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Online Dating Magazine > Columns > Dating Triumphs & Tragedies > First Loves

Dating Triumphs and Tragedies
by Nicole Roberge

First Loves

“I fell in love at 13,” my friend Brian told me.  “Man, she broke my heart.”

Being 26, I felt somewhat shy at telling him this was my first time in love, yet at the same time, I was glad that I hadn’t falsified romance with someone else.  No pimply immature boy stole my heart; this time, it was real.   And well worth the wait.

The bigger question looms:  when do you know you’re in love?

Is it butterflies?

Is it the awkward shyness that you feel around them?


At first, when I saw him, maybe that was what I felt, but when I knew it was love, that all disappeared.

It was a complete surrender.  I was his, and he was mine.  I felt, for the first time, as if I belonged,

No games, no weird feelings, just truth.  I knew I was in love from the moment he held me, kissed me and said it to me.  And that is when I knew I was in trouble.

Love?  What the hell is this?

What do I do now?  What comes after that?  Do you just express your love for each other and then go on as if you had been?  No way, there has to be some sort of change that takes place, and for me, I didn’t know what that was.

I have to admit though, there had been other loves, or so I had thought.

There was Eddie, in Kindergarten—the man of my dreams.  Yet, I was too afraid to talk to him.  I’d sheepishly hide behind cubbies and desks to not be noticed, when really, all I wanted was to be noticed.  His Mom and my Mom were friends, and I remember after our Halloween party, all decked out in costumes, they had come to pick us up and were chatting.  I hid behind my Mom’s car.  He stood with his Mom.  When it was time to go, he shouted, “Bye Nicole!”  I couldn’t even muster the strength to say goodbye back.  Is that love?  No, that’s just pathetic.

In fifth grade I was enamored with a boy who I didn’t think even knew I was alive, but turned out, he did, and he was so nice to me.  Our parents knew each other, and I think that was the reason why.   But it didn’t lessen my crush anymore.  I threw out the word “love” like it was any other word.  Like “hello,” “what’s new?” “It’s hot out.”  Of course, I didn’t say this to him, just to my girl friends.  But saying “love” back in those days was like saying you loved a new kind of gum.  It was trendy, it was succulent, and it was something to be craved.  What was love?  Who knew?

In high school, as a freshman, I had a crush on a senior, who ended up dating my cousin.  Ouch.  I thought he was the one for me, then again, I was a freshman—I thought everyone was the one for me.  A freshman boy was too weak to be a boyfriend but a senior, wow, that was quite an accomplishment.  But freshman were looked down on, naturally, and I had to make my way to the top.

High School went by, and so did college, and I found myself immersed in a career, not a love story.  The love of my life became writing, not some guy walking through campus.  It was disappointing in one way, but satisfactory in another—I was going after my dreams, and I knew that somewhere down the line, some foxy fellow would be waiting for me.  Hopefully.

It took time.  It always does.  Love doesn’t happen when you want it to.  I chose work instead of a social life, yet craved that personal desire.  For a friend, for a mate, for anything.

            Until one day, he came along.  I was not expecting it, but there he was.  At the age of 26, I finally said, “I love you.” I meant it, full-heartedly.  It had nothing to do with butterflies or crushes or hiding behind desks.  This was a man I knew and one who knew me…faults and all.  I had waited so long for someone to understand me, and here was one who did.  I felt, for the first time, that I could make any lame joke, and he would actually laugh at it, or either jokingly tell me I’m an idiot, and I would be ok with either outcome.  Yes, this was love.  I found that there didn’t have to be any big hoopla that came right after it, it was just special enough to be loved.  And from that day on, I didn’t want any other love than his.            


Dating Triumphs and Tragedies is published every Sunday by Online Dating Magazine columnist Nicole Roberge. She can be reached at

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