We've all been in this dark, glowing place. It's late at night, and your high school boyfriend popped up on your news feed. Or, more likely, he popped into your head, and you couldn't help but wonder what he's up to. Maybe you went through all his photo albums. Maybe you even Googled him, when that wasn't enough. Why is it that, even with all the serious relationships you've had since (and the serious relationship you're currently in) there's something about your first high school romance that has you reminiscing occasionally? Was it young love, or something deeper?
There are a few reasons your high school boyfriend sticks out compared to say, Chad, your serious college boyfriend or Jason, your on-off boyfriend of the past five years. Obviously, your first real boyfriend is a First. It might not seem like your high school romance was that exciting in retrospect, but when it's the first time you're sorting through feelings this intense, it's a huge deal.
"There's a lot at stake and a lot to lose and a lot to remember," says Dr. Carl Pickhardt, private counseling psychologist and author. "You're never going to have first love again, and that in itself makes it a precious experience." So what if you were just hanging around on your parents' couch or going to McDonald's all the time? It was a big deal because it was all so new (and, arguably, McDonald's is still a big deal). It wasn't as visceral as skydiving for the first time, but any first-time experience is more likely to leave a lasting memory.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.