Whatever became of…?

Have you ever wondered about people from your past and what happened to them? It’s like a mystery we want to solve. In today’s world, the internet helps us find old friends easily. But this can sometimes bring back old feelings, especially when it comes to our first loves. This can get tricky, especially for grown-ups who are married. Let’s explore how reconnecting with our past can stir up strong emotions and affect our lives now.

There is an epidemic of Boomer Divorce. 

And I wonder if the fact that we can now quickly answer the question “Whatever became of…” might not be a contributing factor to that burgeoning statistic.

Social Science tells us that people who break up with their high school sweetheart and marry someone else are more susceptible to the eventual lure of an affair with their first lover if they are somehow able to reconnect.

Facebook enables these romantic re-connections quick and easy.  However, a casual text may result in marital distress. You may need to fix your marriage if you “friend” an old beau back.

  • The internet makes connecting or reconnecting with a high school sweetheart far easier than it has ever been .
  • People who seek out lost loves who they did not marry, tend to come from homes where one parent was an alcoholic. Parental alcoholism is a significant attachment injury, and is one of the reasons why the family of origin questions is an important part of our BIG BIG Book.

First love

Here is the compelling power of first love. If two people fall in love together for the first time, it is an incredibly impactful neurological event that doesn’t fade over the years; it becomes more a part of what I call “personal mythology.”

To feel the full impact of love lost is to feel a deep and abiding need for repair.

There is an iconic quality to the neural net that we fashion around our first love, which is why many otherwise happy, but perhaps bored and curious people try to reconnect with past loves, often to profoundly unexpected, and sometimes tragic results.

The science tells us that the siren song of past, perhaps thwarted love is so compelling that even people with otherwise sincere religious beliefs can end up in profound emotional torment and cheat on their spouse.

There is a roller coaster of neurochemistry already in place, ready to be activated by the re-invigoration of a first love.

Love and limerance

We have a word for the profundity of a first love: Limerance.  Science tells us that limerent feelings create a neurological chemical cascade that can make it hard for us to think straight and clarify our values. Thankfully the brain fog of limerence feelings tends to settle down after about 18 months or so.  The issue is often, however, how have we fashioned our lives in the interim? What decisions did we make? What help did we get to sort out our values?

Closing thoughts

Remembering our first love is like walking through a maze in our minds. It’s full of feelings that can make it hard to think clearly. But as we learn more about why we feel this way, we can understand how it impacts our choices. Even though the past might call us back, it’s what we choose now that shapes our future. Our memories might tug at us, but making good choices and understanding ourselves is how we find our way through this emotional maze.