Single women, would you consider hooking up with your high school sweetheart this holiday season?
According to a recent survey conducted by dating site Plenty of Fish, the answer is a resounding “Yes.” The dating site surveyed over 9,000 singles and found that if given the chance, 41% of single women would hook up with their high school love during the holidays.
Whether it’s your first boyfriend or first real crush, our first loves often become frozen in time as untainted and unrealized romantic potential. They get ingrained in our hearts and minds as “the one who got away.” Many of us will never be with these people or even see them again, so why are we so obsessed with revisiting the past?
From a psychological perspective, it all comes down to wanting what you can’t have. Pauline Wallin, Ph.D., who is a psychologist and author of Taming Your Inner Brat: A Guide for Transforming Self-Defeating Behavior, says that we give heightened attention to the things we can’t or are forbidden to have. For example, when you’re on a restrictive diet, all of those foods you can’t eat become that much more appealing. As she writes, “Your inner brat takes advantage of this, and tries to convince you that you MUST have that chocolate or pizza” - whether it’s good for you or not.
However, the problem with indulging in your inner brat is that the fantasy and the reality often don’t match up. A few years ago, I was excited to learn that my high school crush was going to be attending a holiday party I had been invited to. When I asked about him, someone told me, “He’s the best! I worked with him last summer and on a dare, he wore the same pair of jeans every day even though the fly was broken!” Insert the sounds of records scratching and heads exploding everywhere. In my daydreams of yore, my high school Prince Charming at least had a functioning fly.
Luckily, he never showed up to the party because that was about as much reality as I could handle for one evening. To continue on with Wallin’s analogy, we often want the idea of pizza, even though the reality is greasy, fattening and likely to give us serious indigestion.
Wallin suggests asking yourself what is really influencing your desire and advises that you have the courage to let go of what doesn’t serve you. As she explains, “Your inner brat won’t be happy, but ultimately (in the words of the Rolling Stones,) you might just find [that] you get what you need.” In my case, this is a man who understands the importance of a zipper.