How Your First Relationship Is Still Affecting You Today

Your high school sweetheart might be in control of your current dating life more than you'd think

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While some of us may laugh when looking back at the bonehead we dated in high school, the truth is your first relationship might be affecting your current dating life more than you realize.

We all remember the excitement of our first real relationship. Most of us were teenagers and probably believed that it would last forever and have a happy ending. Unfortunately, that was most likely not the case — and there could be some lingering effects.


Your first relationship becomes a blueprint.

Your first relationship could be the culprit behind why all of your adult partnerships end being a miserable experience.

RELATED: 5 Reasons Your Intense First Love Was Actually A Mind Game

Research shows that if your first relationship was toxic or ended badly it could have a lasting effect on how you trust future partners.

People who were cheated on or betrayed in some way during their first real relationship have the tendency to hold onto that feeling and expect the same thing to happen in their current relationship. These trust issues are usually developed during your first serious relationship and it’s important to sort through them as an adult to ensure that you can engage in healthy partnerships. You could also become more likely to get into toxic partnerships because that is what you started out with as “normal” at a young age.


It makes sense that if all you have to base relationships off of is your toxic boyfriend from ten years ago, you are probably used to accepting the worst. If this sounds like you, understand that toxic behavior in any relationship is not healthy or acceptable. Relationships should always consist of mutual trust and respect between both people involved.

If you are aware that you have developed trust issues from a previous relationship, talk to your partner about it so you can set boundaries and gain insight on the best way to navigate your relationship together.

If this is a reoccurring trend it may be a good idea to meet with a therapist and get to the root of your relationship tendencies, starting with relationship number one. They will be able to help you know what red flags to look out for as well as why you were willing to accept that kind of treatment in the first place.


RELATED: 11 Things I Wish I'd Known Before She Broke My Heart

Your first relationship may be where you get your "type."

On the other hand, if your first relationship went exceptionally well, you may look for partners that remind you of that special person.

Basically, you could have developed a type. This could be seen in a pattern of looks, personality traits, or both.

Do you always date tall, blue-eyed blondes? Or are you always chasing after the sporty jock guys? This could be because you had the most amazing first relationship with a tall blonde or the high school quarterback.

While there’s nothing wrong with having a bit of a preference, it’s important to acknowledge whether or not you are over your first relationship and not just trying to recreate it. Whether your first love was a toxic experience or the best time of your life, it was most likely your first experience with sex.


Your first love is an exciting time and you shouldn’t gloss over that.

Your first relationship should be looked at similarly to many things in life: as a learning lesson and an opportunity to grow.

Learn to hold the good times close to your heart but remember that it ended for a reason. Whether you developed negative patterns or a type as a result of your first relationship, there are also many other things that can be taken away from the experience. For example, you learned that you are capable of loving someone, and that yes, love does exist.

Sometimes when I start to think that maybe love is a figment of my imagination or something created for movie screens, I remember that just because I haven’t been loved in the way I deserved doesn’t mean that I didn’t love them. If you are capable of loving someone, eventually someone will love you in return.

You also learned that while it may feel like breaking up is the end of the world, life goes on. First breakups are extra hard and sometimes messy, but they teach us that in the end we will survive and move on.


Most importantly, first relationships teach us what we do and don’t want in future relationships. Even if you have fallen for toxic partners as a result of your first love, you can still learn this lesson.

Think back to all of the things you loved and hated about your first relationship and make a list. Use that list to acknowledge when someone is showing negative similarities in your current partnerships as well. Keep in mind that in the years since your first serious relationship, you have changed a lot, and your relationships should be changing too.

While your first relationship still affects you today, whether that effect is positive or negative is completely in your control. Only you have the power to determine what kind of love you will accept in the future.


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Lindsey Matthews is an editorial intern who focuses on relationships, entertainment, fashion, and pop-culture topics.