Seeing your first love years later only adds to an already complicated situation. Irrespective of how things ended, you’ll feel joy and sadness simultaneously because some of the most intense memories are attached.
Seeing your first love can affect you both positively and negatively. The past would flash in front of you. You won’t be affected significantly if you’re with a much better person. In contrast, if they are with a much better person, there will be a certain soreness, especially if you’re single.
Let’s discuss what contributes to appropriate behavior on seeing your first ex years later.
What To Do When You See Your First Love Years Later?
When you see your first love years later, do not rush to confront them about the breakup or confess any lingering feelings for them. Instead, consider it to be like any other interaction. Listen to the person with an open mind. Whatever gaps existed need not be stretched any further.
Think about how you treat strangers. Are you rude to them for no reason? No, right?
When a long time has passed, your ex might be a completely different person akin to a stranger.
Here’s what you should do when you meet your first love after years:
1. Understand Your Motives
If you have decided to reconnect with your first love years after you two parted ways, you must have a clear idea of why you are doing so.
Do you just feel curious and want to catch up with someone who was a huge part of the formative years of your life?
Or is it more of a social obligation that you cannot escape?
Are you still not over your first breakup and want closure or an apology from your first love, or do you still harbor feelings for them and want to rekindle your lost love?
Your answer to these questions will determine how your meeting with them should and would go.
2. Acknowledge Your Feelings
Suppose you had a particularly difficult breakup with your first love.
In that case, it is entirely possible that seeing them again will make you wish that the earth opens up and swallows you whole.
Instead of beating yourself up for still feeling this way about someone you parted ways with years ago, be kind to yourself and know that your feelings are valid.
It is perfectly acceptable to feel emotional about your first love or not feel anything. There’s no right or wrong.
Don’t consider yourself weak if you get emotional or start hating yourself for being devoid of feelings in case you couldn’t care less about your first ex.
3. Recognize The Changes
If the meeting seems to go well and you feel like the years you two have been separated seem to have disappeared, know that it’s an illusion.
The time apart has undoubtedly changed both of you. You have grown differently over the years due to your various life experiences.
See the person in front of you now instead of who you dated years ago or even what you imagined they would be like after so long.
Similarly, resist the urge to regress to the person you were with them. Doing that would serve neither of you.
4. Remember The Lessons
You may get caught up in the moment when reuniting with your first love after a long time. Make sure you do not forget all your relationship’s lessons.
You must have spent a long time unraveling many things after the breakup, including your own patterns of behavior.
You have worked on things over the years and would not want to undo all your progress.
Hold on to all those lessons and the work you did to heal yourself and move on from your first love.
5. Take It Slow
Things might feel surreal when you see your first love years later. You’ll feel as if your feelings for each other are still the same after all these years.
If you wish to take things forward, it would be good to take it slow.
If you don’t want an intense and probably toxic concoction of emotions, try just being friends for at least a couple of months instead of making any firm commitments at the very first meeting.
You’re both different people now and need to get to know each other again.
Spend quality time with each other and be patient as you figure out in what capacity you want the person in your life this time around.
In most cases, people feel it would be better to have no contact whatsoever.
6. Maintain Your Boundaries
When you see your first love after years, you’ll feel like you have been transported back in time.
You may find it easy to open up to them again, feel safe and comfortable, and think that still nobody gets you as well as they do.
Even if that’s true, ensure that you maintain your boundaries and don’t let the other person decide what’s best for you.
Stay level-headed about what you are looking for here.
7. Check That You Are on The Same Page
Whether you want to try being friends with your first love or you want to give your ex another chance, you must both be on the same page.
While one meeting alone won’t help you predict the future, you should at least clearly communicate your intentions and what you want to happen here.
Not doing so would be a recipe for disaster. Honesty and communication are key to making any relationship work.
If your first love does not feel like you do, it will help you keep your expectations in check to avoid hurting yourself.
If either one of you wants to give the relationship another shot and the other one is not interested, cut off all contact immediately.
You will save yourself some major headaches down the line.
What NOT To Do When You See Your First Love Years Later?
Do not explain yourself or ask for explanations about the things left unsaid in the past when you see your first love years later. It can be tempting but do not expect your ex to reciprocate your feelings or feel the same way about the situation. You can have different perspectives, and that’s okay.
Here’s what else you should avoid doing when you meet your first love years later:
1. Don’t Put On Rose-Tinted Glasses
After such a long time, meeting your first love might make all the memories of the good times you spent with them come flooding back.
Try not to give in to nostalgia or romanticize the past.
It is natural for time to have taken the sting out of the worst moments of your relationship, but it is important to remember them.
After all, these were lessons that came at a cost, and there is a reason that you and your first love broke up in the past.
Whatever your expectations from reuniting with your ex, don’t fall into the trap of making the same mistakes again.
2. Avoid Expecting A Fairy Tale Ending
While there is nothing wrong with a little bit of daydreaming, it’s essential to curb your expectations.
If you anticipate a fairy tale ending, you might be leaving yourself extremely vulnerable to your first love.
Thinking of a scenario where your love will rekindle after years of being apart might not be beneficial if they do not want the same.
Doing so might hurt you in the future when your life does not end up panning out like a K-Drama.
3. Can You Undo Or Recreate The Past? No!
It would be a mistake to reunite with your first love with the intention of undoing past mistakes or recreating the best bits of your relationship.
You cannot change what happened in the past. You can only apologize and work on healing, individually or together.
You also cannot have the same relationship twice, even with the same person, because you have both grown and learned a lot of lessons over the years.
Make sure you are not under any such delusions when you decide to meet your first love, or both of you might get hurt.
4. Avoid Having An Outburst
Of course, the breakup will be the elephant in the room. You would probably want to discuss it and express some resentment too.
But it’s best not to do so the first time as it would only result in an outburst, and that won’t be healthy or productive.
It’s completely valid to want to express your grievances and want an apology for past behavior but first, find out whether your ex would even want to have that conversation.
Moreover, breakups are rarely one person’s fault. Some blame might fall on you too.
After years, the first meeting wouldn’t be the best time to discuss all of that.
5. Don’t Let Your Guard Down
If you decide that despite everything, you do want to pursue something with your first love again, know that you are taking a huge risk.
Research suggests that couples are more likely to get back together years later if they were separated because of external circumstances.
The fact that things didn’t work out the first time does not necessarily mean that they would not work out this time either, but it is a possibility.
Don’t let your guard down completely, and be prepared for things not going the way you want.
6. Don’t Assume That Your Love Is Enough
You might have had a nearly perfect relationship with your ex, but the fact is that it still ended despite all the love you had for each other.
As you meet them now, you might start thinking that you will never have a relationship like that with anyone else.
But as cruel as it may sound, it is an undeniable truth: love simply isn’t enough.
Even if you have never been able to create that near-perfect relationship with anyone else, it is not just love but a lot of work and effort that would make this relationship work on a second try.
You need to make sure you would both be up for that.
7. Hook-Ups Are A Big No-No
So, you want neither friendship nor another chance at love with your first love. But you still feel that off-the-charts chemistry that you always had.
You might think that hooking up just once with them will be thrilling, fun, and harmless. While that might be true, you need to be careful.
It might end up confusing both of you about each other. It’ll stir up all the feelings from the past and complicate everything.
If things don’t work out, it’ll cause a lot of regret and resentment.
How Do You Know If Your First Love Still Loves You?
As a general rule, looking at you intently, prolonged eye contact, visible ebullience, an open body language, and being touchy-feely are clear signs that your first love is still in love with you. Further, their memories of you would be mostly positive and crystal clear like yesterday.
Here are some more obvious signs that your first love still loves you:
1. They Remember Every Tiny Detail About You
Years have gone by, yet they remember every single thing about you.
If your first love remembers minor things you told them, every date you went on with them, or your deepest secrets – you still mean the world to them.
They also keep finding a way to talk about the happy times you have had together in the past.
This is one of the most telling signs of your first love still being in love with you.
2. Questions About Your Dating Life
If your first love takes a substantial interest in your dating life, it is a sign that they are not over you.
One or two questions regarding the subject are absolutely okay, but you can safely assume that your first love is still into you if the conversation goes deeper than that.
Either they are trying to find out if you are single or want to know more out of jealousy.
Asking excessively personal questions (like intimate details) could also signify that they still love you.
3. Being Very Touchy Feely
When your first love keeps touching you repeatedly or gets a bit too close physically, it signifies that they are into you.
Some people are comfortable expressing their affection physically. Shaking hands or hugging is acceptable. This, however, will feel different.
If they keep touching your arm or shoulders for no reason or find trivial reasons to touch you, like removing a foreign particle from your lips, chin, or forehead, it’s a sign of them being in love with you.
You might want to observe their behavior closely to determine if this happens a lot.
4. Showering You With Lots of Compliments
A compliment here or there from your first love is fine, but it’s a sign of something more if it sounds like flirting.
If this is the case, it is pretty likely that your first love is still attracted to you. Pay close attention to the things your first love compliments you on.
If their compliments sound more sincere than some harmless flirting, that’s a clear sign that they still love you.
5. They Still Have Sentimental Gifts in Their Possession
After years, you’ve met your first love, and you still see them wear the ring you gave them on your anniversary.
You find your first love still holding onto gifts you’ve given them, even after all these years, and you can’t help but wonder why?
It is because they still treasure them and, by association, treasure you. Getting rid of these memories would also signify getting rid of you.
After all, why keep all the gifts when you are no longer together?
Most people always remember their first, and naturally so. The first love is very impactful.
Being true to yourself about what you want and communicating it would make the interaction easier.
If there no longer is a spark between you two, being civil to each other is the best course of action despite all the unresolved differences.
Seeking closure is not the wisest choice every time. You could still be friends, remain cordial, or part ways again without giving much thought to it.