We’ve all heard the old saying: You’ll always remember your first love. As I get a little older and wiser (I hope), I can’t help but wonder if the adage is actually true, or do we simply wish it was? Last year, I released my first New Adult book, SEVEN WAYS TO LOSE YOUR HEART. One day when I was obsessing over reading over some reviews, I was blindsided by a blogger who was irate over the fact that my HEA couple, established as each other’s first love but later separated by tragic events in their lives, had the audacity to have relationships with other people before reuniting. I mean this blogger was ANGRY.
I wasn’t bothered that she didn’t like my book (cause if you can’t handle a negative review, then you shouldn’t be in the business of story-making), but I did start to wonder why do we revere first loves as if they hold the key to deciphering all of our future romantic choices? Romance novels do this a lot (I write romance, so I can say it…right?). They present the story of first love as this pure, holy experience that can never be recaptured (I wrote two books about reuniting with your first love, so I can say it…right?). I don’t know about you, but my first experience in love wasn’t actually that great. I got my heart ripped out on multiple occasions.
Met him doing a play my Freshman year of college. We flirted throughout the production. Finally kissed at the cast party. And spent the next three and a half years dragging each other through all the craziness of discovering who you are. We didn’t end up together. He moved to South Carolina, and it was either move in together or break up. I still talk with him now and then, but never once have I thought: Man, I wish it would have worked out with He Who Shall Not Be Named. Not because he was a bad guy, but because he wasn’t THE guy. I suspect that this is the case for most people when they reflect back on their first loves.
So, why the first love narrative worship? I think it has less to do with the actual romance and more to do with its newness. The first time you fall in love, anything seems possible. Stars align. The world moves. Through these first relationships, we learn so much about who we are, what makes us happy, and what is important to us. Maybe it has nothing to do with love at all; maybe it’s all about self-discovery.
It’s ok to think back fondly on those first stirrings of love. It’s fine to spend your money on romance novels that embrace first loves as true loves (my book sales thank you for it). But what’s not ok is to believe that the world around you isn’t still filled with possibilities. Every day is a new opportunity to learn something new about the world and most importantly about yourself.
Maybe our fond thoughts of first loves have nothing to due with first loves at all; maybe they represent a need to believe that anything is possible. And guess what? It is.
Alexandra Ryans’s life has been anything but normal. Some might even call it a fairy tale. As the daughter of the former U.S. ambassador to England, she grew up within the palace walls, best friends with the three young princes. Adored by the press and the British people. What more could a girl want?
If only the press knew the real story behind her relationships with the Dudley boys. Then, they’d really sell some papers.
Oliver Dudley, youngest son and third in line for the throne, loves everything about his life. The fame. The parties. The women. The utter lack of expectations and responsibilities that come with being last in the line of succession. But while the world thinks he has everything he wants, there’s one thing he was never able to call his own—the beautiful and spunky American Aly Ryans. But how can he convince her when she hates everything about his life? And what is he willing to give up to get her?