At times the teenager drifts ecstatically among the clouds, just to be brought back to earth the next moment with such a longing in his heart that can only be described as an acute, physical pain. He tosses around at night and loses his appetite.
Could it possibly be that he suffers from some kind of disease?
One wonders, because at the same time he spends hours on his appearance, painstakingly grooming every single strand of hair.
The diagnosis? He is totally and hopelessly in love. Besotted. For the first time.
His life is so dominated by thoughts of his beloved that he becomes obsessive.It is almost as if a fire rules his heart.
Infatuation has been described as “an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desirable” and on a more cynical note as the “arch enemy of common sense.”
And let’s face it, this is even more so when you lose your heart ( and maybe head?) for the very first time.
Never ever underestimate the intensity of first love also known as “puppy love,” experts warn.
In fact the description of “puppy love” can be seen as slightly derogatory and not showing much respect for the emotions of a teenager so desperately lost in love.
These words are like salt in his wounds when he truly suffers when things go wrong and he was convinced of the fact that he and his beloved would be together for ever.
The description “puppy love” insinuates that this is your first love but definitely not your last love. And this is the very last thing that a teenager in love wants to hear.
Dr Eugene Viljoen a clinical psychologist and sexologist from Pretoria says during first love the first emotions of disappointment and emotional pain and rejection is also experienced.
During first love the child does not yet have coping mechanisms, but should it happen to him later in life, at least he knows that he will survive.
At such a tender age however, he does not know how to cope with his pain.
Ms Catriona Boffard, a sex- and relationship therapist explains that the emotion of being in love is experienced more during the earlier phases of a romantic relationship than when the relationship progresses into true love later.
This is especially the case with first love which is more physical in nature than when the couple form an emotional bond.
Ms Elmari Craig-Mulder a sexologist, psycho-therapist and relationship councillor from Pretoria, says first love usually takes place during the teenage years when emotional brain development has not yet been completed and the child is still searching for an own identity.
In this day and age the physical relationship develops sooner than was the case in the past, whilst socialising dynamics take place at the same time.
“Few people marry their first love.This is sometimes seen in rural areas where the couple was raised in the same town and after decades are still happy together”
Viljoen stresses that it can be traumatic to experience a first love disappointment.
He agrees that it is even more so these days as teenagers become sexually active at a younger age than was the case earlier.
Emotional involvement is often physically driven by the young person.Teenagers do not know how to handle the pain.
Romanza writers on first love:
Kristel Loots: ”Puppy love is the strongest kind of love which exists and it is during these years when you are hurt most.
The first cut is the deepest. All those first experiences, the first kiss, the first touch, the first fondling is something that you never ever forget.
She says when she was first kissed at the age of 16 she was convinced of the fact that she would fall pregnant, but she also had no doubt whatsoever that Bill with his deep blue eyes would never marry her.
“Fortunately it was not necessary”, she drily comments.
Alta Cloete: “Puppy love is the most painful and wonderful love which exists. It carries you to the highest mountain tops, gives you wings and turns you into a breathtakingly beautiful dream woman.
And when the ecstasy is over, you fall into great depths and you are just an ordinary young girl once again (probably even with a nasty pimple on your chin.)
Only numerous tears, chocolates and a good confession session with a close friend can help you out of this agony again. But the memories are precious and never leave you.
Arien Lubbe: “To comfort a broken heart with the description “puppy love” is to tell her that she does not really have the right to cry over the guy who left her in the lurch.
I differ in opinion. I feel that the young person deserves as much sympathy as the older woman.
When she is older she will realize that this was puppy love, but today and now when these emotions are experienced they hurt.”
Elsa Winckler: ” It is necessary to experience puppy love. How else will you be able to make comparisons in life later on?”
She then refers to the country song by Blaine Larson which refers to previous loves in such a heart rending way; "They were teaching me how to love you."
“All the pain, all the joys of puppy love, teaches you how to act when you experience the real thing one day!”
In a nut shell, one never forgets your first love. As a happily married mother of four remarked, her first love asked her out on a coffee date after not having seen him for 19 years.
She declined the invitation because she was scared that he would still set her heart racing.