The First-Time Syndrome

Imagine the first time someone told you that you looked nice, the first time someone did something romantic for you, the first time someone said I love you! Does it stick out more in your head than the next person who did? I personally find that it does, meaning that if someone does something really nice for you that sticks out, especially if no one has ever done something like that before. And if this lovely deed sticks out in your head, so will the person and that is bound to have a great effect on how you perceive that person. The first person to buy you flowers or hold the car door open for you on a date is going to be remembered much differently than the 20th person to do so. Because of this idea, it’s easier to ignore the truly bad aspects of certain parts of relationships. One may stay around even if their significant other is a complete dick just because of those rare but sweet moments where they draw you a bath or make you your favorite meal!

A good example comes from my friend Serena, who very recently was attempting to get to know a guy, and actually had this “first-time syndrome”* thing affect her desire to give him more chances to make a better impression. To describe her feelings towards this guy sexually she was using words like disgust and repulsive. Yet she also openly admitted to giving him more time to grow on her because he held the car door open for her. See Serena is the romance junky, who loves rom-coms and dreams of the big gesture; The boombox outside the window, the airport meetup, the chivalry and courting that is shown in old movies! She is the girl who wants mixtapes and gestures of love, yet has never had them… so when this genuinely not shitty guy opened the car door for her she had all of those wants flash in her mind! Then she decided to ignore the fact that this guy actually did some things that raised more than a few red flags and the fact that she felt grossed out by the thought of kissing him, and made another get together.

So this “First-time Syndrome” thing is actually something that can affect you and can make smaller gestures seem much bigger than they are. If your significant other buys you flowers out of the blue it might seem more important if no significant other from your past had done that. It also might keep you more inclined to stick around in bad times being that you might not be able to conceive the idea of someone else doing that. It makes sense that if you couldn’t find that type of guy before, it is going to be hard to think you will find someone else who is going to buy you flowers, and do the small romantic gestures you desire! Granted just because the “First-time Syndrome” may be in effect it might just be an added amount of gratitude, not a way to hide some sort of issue that may be going on! Even I have had that extra gratitude and have added meaning to an action that was not in need of so much gratitude.

A good example of this is when my boyfriend came home from a trip and showed me some of the stuff he bought, more specifically some of the food things he bought. My boyfriend is what many would (and our friend do) call a “Foodie” so what he buys and try’s is important, even somewhat in regards to our relationship because we share a love of cooking, and spend much of our time together cooking. So when I found out that what he bought on that trip was some ingredients that I love or had the flavors I love, like Lavender or Maple, I was surprised and delighted. To have him tell me he bought a lavender balsamic vinegarette for us to try because he knows I love lavender was sweet and somewhat shocking. No one I have dated in the past had ever done anything like that! Then as a plus, he picked up a specialty chocolate with a caramel center and said that when he saw it in the shop he knew I would like it! It wasn’t a big grand gesture but it definitely made me feel really happy when he told me because no one I had seen before had done those things. No one had me in the back of their mind while they were shopping and grabbed something cause they knew I would like it.

Small things can mean a lot, especially when it is the first time someone has ever done them for you, I think that is something that everyone can understand. Though many don’t think about how that meaning we add can change our perspective on things, so I caution you… because as sweet as it may be for them to do something for you they may still have very real faults. So be careful at how you view an action because let’s be honest as sweet as what my boyfriend did for me or Serena’s date did for her, it was a simple gesture and not the be all end all in a relationship. Not to say I am not grateful of the action, more so that if I was to be in a fight with my boyfriend I shouldn’t be sitting there thinking well he thought of me while on vacation and got me a chocolate so I can ignore what caused the fight.

All I can think about as I write this is DeAnne Smith or more specifically a stand-up comedy video of her I saw over the summer**, where she talks about how straight men apparently have it easy! Easy meaning that women have their expectations so low that buying them flowers will appease them for months, and this comedian may be playing it up for jokes but god she is not wrong! I had a friend stay with a dick she was dating because he went with her to her grandma’s grave to visit! Like fuck he actually through something at her in a restaurant when they got into a fight… but he did the decent thing and went with her when she went to visit her grandmothers grave. Granted I was not much better when I was in high school! I actually went on an additional date with a guy who called me a bitch because he got me my favorite type of flowers! (I am hating my past self with the realization of how stupid I was)

Make sure that as you have these moments of gratitude they don’t cloud your judgment on the larger issues that may be present, and if you have in the past don’t worry everyone has at some point!


*first-time syndrome is something I completely made up to prove my point!

**If you want to see the stand up video here is a link to it


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