Ah, young love. We've all had them, whether it be in the form of a small crush or a full-blown relationship. When it's over, however, it stings like an absolute b*tch. Moving on is never easy to do, but when it's your first love, it seems even harder to believe you'll find love again.
As 2018 comes to a close, I decided to ask college students to talk about their first love. You'll be surprised at what some of them had to say.
1. Manipulative heartbreak
"My first love was an incredibly toxic relationship. I was in a really horrible spot mental health wise and I loved him and thought I was lucky to have anyone love me back. but he was manipulative and probably made my mental state even worse. Don't regret it though because I definitely learned from it." - Anonymous, 18
2. Soulmates since high school
"I've been with him since junior year of high school, and he's who I want to marry. I found my best friend and I'm so lucky." - Anonymous, 18"
3. Soulmates at 7-years-old
He was my neighbor and best friend since we were 7-years-old." - Anonymous, 18
4. A romantic DJ
"He's gorgeous and super nice. I remember him playing my favorite song in the car (the fact that he remembered was just WOW!)" - Anonymous, 18
5. A whirlwind London romance
"Well I met this guy when I went to London over the summer and he was my cousin's friend. That's why we were with him. I didn't think anything would happen cause I was only going to be there for a week, but somehow he and I treated that week like it was our last together. When I first met him it was like I've known him forever, it was so easy and being with him made my heart so happy. I didn't per se fall in love with the kid but I've never felt like this with anyone so quick. It was something out of the movies with him. He was my picture perfect guy and saying goodbye to him was one of the hardest things I had to do. We texted for about a month after that and we realized that even if we tried it would be so hard because we did fall for each other. Maybe one day I'll see him again and maybe it was for the best that nothing serious happened when I was there because of it did, saying goodbye to him would have made my heartbreak. He is still my friend and will forever be my first end of summer romance." - Anonymous, 18
6. When people ask if I still love him, I tell them I never stopped
"At first, it was a shallow love. A small schoolgirl crush. I would tell my best friend that I thought he was cute about once every day. But, then I got the opportunity to know him, and I finally knew what it was like to love someone wholeheartedly. I am not being dramatic when I tell you he became my everything in a short period of time.
We talked and talked for hours on end, and we fell for each other hard and fast. I fell in love with his sparkling brown eyes, his contagious smile, and the person he became for me. There were ups and downs in the beginning and then ended up making our way back to each other in April. When we kissed for the first time, it was like the puzzle pieces fit together perfectly.
It was like coming up for a breath of fresh air after being submerged in water for years. It felt like I was dreaming the first time he told me he loved me. We spent the entire summer before college together and cultivated memories around our city that will stick with me forever. He was my best friend, and for most of our relationship, I thought that I was going to end up marrying him.
We would talk about future plans, a house in Pennsylvania or Long Island, a fluffy white dog; both of us had high hopes. I want to talk about our favorite spot around our city, but I'll keep that as our little secret. We dated for three months, and then broke up for many different reasons, one of the main reasons being college and long distance, but there are some that I still haven't figured out.
Maybe he was too scared to lose me in college, or I was too immature. Our breakup wasn't as simple or clean as I had hoped, and when I look back on it, I regret so much. What I did during our breakup left no room to fix it, and from then on, I could never save what we had. He was too far gone.
He had let go of the idea of us and could never forgive me again for what I did. Regardless of everything that's happened, I still love him to this day. There is never a week where he doesn't cross my mind. He's moved on completely and has even had another girlfriend after me, but I will always wish him the best.
I guess that's what love is; wishing them the best and hoping for their happiness no matter what. I know I have to move on because he's never coming back, but for some reason, I can't let go. I've tried to talk to other guys, but I always find myself comparing them to him.
Sometimes, I feel so naive, thinking he'll come back to me, hoping that one day I'll see his face in a crowd and we'll seamlessly fall into each other again. We still talk from time to time, and I've noticed that we'll always pick up where we left off. I'm not sure if he ever really loved me the way I do him, but I always wonder if I ever cross his mind and he remembers what we had. When people ask me if I still love him, I always reply with 'I never stopped.'" - Anonymous, 18
7. Busted by the snow
"He came over when my parents weren't home and I wasn't allowed to have guys over ever. While he was over, it started snowing but his car was parked in the driveway so there was an outline where the car was and his feet left tracks when he left. Being neurotic, my parents immediately inspected all these snow tracks when they got home and then proceeded to ground me." - Maddie, 18
8. A romantic shitshow
"A romantic shitshow that I've learned a lot from."- Kyanna, 18
9. An awful way to go into surgery
"We 'dated' for three months, and on the night of my surgery, he broke up with me. He went to another girl because I was Muslim and he was Jewish." - Anonymous, 18
"They never existed." - Anonymous, 18
11. Still dating
"I am still currently dating my first love. We have been together for over two years now. We started dating in our senior year of high school. We are currently doing long distance, with him being in the military and me in college. Have been for roughly a year and a half. It's been tough but super rewarding. Communication and trust are getting us through this. It is definitely an adventure and one I am happy I went on!" - Caitlin, 20
12. If only I could go back
"Thought it was you but I messed that up." - Anonymous, 18
13. The breakup that still hurts
"My first love was shallow, yet deep. Shallow mainly only in hindsight. He did all the right things that my first boyfriend didn't, who I didn't fall in love with but thought I did. So after it was over, the heartbreak was very unexpected and painful for about a month. It was over half a year ago but the relationship was only two months. I rarely think about him anymore but at the time the heartbreak made me feel very small, even though I broke it off. But I'm glad I went through it to be able to learn and grow for my next relationship. I hope he too has learned and grown; I have no contact with him which was the healthy choice at the time. I wish him the best and thank him for the lessons." - Anonymous, 18
14. It took me over five years to realize why it didn't work
"She was everything in my eyes and I was everything in hers. She was from a different school 20 mins away and we hung out a few times, even taking a trip to the tree in NYC. Yet, she always wanted something more and I wanted to too but I was always too nervous to have sex so our texts became more spaced. We never said 'I love you' but there was one very fine moment when it almost slipped her tongue and it almost slipped mine too. We just felt it without saying anything. That's my first love. It's been over a year since and I still haven't had a technical first love. I've had hookups that fill me up temporarily but then just quickly deflate as once I give her what she needs, or doesn't need. I've never been romantically in love with someone because no one was willing to make the leap for me and I couldn't love anyone when I didn't love myself. It's taken me over five years to understand that saying and every day I work on myself to improve because of it." - Anonymous, 18
15. It's safe to say I'm still in love with him
"To say the least, I'm probably still in love with him. We were best friends for over two years, and when we finally got together it was just insane, and I never expected it would ever happen. We went from 0 to 100 in seconds. It was like we were never meant to be friends at all and were always meant to be together. I'd probably still be with him now but he went into the army, and it was too hard for us both. I haven't heard from him in a long time, but I think about him often and he will always still hold a huge place in my heart. I suppose that's the case with any first love. They take you by surprise and the feelings stay with you forever." - Anonymous, 19
16. We never even kissed
"It was awkward. Our first date was to Rita's Italian Ice the day after my birthday and that was my birthday present from him. We dated for around six months and we never kissed or anything which I was upset about, but about two months after, we broke up. He went to his beach house to work at the boardwalk for the summer. He lost his virginity to a girl he met the same day. I wanted to rekindle our relationship in the future but I just can't do it knowing that. We hung out a few times the following school year and I was more invested in him than he was in me in my opinion. I miss him." - Anonymous, 18
17. Our love was something that can't be replicated
"I was dating another guy at the time that I met him, so I guess you can't consider it my first love, but our love truly was something that can't be replicated. It was freshman year, we were 15 and yes, I know so many people will argue that at that age the love wasn't legitimate, but at that point in time and where I am now, that's what I experienced.
I was always annoyingly outgoing and he was advertently introverted. No one would ever expect us to link up, but of course, here we are over four years later. I'm getting ahead of myself though. We were best friends for about a year until we realized we had feelings for each other.
April of freshman year is when we finally called it a relationship and let me tell you, we fell in love hard and fast. We went into it with the mentality that we would have our fun, but it wouldn't be a long-term thing. Oof, were we wrong there. I could write a novel about high school with him, but that's for a late night and a glass of wine.
There were so many movie ticket stubs saved, dinner dates that broke the bank, trips to NYC, late night phone calls, family parties, drunken memories, holidays celebrated, gifts are given. We gave our all to each other and to this day, I firmly believe that. Through high school, I experienced some serious hardships at home and he became my family.
He was my shoulder to cry on; his parents, despite their opinions of me, became like my own; his sister felt like the little sister I never had. His extended family welcomed me with open arms, they even referenced our future together as if it was a certainty. Leaving behind his family has probably been harder than leaving him behind because of how close we had become.
We created so many traditions over the years that they became so commonplace. Every year we built a gingerbread house. Every summer we went to Gov Ball. Every birthday I bought him a balloon. Every night ended with a phone call and every morning began with a text. Every weekend morning started with Starbucks and a Taylor ham, egg, and cheese.
There were so many things that we did that became second nature and looking back those were things that were unique to our relationship. No one else will understand how specifically we made our coffee before our study sessions nor will they understand how we loved running errands together. I can't look back on high school memories and not have him be a part of them, he was my entire world then. Nonetheless, we certainly were not perfect.
We spent so much time together that we went through periods of fighting every single day. We also lost out on many opportunities to cultivate friendships because we dedicated so much time to each other and that is certainly one of my biggest regrets. There were breakups throughout the years, but every falling out seemed fixable. We live and we learn, I guess. We go to the same college, as everyone may know by now, we even live a floor apart. It only took three days for us to break up and I can't tell you why, but now that four months have passed, I realized it was inevitable.
I believe that we met too early in life. He was, essentially, the right person at the wrong time. We both have so much growing up to do and we both changed once we got to campus. I know I make so many ex jokes now, but that's really just for shits and giggles. Our breakup was toxic, but our relationship wasn't. We both should've treated each other better over the years and I take full responsibility for the shit I put him through, but our relationship was beautiful nonetheless. I hold onto hard feelings of the past, but I don't feel bitter toward him anymore.
Though I thought we were endgame, I have learned so much about myself and about what I need out of a relationship through this painful, near insufferable breakup, that I truly thank David for the experience he provided me. So, I guess, thank you, David, for being the greatest love I've had thus far. In this though, I learned that it's possible to love again and even when it feels as though you are losing a part of you, someone else, when you least expect it, will come along and make you feel whole again." - Sharon, 18
18. A wild ride from start to finish
"It was a wild ride from start to finish. It was incredible for the first few months, full of swooning and romance. It degraded into arguing and discord, eventually just ending completely. She's still a big part of my life though and always has a place in my heart." - Nicholas, 18
19. The promposal gone right
"He and I found each other at a time when we both were going through a lot emotionally within our families and we really connected by being there to support one another. He asked me to prom junior year and I didn't even want to go because I barely knew him (lol) but I am so so thankful I said yes! We have been together for a year and a half." - Anonymous, 18
20. I didn't even know what to do with myself
"I was confused. Never before had I experienced something like this before, the feeling was so unfamiliar and it was consuming me. I didn't know what to do with myself. I talked to my friends about it to confirm what I was feeling. Does he like me? His actions speak louder than his unsaid words. Will, I ever know?" - Anonymous, 18
21. It was one-sided
"My first love was a one-sided relationship. I thought love was supposed to be harsh and cold until I met my current boyfriend. I now know that I was the only one in love and that the feeling is 10x better when you're getting the same energy back. My first love was a learning experience. " - Erin, 18
22. He made my dark days feel so much brighter
"My first love hit me like a train. He came to me at a dark time in my life but he made my days feel so much brighter. When we met I knew there was something unique about him that I had never seen in anyone else before, and right after that I knew. Now, a year later, it didn't work out. We just couldn't quite find the time to keep things going but we still respect and care for each other and are always there if either of us needs someone. I think that's the best part. That even though we aren't together, I still gained someone to confide in." - Anonymous, 18
23. The cheater
"He was my everything, then he cheated on me five times and I didn't find out until after two and a half years. Now I go into every relationship scared as f*ck, and I will never be the same again."- Anonymous, 18
24. Our love is like the ocean
"When I met him, I didn't expect it to go anywhere. I can't believe he turned out to be everything I ever wanted in person and more. He has been more understanding of me than any person deserves—I owe a lot to him. I would describe my love for him as a sea, with plenty of depth and times where it hits in waves. He was my first love, and we're still together." - Anonymous, 18
25. Goin' strong
"He's my current boyfriend." - Anonymous, 18
26. We're soulmates and I mean it
"I'm still with him so I'd say we're soulmates and I mean that in every sense, not just romantically. He completes me in ways I didn't even know I was missing. When I look at him, I know I'm home and that I never need to be anywhere else. Even on the bad days, I've never not once doubted that he's the love of my life. Falling in love with him was so much more than a feeling, It was something I felt all through my body, and it was like I could finally take a deep breath because I found my one. This is definitely what being in love should be. " - Anonymous, 18
27. Age doesn't matter, your feelings are your feelings
"We were 13 and we dated until we were almost 17. Lots of people don't validate it because we were so young, but the feelings were so intense and it was really hard to get over. It took around a year and I learned so much about myself from it, and we still have a sort of closeness between us." - Anonymous, 19
28. Too short
"The best friend I have ever had. Irreplaceable. Painful. Exciting. Too short. You hear about how heartbreak hurts but there are no words to describe the pain it is. I'll love him forever. Confusing, amazing, fun, hard. Memories. Hope." - Anonymous, 19
29. I'll always still care
"It was never official but one of my close friends and I really fell for each other. That was the first time I've ever really loved someone. For me, a big part of that was just respecting him for the person he was and feeling like I found someone I could truly talk to and connect with. I will always care about him." - Anonymous, 19
30. I hope all is still well...
"I met Sam through a mutual friend towards the end of my sophomore year. It was weird—I was not attracted to him at all, but I had this gut feeling that he was 'the one.' Within the first few weeks of our friendship, I got into a relationship with some guy that I wasn't that interested in, I think I just felt like I needed a boyfriend at that time. During that relationship, mine and Sam's friendship progressed quickly. We started hanging out every day, we stayed up late on school nights to text, and I even canceled plans with my own boyfriend so I could make time for Sam.
After a week of that relationship, I decided to break up with the other guy, there was no need for him to have been with someone whose heart wasn't in the right place. It was now June, and Sam and I's relationship escalated quickly, it was obvious to everyone but the two of us that we were a thing. Unfortunately, we had a small fallout and didn't have that same bond that we had before. I then chose to make an effort to bring him back to my life and luckily I did, and in December of 2016, we started dating. Things between him and I were going really fast: we said 'I love you' a few days after things were official, but the thing was it was real, I really did love him.
I started prioritizing him and putting him before a lot of people, and that affected my social life in HS which I regret. When I tell you I did and gave everything to him, I am not kidding—I put my heart and soul into this relationship and it was not mutual on his end. Fast forward to March 2017, I started dealing with depression because of this, but my love for him was unreal. I even attempted suicide because I knew that he didn't need me the way I needed him. I left to sleepaway camp that summer, which was so hard for me because we were constantly together. That summer ended up being one of the best times of my life, I enjoyed my independence and that was the first time in my life where I knew my worth. When I got back home in August, I decided to break up with him. We still managed to be friends and walk to school together, facetime, and it was like nothing changed.
A few months after, Sam's view of me changed completely and he became a burden in my life that I decided to keep. He was so rude to me, my heart would physically hurt daily because of his treatment towards me. He left me on December 26, 2017, and we haven't spoken since. It sucks because we never had closure, but I did recover many months after. I don't know how he's doing and where he is, but I wish him nothing but the best. Hope all is well my Sammy." - Anonymous, 18
31. I always knew there was a spark
"I knew him since 9th grade. I saw him four times a week but we never talked. I always knew something was there—a spark, a connection, something. Four years later, at the end of 12th grade: we finally talked. Each and every day since then, we haven't stopped talking. We aren't dating, just close friends. Like, super close. But, deep down, we both know. This is something much, much more. I don't want to sound cliche or idiotic but it really does feel like a 'soulmate.' I always knew it." - Anonymous, 18
32. Not quite right
"It was in middle school when we started dating. He liked me a lot and I liked him a lot—but as a friend. Everyone knew about this situation at the time, but I only found out when he asked me to be his girlfriend after 'months of waiting.' It only lasted a few months because we were too young to understand how to communicate properly. We didn't fit together, but the funny thing is, that makes a lot of sense—since we dated over five years ago, he's dated a guy and right now I have a girlfriend." - Ellen, 18
33. I still love her but she's moved on
"We met sophomore year in geometry class. She sat behind me. Neither of us had a clue what was going on and always asked questions. We became friends and one day met up to see 'La La Land.' I was so nervous that I had to go see the movie again because I didn't remember any of it when I watched it with her. I still have the ticket stub. Fast forward to my senior year, it was June and we were watching a movie at my house. I knew she wanted to kiss me. We looked at each other and I froze. I closed my eyes. I was so nervous. And then she kissed my forehead. I loved her. I gathered up all my courage and kissed her back. The following months were the happiest I had ever been in my entire life. But then I left for college. She is a senior, I was gone. And I still love her, but she has moved on."- Alexandra, 18