"Love happens only once, and the second time is always a compromise made to forget the first."
There is a reason they call it falling in love. The first time is always special. It's sudden, unbridled, absolute. Your heart flutters with excitement. It's like diving into a deep ocean of young, untainted, untouched, nubile feelings.
Your definition of love has been from the fairytales you read as a kid and the movies you watched and the songs you heard as you grew up. And then it happened to you. You probably didn't see it coming, or maybe you were waiting for its arrival. But when it actually comes knocking on your heart's door, the whole experience is so new and novel for you, nothing like you had read or heard about. Just the sight or touch of a special someone is enough to give you this strange, dizzy feeling.
The first time those three special words were uttered, it gave you this inexplicable feeling that transported you to the eleventh heaven. You just fell face forward, no holds barred, into a love so deep, so fresh, and unparalleled, that all the songs about love suddenly started making sense to you.
This love led to a million firsts with this wonderful person - your first kiss, your very first Valentine's, your very first session of unhinged passion, and so many more. When you think about your first love, this strong gush of feeling, maddening, and full of sweet memories washes over you, and you're swept into a nostalgic mode of blissful, close to perfect moments you shared with your first, and one true love.
But it's so rare that you end up living your happily-ever-after with your first love, isn't it? Something happens, and things aren't the same anymore. Because when you fell in love the first time, you only noticed the oh-so-sweet qualities of your beloved, and slowly, interestingly, you start seeing them in a different light. Things change, and slowly, before you know it, you're on the verge of break up.
It's the love that makes you compare
Your love was full of hope for the future, and so full of possibilities. But the pain you felt after you broke up was also something you have never felt before, just like love. It scars you and that scares you. It destroys the reality of life you were holding on to so tightly. It destroys the idea of pure, unselfish love that you once had in your head.
And every person you meet thereafter, you tend to judge them, and compare them with the experience you had with your first love. You compare your first love's shortcomings with your second chance at love. And you never quite get over this whole comparison phase.
It's the love that makes you defensive
The first time, you see all the wonderful qualities this person has, refusing and denying the possibility that this person could be like every other person, with flaws. But the second time around, you have your guard up. You judge the next person right from the very first 'hello'. You wonder if they have any ulterior motives, and even if they don't, you'll slice every word that person says and come up with a reason, and end up ruining the possibility of the start of a beautiful phase in your life.
It's the love that makes you dubious
The second time around, you're in this constant investigative mode with your giant magnifying glass looking for that one flaw you can pick in the other person and refuse to take things forward. Basically, you mess up every potential of a meaningful relationship you might have a chance at.
But do any of us want to be alone?
You have every right to be mad and pissed off, and write relationships off for as long as you need. But none of us wants to end up alone. We need someone to love, and for someone to love us. We need a shoulder to cry on, and someone to share our most ridiculous stories with. You need someone to be around to hold you, when the world gets too much. You need someone to call home.
So give yourself the chance to fall again
Understand that what happened with your first love might not happen the second time around. Just because your first love did not turn out the way it was supposed to, don't beat yourself up and the next person for it. You make mistakes, but you learn from them. You learn to make compromises as and when necessary. After all, isn't that part of growing up, and becoming mature enough to deal with things in the right way?
The first time will always be irreplaceable and will be etched in your memories forever, no matter what. But remember to keep them as good old memories, just like how they are supposed to be.
Whoever you finally end up with might be a much better person and the relationship might be a lot more meaningful but on some level, it will never be just as special as the first love. For the simple reason that it isn't your first love. And that's not a bad thing.
Keep the memories if you must but move on and stop beating yourself over it. Because there's nothing you can do about it and there's nothing you need to do about.