Updated: Aug 5, 2019
Disclaimer: This post contains some harsh language not usually used here. It also contains some hard topics and experiences with abuse that may be difficult for some to read.
When I first saw this was a topic I would have to write about, I wasn't thrilled. That wasn't because I have anything to hide, but because I didn't know how to answer the question, but after some thought, I think I might have an answer...or two.
I was eighteen years old before I entered into my first serious relationship. I struggled with depression and no self esteem. I was stupid, fat and not good enough for anything, let alone to be loved, or that's how I saw things. At first the relationship was good. It was almost like a fantasy, but I think I realized sooner then I've ever wanted to admit that there was something just not real about it. But I was young and just thankful that someone had looked at me twice, someone wanted to be with me and I clung to the idea that maybe, just maybe, I wouldn't always be alone. I guess that's why I blew it off the first time he called me a bitch, even though I knew that such a strong reaction to losing a card game was a red flag.
The time went by and things continued to go down hill until I was hearing daily what a no good, stupid, fat bitch I was and, even though I knew better, I fell into the abusive girlfriend role, ignoring the signs, denying the truth when others tried to tell me and even making excuses for him. "It's my fault. I shouldn't have made him mad." But the truth was, I was scared. I feared that I would never find anyone else. I was terrified that I would always be alone and, since I had found myself pregnant within our first year together, I had even less hope that anyone would want to be with a young mother. I wasn't old enough to legally drink, but I as old enough to be abused and pregnant.
I cried, pleaded and begged that things would change. I tried to help him see the errors in his ways while convincing myself that he would change. Being a daddy would tame him, would make him think of someone other then himself. I continued to try to convince him that there were now bigger things to spend our very limited money on, but, of course I was wrong, and controlling. What did I mean that we didn't need to go out to eat and rent movies regularly? We didn't really need to spend so much money on the baby! We'd eventually find a way to diaper and cloth the baby! And how dare I insist that he cut back on his going out with friends! What good was I if I wouldn't be home watching the baby when the baby was born? Wasn't that my job? And still, every day I was a no good, stupid, fat bitch. But I loved him. And he was the father of my first born child. He'd change when the baby was born, right?
Wrong. If anything, things just got worse and my son became just one more means of controlling me. I couldn't take it anymore. Maybe I would be alone forever, but wasn't that better for my baby then living in a house where Mommy and Daddy didn't get along, didn't like each other much, if at all and Daddy abused Mommy? It had to be. So, a month after my son was born, the evening of my baby shower, I broke up with him.
I think it was the relief I felt when I realized I was free of him that proved to me that, while I had cared about him and, to some degree I had loved him, he never loved me and I was never in love with him. But, the damage had been done and I continued to wake up every morning and, somehow, making it through the day.
Over the following years, I dated. Some of them were serious but I still found myself in relationships that constantly proved two things to me. One, I had never been loved. Love, true love, doesn't come in the form of lies, cheating and mistreatment. It didn't matter if each guy was a step up from the last, they still didn't really love me. Two, I didn't really know what true love was. I had thought that the father of my son had been my first true love, but that couldn't be true....could it?
It wasn't until I met the guy who would one day become my husband that I started truly questioning every relationship I'd had before. It wasn't until we began to date seriously that I realized that I had never been in love. None of those guys I dated made me want to be a better person, made feel safe, comfortable and secure. None of them ever encouraged me to be me and grow or made me really want to learn their hobbies, participate in their favorite pass times or could inspire such an amazing, peaceful and happy image of life 75 years down the line without also inspiring a list of ways they needed to change in order for me to be able to spend the next 75 plus years with them.
So, if I had to honestly name my first love, I'd have to say...my son. He was the first that made me put another's thoughts, needs wants and feelings 100% before mine. He was the first that made want to be the most amazing person possible just to make him proud and make me worthy to be in his life. But, since I'm confident that this prompt was not referring to the love a mother feels for her first born,her son, her baby and her (now) best friend, and I'm sure they were asking about being in love, I'd have to say my first true love, my first love that was really romantic love built on friendship love, I'd have to say my husband. Because what I've come to learn is that all of those other times I believed those words, those three life changing, earth shattering words to be true, I loved them in another way. I cared and I valued them (even if they didn't deserve it), but it wasn't really this crazy little thing I now know is love.
I've shared my story, now it's time to share yours. Who was your first love? What was it like? Were you like me and thought you were in love multiple times before you really were? We'd love to hear your story in the comments!