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5 lessons from your first love
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Valentines Day is a time to reflect on your romantic relationships. This includes first loves, who people rarely forget about.

Experts told The Guardian that first loves oftentimes become a benchmark that all future loves are measured against. Often, this sets people up for failure since first loves come at a time when were not as emotionally prepared for relationship challenges and are nave about how partnerships between two people should work, the experts said.

"If you had a very passionate first relationship and allow that feeling to become your benchmark for a relationship dynamic, then it becomes inevitable that future, more adult partnerships will seem boring and a disappointment," Dr. Malcolm Brynin from the University of Essex told The Guardian.

It doesnt help that people only fall in love twice in their lifetime, either. So if your first love doesnt work out, youve only got one more shot, according to The Huffington Post.

But what lessons can you learn from the first love? Whether youre older, like celebrity George Clooney, or a young adult getting ready to start dating, here are five important lessons from your first love that can make your final shot at romance last.

You learn what you like in a relationship.

As The Guardian pointed out earlier in this article, youre likely to use your first love as a benchmark by which you measure all future relationships. So youre 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 theyre walking with a child and feel the need to be more protective of their family.

If its not holding hands, it could be how you cuddle with your partner, or how you interact in social situations, too.

You learn how to be creative.

If youre 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 youre 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.

You learn the importance of intimacy.

Yes, everyones got to learn to kiss for the first time. And no, this isnt the kiss your distant aunt gives you. Were talking full-on Im-in-love-with-you kiss. One Google search can help you find some great tips for that. But lets not leave it to the kissing experts. Just listen to this young boy tell you about his first kiss. True love, indeed.

If its not a first kiss, your first love will likely have you engaging in a more intimate way, such as hugging. A study from the Journal of Sexual Marital Therapy found that communication and intimacy, both physical and emotional, lead to a happier relationship.

You learn how to get over a broken heart.

According to UKs Daily Mail, one in seven people feel theyre in a relationship with someone who isnt the love of their life. And its possible that the relationship with your first love wont last. So youll 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 Guardians Annalisa Barbieri answered a question from an anonymous reader who wrote that she cant get over her first love, whom she dated 25 years ago. The letters author said that even though she and her first love havent kept in touch, she still cant forget him.

Barbieri suggests to the reader that she shouldnt 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.

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 shouldnt 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.
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