Romantic notion of first love may blind us to the truth

Mapula Nkosi That's Life
Image: 123RF/Mark Adams

The romantic notion of our first love never fades and we love to throw about idioms when it comes to relationships, such as ou liefde roes nie (old love never rusts).

My friend is in a situation where she is not sure if she should give her high school sweetheart a serious chance at love again, or not.

I told her, without any intention to burst her bubble, that if she is not sure that this may be right, it is the universe and her own instincts that are whispering to her that she must walk this journey with extreme caution.

The problem about first loves and high school sweethearts is that they occurred at a time when everything was so new and exciting.

I call it the Mandela years of relationships, where a lot of firsts would have been recorded and noted, and everything about your affair is euphoric. There's the magic of the first kiss, the thrill of the sex, first big anniversaries, travelling together or being there for each other in times of deep sorrow and challenges that can leave a lasting impression and make it difficult for other relationships to compare.

First loves also happen around a time when many of us are seeking approval from our families as we navigate new experiences and are still honing our voice.

Our love life therefore often gets intertwined with our families. It is quite common for sisters, parents, aunts and cousins to be highly involved in giving us advice on such relationships or often playing a supporting role in nurturing them.

With their stamp of approval, it is often quite difficult to break off such affairs as young couples are heavily reliant on parents and siblings to intervene even when relationships hit rocky ground.

Actually, many a parent has been known to be more heartbroken at the end of such liaisons, as they would have invested so much into their first makoti and mkhwenyana.

I thus always feel there are many reasons why we can be nostalgic about our first love.

Back to my friend. She recently came back to me and pinpointed how she was indeed wrapped up in the euphoria of everyone being so excited about her rekindling her relationship with the boy that the whole family loved when he first dated her at 19.

As their liaison continued, she started to see that some of the fundamental problems that used to bother her back then are actually even more magnified in his personality now and some of them are total deal-breakers for her.

The man apparently does not have any backbone to speak of, for example, and this can make him highly unreliable as a partner.

This trait often sees him pitting her against his more domineering mom, a fact that I know drives my friend totally bezonk (crazy).

Having discovered what lies behind the shiny facade, she says she is now ready to move on without any need to look back.

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