An Open Letter To The Boys From Before

In light of the fact that dating may start to become a bigger part of my life right now, I’ve been thinking about all the boys from before. In particular, I’ve been thinking about what I’ve learned from each experience.

Dear Boys From Before,

Though I guess many of you are now men. In any case, all of you have at one point held a place in my heart, whether it was because of a simple crush or something more. I realized the other day that I have probably learned something, no matter how small, from every one of you.

To the boy who held my first crush, thinking of you reminds me of the carefree times of childhood, running around the playground playing tag, safe in our bubble. I’ll never forget the time, sitting next to you in math class when I found out you liked me too. I’m sure we both turned as red as a lobster. But I was afraid and so it remained a crush. But thank you for being a reminder that having fun and carefree is important in a relationship.

To the boy who was my main high school crush, you were the one probably all wrong for me. Closer to a bad boy (whatever that means now) and the opposite of me in so many ways. But you were different and that’s what I liked. Like a naive high school girl, I didn’t care if you were all wrong, I just wanted to get to know you. I remember your teasing, your smirks, and your passion for music and writing. Thank you for being the reminder that even if sometimes what you want is outside your comfort zone, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pursue it. I only wonder what would have happened if I did so with you.

To the boy who took me on my first date, and my first blind one at that! I was finishing my freshman year of college, you your junior year. Looking back, we may have been on almost the opposite ends of the maturity spectrum, but you were the one that opened my eyes to the possibilities a partner and a relationship can bring. You showed me how a girl should be treated like a lady, with respect. I remember after dinner, we walked to the waterfront, my hand delicately folded in yours, and found a bench and continued to talk into the night. It may not have worked out between us, but thank you for showing me, even for just a small amount of time, all the positives that come with a relationship.

To the first boy to ghost on me, all you did was confuse me. All you gave me were more drunk memories and kisses when all I wanted were sober ones. And then suddenly you were gone. You have simply become a blimp on the radar, but thank you for showing me all the signs of a dying relationship before it even starts.

To the boy who was my first summer fling, I wish I had more time with you. I’m sure many of us say that. We knew we only had the summer together, you would be flying off to New York City to chase a dream while I would be returning to school. I always wonder what would have happened if my roommates and I had met you and your roommates earlier, our neighbors from across the street. I will never forget climbing up onto the roof to watch the 4th of July fireworks or the lovely kisses you gave me as they went off in the background. I’ll never forget our walk back from 7-11 and how you plucked a daisy from a garden and handed it to me. I smiled for the rest of the night.

But I’ll also never forget the heartbreak I felt when I thought you had left for good without saying goodbye. I’ll never forget the feeling I had while I waited to know if I was ever going to be able to say goodbye, the anxiousness. I’ll never forget the feeling of relief I felt, like coming out from under the water for air I never thought I would ever get again when we finally got our good bye. It was an early, cloudy summer morning when we met on the sidewalk in front of my house. It was a simple good bye with a warm hug. I remember standing in silence, us staring at each other, and we both went for a second hug. In that moment I never wanted to let go. It was a goodbye that I hoped meant more of a ‘see you later’. Thank you for showing me that relationships are never perfect or ever start out that way and yes, sometimes they have an expiration date, but that doesn’t mean they still can’t be unforgettable, because that’s what you are.

To the boy who truly hurt me, you lead me on, took what you wanted, and left. No guilt. You left me hanging, wondering what the hell I had done wrong. It was only later I realized I didn’t do anything wrong except trust you. I should have known that us hanging out and watching Dexter in your room alone could not have stayed innocent. My naivety got the best of me. I know that in the long run we probably wouldn’t have lasted, but what you did still hurt. So thank you for being a reminder that dickheads exist and come in different disguises.

To the boy that made me want to fall in love, you were an out of the blue, from left field happy surprise. I knew your name, but not much else. I remember that first night, the night you joined me when I said I was going to go stargazing after a party. I remember how you led me down the street to a park. I remember feeling completely safe with you, practically a stranger. I remember making up constellations with you as we gazed upwards. I remember you taking my hand and spinning me, giving me my first country swing dance lesson, the grass slick with dew under our feet, the sky full of possibilities above our heads. You gave me your sweatshirt as we walked back to the house and we sat on the kitchen counter, talking, about what I don’t remember. You finally left at 4 am, but not before giving me a warm, bear sized hug with an equally big grin. It was like you were floating on cloud 9 after finally getting something you’ve been waiting for, for so long.

I remember halloween night and how you walked me home. I remember our first kiss and the kisses that followed while snuggling on the front porch. I remember  feeling like I fit perfectly next to you as we cuddled into the morning light. As I started to fall asleep, you whispered that you had to go and kissed me on my forehead, your beard giving me a weirdly comforting scratch. I remember sleepily looking at you as you stood in the screened porch doorway, looking back at me, the glow of the moon shining behind you. As I started to fall asleep again, I felt I was starting to fall for you. We could have had something wonderful, if it wasn’t for me. I was afraid to fall so I stepped back and ultimately lost you. Thank you for showing me that it’s okay to laugh at yourself, to take pleasure in the small moments; for giving me unforgettable memories. Thank you for showing me that the sweep you off your feet, falling off a cliff, can’t sleep kind of love still exists and the next time I shouldn’t be afraid to fall.

To my first boyfriend, you gave me nothing but good memories. You were everything I thought wanted, but I figured it out maybe too late that something was missing. I remember how nervous I was before our first date, about how we went on a hike in the rain, not caring, just talking and getting to know each other. I remember our hesitant kiss on our second date. I remember when we discussed becoming ‘official’. I felt comfort with you, but the cards were stacked against us. You still had several years left in getting your Ph.D. and I didn’t know where I was going to be living in three months. I think at the end, I was simply not ready for a more serious relationship, something that I was not good at communicating. In any case, thank you for showing me what comfort I should feel in a relationship, that there doesn’t have to be drama in a relationship; that communication is absolutely vital. Thank you for showing me that all relationships are different and that passion comes in different forms.

And to the boy who I still have a crush on, you may not be a boy from before and I don’t know if you will be someday, but I’ve been waiting for when our paths will meet again. I’m learning that some things, and people, may just be worth waiting for.

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8 thoughts on “An Open Letter To The Boys From Before

  1. To the boy that truly hurt me……I always say that at some point, every woman has to learn on her own that the lyrics to Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” are 100% relatable haha

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  2. Wow. This is the first post of yours that I have read and I love it. I have written my own letters to boys in the past and it really helped me move on from them. It was very interesting that you added a ‘thank you’ for the lessons that you learned from them. I never really thought about what I learned from past boys, but it’s a good area to reflect on. This might have inspired my own future blog posts about love.

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  3. I absolutely adore this post. I may use this idea in the future.
    This is my first time reading your blog, but definitely not the last. You’re a brilliant writer! Love love love. Now must forward this to my girlfriends.

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  4. Such a great idea, Nicole, and I loved how you went from your childhood crush through today. Each boy offered a new insight (some better than others–and trust me, you are definitely NOT alone in that regard). If my parents didn’t read my blog, oh, the stories I’d share, the letter I’d write similar to yours. Alas, I can’t, but your letter did a great job touching on the different types of people that will inevitably be part of your life. :)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! Yes, unfortunately I am not alone. I actually had a friend do a similar article where she talked about what she learned from all of her exes and I remembered it recently, prompting this post. I’m happy it resonated! :)

      Liked by 1 person

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