I received my first love letter when I was 12.
Mom handed me the envelope as I ironed a blouse.
The letter was from Ronnie, who lived a state away and was a year older than I was.
I opened the envelope, skimmed the letter, and then tore it into pieces and put the pieces in the trash.
The letter ran along this line: I like you. Do you like me? You have pretty hair, etc.
I wish I had that letter now, but I don’t.
It didn’t go out with that day’s trash though because I dug out the paper pieces and taped them together.
In my early teen years, I had crushes on movie stars like Richard Chamberlain (Dr. Kildare) and Michael Landon (Little Joe Cartwright).
Then my love shifted to Glen Campbell, whom I was certain I would marry. I wrote Mr. and Mrs. Glen Campbell inside hearts on all my school notebooks.
The first boy I had a crush on was a teenager who helped the man who delivered milk to our store. Through the front window of my house, I watched him load gallons of milk onto a dolly and roll it into the store.
I would have died a thousand deaths before I told him I liked him.
The worst thing a girl could do was tell a boy she liked him before he told her he liked her.
The first boy I went out with more than one or two times ditched me for a girl who performed I Gave My Love a Cherry at a school program. I mean that night, after the program, he ditched me for her.
Early dating is always clumsy.
Each partner wonders:
She: Will he hold my hand?
He: I wonder if she would let me hold her hand.
She: Will he kiss me?
He: I wonder if she would let me kiss her.
She: Will he ask me out a second time?
He: I wonder if she would go out with me a second time.
With every relationship, I made blunders.
I rejected one boy’s request for a date with these words: “I can’t go out with you. I’m taller than you are.”
Have I mentioned early dating is clumsy?
I didn’t buy a boutonniere for a boy who took me to a school social because no one told me I should do that. Few people noticed his lack of a flower though because they were looking at his cowboy boots.
Though classmates dropped out of school and got married because they were pregnant, I knew little about the sex those couples engaged in.
On the first night in my college dorm, after lights out, my roommate (a girl I had met for the first time that day) asked me, “So, how far have you gone with a boy?”
She wouldn’t have surprised me more if she had asked how many times I had been arrested.
I don’t remember how I answered, but I remember what she said next.
“I’ve been to second base with a boy a few times.”
Feeling in over my head, I kept a safe distance between my dates and me.
Boys nicknamed me “the girl who polishes the passenger side car door.”
But I wanted a real boyfriend, someone who chose me, someone who made me feel special.
The pregnant girls who dropped out of school were like me. They wanted love and acceptance.
Most of the time, that was not what their boyfriends wanted.
Guys use love to get sex and girls use sex to get love.
I will step onto my soapbox for a minute.
Moms, don’t let your daughters grow up unprepared to handle situations they are certain to face.
Dads, tell your daughters often they are beautiful, real treasues, just the daughters you want. Don’t make them wait to get affirmation from boyfriends, whose motives are not as unselfish as yours are.
I recommend this article about teenage sexuality. Check it out.
In the past, I liked/loved several boys. But I have loved only one man, the man to whom I said I do.
8 thoughts on “TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE”
Debbie: What a lovely, fateful journey. For you what a beautiful ending. Your link is something for parents of young girls to help give them the gift of a similar passage. Outstanding.
I was fortunate but didn’t escape my teen years unscathed. Who does?
Thank you for being such a supportive reader.
Well done, Debbie! Yes, this is a message parents need to be reminded of.
Thank you, Joyce. Many parents want to bolt when their children enter their teen years. I hope this information will be helpful.
Debbie, I can tell by the way you look at Dan that he is the only man you have loved and still love today. What a beautiful example you have both set for others. Thank you for sharing that link!
Thank you, Becky!
Thank you, Shirley!
My daughter is grown and married but have great granddaughters that your link will help. Thanks for sharing.