You see each other from across a crowded cafeteria — you, eating a PB and J, them, mid-bite on a Lunchables. And that's it. You lock eyes, you fall deeply, and fifteen years later, you marry your first love. Or hey, maybe you don't fall in love for the first time until years later. It happens to very few of us that we stay with the first person with whom we share our hearts, and it's one of those things that makes pretty much anyone say "aw" when they hear the story. But is having only one lover your whole life a good thing? Are there any risks you're taking if you stay with your first love forever?
Like anything, there's no answer that fits all relationships. But there are things to consider about the special circumstance of marrying, or wanting to marry, your very first love.
Social worker and love and relationship coach Jillian Weiss, tells Bustle that since we benefit as human beings from being in healthy, secure, relationships, marrying your first love can offer extra support throughout your lifespan.
"The key is that the relationship remains stable and certain, or it can have the opposite effect," Weiss says. "If you marry your first love and have different values about what it means to be loyal, safe, and connected in marriage, it will keep you from thriving and hold you back in your accomplishments."
The success of your marriage when marrying your first love, could go either way of course, Weiss says. Like any marriage, it 's about entering into it with a healthy idea of love and relationships. And it's important to know that you both have clear communication about foundational aspects of a relationship.
"It also requires knowing that you are both on the same page when it comes to how much you value marriage and the commitment of a long-term relationship," Weiss says.
The reason why it might not work out is that we don’t always learn about healthy relationships from watching our parents, and if you're marrying your first love, that might well be the main place you are getting your information about and models on relationships.
"If you are young and the only relationship template you have is your parents, it may take time, maturity, educating yourself, and experience in relationships, before you get it right," Weiss says. "Also, with the invention of the internet and dating apps we have so much choice — it makes it easier than ever before to find a new relationship, if you are unhappy or unfulfilled. This is actually a huge factor in why people aren’t feeling as pressured to marry their first love, as they did in the past."
For couples who have only loved or dated one another Weiss encourages them to always agree to put their relationship first. This includes communicating regularly about how to support one another through compromise.
Kevin Thompson, a relationship coach who focuses on breakup recovery and reconciliation tells, Bustle that if you’ve only ever been in love with one person, it's hard to know what makes you certain they are the best fit for you.
"Many of my clients who come from a first love marriage tend to face difficulties in their marriage because of third party involvement," Thompson says. If someone were to suddenly come along, exhibiting all the qualities your partner has as well as something else that might intrigue you, the temptation might be harder to resist because you don't have other experiences to compare it to.
"How do you know that your partner has all the qualities you’re looking for if there hasn’t been any other benchmark you can compare them to?" Thompson says.
Thompson says that for most people, experiencing several relationships before you finally settle down if that's what you want, helps you develop a clearer understanding of your needs and desires. Thompson says that generally, there are very important lessons to be learned in having multiple relationships and experiencing heartbreak.
But listen, if you meet the one right out of the gate, more power to you. At the end of the day, only you two know if the relationship is fulfilling and right for you.
Jillian Weiss relationship coach and social worker.
Kevin Thompson, a relationship coach and founder of Ex Back Permanently