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Do We Ever Get Over Our First Love?

Cheryl Lavin Chicago Tribune

Do you think Mimi Rogers is carrying a torch for Tom Cruise? Does Lyle Lovett thrash in his bed, dreaming of Julia Roberts? Does Priscilla ever slip and call her new guy Elvis? Do we ever get over the first loves of our lives?

Monica: “We dated in high school and college. It was a powerful relationship, but we both wound up marrying other people. I started having dreams about him 20 years ago, some passionate where our relationship is finally consummated (not so in real life).

“In real life, we have become friends. We talk on the phone and e-mail. We attended our sons’ Bar Mitzvahs. Fortunately, we live far away, so we don’t see one another very often. Our conversations are always friendly and on the up and up. He has never said anything his kids couldn’t hear.

“But my feelings for him have never died. Sometimes they are so strong I feel pain, longing and desire. I become depressed and have to call him. Several months ago, I poured my heart out to a friend. She said I should confront him and see if he shares these feelings. I couldn’t do it, but in my heart, I know he does. For now I prefer to keep my distance and my feelings to myself. But I know I will carry my feelings for him to the grave.”

Mandy: “We met in sixth grade. We grew up together and were a couple for 11 years. We went to different colleges for two years, then I transferred to be with him. But he wanted to be part of the fraternity scene and date like the other guys. He broke up with me and I was devastated. He married a girl the summer we graduated and I became involved with a married man with three kids. When I finally got myself away from his clutches, I quickly married the first man that asked me. I thought I loved him.

“Now, 27 years later, I realize I never got over my first love. I still have dreams about him and they always have happy endings. When I wake up, I am sad beyond words. I am finally getting a divorce. I wonder if at 54 it’s too late to find a soul mate like the one who got away. By the way I wrote to him once. He’s still happily married.”

Allie: “I never believed in soul mates until I realized that mine had slipped through my fingers. Our families were both in the military and we always seemed to wind up on the same base. I first met Scott when I was 4 and he was 6. We grew up together, spending vacations and holidays together. When he went off to college, we never lost touch. We wrote letters weekly and called every month or so. We helped each other through relationships that went sour, heartaches, triumphs and defeats.

“I hadn’t seen Scott since I was a junior in high school, but I was invited to his older brother’s wedding. I went, leaving behind a boyfriend I didn’t love. I had hopes of beginning a new relationship with my best friend, whom I had loved ever since I could remember.

“Needless to say, we hit it off like old times. One night, we visited the top of the Empire State Building. We were falling in love just like in a fairy tale. He finally kissed me. Then he broke down and confessed that he had become engaged two months earlier to his boss’s daughter. I was heartbroken. For the next 10 hours, we cried and held each other and tried to find a way out of our commitments, to his fiance, to my job, to his med school. Our hands were tied, we had no chance. I flew back home and broke up with my boyfriend. It’s been two years and I haven’t been able to find contentment in any relationship since then.

“We called each other a few times, then one day he asked me not to call for a while so he could get his life back on line again. I haven’t heard from him in over a year. I’m still very young, just 24, but I can’t imagine ever finding another person like him. I can’t imagine ever loving another so intensely and passionately and having the feelings reciprocated.”

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