Young love gets a bad rap. It’s naive, it’s overly-hopeful, it’s blind. But it turns out those young romances can leave a serious imprint on us, even if said romance ended decades ago. In fact, those young loves leave such a big impression on us that if we rekindle those romances years later, they have an extremely high success rate.
According to a study by a Cal State University professor, former couples who meet up later in life (and are single) have a 70% chance of getting back together for the long haul. Record scratch. What? 70%? Did you just do a mental roundup of your teenage relationships? Me too.
So why does this happen? “First of all, you never forget the person,” Rutgers anthropologist Helen Fisher told CBS. “And if the timing is right and they come back, you can trigger that brain circuitry for romantic love almost instantly and be back in love again.”
The study goes as far as to imply that your brain became sort of hard-wired to look for things in future partners that you found in those early romances. As Fisher suggests, the things you liked in your first love become kind of “imprinted” on you. “That imprinting becomes powerful,” she says. “Suddenly that’s the body type that you really like. And so you look for that in other people.” So when someone from your past pops back into your life your brain not only recalls that old chemistry, but it kind of picks back up where you left off.
Several of the stories the study looks at involve couples that were separated for decades, who then meet up later in life and get married pretty quickly. One such story was of Fred Savage from The Wonder Years who — 11 years after moving away from a neighborhood crush — reunited with her and married her. (And we can all just pretend it was Winnie, right?)
So if you’re single and thinking of a certain childhood love that got away, I dunno, do something zany and look them up, You never know! Plus, that’s what Facebook is for anyway, right?