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First and Onlies

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Butforthegrace posted 5/12/2019 09:37 AM

Am I wrong here? It seems like a disproportionate number of threads here on SI, and some of the most cathartic ones, involve people who met and married young as first and onlies. I know that I would advise my kids to sow some wild oats before settling down. I just don't think the odds of marrying a teenage first and only lover is a recipe for long-term marital success.

ManishsDad posted 5/12/2019 09:50 AM

My wife and I met and married as teenagers (freshman year of college). We were both virgins when we started dating. In my culture the concept of sowing wild oats is frowned upon. (Some people still do it, but they sneak around to do it.) If I hadn’t married my wife most likely my parents would have selected a suitable desi girl for me to marry. I am happy with my wife and love her but I do wonder if she would have been more attuned to how she was being manipulated if she had more dating experience and life experience than she did. But she also has AS which makes her inherently more naive than other people.

Coming back to edit because I thought of something else. Because we were each other’s first real sexual partners, we were initially very experimental and enthusiastic with sex. That changed over time and I think that our marriage suffered as a result. Almost like a very early in life midlife crisis, but more of a marriage crisis. It was confounded by the rigors of life (work, parenting, bills) as well as traumatic events that disturbed the equilibrium of our lives.

After the affair we have reconnected with one another in many ways. Emotionally, spiritually, sexually. We have recaptured the playfulness, passion, and frequency that was missing from our sex life for many years and we feel like kids again.

But I don’t know if I will counsel my son and daughter to marry as young as we did. I think it is better to mature and know who you are and what you want out of a marriage before you commit your life to someone. In my culture people seem to make it work but in western cultures it seems to be more of a challenge for it to succeed.

[This message edited by ManishsDad at 10:01 AM, May 12th (Sunday)]

ramius posted 5/12/2019 10:02 AM

Some people can make it work.

But for most people, the pre-frontal cortex does not fully come online until the mid 20’s. Who you are, and what your preferences are at 28, are far different than at 18.
Most of did stupid stuff early on (I think I can beat that train) and later we ask, “What was I thinking?!” We weren’t thinking.

So if one picks a spouse right out of the gate, they can develop “Oneitis” based the the feelings they had at 18. What happens when they mature? Do they grow together? Or regret their previous choice?

My grandparents got married very young, and lasted. Happily. But it was work.

Merida posted 5/12/2019 10:19 AM

euphemistically calling it sewing wild oats degrades the concept of intimacy in marriage

sex incompatibility or any other misguided justification ain't the precurser for wayward-mind

the cheater lacks emotional intelligence as the big fat elephant in the marital bed IMO

waywards lack ability to realize that their body's physical reactions do not run the show - that there is a hirearchy of needs and "I wanna" gets placed lower in relationship with a more balanced understanding of how to handle healthy self-care within a marital/family setting

so please raise your sons and daughters to know who they are in relationship

Spirit -over mind- over body

body has three "brains" (sympathetic/parasympathetic) running mere survival flight-fight programs so that is how the gut-heart-head all communicate. But if you don't get your mind overtop your lizard-brain urges by time your hormones go haywire with adolescence... is it any wonder that decades later during whatever "crisis" the wayward lacks proper coping skills?

waywards failed to grow and mature to be properly wired - nothing to do with whether they were first/onlies if they were actually truly mature to understand a marriage ain't just a license

waywards fundamentally don't value a covenant, a vow

J707 posted 5/12/2019 10:40 AM

While we weren't each others first we started dating at 19. 5 months later she was pregnant. Didn't marry for another 8 years. I thought we were going to be buried side by side together while enjoying growing old together. That's what I thought a few years back.
Now, I'm glad that she had her last A and we are almost D! I have clarity of who this nasty woman is now. I didn't see it before and that's ok. I was young when we got together and I think I was just used to her and her selfishness, not really seeing it before until now. Without a lot of dating under my belt, high school dating before her, I put up with a lot of shit I shouldn't have. Had I had more time dating as an adult would I have put up with her and her bullshit, probably not! I would never date someone like her now so why did I stay married?! Questions I ask myself. At the end of the day it was her and her empty brokiness inside that she will never seek to fix. We were young but I never cheated or ever thought of it even though I had chances to, never crossed my mind. I just chose the wrong life partner.

Adaira posted 5/12/2019 10:51 AM

My exWH and I married in our early 20’s. He was not my first partner, but I was his. So of course when he was in the “throw every excuse at the wall to see what sticks” phase after d-day he claimed that he was “curious” to see what sex with somebody else felt like and that he was envious that I had gotten to experience that. Is that really why he cheated? Nah. He cheated because he’s an immature asshole with no self control.

betrayedSHeart posted 5/12/2019 12:01 PM

Thank you for posting this, Butfor.

I think I'm one of those posters who crops up time to time lamenting my first and only status. We met in HS but got married in mid-late twenties. I always valued our shared history and never thought of being with another. Ironically now I think about other men quite a lot and wonder what I'm missing. I'm worried about moving on especially as I have substantially less "experience" than most people in the mid-30s demographic.

I honestly always loved my husband and never questioned my choice to marry a first love until the aftermath of the A. Now I wonder if we're just not a good fit anymore but I feel it will be difficult to 'escape' for a myriad of reasons.

I am trying to make it work but at 3 years out I am certainly no success story. My WH just doesn't have the same appeal he once did.

So maybe you're right about marrying a teenage first and only. However, in my case I think it was more to do with WH's foo and and poor communication skills than it was about sowing his oats. Who knows for sure though. Cheaters lie.

At any rate. I'll be interested to see what other have to say about this topic.

Butforthegrace posted 5/12/2019 12:37 PM

What I've seen on the "first and only" threads:

If they meet and marry young, sometimes one or the other matures into a person the other doesn't like, or find attractive.

One or the other begins to wonder what it feels like to be with somebody else (or, a first-and-only BS is jealous that his/her WS had this opportunity).

First-and-onlies often lack experience being courted/pursued/seduced, so they don't know the social cues and can find themselves in a sexual situation without perhaps realize that they were headed there.

Striver posted 5/12/2019 13:14 PM

I don't know that I've seen a lot of "babes in the woods" with the first and onlies. That they really don't know the social cues. More like "I missed something." Especially the women, if most of their women friends were not first and onlies, they want to catch up.

Past a certain point, if you wait, everyone is going to have prior relationship history. Then your worry is actually outcompeting the memory of this person, or the reality of them actually returning to the scene. Is that better? Marriage works because of commitment, and the more you've bounced around, or been bounced, the less easy it is to form that sort of bond.

There is a degree of mismatch between the sexes as well. Today, seems far more likely for the woman to have more experience than the man. Easy for the woman to "sow her wild oats" with various men, maybe even pop out a kid, then find some steady, less experienced guy to settle down with. It's a lot more work for a man to achieve that, and very unusual for a normal woman to get past a certain age without attracting any suitable male attention at all.

So when the woman who has sown her wild oats marries the nice, dependable guy, can she really stay interested when she knows what's out there? Can she contain her frustration when her H doesn't "just get it?"

Carissima posted 5/12/2019 15:33 PM

Striver, I have to disagree with you about it being easier for women to sow their wild oats these days. I agree it's probably true they're not so closely monitored anymore but it's still true that if a boy sleeps with a lot of girls it's talked up by his friends, hell I've even heard family members boasting but a girl does the same and even in this day and age they are more than likely to get a reputation that lasts even after they've outgrown that behavior.
As for single mothers, where I live they do not have it easy. Unless they have their family's support they often live on the breadline as they have to pay for living expenses and childcare. BTW you left the children's fathers completely out of that narrative. All too often they skip out, neglecting their responsibility. Obviously not all of them but I can only talk about what I've witnessed.
Where I live the double standard is still alive and kicking, while a lot better than when I was growing up it's still weighted heavily in favour of the males in society. I'm not in the US, so can't speak to that.

CaptainRogers posted 5/12/2019 17:20 PM

First-and-onlies often lack experience being courted/pursued/seduced, so they don't know the social cues...

That's an amazing generalization, BFTG. And quite simplistic as well. My wife and I started dating in our teens. I was 19 on our wedding day. We were one and onlies (and still are in most respects).

She had plenty of experience being courted/pursued. I continued the pursuit throughout our marriage. She stopped responding to my pursuit and started looking for attention elsewhere.

Your thought about the WS being naive is, well, naive. The WS knows exactly what they are doing. Saying anything otherwise is minimizing and blaneshifting.

Oftencheatedon posted 5/12/2019 19:23 PM

I have a totally different perspective. But as I am 70 I am older than dirt.

Many many of my high school and college friends married their one and onlies. And 98% of them are happily married. And most of these are now 50+ year marriages.

Many of them started in high school. Some married right after graduation.

That was not me - I did not marry a decent man until I was 60. And he is wonderful.

There’s no guarantee.

Rideitout posted 5/12/2019 19:34 PM

There are statistics on this. They won't make some posters happy, so look them up at your own peril. There's a big difference between past partner count, D statistics and sex. I'll leave it at that.

but it's still true that if a boy sleeps with a lot of girls it's talked up by his friends, hell I've even heard family members boasting but a girl does the same and even in this day and age they are more than likely to get a reputation that lasts even after they've outgrown that behavior.

There are reasons for this too that aren't at all "the patriarchy" trying to hurt women. The simple fact is, it's much easier for a woman in almost any society that's ever existed in history to have sex with a lot of men than it is for men to have sex with a lot of women. The reason men "boast" about it is because it's hard to do, and a lot of men wish they could but cannot. The same is not true for most women, if you want NSA sex, it's as easy as walking to local bar and saying "yes". No status is conferred by racking a "notch count" because anyone can do it, where, for men, very few can do it because it's so difficult. My grandfather explained it to me 30 years ago very simply, "What do you call a key that can open any lock; a "master key". What do you call a lock that can be opened by any key? A shitty lock.". The older I get, and the more time I spend digging into things from the past, the more wisdom I realize was contained in those "horribly antiquated" ideas.

[This message edited by Rideitout at 7:39 PM, May 12th (Sunday)]

Marie2792 posted 5/12/2019 21:23 PM

My husband was my third partner and I have no idea how many he had before me but he did live with a girl when he was in the navy before we started dating. He is also 8 years older than me so I imagine it could be at least 15-20 others before me. I was in a long three year relationship before him and I also dated a good friend and our intimate relationship was short.

I think there is some validity to being firsts with your partner and wondering what you may have “missed”. However, I don’t think it’s true for everyone, just those with poor boundaries and having something broken inside them.

I never had the desire to cheat on my husband in 27 years we have been together. We have always had a fulfilling sex life which was several times a week and almost always good for both of us. Three partners hart made me experienced, but I was happy to experiment with my husband and build our own intimacy together.

Carissima posted 5/12/2019 22:56 PM

RIO, so you're actually agreeing with your grandfather's argument about women who have a high number of sexual partners? That's certainly what your comment suggests.
In my personal experience a lot of the men I know are hypocrites plain and simple. They don't want their sons to marry young, they want then to go out and have fun. While they may not necessarily want their daughters to marry their first loves any more they still don't want them having as much fun as their sons!

Rustylife posted 5/12/2019 22:58 PM

Most relationships end. There is no correlation. With first and onlies there's the extra gut punch I suppose.

That being said, my parents are first and onlies. Met when they were 15. Still going as strong as ever. And they are not the religious types either. My extended family is filled with divorce, infidelity and remarriages. After my divorce, I even asked if they have ever cheated on each other. Both were appalled at my question . They are the exceptions but really, you can't go in a relationship with the fear that it won't work out due to some arbitrary quota of experience that is not filled yet. And some say that if the partners had a serious relationship in their teens, you'll forever be competing with the memory and passion of that first love.

[This message edited by Rustylife at 11:04 PM, May 12th (Sunday)]

BraveSirRobin posted 5/13/2019 00:24 AM

My BH and I started dating at 16 and were in the "first and only" category until I cheated at age 20. Believe me, neither of us went into our relationship expecting to end up married. When I slept with BH (then BF), I saw him as a great first lover -- sweet, kind, someone I cared for deeply who I knew would not use the experience for bragging rights. I used the word "love" for what I felt for him, but it was hormones and infatuation; I didn't know him well enough for love. My vague plan was to be a serial monogamist throughout high school and college, and then meet my husband in my mid-twenties. I had little idea how I'd get there, but I more or less knew the destination and expected Future Husband to appear on cue when convenient for me.

Well, Girl plans, God laughs. I fell in love with BF, real and actual love, and I didn't want to let it go. I've posted the play-by-play of our relationship and As before, so I won't bore you with it here, but the summary was that we had to decide whether to stick with the love we knew at the "wrong" time or roll the dice on finding someone equally good later at the "right" time. We chose Option A. Despite the early cheating, I'm not sure that getting together so young made us any more or less vulnerable to infidelity than we would have been later or with other partners. Young though we were, our FOO issues were pretty well established before we met.

As far as sexual curiosity, I spent one night having sex with OM. It was physically good, but it didn't open any new vistas for me. Do I sometimes wonder if there's "better" sex to be had from a genuine expert in the craft? Maybe a bit. I see more experienced people on SI talking about good lovers and bad lovers and great lovers, and how their spouse isn't necessarily the best they've ever had. I find it hard to imagine better sex than I have with BH; it's frequent, explosively pleasurable, and leaves me sated and exhausted. But then, how would I know if it could be better with someone who had slept with lots of other people? All I can do is research "expert" tips and kinky new ideas, but usually I find out that we've already been doing whatever is suggested, without needing anyone to suggest it. 34 years is a lot of time for innovation, practice, and learning what your partner likes.

I'm hoping that my kids won't settle down with the first person they love and/or sleep with (though one of them seens to be headed in that direction, and in fairness, the partner is pretty damn awesome and would be an in-law that any parent would be lucky to have marry into their family). And honestly, of the handful of marriages I really admire, almost all of them are people who got together young by today's standards. I'm 50 and an good friends with five other couples my age who have passed their silver anniversaries. I don't know any who got together that young, married, and then divorced. That's an anecdotal observation, but the percentages are striking nonetheless.

BraveSirRobin posted 5/13/2019 00:46 AM

I'll add that there is one thing that is totally foreign to me as a person who hasn't had a new sex partner since I was basically a teenager (the A started when I was 19). I read a thread in New Beginnings about how crass it is to inquire about your partner's sexual history. The response seemed pretty universal that you have no business even asking. Since BH and I got together as young teens and needed to know all details of each other's As, we literally know everything about each other's sexual history. The idea of being in a serious relationship where you have no idea how many partners your SO has had, let alone any details about them, just blew my mind. That's one way in which I see how weird our situation is compared to most people our age. If either of us ended up back in the dating market, it would be one hell of a mental adjustment to accept that our partner's prior sex life was none of our business.

[This message edited by BraveSirRobin at 12:46 AM, May 13th (Monday)]

iamanidiot posted 5/13/2019 03:33 AM

We met when I was 19, she 16. I thought she was the most beautiful and mature girl ever. We both fell head-over-heals for each other.

Somehow the thought of marrying a person who had already had somebody else's hands all over them , was just not my way. I never ever wanted to be with somebody that had already been with somebody else.
Ans so I thought that we were perfect.

The A's.
My spouse chased. Actively pursed & initiated. Not quite premeditated, but she did take advantage of my gullibility to get what she wanted.

Where we wrong/Was I wrong/Did we start too early?

I am now 61.
What sickens me today is knowing that some of our sexual variations that we enjoy was started after the A's ie. that my spouse introduced things 'they' did into our lovemaking.

I just don't think the odds of marrying a teenage first and only lover is a recipe for long-term marital success.
Why not? I have been in this relationship since day one. Making it work.
And while in this relationship, I never strayed, I never had the interest to pursue another.
She did.

It could have worked better & would have been even greater today.

GoldenR posted 5/13/2019 04:42 AM

I wish me and my real wife could have somehow been each other's one and only. In fact yesterday when the girls were over for Mother's Day, I said this out loud to my wife. She said she wished the same thing. Our daughters responded, "But, what about us? We wouldn't be here". I replied, "Half of you would be,that's enough".

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