Paul Wesley and Nina Dobrev have been keeping their spots in the limelight with their new ventures — Wesley is playing James T. Kirk in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, and Dobrev is co-running a wine company with Julianne Hough. But for now, at least, The Vampire Diaries remains the standout work for both actors, and diehard fans of the show are still very invested in the Stelena ship.
Stelena is one of the most prominent couples in TVD, and a lot of fans were disappointed the couple weren’t endgame on the show. Stefan and Elena were sweet, understanding and very similar people, but in retrospect, there were some harsh realities about the ship that fans have come to realize.
Stefan Was Too Old For Her
Stefan and Elena’s relationship may seem healthy at first blush, but at well over 150 years old, he was way too old for her, even if he was physically stuck at 18, his age when Katherine made him a vampire in 1864. He had been alive for the better part of two centuries, which made hin a very, very old man, compared to 17-year-old Elena.
Despite his physical youth, Stefan had seen the world and had more experience about life and relationships, whereas Elena was a mere teenager whose biggest exposure to the world was her high school in Mystic Falls. It was odd that Stefan hung around high schools as often as he did.
Stefan Stalked Elena
As spontaneous as their meet-cute had been for Elena, that was how premeditated it was for Stefan. He had watched her for a long time, maybe even months, before he formally moved to Mystic Falls and enrolled as a student at school.
It was quite creepy that he had stalked her and then began a relationship with her. The fact that he saved her from the car crash on Wickery Bridge did not absolve him of the deed of having followed her around, unbeknownst to her.
Elena Was Right To Move On
Elena had stopped loving Stefan in season 4, which was evident by her quotes. Many fans fault her for moving on from him as he served Klaus, but she wasn’t wrong in doing so. She was young, and she had tried her best to bring Stefan back, but it was too hard for her to do.
She had given Stefan a large chunk of her life, and also gone above and beyond to rescue him. When Stefan refused to be brought back, it was well within her right to move forward with her life, as she did not owe him eternal obligation.
The Katherine Resemblance Played A Role In The Romance
To idealize the Stelena romance is fine, but to pretend that Elena’s resemblance to Katherine had nothing to do with Stefan’s attraction to her is naive. This was the biggest similarity between Katherine and Elena, and it was what intrigued Stefan the most about the latter at first.
Stefan may have discovered that Elena was a kind and giving human, unlike conniving Katerina, but the looks were what drew him in. The resemblance played an important part in the Stelena romance.
They Could Be Toxic
Stefan and Elena were very compatible, and their values aligned with each other, which was important. Stefan respected Elena’s boundaries like no one else, but Stelena could also get toxic sometimes, which fans realized later.
Stefan threatened to drive her off of Wickery Bridge when negotiating with Klaus, and he ignored her needs completely when she transitioned into a vampire. Digging into her past trauma, being selfish, and neglecting each other’s needs could make the relationship less than ideal, sometimes.
Elena Shouldn’t Have Had To Deal With The Mess
Elena was too young to be caught up in eternal love of any kind, no matter how appealing the ship was to fans. She could have, at any point, walked away from the relationship and all of the supernatural world, especially when she wasn’t being hunted by Klaus anymore.
Instead, she put up with all the emotional drama between the Salvatores, became a target, and led a generally messy and difficult life, all because she got involved with Stefan. She may have had a better life if she had left Mystic Falls or at least left Stefan.
Stefan’s Intolerance Was Their Downfall
While Stefan and Elena are touted as soulmates to date, the undoing of their relationship was Stefan’s weird intolerance for her changed form as a vampire. He did not support Elena, nor did he teach her how to feed and survive in a sustainable manner when she first turned.
He was so shocked by the fact that she was no longer human, that he dedicated all of his energies to finding the cure. If he had accepted her in her new form and helped her through it, their relationship might have survived.
Elena Had An Emotional Affair With Damon
She may not have meant to, but Elena most definitely had an emotional affair with Damon, while she was looking for Stefan. They grew closer in his absence, which would have been alright up to a limit, but she started confiding in her boyfriend’s brother a little too much for comfort.
This emotional intimacy was what led to the beginning of sparks between Damon and Elena. If she had maintained some boundaries with Damon, her relationship with Stefan would not have been damaged too much.
Their Relationship Was The Healthier One For Elena
Delena or Stelena will perhaps be the eternal debate for TVD fans, but the reality is that even with all the bad moments, Stefan was the healthier, better partner for Elena. She chose his brother in a quest for excitement, but Stefan was reliable and loving, which Elena’s younger self did not realize.
This is a win for Stelena shippers, but also a difficult truth for them to face because Elena chose the wrong brother, even when she had the chance to be with the better one.
They Stood No Chance Around Damon
In retrospect, most Stelena fans would realize that their consistent, stable relationship didn’t hold a candle to the danger and excitement that Damon brought to the table. The forbidden romance trope translates beautifully on television and piques audience interest like nothing else.
Stefan was clearly the better boyfriend of the two, but Damon was more exciting — and more entertaining. His charisma and the nature of his romance with Elena was always going to win out on The Vampire Diaries.
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