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To All the Boys I Thought I Ever Loved Before

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Hampton U chapter.

In modern day media, being in love is glorified, love or being in love is deemed as the “most important thing in life,” and the media distorts our individual perspectives on love.  Even as a child, I could see how this impacted my view of love, to the point where the way I lived was under the male gaze and everything I did was for male validation. This is an unhealthy way to live life, but unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for many young girls to go through this phase. Although I’ve come to realize that finding a man is not the purpose of my life, there were many lessons I’ve learned in each interaction I had with male peers. Despite recognizing the over glorification of love in the media, I’m still a sucker for rom-coms, such as “To All The Boys I Loved Before.” In fashion of Lara Jean Covey, the main character of the film trilogy, here are my letters to my former crushes and to all the boys I ever “loved” before. 

To my first crush,

Not all young love is fortunate enough to be so beautiful and requited as ours was. You were kind, smart, and goofy in a cute type of way that made me always want to be around you. Even though it was a simple elementary school crush, the happiness of loving your closest friend was on another level. We were in the same class from 1st-3rd grade, and going through all the firsts of having a crush was a funny and interesting experience with you. It’s nice to know that the crush was mutual and while we hoped to still be in love at this point in our lives, I’m glad we got to spend our childhood as friends, and I’ll always cherish the memories we made. 

To my first boyfriend, 

In middle school everyone was dating or trying to date, I wasn’t really into it though. You always flirted with me and I never knew how to take it because you could never be serious. I was always super serious and worried about whatever drama kids thought about in middle schools. I remember I texted you off of my friend’s phone when I was at a sleepover; we stayed on the phone together all night and it was probably the highlight of my 6th grade experience. This was a new and exciting type of love. What we had together was something I wanted to hold on to for as long as I could and never let go. Sadly, as the story goes, people grow apart, and by time 8th grade was coming to an end, we were well and done. I forgot why we didn’t talk, but I know we never talked again since then.

To my first relationship,

I know we like to think that middle school relationships are real, but the truth is they aren’t as real as we want them to be. We met the summer before high school in an iMessage group chat for summer bridge. You reminded me of someone I knew before; you were kind, probably the smartest person I know, and so goofy! Before we even met I knew I wanted to be your friend. The first time I met you, there were butterflies and they were there until the last day we saw each other. The way you walked into a room and everyone’s day was instantly better because you were there now was always something I loved about you. I felt that I had my great love when I was with you. We would watch all the Marvel movies together marathon-style and then whine about how tired we were in biology the next morning (I have no idea why we thought Netflix all night was a good idea on a weekday). Our chemistry was out of this world amazing, but you also had chemistry with other people and that didn’t sit right with me. We both wanted different things and I was okay with letting you go if that was what you needed. I’d like to think in a different world we would’ve been together well after high school, but we drifted apart the summer before junior year and haven’t seen each other since a random Wednesday last year. I will forever cherish the times we had that were good, and I could never bring myself to dismiss the memories that we share together. 

To my first heartbreak,

After being in a relationship and ending it on weird terms, I was most definitely not looking to be involved with someone else at the time. We were friends for a long time; I actually remember meeting you years before we went to high school together, at a summer camp when we were 11. I thought you were cute when we were younger, but in high school I was sure of it. We harmlessly flirted a lot and it never led to anything serious and I was okay with it, until I wasn’t. When I was managing girl’s lacrosse and you were on the boy’s team, we spent a lot of our afternoons together and it was getting to be sort of romantic. I would bring the drinks and you would bring us a sandwich to share after practice. In my opinion, it was the cutest thing that ever happened to me in high school. After a while we understood our feelings for each other; you even started making plans for going to prom together. Despite me insisting on going with my friends, I reluctantly agreed and it was set. A few weeks after this, at a double-header lacrosse game, you showed up with your girlfriend. Imagine the surprise and shock I was going through. Now, I have never cried over a boy, but when I tell you I was on the verge of tears. Nevertheless, I didn’t cry and we didn’t talk or go to prom together. I thought I was ready to be in love with you, but you weren’t ready for me. 

To my current relationship, 

We’ve been on and off for a while now. In between all of my high school relationships, you would always find your way to me. I never thought it to be a serious thing, and it’s still fairly new, but we have our fun and it’s not complicated at all. When we’re together, I don’t want to fall in love, I want to float in it. You talk to me like we’ve known each other for lifetimes and more. Whenever we’re together it’s like we sync up and nothing else that’s going on in our lives matters, but we still share our problems and have thoughtful conversations on solutions to them. Even when we aren’t together, I’m always thinking of you, and whenever I get my phone out to text or call you, I see you calling first. Now, I can’t say it’s love just yet, but I hope one day it is. Who knows how long we’ll last and what comes after this, but I know we’ll have fun with it along the way. 

Relationships, situationships, and love in general has always had a huge impact on my life. I’m a hopeless romantic and love to believe in the power of love, even if it’s over-glorified at times. These boys have all left their mark on me and have helped me in a journey of growth in very different ways. I’m not saying that I needed their affection or that it meant that I was valid because I had it, but these were just all the boys I ever loved before.

Serenity Smith

Hampton U '24

Hi!! I'm a graduating senior at Hampton University majoring in psychology with a premedical concentration from Prince George’s County, Maryland. I'm passionate about mental health and writing. My most creative outlet is writing poetry, but I have a newfound love of writing articles about topics important to me.