The Power Of First Loves

Wendy Stokesby:

Love & Sex

What happens, then, is when we experience something, like, say meeting someone who reminds us of a first love — whether it’s physical appearance or a similar personality — those chemicals are released again and the memory we have of that relationship is triggered. We may even assign this new person the characteristics of our exes. This is called “transference.” And it’s not just the characteristics of your ex that gets transferred; “your old feelings, motivations, and expectations are also reactivated.”

According to Susan Andersen, a psychologist at NYU who studies mental representations of significant others, “if someone new reminds you of an ex you still love, […] you’ll like that new person more, want to be close to them, and even start repeating the behaviors you engaged in with your ex.” In other words, many people really don’t truly get over their first loves.

What do you think about this? Have you found yourself ever subconsciously assigning the qualities of an ex — someone with who maybe you shared a lot of firsts with — to someone who reminds you of him? What big firsts stick out in your mind? It’s been years since my first real relationship; I’ve dated lots of guys since then and am happily married to someone who is a million times better for me than that first love. But I still remember our first date like it was last month. I can still see the label on the bottle of wine on the table top and picture the books lined so neatly on his bookshelf. It’s a powerful thing, isn’t it — those “flash-bulb” memories?

[via Psychology Today]

Original by Wendy Atterberry

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