"It is a website, unique and exquisite in its purpose"Ivi Fung

The Unsent Project is something I stumbled across years ago. It is a website, unique and exquisite in its purpose. It is a place where people submit a last text message to their first love they never sent. They are then digitalised, in symmetrical speech bubbles, and the website now has millions of submissions, increasing every day. They appear like post-it notes in different colours, meant to signify the colour the person associated their first love with. You can type a name into the search bar and thousands of submissions dedicated to the name will appear. The messages don’t all appear to be relationships though; some people are mourning friendships, people who never noticed them, parents, those who ever did them wrong, people who left and who aren’t here anymore.

"Some of the texts are painful to read"

Love is a hard enough topic. To lose someone you once felt everything for takes a chunk out of you which never quite seems to fix itself. It gets easier to live with but The Unsent Project is proof that one is never the same after they have experienced love for the first time. The first unsent text I see is ‘I don’t know what my heart did before it loved you.’ The beauty of the website is that other people might take comfort in your message. It might be a reminder that everyone hurts, pain is universal and it’s OK to miss people and to have to redefine your world dependent on how broken or how stable each love leaves you. Losing someone can be dumbfounding. ‘I really don’t want you to be just a memory.’

Some of the texts are painful to read. Whether you relate to them or not, human empathy makes it impossible to ignore the torment behind some of the messages – ‘everything you said, you never meant any of it,’ ‘I cried to you on my dark days, but you were the reason my days were always dark.’ Psychologically, a first love can be compared to a first dose of addiction. When oxytocin is first released, it is responsible for feelings of deep attachment. Dopamine, on the other hand, takes care of the reward centre of the brain, which means we seek the rewards of love even when it is painful – like with a cheating or manipulative partner. The website itself seems to prove the universality of heartbreak and disappointment in others. It proves that millions and millions of people have been let down. Exactly at times they needed support the most. The message is not to expect heartbreak though – it is to learn from it. To recognise that being hurt does not mean you will always be hurt and that being sad will allow for times when you are happy.


Mountain View

The love that dare not speak its name

In fact, a section of the website is entitled ‘comparisons’. It pairs together two messages which look like a conversation. It is perhaps a reminder that somewhere, someone is there to give you a reply, and someday will be everything you need in another person. The first pair reads ‘All I need is to hear you say everything is going to be alright’, and its reply – ‘Everything is going to be alright.’ And another – ‘Do you still think of me when it rains?’ ‘Every time it rains I think of you.’ As much as the website seems to be a shrine to past lovers, a monument to recognise the gaping hole they might leave behind or the damage caused – there are constant reminders that everywhere in the world, people love one another and they will love you someday too.

You can find The Unsent Project here.