Home Featured Men Are Not Perfect Vol 2: Everything I Need to Know About Love

Men Are Not Perfect Vol 2: Everything I Need to Know About Love

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puppy love
Puppy Love: The second purest love.

For the remainder of the Men Are Not Perfect series, which you can follow here, I plan to talk about my adventures in love from roughly ages 15 – 25. This is not to say I haven’t found serious relationships more recently but 1) The journey is more interesting than the destination and 2) Frankly, I want to avoid the headache of discussing more recent encounters; some of whom read my writing.

There have only been a handful of women I considered asking to marry me. I have no way of knowing how great or unsuccessful the marriage would have been. I only know that there were but a few women I considered marrying. While both of us often contributed to the detriment of the relationship, for the purpose of the Men Are Not Perfect series I will focus on my own actions. I hope that you can relate. If not, another writer will be here shortly. This brings us to the discussion of my first love.

Everything I Need to Know About Love I Learned From My First

love at first sightThere is a popular saying about life that goes, “Everything I need to know I learned in elementary school.” Although we don’t realize it at the time, the same can often be said for our first love. I met my first love at the ripe old age of 14. I was playing basketball with a friend when she began watching us courtside. I don’t believe in love at first sight, but I do know upon first sight, I wanted her. After the game, I walked over and chatted her up. Unfortunately, I don’t remember what I said and I’m not going to pretend like I whispered Shakespearean prose into her ear, leaving her no choice but to give me her number. I was 14. I probably said something lame as hell and by the good grace of God she took pity on me.

At a time when most good “relationships” were measured in weeks, we managed to date for almost two years. I wasn’t the best boyfriend in the world – I was selfish as hell – but I like to think I treated her good more often than bad. I do know I loved her with reckless abandonment. Without the fear of failure to hold me back, I had no reason not to pour all of my love into her. Well, the best way I knew how as a teenager. Looking back with age and hindsight, I did a number of things wrong in this relationship that still apply as an adult.

See Also:  5 Lessons Learned from Failed Relationships that Made Me a Better Man

I projected my insecurities on her. At age 14, I wasn’t seriously considering marriage. I believed in love but I figured we were young, and to a degree, just having fun. Therefore, I didn’t give the relationship, or her, the respect it deserved. I was, after all, dealing with someone’s heart regardless of my thoughts on the final outcome. Since I didn’t give the relationship the credit it deserved, I assumed she didn’t either. I assumed she would go on to date many men after me and in the grand picture, our relationship wouldn’t mean much. I assumed this, because I figured I’d go on to date a number of women after her. I was only half right.

My X actually went on to marry her next boyfriend out of High School (they dated through college too). I’m not arrogant enough to assume that had we tried to make it work I would have easily fallen into the replacement-husband role. However, it is clear that just because I wasn’t looking for that level of commitment doesn’t mean she wasn’t either. I should have taken her serious, and if I couldn’t, I should have let her go sooner (and with less heartbreak) to find a man that would.

I lied. She took me back. I lied again. Similar to the theme of many relationship male-dominated blogs around the web, I refused to take blame for my own actions. In my mind, I decided that if she accepted me back then she was enabling me. Instead of taking responsibility for lying, I blamed her for continuing to accept my lies. “She can leave me any time she wants,” I thought to myself. This wasn’t necessarily true. For one, she loved my no good ass. Further, I’m not sure if she truly tried to leave if I wouldn’t have chased after her in order to keep her in my life even if I wasn’t fully prepared to step up to the level of commitment that would entail. I didn’t want to love her (properly). I wanted to possess her and heaven forbid she find love with another man beside myself who would actually treat her how she deserved to be treated. Honestly, I liked having the security of her love in my life. For a time, knowing she would always be there for me allowed me to explore other options while she waited for me to realize she was The One. There is no excuse for this action. It would be years before I was confident enough to stand on my own. Unfortunately, I treated her (and other women) like a crutch until I reached that point.

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I underestimated the affect I would have on her life. As I said above, I figured my X would go on to date a number of men after me. Therefore, I didn’t think I would have that much of an impression on her life. I was mistaken. Since my X had such limited experience in dating (not a bad thing) each experience counted exponentially more. For better or worse, I was one of those experiences. We kept in touch over the years and I slowly realized that she internalized a lot of my actions as a reflection on her.

If I cheated, she wondered what she did to make me cheat. If I treated her poorly, she wondered what she did to make me treat her that way. In other words, she viewed many of my actions as a result of her doing too much or too little. She thought I acted the way I acted because of her instead of in spite of her. In actuality, many of my actions had nothing to do with her and everything to do with my own shortcomings. It was years later before I realized this is how a number of women think. They blame themselves for the selfish, wrong, and generally misguided actions of men. This is one of the more important things I learned in my life as it pertains to relationships. I believe most men act independent of women, which, as I discussed here, might be why it’s so difficult for men to explain to women why they acted or behaved a certain way when it has little or nothing to do with the specific woman asking the question.

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Over the years, my X and I have discussed how much our juvenile relationship really meant. In her opinion, we loved too innocently and ignorantly too gleam any real life lessons. I disagree. Relatively speaking, I loved her the most. At that time, I didn’t know about heartbreak. I didn’t care about divorce rates. I hadn’t seen friends and family’s “perfect” relationships, many of which I assumed would last forever, implode before my very eyes. I hadn’t experienced my own torrid affairs in love, yet. No, I was just a boy in love with a girl doing all in his power to show it to her without hesitation or fear. That’s not something I can honestly say at 29. I still believe in Love but I often have to search through a lot of baggage just to rekindle the kind of all encompassing Love that effortlessly burned within me 15 years ago.

What about you readers? 1) What lessons in Love, if any, did you learn from your first that continue to apply today as an adult? 2) Do first loves count? Why or why not? 3) Were any of you able to marry or continue to date your High School sweethearts? 4) What do you Love or regret about the experience of marrying or losing your first true Love? If you could do anything differently, what would you change?

Comment(58)

  1. I can't say that all I know I learned from my first love, they have all taught me something. I can say that I am happy that I didn't end up with any of them. I have learned that none of us are perfect. I also know that men can bring insecurities in me that I didn't know that I had. I am also old and wise enough to know its not them and usually me that has the insecurities. I have also learned that men and women are very different in the way that we think. Women tend to think in the us and men in the me. I know that when they do something that most of the time it has nothing to do with me, usually didn't even stop to think of me when they were doing what they were doing. I am happy that I love me enough to know when I am not being loved correctly. I only regret that when I was old enough to get a good man I wasn't old enough to know he was a good man and now another woman has that good man.
    My recent post Crocheted Dresses

    1. Sadly, My girlfriend and me broke up a month ago. yeah.. i'm young ,handsome,lonely and still hurting.i may be in need of someone to love..still..My friends told me about ===cougarkissing_ C0M=== and i got curious about it.. they met their girlfriends there.,It's the best place to meet a older girlfriend . i cant risk myself..So i got a usename(Qcdude) there in order to find a new girlfriend.is it wrong?Jessica Simpson is fighting the battle of the post-baby bulge, a process she says is slower than she expected.

  2. My first love taught me not to mislead women. Its such a death trap making promises you know you don't have the ability to keep.

  3. My first love taught me to really love myself and not put up with bullshit because of love. He also taught me a tiger doesn't change his stripes.

    First loves count. Like you said, it's the innocence that allows you to do what you want, good and bad, and learn from it.

    My first became abusive, so he went to jail and I moved on with my life. Like your ex, I internalized his actions thinking that I was to blame. It took years for me to open my eyes to see I'm awesome and his needed real help.

    The thing I love the most about ending that relationship was learning me, growing into myself with no one else's commentary and being the lady I am today. I don't regret anything, I just wish I would've been wise enough to see the signs before it became detrimental.

  4. Wow, this is the story of my life I'm happy to say I will never be a "crutch" again. I agree that we women tend to internalize the failures of relationships, just think of how much of our identities are tied up in the ability to attract and/or keep a man. Even our titles (Miss to Mrs.) change with relationships.

    BTW fantastic post

  5. My first love made me who I am today. Not because of anything that he did, but what his actions caused me to learn about myself. It's sad that we women blame ourselves. What helps is being able to speak to the ex after the relationship has ended. You will realize what a jerrrrk he was (lol) and it gives you peace.

    The first love cuts some wounds that heal unlike any other. It DEFINITELY counts.
    My recent post My Obsession With All Things Coconut!

  6. I did this about a year ago — unloaded my emotional baggage so that I'd have a clear pallette and conscious for my permanent relationship.

    I had a complete snot dripping emo breakdown with my best friend about my prior
    relationships. I felt regret. crumbled, decaying hopes and dreams and ghosts of remorse. I had to air myself out and still am in some ways.

    I was with one person middle school through early college and when he proposed I said no. I couldn't trust him or believe in him or root my life in his dreams. I was scared. I had low
    self-esteem, way too much I felt responsible for and far too many things I wanted to work out for myself so…..we agreed to part ways. I erased him like it never happened. I checked up on him when life leveled out though. Wife, a little girl, a couple businesses, baby on the way. He did it all and is literally the same person, frozen in that moment. It broke me. I changed my facebook to some dumb isht like 'blueskies greengrass' sent him a message of acknowledgement and that was the end of it for me.

    1. Puppy love is exactly that: two babies who think they know everything making silly, costly mistakes together and pretending to be adults but, I finally accepted he genuinely, truly loved me. I allowed myself to know that and was honest about it but I had to let the past die; it's healthier to let go instead of convincing myself I don't care. Which I don't. I really am that pragmatic. but I feel the hole in my chest from failing to embrace the experience in full — I forced myself to be loveless.

      I had to acknowledge that because it's lighter on the soul. Liberating. I'm learning to accept and say yes and attach and the good thing about growing beyond puppy love is that it enables you to see who's right in front of your eyes and the life you could have with that person. It's not filling a void it's not replacing a lost love; it's being open to a genuine loving experience as a mature adult.

  7. 1) What lessons in Love, if any, did you learn from your first that continue to apply today as an adult?
    My first love (honestly it’d be odd to say so because i was in love she was in like) taught me the valuable lesson of not falling in love with love. Being fat black and ugly as ever I was just happy to have a girl who was into me. We didn’t have much in common, she wasnt that cute, and she really didnt act like i was her bf unless she wanted something. The breakup crushed me but I learned then not to settle, hold on to something not worth it and being single isnt the worst thing in the world

    2) Do first loves count? Why or why not?
    I think it does, regardless how silly or immature it may have been, its dating experience.

    3) Were any of you able to marry or continue to date your High School sweethearts?
    There’s one I still mess with from time to time. We were off/on until i realized i could get what i want without even going through the hoopla of relationship.

    4) What do you Love or regret about the experience of marrying or losing your first true Love? If you could do anything differently, what would you change?
    My first TRUE love, I believe i’ve said this before but i wish we had a blank slate. We both took so much damage from eachother that it’d never work. Timing played a role, I was immature she was petty and had we met now instead of years ago we probably could’ve been something special. Ish happens i guess *picks up ball and goes home*

  8. Tristan says:
    July 2, 2012 at 6:53 am
    1) What lessons in Love, if any, did you learn from your first that continue to apply today as an adult?
    My first taught me that Love was not the Fairy Tail Disney-like Fantasy that I read or saw like in Aaladin and so on. I know it sounds corny but I was the SIMP, naive, oblivious and knew Nothing about Romantic Feelings at 11 and in the 5th Grade. I was Boyfriend # 3 and I had NEVER had a gf before, but we were an item for 2yrs- 1 non-Drama and the other was Reality hitting me in the Face, Mind, Heart and Spirit. She ended up dumping me because I was “too nice and timid” and ended up going back to her ex.

    2) Do first loves count? Why or why not?
    I believe so; being Played and not knowing what I was feeling set the tone for my later relationships. I didn’t date or have another girlfriend til I was 16 & by that time my heart got cold and I didn’t care about Love or Feelings anymore. Other personal issues further caused me to be detached and an asshole til I was 18 and I met my now girlfriend of almost 6yrs. none of my previous relationships lasted longer than 3-4 month is til now.
    3) Were any of you able to marry or continue to date your High School sweethearts?
    Never had a High School Sweetheart, just fooled around the whole time, worked and got good grades. I cheated and was cheated on from 16 to 19 years old, with probably two real relationships during that span
    4) What do you Love or regret about the experience of marrying or losing your first true Love? If you could do anything differently, what would you change?
    I regret that I let my personal problems cause me to affect my relationships, as I don’t know exactly if the few exes I still contact from time to time were directly affected by what I soley did. Of course they moved on from me, but just I took some what I experienced from them, I’m sure they did the same from me
    Reply

  9. Lessons in love from my "FIRST LOVE"? He treated me like gold, and at that time I was ignorant. What can I say? I'm an Aries, I enjoy my freedom. But with much "RAM-ified" lessons from there after, I've learned to never take anyONE for granted. And for that… he definitely counted.

    Then there was my "FIRST DECEIT", after that, all I can say is give at least 50 feet to a woman scorned

  10. Love this post. I am getting married in a month and my 1rst love found out from his sister. What I learned from him is how to love hard. I was always judged by my mom and my girls that I love too hard and too quick, but to me it only makes sense. It works out because my fiance and I were love at first sight 8 years ago-got back together in Aug 11he proposed Thanksgiving and we get married 8/4/12. Loving him that hard then showed him loyalty and courage. I think 1rst loves count all the way because you are naive and get to figure it out 🙂

  11. ) What lessons in Love, if any, did you learn from your first that continue to apply today as an adult? Love changes over time as we change. I now understand that the same issues I went through back then I went through later. When I hear people say "you're to young too…." I often wonder why. Life knows no age. Maybe now, SOME of us have a little hindsight to help us along the way. However, nothing is new under the sun. When I hear young people wanting to get married, I smile. At least they are trying to begin the right way. The world usually impose their old, tried and failed ways on the young love. People slay me when they say, people shouldn't get married so young or that they only did that back then because they had too. Ummmmmm, how do YOU know?

    2) Do first loves count? Why or why not? Of course it counts. That love is the beginning stage of a life of learning about desire, hurt and growth.

    3) Were any of you able to marry or continue to date your High School sweethearts? No. Although I do think marrying your first true love is amazing. The only baggage you accrue is from that relationship, therefore easier to understand. You go through life together and see each other change over time. There's no doubt why he/she is there.

    4) What do you Love or regret about the experience of marrying or losing your first true Love? If you could do anything differently, what would you change? I have no regrets, he wasn't my speed.

    1. The world usually impose their old, tried and failed ways on the young love. People slay me when they say, people shouldn't get married so young or that they only did that back then because they had too.

      Good point. In preparing for this post and the subsequent post (my college love), I realized through both it often seemed like adults were the ones rooting the hardest for us to fail. It's almost as if our Love for one another – ignorant as it may have been – bothered them. To see us succeed seemed to indicate they were doing something wrong in their own adult lives, when they should allegedly know better, so they almost had to see us fail in order to justify their position and "superiority" on love as "mature" adults. Obviously I didnt understand this when I was younger but it's funny how adults will tell younger people they're too old to love as if love knows age and as if you become an expert on love at any age. As a culture, we do seem to have largely moved away from the idea of growing together as a couple instead of waiting "until the time is right" – whatever that means.

    2. That is almost the exact reason I said no when proposed to. My thought process was (we're too young, we're going to fail or at the very least experience a trial and error of uncertainty making this too risky, I'm going to end up having to come back so there is no point in experiencing the emotional set of leaving) No. I won't marry you. We're too young. -straight face no woman should ever have the power to form on her features- Now I can look back on it and it really just be a distant memory but the fact that I can completely freeze my emotions is something I think is…a serious problem I'm dealing with. 8 years of my life. I didn't even so much as have a voice quiver. If anything love may have carried us through the rest of life had I not been so deadset on believing it'd fail me.

  12. "I probably said something lame as hell and by the good grace of God she took pity on me."

    This pretty much summed up my "game" growing up, lol. Just say something that wasn't overly offensive, cross my fingers and hope for the best!

  13. i was with my first love from age 17 to 23. we broke up maybe 3 times, we cheated on each other, we apologized and took one another back. we fought, we did really stupid things, we both foolishly thought we'd be together forever. and then the universe finally said "enough" and separated us. i think we both ended up much better without the other. i did receive a long message from him a couple years later thanking me for helping him to mature or something. i think the purpose of first loves is just to experience how it feels to love. not to get it all right. some lucky people get it right that first time but, i always look at first loves as a learning experience.
    My recent post Beautiful, and Other Thoughts.

  14. At 14?! Geez WIM, you crammed alot into a short amount of time. Thinking about past and being reflective is good for the soul sometimes. I can agree with points 1 & 3. I think I was too much of a geek to lie too much, as I think I had dependency issues. As I got older, I realized it and have done much to alleviate those emotions. Since I had those feelings though, I attracted those kinds of women. After looking at my relationship career, my first love was the same way, so there is credence to your theory.

  15. Appreciate the self-reflective sharing…
    1) What lessons in Love, if any, did you learn from your first that continue to apply today as an adult?
    I had to learn to not be soooo selfish and to compromise. Overall we had a great relationship, but it was young and naive and we both were finding who we really are. He has told me I was the best and no one compares, but I KNOW that I could have been better, given more, and "won" less. He was/is an awesome guy! But I don't have regrets really. I think that our parting was for the best because we both had a lot of maturing to do.

    2) Do first loves count? Why or why not?
    Yes! Well, my first love was in my late late teens/early 20s (college), so certainly. You learn so much about working WITH a person. And it has such a major impact if/when it doesn't work out because we are all a little more fearful of giving our heart/love away.

  16. I agree. However, I do wonder why we encourage young people to ignore their first (or second, or third) loves until they're older. As a young man, I was always told to wait (Ironically, now that I'm almost 30 people are starting to ask "what the hell are you waiting for?"). I always found this strange. What are we telling men/women to wait for in all honesty? For men to sleep with more women and break more hearts and for women to have more partners and have their hearts broken? Doesn't really make a lot of sense – and yet we wait longer and longer to settle down and find/honor Love. I'm not saying we should all marry our first but I'm not sure this mantra of neglect and forget your first is accurate either. In some cases, it really can be "the best you ever had."

    1. You hit several nails on the head. This type of thinking,IMO, is what hurts relationships the most. I can definitely say my ex and I were in love, but due to this thinking he never took me seriously. I was just the girlfriend for right then. He never viewed me as marriage material because in his mind he was too young to get married. This in turn destroyed our relationship. His friends didn’t take us seriously, his parents didn’t take us seriously, the amount of disrespect towards our relationship from them destroyed us in the end. He never tried to step his game up and in turn I shut down because I felt like I was fighting a loosing battle.

      To this day he still doesn’t get it. He sees nothing wrong with bedding several women and stringing them along because he thinks when his stuff is together his wife will magically appear. It’s sad because if he actually tried he would be a wonderful husband and father, but he doesn’t see it in himself because he has bought into the men shouldn’t get married until their 30’s mantra. IMO, if men and women want to get married, they should prepare themselves long before they even meet a compatible partner.

    2. I always thought people giving that kind of advice were doing so out of a place of protection. I suppose they didn't want to see you fail after you put so much heart into it. The problem is that they assumed you'd fail in the first place. Or they think you need more life experience, not necessarily more dating experience.

    3. This comment is everything. I really think the waiting concept doesn't make sense. We often hear both men and women talk about not wanting mates who are jaded, have baggage, or who are set in their ways. Well guess what, all that ish happens with time/age. The longer you wait, the more likely you are to encounter the things you don't want. SMH.

    4. i have two younger sisters and a younger brother and i have advised all of them to take their time with the whole first love thing. i know that some people may be lucky and mature enough to make it last with their first, but i just think there is so much life to be lived, so many experiences to have that can make you a better partner in the future, and growing together when you're that young is bound to be filled with drama. of course this is just my perspective and probably heavily colored with the muddy-colored glassed view of my first long relationship. we started so young that by 23 there was so much damage and hurt and "been through" baggage between us that we were literally weary of each other already. i can't imagine being in that situation for life. and we loved HARD, but still, i took it as a growing/learning experience and feel like i came out a better person because of it.

      in the past when folks were encouraged to marry young and stay with that person, the marriages lasted longer yes, but i've had many a conversation with elderly women (i used to volunteer a lot lol) and nearly all of them advised me to pursue full life experiences in my youth, and then marry a man who loves me more than i love him.. or at least thinks he does. like… that was always the main advice they gave me. and never stay and try to make a square peg fit into a round hole. this was coming from women married 40, 50, 60 years. it was quite interesting.

      you do have a point about hitting late twenties and everyone asking when you're getting married and what you're waiting for, which is hilarious since they preach the "take your time" so adamantly when you're only a few years younger. lol
      My recent post Beautiful, and Other Thoughts.

  17. It's been a while, but this post brought me out of hibernation. (That and my new job removing SBM from the sex/dating site filter.)

    I was with my first from age 15-21 and it opened my eyes to women and their needs, the levels of growth we experience leaving teenage years, and the difference between infatuation and love.

    No regrets, and we are still good friends though our lives have taken different paths, I thank her for helping me become who I am today.

  18. I learned to become severely self protective from my first love. I learned not to blindly trust, and that it doesn’t matter how nice and good of a person you are it’s not always reciprocated. I learned that if you can hold on for 3 days after a heartbreak you’ll feel so much better on the 4th. I appreciate having learned these hard lessons at 17…they’ve served me well. So I’m giving a special shout out to the man that dogged my behind out! Yes…first loves matter tremendously.

  19. "I lied. She took me back. I lied again." <—– THIS.SECTION.RIGHT.HERE!!!!! I really appreciate your honesty and transparency here. I wonder if this is a "you" thing or a "man" thing? If I think really hard about the men I know, it seems that this is a "man" thing…

    "I underestimated the affect I would have on her life." <—— I think we're all guilty of this at some point in some way or another. I can think of 3 specific things I would go back and "do over" fully understanding now the life altering pain that my actions caused others.

    1. 1) What lessons in Love, if any, did you learn from your first that continue to apply today as an adult? – You have to truly accept a person in order for a relationship to survive the long haul. If you can't accept them "as is", move on. Based on my opinion of thugs and my sadity vibes, my 1st love KNEW he couldn't let me know he was the thug I despised. So he hid it…until he couldn't…then he disappeared. I don't agree with how he handled it…but he was kinda right. I would NOT have accepted the real him.

      2) Do first loves count? Why or why not? – They absolutely count! Because real love counts, lol. It shapes our wants, desires, expectations, responses, goals, etc…its the starting point of relationship success and failure.

      1. 3) Were any of you able to marry or continue to date your High School sweethearts? – My ex-hub and I started dating unofficially toward the latter part of my senior year. We married the following year. I don't consider him to be my high school sweetheart though…he came too late in the high school game to be that for me.

        4) What do you Love or regret about the experience of marrying or losing your first true Love? If you could do anything differently, what would you change? – What I regret is that I never forced myself to deal with the loss. I just limped along…making bad decisions out of hurt and lack of understanding. If I could, I'd go back in time, pause after that breakup, and heal properly.

    2. "I lied. She took me back. I lied again." <—– THIS.SECTION.RIGHT.HERE!!!!! I really appreciate your honesty and transparency here. I wonder if this is a "you" thing or a "man" thing? If I think really hard about the men I know, it seems that this is a "man" thing… </b>

      Thanks! I started to open with this really long disclaimer in the beginning but I decided against it. As I progress through this series I might come off a bit callous. However, that's only because I'll be focusing on detailing the facts without all the details (plus I'm focusing only on my contributions irrespective of theirs). Also I realized – and I don't mean this in a bad way – I don't owe "you" all (the readers) an apology. I owe the women I wronged an apology. Seeing as how I've made peace with pretty much all of my X's, I feel comfortable simply outlining the pros/cons and lessons learned. To your point, I don't think I'm that much different than the average guy with a few exceptions on specifics. I'm hoping folks can relate to the general themes. Overall, I think men – like anyone else – have to grow up. Unfortunately, some women suffer as a direct result of our evolution and ultimately, ideally anyway, one woman will prosper from all the failures we made before her.

  20. 1) What lessons in Love, if any, did you learn from your first that continue to apply today as an adult?

    I learned how to act selflessly and be more considerate of others, how to cook. Lots of after school special stuff like that.

    2) Do first loves count? Yup. Because I said so. You’ve got to start somewhere. If the first one doesn’t count, when do they start to count? Third, fifth?

    3) Were any of you able to marry or continue to date your High School sweethearts? Yup, married eight years, together twelve years in total. Dang I’m old.

    4) What do you Love or regret about the experience of marrying or losing your first true Love? There’s lots to love about it actually. For one, I’ve never had to start over. I love that while I am was mostly young and dumb, I was still able to make a wise choice in a mate. I’m not exposed to all the STDs and what not. It just feels safe. While I do not regret who I married one bit and I know it was ultimately a good decision, I do regret marrying when I did. I NEEDED more life experience. I NEEDED to experience living on my own, making decisions that would touch only me, typical growing up experiences. Shoot, it’d been nice to just have some fun.

    1. "I NEEDED more life experience. I NEEDED to experience living on my own, making decisions that would touch only me, typical growing up experiences. Shoot, it'd been nice to just have some fun. "

      I sort of got to make those decisions for myself but not really. My parents were really involved and just crticised until I went with what they thought was best, which, I'm not gonna say they weren't the best decisions but it put entirely too much pressure on me throughout my lifetime to be somber. It hasn't paid off yet. I haven't seen a justification for the way they raised me. I feel blind in life. Last night I was contemplating the amount of free time I've had to just be young and travel and be foolish and party and enjoy; I literally skipped an entire stage of development. and I'm not sure how I feel about it. Maybe it was for the best. I just wish I could live free of pressure and responsibility for once and at least live the way *I* want to.

  21. I'm going to hope this does not come out as cynical as it appears to be forming in my head, so bear with me.
    My 1st real love was a really pivotal point in my life, as I waited really long to date & waited even longer to er… hand over my lotus flower. I waited for love, I waited for the 'one' I was going to marry…and it ended in probably one of the worst ways possible. I put everything into that damnned union, and came out the other side with some really deep gouges that took years to deal with.

    HOWEVER-and this will allude to many people chiding the "old folks" for telling them to get more out of life first- you know what I learned from that experience? That first loves AIN'T ALL THAT. Hear me out.

    I have since moved out on my own (as I went from my family house to living with roommates to living with my would-be husband), traveled the country and abroad and **gasp** fell in love again. And again. And faling in love as a whole person as opposed to a being just forming it's imprint on the world is SO different, and SO much better.

    1. I am able to see what is LOVE and what is FEAR (of being alone). I am able to love without compromising myself. I am able to love the PERSON, as opposed to what the person does for me or how they make me 'feel'. I am able to love with a grip on REALITY, instead of expecting some fairytale. I am able to see love ISN'T enough to make a relationship work.

      I think people place SO much emphasis on first loves because they tie it to a time when their entire view of the world was much better, and less jaded. But, truthfully, I was not able to fully love, or fully appreciate love, without losing it and learning the lessons. There are some people that were able to get thru life with their one love, but it is rare. More power to them, but I am grateful for the lessons life has given me, and look forward to the more complete love (in my case) that I will experience in the future.

  22. Oh my first love taught me everything I needed and didn't want to know about love. I met him in my freshmen year of college. (This is actually an excerpt from a note I wrote on this very topic) He taught me what it means to love someone wholeheartedly and unconditionally. To be unapologetically me, to take a chance, to know my limits, to not take life too seriously, to not play it safe, to be a better me, to laugh uncontrollably, the importance of trust and defending the honor of your love, whether it was received and accepted or not. He also showed me that he (and men) wasn't going to always show me how I want them to that they are in fact my biggest fanatics. He always challenged me to look beyond the surface and love what’s underneath which is how I came to love him. He taught me that the most important basis of love is friendship; they must go hand in hand, there are no shortcuts, no one without the other. He also taught me to appreciate what and who I have because everyone doesn’t have the privilege. I must say he set such a standard for the next one to follow up. Overall, his influence on me now is that no matter what a guy will accept you for you if he thinks you're worth it.

    I know we were great then and could still be great now if the lines cross and match up. We still keep in touch every few months or so. I don't regret going studying abroad, I don't — that experience has certainly solidified the person I am today, but I just wonder where would we be if I had in fact stayed in the States because when I was gone and we talked he asked, "Why aren't we together?" and I didn't have answer, but I wanted to enjoy my vacation so.. yeah. He, too, has many epiphanies about the way certain things happened in the relationship and told me about them, apologized and promised to make it up to me one day (though I don't know what that means, eh) and said, "You are truly phenomenal and I love you." (Definitely taught me that a man should not have to hold back how he feels and I don't expect him too either).

  23. The two men that I deeply fell in love with taught me the type of men to avoid. They taught me to heed red flags and assert my needs in a relationship. I can’t say I regret being with them, but if I could turn back the hands of time I would definitely have dated and been with other men.

    1. Read. Per usual, I respect your opinion on the subject. Your raised some points I agree with and some I didn't. I actually think that's the nature of blogging…in my opinion.

      1. 1-10 always make(s) me wonder {although I am guilty sometimes}….

        #Dead @ that algorithm and (also) great post WIM

  24. good post man.

    1) What lessons in Love, if any, did you learn from your first that continue to apply today as an adult?

    technically i was an adult the first time i believe i fell in love. the lessons i learned that still apply today are having patience and not trying to be a mind reader or expecting her to be as well. if i feel a certain way i should open up my mouth and say so. don't assume that the other person automatically knows how you are feeling.

    2) Do first loves count? Why or why not?

    it depends on how old and mature you are. puppy love really doesn't count in my opinion.

    3) Were any of you able to marry or continue to date your High School sweethearts?

    n/a. i didn't have a high school sweetheart but i did end up dating a woman from high school after college. i think that if we ended up dating in college we probably would have resented each other. immaturity has a way of doing that to people.

    4) What do you Love or regret about the experience of marrying or losing your first true Love? If you could do anything differently, what would you change?

    in parting ways with my first love (she lost me, i didn't lose her) i regret the time i spent. not saying that i didn't learn a lot from the experience but at 20-21 i should have been carefree and enjoying being a senior college student instead of fighting to save a relationship that in hindsight wasn't worth the trouble.
    My recent post Build a Fence to Keep Asians Out???

  25. 1) What lessons in Love, if any, did you learn from your first that continue to apply today as an adult?

    a. I will no longer do long distance relationships.
    b. I am afraid of sending long texts or emails. They generally start happening at the beginning of the end.
    c. I get scared of making it super official, even if I see long-term potential. "Making it official" includes things like FB statuses, pictures together, meeting family members, etc. In the past, things ended shortly after things became "official" this way.
    d. Once a relationship ends, I don't try it again.

    2) Do first loves count? Why or why not?

    a. Of course they do. They set the tone for how you will go about relationships and their success or failure will decide whether you will continue in that fashion or make a complete 180. Before your first, everything is just hypothetical ideals.

    3) Were any of you able to marry or continue to date your High School sweethearts?

    a. I never had any high school sweet hearts. My first bf was in college and we discussed marriage but it didn't happen. We weren't able to continue to date after I moved to NY after college.

    4) What do you Love or regret about the experience of marrying or losing your first true Love? If you could do anything differently, what would you change?

    a. I don't regret anything about losing my first love. Though I thought we would marry, because we didn't, I have a completely different life, which I enjoy. I learned a lot more about myself that I wouldn't have if I'd settled down early. He's the only legit ex (not counting long-term casual "friends") that I keep in contact with. Our parting was painful, but mutual and civil.

  26. Great post. I was w/my 1st love from 16 to almost 19 yrs old. The actions from that relationship somewhat molded me into the man I "was" during my mid 20's.(which wasn't the best thing). I was head over heels for her, did any and everything for her, lost my virginity to her(I wasn't her 1st). I moved away for school/training and we maintained our relationship. Then one day I got a call from her that she was pregnant, and it wasn't mine. Even with that(being young) I still wanted to stay with her, work it out and go to counseling, get married, etc. She declined and went on with the guy and had her little girl. In my next serious relationships, I found myself overly guarded, highly sensitive, short-tempered, unforgiving and definitely untrustworthy of women. It wasn't until about almost 6-7 yrs removed from that relationship that I started to realize what I have become and decided to make a change within.

    1. "Then one day I got a call from her that she was pregnant, and it wasn't mine. Even with that(being young) I still wanted to stay with her, work it out and go to counseling, get married, etc."

      So I guess that whole "men will NEVER forgive a woman who cheats" thing is wrong, huh fellas????? What are the variables???

  27. 1) What lessons in Love, if any, did you learn from your first that continue to apply today as an adult?
    My first was a wonderful example of how men should treat their lady. That relationship taught me many things, namely that if he truly loves you, he'll wait. He taught me that love is patient and kind, and that when it's real, there will be no question – you will know. Lastly, I learned that just because you love someone doesn't mean that you 2 should be together. He'd do anything for me. He set the bar high for lovers to come.

    2) Do first loves count? Why or why not?
    First loves definitely count. It is uninhibited, passionate, and true. There are no games, no regrets. You just GO HARD. I met my first love in college at 17. We were engaged at 18, and like several people mentioned above, I was encouraged to "play the field" and date, have fun. I wish I had taken this advice with a grain of salt, not necessarily because I regret not marrying my first, but because I don't feel like I've learned that much more about love now that I've dated like crazy and experienced heartbreak on more than one occasion.

    What do you Love or regret about the experience of marrying or losing your first true Love? After a year, we found ourselves in a LDR because he joined the military because I told him that he needed to go to school or the military. He needed to do better if he planned to marry me and be able to provide for our family like a man should. This ultimately led to our relationship's demise. The distance was difficult for us to handle – cheating etc. But, he's married now with several kids. Overall, he has a good heart. I have no regrets. He will always hold a special place in my heart, but I NEVER wanted to rekindle what we had.
    My recent post Sparing the Rod: Lessons From Our Fathers

  28. point number two? is something i wish more men i know would admit.
    but i guess everything is hindsight….

  29. I learned from my first the severity of having a temper. Too many times arguing and wasted energy over insecurity. Had I realize sooner perhaps I would be sharing my last name right now. A lesson learned from the first……..

  30. Deep post. You took me back many years. My first love happend from 17-21. It was the first time I ever heard someone say "I think I'm in love with you". The lesson that I learned from it is not to be so naive. I say that because I thought, at the tender age of 17 that when someone tells you that they love you, and you beggin to feel it too, that it was supposed to last forever. Yea, I could see it just as clear as day…the white picket fence, a little girl and a little boy, a station wagon, and a nice home out of the projects, and we lived happy ever after. And then one day reality hit me when she decided that she did not want to get married, and she thought we should see other people. Broke my little 17 year old heart.

  31. My first love taught me a couple of things but the one thin that will stick with me the most is that love has no time commitment. You can want love, wait on love, be patience or even be in a rush and love has no signature on the time you spend or invest in loving someone. You can spend your entire life loving someone and never be in love with them or vice versa. Love is a crazy thing. In fact I think we all have our first love many times over an entire life time.

    #DatIshKray
    My recent post WTH, SMH, FML, &amp; FU

  32. Wow, like most of the Previous comments i can agree to most, but my 1st love was at the tender age of 15 years old……it was a long distance relationship. but thanks to Yahoo Messnger at the time, Myspace, and email and Cell Phine Convos and Texting we were cool. we'd see one another every other weekend…..but anyways it didnt last. Due to Long Distance for one, 2. He was cheating, we were both Virgins and we wanted to do the Nasty with each other but i was scared plus my grandmother was very strict! 3. we just disagreed all the time and he got impatient with me……..but i said that to say this: my 1st love taught me alot of things…….1st to love and focus on me. AS OF TODAY IM STILL SUFFERING FROM MAKING BAD HOICES IN GUYS WHEN ALL THE RED FLAGS ARE THERE, but im getting alot better though, thanks to GOD! 2. Its not always My way all the time, sometimes you have to give in order to get. 3. STOP making all these future plans, which i still do BUT- stop it you never know what tommorrow holds

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