1. You learn what you like in a relationship.
As The Guardian pointed out earlier in this article, you’re likely to use your first love as a benchmark by which you measure all future relationships. So you’re bound to learn about what you like in a relationship and what kind of partner you are.
This includes what you like to do on dates, how you like to keep your relationship fresh and how you act in public, which all have an impact on your relationship.
I wrote last month about how couples hold hands and what that means for relationships. A 2013 study found that men often put their hand on top of their partner’s, which indicates that he is the more dominant member in the relationship. The same study found that women put their hand on top when they’re walking with a child and feel the need to be more protective of their family.
If it’s not holding hands, it could be how you cuddle with your partner, or how you interact in social situations, too.
2. You learn how to be creative.
If you’re young, you sometimes have to come up with some fun and creative ways to show affection without kissing. Here are some alternatives to kissing that you can use, whether you’re trying to take things slow or avoid an insane amount of germs.
Learning alternatives to kissing will also help you see how creative you and your partner can be, which could be a sign to you about what you want from a relationship.
3. You learn how to get over a broken heart.
According to UK’s Daily Mail, one in seven people feel they’re in a relationship with someone who isn’t the love of their life. And it’s possible that the relationship with your first love won’t last. So you’ll have to face some serious heartbreak.
Breaking up is never easy, but there are many ways you can help heal yourself. With the first love, analyzing and thinking about your relationship could help you get over them, which I wrote about back in January.
Still, first loves are likely to stick in your mind. The Guardian’s Annalisa Barbieri answered a question from an anonymous reader who wrote that she can’t get over her first love, whom she dated 25 years ago. The letter’s author said that even though she and her first love haven’t kept in touch, she still can’t forget him.
Barbieri suggests to the reader that she shouldn’t let her first love define her. Instead, people should embrace their first loves for the lessons they have learned, which will help them get over it.
“We tend to look back on our first big loves in one of two ways: romantically (‘ahhh’) or in despair (‘how could I?’),” Barbieri wrote. “But either way, first loves are important because they represent the first time you really loved someone outside your family.”
4. You learn how to handle an argument.
Your first love is someone you care for other than family members, who have been with you since you were born. This means, though, that you probably have more to lose with your first love than another relationship — which is why handling an argument the right way can be so important.
The most important part of an argument, though, comes when the couple wants to make up. According to The Wall Street Journal, therapists and experts agree that couples shouldn’t just apologize and move on after arguments. Instead, couples should talk about the underlying issue until the conflict is completely solved.
“The biggest thing in making up is to understand that conflict is normal in a relationship,” Hal Shorey, an associate professor for the Institute for Graduate Clinical Psychology, told the WSJ. “You don’t want to avoid it. You want to manage it.”
Your first love may be the first time you get to experience this situation, which will help you resolve conflict with your partner in the future, too.