"You almost nailed it."
In school competitions, being the second placer isn't much of a victory, well at least for me.
You could have been on the top. You could have been found your niche in the grandeur recognitions. You could have gloriously celebrated your triumph for no one else had become better than you. But if and only if, you worked hard for it. If and only if, you had become the 'better one'.
Most of the time, when people fall in love for the first time, they tend to give almost everything - surrendering every aspect for desires to experience the good of being in love. The saying "First love never dies" could have become complete absurdity nowadays, but still, first love, was all the worth remembering.
You always remember your first date, your first kiss, your first embrace and romance, your first anything... because first love was extremely exciting and impressionable. It is something you carry with you because it was the first time these feelings ever seem real, and are very real. You wanted to hold onto it because you are told love is forever but it is not always like that. Psychologically dealing with these statements, we always remember something we experienced for the first time.
That's why in love, just like school competitions and contests, being the second (or third, fourth...nth) boyfriend/girlfriend isn't much of a joyful thing to care about, especially when you think you give fairly enough or too much on a relationship, while you see your partner still stuck on his/her past.
It happened to me personally, and dealing with it gave me a lot of pain. I was her number 2, and she was my first.
All of the time, I was thinking if she really loved me. If she really cared. The first few weeks were exciting (especially for me who dealt with love the first time), but eventually, her attention gradually decreased, until I realized she still hadn't moved on from her first love then. It hurts of course, and it felt like it was the end of the world for me. I lost myself into pieces and could not find myself for months.
Love is like running in hurdles. You might break down and fall, but eventually you will reach the finish line. Though in many ways we could recall the good and bad memories of our first love, this doesn't mean we still love them, but they're only bits of memories stuck in our head.
Whether we love for the second or nth time, what matters is how much we value ourselves and our partners. One time I thought "I wouldn't love the same way again" as per my first love, but I learned that feelings and emotions are unstable and can change from time to time.
"In the arithmetic of love, one plus one equals everything, and two minus one equals nothing."