Have you ever wondered why you can remember your first kiss in intimate detail but can’t recall a moment of your third? If you have, be comforted in knowing that it happens to all of us. The primacy effect concludes that first experiences, like the first kiss, conjure up emotional and physical sensations that are so foreign to us up until that moment that we feel as though we are living a dream. You can only have that other-worldly experience once. So that’s the one that is seared into our memory.
Falling in love for the first time is similar. We don’t know heartbreak yet, so we allow ourselves to be completely vulnerable and open. You can bet that once we’ve gone through the pain of a break-up or a betrayal, the way we approach all of our relationships in the future changes. That first love is the most powerful, even though future relationships may be much better. Whether subconsciously or not, you may be choosing future partners based on both the physical and character traits that remind you of your first love; similar voice, sense of humor, or even interests. When the new person pushes those same buttons, transference of feelings and expectations may occur; whether we like it or not!
Read more about this fascinating topic in the February issue of Psychology Today: