A Note About The Boys She Loved Before She Loved You


The girl you love was not always the girl you love, and maybe she used to be the girl you were afraid she was. You’re afraid she’s too fast-paced. You’re afraid she needs a taste of other things because she happens to have tasted things other than you.

Consider that when you imagine how well they fucked her, your imagination will never account for the truth. Your imagination will not account for the boys who never made her feel a thing. It will not account for the nights she stared at the ceiling wondering when he’d finish. Your imagination will not account for the boy with the penis so long it made her cringe in pain. It will not account for the boys who made her feel used, only to return some time later and breathe the words “I love you” through whiskey-stained lips, and then, some time later, skulk off and have sex with her friend. It will not account for the boys who betrayed her trust when she slurred the words “wait, stop.”

She learned what love is not. 

But your imagination will not account for that. You imagine the euphoria she must have felt with all the boys who are better than you, who loved her better than you. 

Sometimes the trip through college sex and romance is less of a sprint and more of a trudge. Sometimes we would like to be the girl who bursts into a man’s life, grabs him by the balls and says, “take me, baby,” but more often than not, we find ourselves with half the cards, and not even a good hand at that. To think it all starts with something as gentle as a kiss, and more often than not ends with the violence of words. Or the lack of them. Or it ends underneath an Adonis who thought only of his own pleasure, as if we came home with him simply to be in his divine presence. Sometimes more than liberation it is frustration, and what we once thought of as good sex becomes mediocre when we finally get a grip on our own sexuality and wants.

Emotions are difficult to avoid, even when you’re not in love. In sex, we find even our enemies can betray us. We are appalled when their lack of loyalty begets only more lack of loyalty. We are appalled that we care.

But you met her after all of that. You met her after the broken hearts and the disappointment and the anger transformed her into the woman who knows what she doesn’t want. She doesn’t know exactly what she wants from this life. She does not know the precise formula for happiness, but it’s safe to say happiness is what she wants. Happiness is a broad enough idea to seem achievable. She does not want to drift in the realm of half-relationships anymore. She doesn’t want to simply take what she can get anymore. She does not want to be the emotional link to an otherwise disconnected boy. She does not want the boy to be praised as a man when he presents her underwear to his friends the next morning. She does not want to feel like she’s not allowed to feel angry anymore. She does not want to feel like she isn’t owed something. There is no accountability in the world of just sex.

She doesn’t want just sex. She’s had it and she doesn’t want it. She knows she doesn’t need to settle.

Or maybe it was euphoria. Maybe in a perfect world, her sex life included her walking into a man’s life and grabbing him by the balls and milking him for all he’s worth. And by some miracle, there was mutual respect and even tenderness. 

There were times when she did live in a perfect world. Boys like that existed. Know that she felt safe with someone other than you once. Know that she laughed and cried with someone other than you once. But know that the safety was shattered, or that the laughter died out and she moved on.

And then there was you. 

Imagine the way she felt when you appeared. I can tell you exactly how she felt when she realized she wanted you, to give your imagination a break. She spent time with you and felt that she wasn’t good enough for you. And maybe that’s due to fucked up gender norms and double standards, or maybe she felt like not giving in to the whims of physical desire meant she would have had a purer heart and that would have meant she’d seem safe to you. She wanted to feel safe to you but she knew she never could. She feared that if you had a glimpse of her past, you’d walk out of her life as quickly as you stumbled in. And if you are shy, and kind, and gentle, she knew she’d lived a more fast-paced sex life than you had. 

You are not the boy diving between her legs with enough confidence that it becomes arrogance. You are not the boy speaking to her in love letters and fucking her like she’s a porn star. 

You are the boy with less sexual partners than her. You are the boy who lost his virginity in college rather than in high school. You are the boy who doesn’t know how to flirt. You are the boy with no game. You are awkward at times. You’ve never been suave in your life. Truth be told your lack of experience is one of the things that made you so easy to trust; and when she realized that she also realized how scared she was that you’d learn of her sexual history. Above all, you are the boy she wants. 

If you are intimidated by her experience, or by the boys before you, don’t be. Sex with multiple partners does not lessen her ability to be loyal. It does not mean she will get bored with you quickly or that you do not satisfy her. It does not mean she misses the single life before you. It simply means that her life did not begin the very moment that she met you. It means that she’s played the game, she’s looked up the rules and she’s found them wanting. It means that she has been hurt enough to never want to put you through it. It means she knows you’re special enough to keep and protect. 

As long as you treat her well, she’s not the girl who’s going to hurt you. Through the boys before you, she learned what love is not. Do not let it become a source of insecurity. That is a rift that will tear her apart and drive you away. She will wonder why being herself wasn’t enough for you. She will wonder why loving you wasn’t enough to convince you. She will wonder why the reassurance is never enough. She will stare at the ceiling knowing that you never trusted her. And before you join the ranks of the boys before you, she will place a hand on your cheek, search for the soul in your eyes, and wish you luck on finding whatever it is that you’re looking for.

featured image – Lauren Treece