By: Nicole Gasparian
Getting over your first love, the first-person accounts of the not-so-nice realities of becoming sexually mature.
The first relationship, lover, or sexual experience is a huge milestone in the life of a growing young woman. Even years after the occurrence of the event, I find myself surrounded by women who seem uncomfortable discussing their first ever “first.” Despite their strength, there’s seemingly a consensus amongst a large array of millennial women that the ‘first ever’ was the absolute worst ever. Here are a couple of applicable real-world scenarios to help illustrate the concept (of course all persons mentioned in this article have had their name and vital information changed to protect their identity):
Ava, a sheltered young woman, has been unable to even look at men without remembering her “high school sweetheart” and it isn’t the fondest memories. “Whenever I even think about starting something with someone new, I remember how dirty I felt after just being touched by him. I didn’t like anything that we did together,” she confessed one late Thursday night. When asking her if anything was new with her life, I didn’t mean to somehow unravel this deep burden she’s carried with her since her adolescence. As the topic of potential relationships came up, however, it seemed like the burden had gained more weight than she could carry.
It wasn’t even that he did anything wrong. He stopped when I asked and never pushed me too far, but it’s the fact that I did it all with someone I didn’t even have deep feelings for that really makes me feel so crude.
It was then that I understood the burden she had carried for years after her first, and only. The relationship has nothing to do with a particular person or occurrence but rather with her own conscience. My understanding of the situation is that Ava’s desire for an emotional connection overpowers physical attraction and the way she internalizes her sexuality. This is an internal complexity that she’ll have to navigate in future relationships, and in order to start a grow a potential relationship, she’ll have to come to terms with her past and understand her needs.
Nara’s story is drastically different from Ava’s. She’s a woman who is not only confident in herself but very open about her sexuality. With all that said, it came as a shock to me when she told me that she too had a dreadful time thinking about her first. “You know throughout the relationship he was great, but when we were reaching our breaking point he said a lot of nasty things to me,” she told me one Sunday morning over coffee, “honestly everything he called me by the end of the relationship has made me seriously regret ever being with him sexually. He just didn’t deserve me.” In the span of one argument, Nara’s relationship was stripped of all of its happy memories down to the hurtful words of an angry breakup.
The regret Nara feels had me in a loop. This is a person I’ve always known as confident, but this revelation has me seeing her in a slightly different light. After a bit more pondering, I slowly got to the conclusion that her first left her in an emotionally scarred state, leaving her to have no hope for not only herself but her future encounters. Being in a regular state of expecting the person that you are in a close relationship with to eventually disrespect you is a tough mindset to maintain. The only way Nara would be able to grow out of her fear of hurt would be to regain the hope she has for herself.
Sasha [Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault]
This was a story I was not prepared to hear. My friend Sasha has grown increasingly close to me in the past couple of months, while simultaneously nurturing a three-month relationship. Everything was seemingly going well until this past week when her new potential boyfriend rushed into sex before she was ready. The situation stopped as soon as she said no, however, the experience reminded her of a notable ‘first’ from her adolescence. Sasha’s first sexual encounter involved a partner that was not as considerate to her consent. Although she managed to escape the situation before anything worse than an aggressive argument could occur, the experience has traumatized her.
Sasha’s story is sadly more common than not. Her fear of the event recurring has left her unable to communicate it with her partners to ensure that she never feels unsafe in future sexual encounters. With a history as distressing as Sasha’s, it seems near impossible to be able to move on and not project the horrible past into the future. The only solution in attempting to prevent a future relationship from ending in the same fashion would be to grow more comfortable communicating it.
The main takeaway I gathered from all of the strong women around me is that we have ultimate control over the lasting effects of our first time. It’s all just a matter of working towards taking control of your past (although this could definitely be easier said than done).
Here are a few steps you can take to getting over your first:
- Understanding your sexuality and needs
Becoming clear to yourself about the aspects of sex and relationships that you need in order to feel comfortable.
- Learning to let go
Coming to terms with your past and the fact that you’re no longer that person now.
- Having hope in yourself and the future
Hindering the anger and regret of the past from reappearing into future possibilities can be done by first having hope in yourself. As soon as you grow hope within yourself to eventually live a life without any regrets, the rest will follow through.
- Having your voice heard
Communication is very important in a relationship, even though it may be difficult to come to terms with certain aspects of your past that you believe can complicate the future. Slowly opening up to close friends and those that matter will aid you in becoming comfortable to talk to significant others.