fanciest restaurants in our small college town. I become the most envied girl in the dorm when I got the bouquet sent from him after school on the day of our date.

Our second date cemented our liking of each other. It was a total surprise to realize how we shared all those common values. The second date became a third date then a fourth date and by week three I was staying at his parent’s home for spring break. It took little time for us to pledge our love for one another. Before that I never had too much luck with boys. It was always that either I liked them but they didn’t like me, or vice versa. I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to have found this guy, who was everything I had dreamed of from years of watching Hollywood teen movies. His family totally accepted me and treated me like a daughter. We were not just boyfriend and girlfriend. We were best friends and soul mates and family.

Our time as schoolmates didn’t last long cuz within months he graduated and moved back home, which was 3 hours away. We had so much faith in our relationship that breaking up was never even brought up. We talked on the phone every night for at least an hour and visited each other every two-three weeks. The situation continued for another nine months until I got a big time internship in his city and we got to live under the same roof for half a year.

Then I got another internship on the East Coast and that two months was the longest time for us to be apart. I met a grad student there and flirted and spent time with him quite a lot. But every time when we got close I always reminded myself I had my soul mate waiting for me. This can be no more than a summer fling at the most. So I cleared my head and stayed loyal to my one-true-love at that time.

Once I moved back things become normal again. We had another year of long distance relationship. It was not easy. I saw couples on campus and I envied them but I always told myself what we had was even better. It was true. Every time I took that 4-hour bus ride I had a smile on face just counting down to the second I would see him, and every time when he drove to see me I would wait impatiently at the door. When we were together in person, we were inseparable and thought we were the happiest couple on earth.

We both hated the bar scene in our town, but we enjoyed every second in that town regardless. To this day whenever I think of the main street outside my dorm, I think of the moment when he carried me on his back walking pass the crowd going to the cafeteria for lunch. We didn’t care if others thought we were crazy. We were two college kids in love, people!

I was experiencing some family and personal issues and he was my rock, my support system. I couldn’t have come out okay if it weren’t for him. No matter how cruel everything else was, I was completely content with my perfect boyfriend. On his side, despite the happiness we found in our relationship, he was struggling career-wise. He was rejected over and over again, but I have always believed in him. I have always known he would become successful one day. When he finally decided to go to law school, I was all for it. He promised he would move to HK for me, and not for one second did I doubt him even if it meant we would have to wait three more years to be truly together.

Eventually I graduated. I came home shortly after because of my family and my dream. He came with me on his second trip to HK for a couple weeks before starting law school. I still remember when I saw him off at the airport and when we shared we last kiss, I asked, “Will this be the last time I see you?” He said it was a silly thing to say and I cursed myself for asking that.

I was busy job hunting and reconnecting with friends for the next two months. We talked on the phone once a week and emailed often. He jokingly said I was afraid I’d meet some other guys in HK and dumped him, and I assured him it would never happen.

Then one day came when I got an email from him starting with an apology. It was only two months after we last saw each other. He told me he wanted to date some other girl. I called immediately in panic and long story short. He broke up with me.

It was the moment when I first experienced a true heartache. I swear I could feel my heart breaking and couldn’t even believe it was happening. A part of me was gone and I didnt know how to deal with it. We were both very confused and we handled it poorly. It is still something I regret till this day.

It was fortunate that we made up as friends months later, knowing that we were had was too special to lose but we just couldn’t get back together because of the distance.

I did see him again a year later when I flew back to see some old friends and professors. We spent a few days together and I felt like everything was still there. We still laughed at the same joke and shared the bed in the same position when we watched TV. But we didn’t cross the line partly because I was having a huge crush on someone in HK (who would later become my boyfriend, then ex), partly because I didn’t know how to handle being apart again. He only gave me a soft kiss on the lips when we said goodbye in the airport and told me “I love you.” But I dont remember if I said it back.

We didn’t talk to each other much while I was dating the other guy, only except when I was fighting with him and needed advice. I dated that guy for more than a year, but it was a toxic relationship. I loved that guy a lot too but we were just poorly suited for each other. When we broke up, I was heartbroken. My first love was there for me and talked me out of my misery.

He told me just because that guy didn’t want to be with me anymore, it didn’t mean that guy didn’t love me with all his heart. Some people just weren’t meant to be. Even if the guy does have a new girl, it didn’t mean I was being replaced.

I asked, “Is that how you feel for me? Will you always love me?”

He said. “Yes I do, but I’m not in the position to comment on that now.”

Many people had asked me if I knew my first love was seeing anyone. I never asked cuz I didnt want to know, but I had a feeling that he was. The day came I saw it on his facebook that he was indeed in a relationship with a girl. I was a bit upset but wasn’t devastated cuz let’s be fair I dated other guys too.

My biggest devastation came when I saw him being engaged last Xmas. My heart stopped for a second. I was sad and I was angry. I felt like it would have been me had I stayed. I was with him through his toughest time and she is enjoying my fruits. He was a struggling writer and now she is the lawyer’s wife. I thought everything we had was false. It was all in my head. I romanticized everything. What we had was never anything. I was being replaced by another woman.

So I did what the stupidest woman would do. I spilt my guts in a message and told him not to write back to me.

Months passed and one day I realized what I did was super uncool. I had no right to be mean to him like that, so I wrote a short apology. He got back and said I would always have a special place in my heart. The moment I saw it. I burst into tears.

It was exactly how I felt and how I still feel: No matter what happens in the future. I will always have him and all those beautiful memories in my heart. Years from now when I think of the Clinton Street, I will still think of him carrying me on his back and our giggles, and no future wife or husband can take that away from us.

I don’t stalk him on facebook but when I do click into it. I always see hints of what we had. We had so much together and we left traces of ourselves in each other’s life that only we understand.

So I guess my take on this topic is: You never get over your first love, but you learn to live with that vault in your heart, and you will survive.

But it doesn’t mean I don’t hope for a very Hollywood ending, in which that Ryan Reynolds realizes what he has been missing and drops everything on his hands to run to Rachel McAdams’ empty apartment but found her in a park with a cute guy who is actually her cousin to tell her he was a fool to let her slip away and he is not going to let that happen again then he takes out a ring and asks her to marry him and she goes silent for five seconds and says yes.

Okay, I may have watched a bit too many rom-coms LOL.


About Nicky

Nicky English is a journalist, an educator, a podcaster, a couch potato, a dreamer, and a child at heart. Learning is her passion, so is the English language, which she believes is the tool to unlock the door of knowledge. Born in Hong Kong, she received intensive writing training at The University of Iowa, where she double-majored in journalism and political science. Apart from the Hawkeye State, she’s lived in Chicago and Philadelphia. When she was a guest student at Georgetown University, she fell in love with Washington, D.C. She also has a Master of Arts in Communication. A little side note—she cannot imagine a world without her Mac and iDevices. Like many crazy ones, she hopes to change the world one day at a time.
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3 Responses to Do people ever get over their first love?

  1. Aaron Chow says:

    long blog,thanks for your sharing…


  2. Frank says:

    I just randomly stumbled upon this after watching American Reunion…. And yeah, that scene with Kevin and Vicky also really hit home.

    Our past relationships were eerily similar, and I too was dumped several years later when the long distance just became too much for her to handle.

    It took me over a year, but I found someone. I think Hollywood and poets have long drawn up a myth that there’sone true love. It may seem that way at the time, but it’s not the case. I’ll never forget my ex, and nor will you… But we can at least be fortunate to have had such a strong bond in the first place.

    • Nicky says:

      I envy you so much to have found someone. I’ll always be grateful to have had such a great love. I want him to be happy now. I really do. To me, I believe there could be more than one great loves in life too, but having the patience to wait for the next is the hardest part.

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