7 February, 2021

First love is a surge of adrenalin, a rush of blood, a thing of innocence and pain that would last a lifetime. There is extreme pleasure when you fall in love for the first time. And there is pain when you move away from your loved one. Almost all of us have experienced our first love when we were in our teens. It does not mean that we fall in love only when we are young. You may fall in love at any stage of your life. When you meet someone special, you begin to experience love in an intense way for the first time. We remember our first love even in our old age because it is a different kind of experience. Why do we find it difficult to forget our first love? It is because our first love never dies!

I still remember the words of John Walters when he wrote about his first love: “I remember the way the light touched her hair. She turned her head, and our eyes met. There was a momentary awareness in that raucous fifth grade classroom. I felt as though I’d been struck a blow under my heart. Thus began my first love affair.”

According to a study carried out by Helen Fisherin 2005, first love is primarily a motivation system rather than an emotion. It is somewhat similar to what we experience during drug addiction. In a way, our first love is a kind of intoxicant. In fact, oxytocin which is called the ‘love hormone’ is responsible for feelings of attachment and intimacy. The love hormone forges a strong bond between two people, usually a man and a woman. Strangely it also keeps the lovers monogamous.


Kahlil Gibran says, “Every young man remembers his first love and tries to recapture that strange hour, the memory of which changes his deepest feelings and makes him so happy in spite of all the bitterness of its mystery.” He also says he was 18 when love opened his eyes with its magic rays and touched his spirit for the first time with its fiery fingers. He refers to Selma Karamy as the first woman who awakened his spirit with her beauty and led him ito the garden of high affection, where days pass like dreams and nights like weddings.

In every young man’s life there is a ‘Selma’ who appears to him suddenly while in the spring of life and transforms his solitude into happy moments and fills the silence of his nights with music. He hears music whenever he is in her presence. Scriptures will not explain the meaning of the words whispered into his ears by his lover. Whenever you feel empty like Adam in Paradise, your girlfriend will stand before you like a column of light. Like Eve she will fill your heart with secrets and wonders which will help you to understand the meaning of life.

It is very rarely that you get married to your first love. After years of married life you will suddenly remember your first love with painful memories. A friend of mine met his first love quite by accident. He saw her sipping a cup of coffee when he walked into a café. Their eyes met and both of them felt a surge of adrenalin. After sometime, however, their love waned and they got married to different partners. When they met after a few decades at the same café, she thanked him for having loved her fervently in her school days. While leaving his old flame and the café he saw his reflection from a store window staring back at him. He saw an ageing man with grey hair stirred by an evening breeze. He decided to walk home as his wife and children were waiting for him, but he could not forget her first kiss that still burned on his lips.

Power of first love

When he returned home the grass and trees all round him were shining in the surreal glow of sunset. Something was being lifted out of him. Something had been completed and the scene before him was so beautiful that he wanted to shout and dance and sing for joy. That was the power of first love.

Psychologists have tried to define love as a form of emotion. According to them, dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is closely associated with emotions, pleasure, reward and modulating the immune system. It is at this point where the ‘addiction’part of love comes in. ’When dopamine is released it activates the reward centre of the brain which causes a .motivation reward’ effect. As a result, lovers seek out the reward of love even through obstacles that may be dangerous and painful.

When you are in love it produces a racing heart and excitement. This is due to the release of adrenalin and dopamine. The chemicals are released at the first stage of love, lust or infatuation. Lovers feel extreme happiness, intense energy and sleeplessness. Most of us have experienced such extreme feelings. According to Helen Fisher, such feelings are due to the release of two chemicals – dopamine and norepinephrine.


Very often we find that lovers are obsessed about their partners. According to research, lovers have lower levels of serotonin which is a hormone that acts as a neurotransmitter that helps relay signals from one area of the brain to another. Such low levels of serotonin are found even in people diagnosed with OCD (obsessive compulsive disorders).

When two adolescents fall in love for the first time, their brains are not fully developed. Therefore, their brains experience a kind of addiction when they fall in love. On the other hand, teenagers experience many ‘firsts ‘as their memory has reached peak performance. When teenagers experience all kinds of ‘firsts’ – first kiss or driving a car for the first time – such memories tend to be very impactful. Sometimes such experiences are known as ‘memory bumps’.

The first love leaves a hormonal imprint in most of us that causes life-long effects. Technically, the hormonal imprints are made in the sensory areas of the brain at a time neurological developments are taking place. When we see young people in love or hear a love song, they trigger us to recall our own first love.

Victorian age

The concept of first love probably did not exist in the Victorian Age or in our own traditional cultures. At that time love was not a spontaneous personal experience which led to marriage. Marriages were contracted by convention. Either the respective families or a marriage broker brought a man and a woman together. Love was supposed to develop after the marriage.

However, in the past few generations the concept of romantic love has become almost universal. Although conventional marriages are not entirely absent, most people are in search of romantic love.

In the 21st century first love often feels intense. Sometimes you come to the conclusion that you loved your first love more than anybody else.

This may be the reason why people are longing for the intense feelings they experienced in their first relationship from others they meet later. When they fail to get it, they make a mental journey to the past and try to rekindle the fires of a past love affair.

According to April Davis, a well-known matchmaker for celebrities, first love is not going to be the best or the deepest affair. Your first love may be so intense that you will believe that you loved him or her in your memory.

Romantic love

What happens in romantic love is fascinating. For instance, two people who are not known to each other, meet somewhere for the first time. For some unknown reason, they let the wall between them break down, feel close and feel one.

This moment of oneness is one of the most exhilarating and exciting experiences in life. When this happens for the first time, the intensity is very high. The sudden intimacy is a miracle. This type of love does not last long but its memory will remain.

The first love is often marked by a period of personal growth and brain development.

Just because your first love did not end up in marriage, it is not the only true love you will ever experience. For most of us first love is exciting, but it is only a learning experience. You will meet your ideal partner at the right time. Leave it to destiny!

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