How Men Feel About Falling In Love The Second Time Around (According To Reddit)

Photo: Unsplash: Dani Vivanco
15 Real Men Reveal How Their Second Love Was Different Than Their First Love
Love

Is your first love really all that special?

It's often said that there's nothing quite like your first love, and while that is certainly true, what does that mean, if anything, about what happens when you fall in love a second time?

Men and women alike generally agree that the joys and heartbreaks we experience when we dip our toes into the pools of dating and relationships for the first time are uniquely intense. Nothing feels as sweet as the first time you fall in love. It's like a whole new part of you opens up in every possible way.

The same can be said for the feelings you experience when that relationship ends. It feel as though you'll never be the same, and in many ways, that's true.

 

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Nothing helps us grow and change as people quite the way that falling in love for the first time does. It's an experience that is probably as close as it gets to universal.

As women, we typically talk among ourselves a good deal about what our first love felt like, especially in terms of comparing it to the loves that come after. However, we might not know as much about what men learn from their first loves as we do about how our sisters, cousins, and girlfriends learned from there own.

That's probably because for men, few things are more terrifying than laying open their emotions and their heart to anyone, regardless of their gender.

While it's perfectly healthy to talk about this stuff, many men have a hard time talking these subjects over unless they're doing it with a close and deeply trusted friend or partner. Even then, many will still censor themselves, as they have been conditioned by our society to believe that doing so could possibly cause you to think less of them and their "manliness." Women may find it obvious that when men do push through those fears and express themselves fully, it only makes us love them more, but alas. Cultural conditioning can be extremely tough for individuals to shed in practice.

That said, if you've always wanted to know how men think falling for their first love compares with a second or third or fourth, you're in luck! While men might be less likely to open themselves up to women about this stuff in person, there is a place where they don't let anything go unsaid, and that is over on Reddit in the AskMen subreddit.

One redditor recently asked this group, "How does falling in love a second time differ from the first?"

Here's a look at what men say about how falling for their first love was different than falling in love the second time around.

1. You realize the first wasn't ever love at all.

"In my case, I realized I wasn’t as in love with my first love as much as I thought."

 

2. You're playing with the big dogs.

"First love is puppy love, makes more sense to YOU in the moment — I believe you lie to yourself way more the first time and ignore red flags because you 'finally have someone' — and hurts more than anything you could ever imagine when it ends, but isn't as real as the next I'd argue.

You're blinded more by puppy love, and that's dangerous yet beautiful at the same time. You have to go through that initial pain of your first love (mistakes and all) to really appreciate what it means to love."

 

3. You learn the difference between love and the "idea" of love.

"[When I fell in the love the second time] I actually realized I didn't really love my 'first love' at all. I loved the idea of being married."

 

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4. You have better self-control.

"The first time is like a punch to the gut. It's unexpected, and you don't know how or why you feel the way you do, but you just do. The feeling is more ... unfiltered, and does not rely on any discernable factors. You just fall.

The second time, you know what you are looking for and what you expect. You feel the butterflies but you tend to hold them back to make sure that the feelings are real. It's more like a controlled experience."

 

5. You've learned from your mistakes.

"The second time, I was able to look back and reflect to make sure I learned from my experiences and didn't repeat them."

 

6. You're more realistic.

"I think even for people who realistically know there's not 'soul mates' and stuff like that, it's hard for your first relationship to not just seem like the end all be all of love, like your only shot at true happiness.

While I don't think it's totally settled by the second relationship, I think part of that fades. And I think it's a good thing. Part of that is also beginning to understand love is conditional, takes work, can fail; and that's ok, it's still great. Maybe not fully getting it, but starting to."

 

7. It just gets better and better.

"It gets better. People can get in some deep trouble some times. And for some reason it always feels surprising how fast that can change, no matter how often it happens. Losing love hurts, nothing changes that. But life is just always full of so much potential. Something seems like the perfect thing for you. Then you date someone different, and you realize how much you can love something different. It's all contexts and growth.

As long as life is going forward it's growing. Each new relationship isn't starting from square one, you're growing, your love is getting deeper, stronger. You have more to share, and there's always someone at a similar level, having more to share too. It never stops being beautiful. Teen love, college love, adult love. You see things of elderly folks falling in love. It never stops being a good thing. It's never too late to enjoy it. You wont care how long you were single when you have something good again."

 

8. It's frees you from expectations.

"After falling in and out of love enough times we realize the vast majority of relationships won’t stand the test of time. Even people who are married for decades with kids can split late in life. It can be a bit of a existential experience, which can lead to a few positions: nihilism, self-deception/faith/destiny, or detachment. I’ve went through all of them a few times and have found detachment makes the most sense.

It’s not detachment in the sense you never love. It’s detachment from expectation about a romance, it’s detachment from excessive despondency when it dies. It’s appreciation for what it was, you were a season someone’s life and they in yours."

 

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9. It reshapes your understanding of soulmates.

"I think after a while, your person IS your soulmate. Any LTR could eventually dissolve, but when you find the person that is willing to adapt and grow with you, you eventually reach a point where they're it. No other LTR can replace the experiences you've had with that person.

You've grown together like trees, fusing at a point and growing together from there. It's that fusing and growing together that makes it special and different from just being with a person for a long time. It could happen with someone else, but it didn't. And eventually it seems like it could have never happened any other way."

 

10. You treat it with more respect.

"You remember all the ways you messed up in the past, and you respect this person enough to be determined to love them stronger than your past self would have."

 

11. It's less all-consuming and more stable.

"It's less all-consuming for sure. Age and general self-knowledge and maturity has a lot to do with that too though, I think. I recall when I met and fell for my wife, it was definitely the kind of falling in love where you disappear completely into the other person, ignore your friends, and just generally behave like a lovesick child. It's fun and it feels good, but it's ultimately fleeting and then you're hopefully left with something genuine and lasting.

Comparing that to falling for my current partner, where I knew I loved her in a much more muted, contented sort of way, and it was only when she reciprocated that feeling that the floodgates of emotion opened. I'm a bit head over heels for her right now, but not to the detriment of other relationships or parts of my life, and it all just works."

 

12. You approach with more caution.

"For me the second time and all the other times after, you just became more aware and more cautious. Hemingway said, 'No, that is the great fallacy: the wisdom of old men. They do not grow wise. They grow careful.'. From, 'A Farewell To Arms'.

I think that applies to a lot of things after trying them a second time and so on."

 

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Rebecca Jane Stokes is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cat, Batman. She hosts the love and dating advice show, Becca After Dark on YourTango's Facebook Page every Tuesday and Thursday at 10:15 pm Eastern. For more of her work, check out her Tumblr.

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