It’s not that I don’t believe it’s possible. I know it’s possible. I’ve seen plenty of people fall in love for the first time in their lives, get married, and are still living happily ever after. My issue is with the glamorizing of a first love to the point where, if you’ve never fallen in love yet, you believe the first love will definitely be your true love.
I had this notion back in the day. I was convinced my first love was The One. Every time something wasn’t working, I just ignored the warning signs and forced myself to stay with him. He wasn’t a bad person, but (hindsight being 20/20 and all) he wasn’t the RIGHT person for me. When we broke up, even though I was sad, I felt liberated as well. Also thoroughly frustrated. I thought it over and realized books and TV and movies have done a number on me. If only I had known ahead of time the possibility of a first love not always being true love, I may have had a more balanced view of what love is. Sure, we should learn from experience. I just wish I had all the facts.
A lot of novels (but not all) focus on putting the main character’s first love on a pedestal. They’ve either never been in a relationship before, or they’ve only gone on a handful of “dates” with random people. It’s rare to find a novel with a main character who’s been in love before.
Why is this? For starters, I think a lot of authors like to write about, and readers like to read about, first loves. It is just SO ROMANTIC to see them fall in love for the first time. (Cue the sqwee’s and awww’s) Also, it seems like an easy story to write. Less background, less complicated, less ex’s, less likely the character will seem like a slut.
There are some that work, ones that make complete sense, ones that make the story what it is. Then there are others… that make absolutely no sense. Hey look! Jane just met John five seconds ago and she thinks he’s so hot and it would be so awesome to date him. One or two weeks later they’re dating. A month after they meet they’re in love and inseparable and will be in love forever.
Um. Sure. That’s… believable.
Well, it’s possible. Just, not possible THAT MANY TIMES.
I admit, I love to read them. I have some story ideas surrounding this notion. But I also have some story ideas where the girl falls out of love and finds a new love.
My point, I believe, is this: It would just be nice to see more characters that have been in love more than just once. Because, let’s face it, not everybody picks out a good one the first time. Not only that, but a novel can delve deeper than just the falling in love part. Character’s seem more multidimensional and you get to watch them take their past mistakes and either learn from them or make more mistakes to learn from. They learn to be hopeful. It’s more interesting. It’s different.
What do you think? Are there too many “first love is true love” books out there? Have you read any good books featuring a character that’s been in love once before? I’d love to hear your thoughts!