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‘Our Beloved Summer’ made me reflect on my first loves—and what went wrong with them

By Hannah Mallorca Published Jan 25, 2022 9:14 pm

First love is a common trope in K-dramas—the Reply trilogy, She Was Pretty, and Love Rain, to name a few. Among these series, however, Netflix’s Our Beloved Summer is the only K-drama that brought me back to my teens in order to reflect on what went wrong with my first loves.

The K-drama tells the story of ex-lovers Choi Ung (Choi Wooshik) and Kook Yeonsu (Kim Dami) who cross paths after breaking up five years ago. Compared to its other counterparts, it approaches first love through Ung and Yeonsu’s points-of-view and how it affected their present. 

No one forgets their first love. Whether you end up marrying them or hating their guts, it’s an indispensable part of our youth. 

I was the type of person who confessed my feelings outright. Not in a Lara Jean Covey kind of way, but in an “I love you, Piolo!” sort of way. I shouted out the name of my 2nd-year high school crush in front of the class—with him right in front of me. I wrote a long Facebook post to someone for whom I’ve denied had feelings for, but I actually did. 

Perhaps, the worst heartbreak I’ve experienced was the result of my own doing. I told everyone (except him) that I liked him. I even forced myself to lose weight just to fit into his ideal woman. Sadly, it resulted in an eating disorder

In the K-drama’s second episode, Ung and Yeonsu had conflicting thoughts for their first meeting after five years. Ung remained resentful of Yeonsu, even spraying her face with water in their first encounter. Yeonsu was calmer since she needs to approach him for a business proposal. 

I found myself identifying with Ung and how he handles his heartbreak. He struggles to move on from Yeonsu. Almost bordering to the point of blaming his ex-lover for being the sole cause of his broken heart. 

On the other hand, I salute Yeonsu for handling her heartbreak in a mature way. Seeing Ung after five years hurts, but she didn’t want to hurt him in the present.

No one forgets their first love. Whether you end up marrying them or hating their guts, it’s an indispensable part of our youth.

Like Ung, I had the (immature) urge to make my first loves experience the pain I’ve felt. Since three of my heartbreaks happened in high school, the start of my college years was filled with anger. I cursed my first loves as I dedicated my efforts to make myself fit into the image of a woman who made it in life. I was hoping that someday, I would insult them on their failures. Or in other words, “ako nga pala ang sinayang mo.” 

Ung (and I) were hopelessly in love—and stupid

The moment Ung laid his eyes on Yeonsu for the first time in five years, it’s clear that he never got over his feelings for her. He didn’t want her out of his sight yet his passive-aggressiveness toward her was immature and almost borderline insulting. 

Ung didn’t want Yeonsu out of his sight. Yet the former would bring up their past and how much the latter broke his heart. He even looked down on her career since he ended up finding more success as an artist—despite her graduating to the top of their class.

It’s easy to say that our first loves broke our hearts. In fact, there’s nothing wrong with opening up about our previous heartbreaks. However, what if our first loves were meant to be a lesson on how to be the partner we’re supposed to be?

As the series went on, Ung realized that he struggles in opening up about his feelings. He doesn’t know how to address what weighs down his heart and how he avoids facing what actually happened with Yeonsu in the past. 

I was guilty of facing my own heartbreaks too. When I open up about my first loves, I usually shift the blame to the three of them for breaking my heart. In my eyes, it’s their fault for being assholes. They are not sensitive enough. They didn’t choose me, and so on and so forth.

Seeing Ung’s initial hostility towards Yeonsu made me realize how much of our heartbreak is replaced with anger. Being angry at our first loves wouldn’t help us in handling our broken hearts. Having the desire of hurting them in return wouldn’t make us move on. 

We have different reactions when it comes to our first love, but it’s up to us how to process our heartbreak. While some take years to move on, there are a certain few who realize that it’s no big deal. There’s no sure-fire cure for a broken heart. It takes time and maturity. 

It was only some years later (like Ung) that I finally understood why my first loves didn’t work. Watching Our Beloved Summer made me look back on my first loves with a fond memory. I never really dwelled on my first loves until I’ve opened up about them with my current partner. Our first love is not supposed to be our endgame—except if your love story is like Ung and Yeonsu’s. They’re meant to be a lesson on romance and a stepping stone for your own love story. 

Ung made sure to address his heartbreaks and how he processed his emotions—something that you’ll learn through time. On the other hand, Yeonsu learned how to view relationships as a team effort and not an internal competition with her partner. 

I’ve been in a relationship with my best friend for over five years. If it wasn’t for these heartbreaks we’ve experienced as individuals, we probably wouldn’t have lasted this long. 

You might not be able to get the closure you need from your first love, and that’s okay. What matters is how your first love can help you become a better partner to the person who’s meant to be your endgame.