During life, most of us click or spark with more than one other person. But, you really only have one "first love." She or he is usually the person with whom you share many other "first moments," such as the first kiss, the first butterflies in your stomach, the first date, or the first intimate encounter. It doesn't matter if you end up marrying her or not, it's safe to say that she's very, very hard to forget - of course, there are always exceptions.
"First love is THE new experience in your life", this is sometimes a reason why it is never forgotten.
If experts are to be believed, the hippocampus (the area of the brain responsible for new memories, learning and emotions) has the ability to recognize the novelty of an experience or image. Research has shown that this makes new information stand out from other known information.
Psychologists call this the "primacy effect." This is a concept that has established that people tend to remember the "first" rather than the "second," "third," and so on. This is also a reason, for example, why the first trip abroad is remembered more than the fourth. Just as the first day in a new job leaves more of an impression than the thirtieth, and why the first great love is so hard to forget.
An important 2004 study published in the journal Neuron proves that important emotional memories, such as those of first love, engage different parts of the brain than the average memories of daily life. Using different brain scans, researchers found that these emotional memories evoke so-called activity in the amygdala and in different levels of the medial temporal lobe involved in memory processing, including the hippocampus.
However, it is not only the novelties or the feelings associated with first love that are forever burned into our brains. It can also be the heartache that follows - the so-called heartbreak! First love is often accompanied by a strong feeling of first heartbreak, this can mean that the first great love always has a special place in our heart, but also reminds us of the pain that accompanied this separation.
The rise of social media is making it increasingly difficult to forget your first love. As a 2016 study in the journal Memory shows, posting personal experiences on the Internet - such as a photo of your first kiss or anniversary - can help people remember certain events much more easily.
So the next time you find yourself daydreaming about your high school boyfriend or girlfriend, don't read too much into it. Your first love may have a special place in your memory, but it doesn't always have to have a special place in your heart.
Thus, we now also know that not only does first love hold an impressive place in our hearts, but in particular the associated heartbreak can evoke far stronger permanent emotions. Personally, I, Christine Stegmann, feel lovesickness as one of the most oppressive and for the moment an indelible, hardly bearable emotional state - simply indescribably painful - where there is still no miracle cure for it.
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