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Relationship Rehab: A Therapist’s Perspective on The Vampire Diaries’ Stefan and Elena 

Photo Credit: Bob Mahoney/The CW

In the third season of The Vampire Diaries (TVD), the writers have effectively broken up the main power couple in favor of some excellent storyline and the real possibility of a Damon-Elena pairing. A D-E pairing has always been flirted with because we have always known that Damon loved Elena. For Elena to have feelings for him is something I didn’t expect.

When Stefan and Elena first got together, Elena was fresh off of losing both her parents in a car crash. Admittedly, an event like that makes people more vulnerable than they would normally be. She was living with her brother and her aunt Jenna in a free form household. I did like Aunt Jenna but she really wasn’t the best guardian was she? She seemed oblivious to Elena’s grieving as well as to Jeremy who was bordering on being suicidal throughout the first season. In walks Stefan… a very hot male who readily offered the stability that Elena needed. He was mysterious and seemed quite worldly compared to what Mystic Falls typically offered. Remember, Elena broke up with Matt who was the quintessential good guy but way too boring for our Elena.

Photo Credit: The CW

As Stefan and Elena’s relationship progressed, Elena became increasingly dependent on Stefan for her stability. She needed his presence in her life. Learning he was a vampire only enhanced the attraction for her. Each crisis they fought together (and they’ve fought many) only enhanced the bond she formed with him as her primary attachment figure (which is is just as strong as one would have with a parent). In other words, their bond was strong, and as far as Elena was concerned, it was for the long haul. Stefan became her rock and the person who would be there for her no matter what went down.

Stefan came to Elena after he became a changed man, after he felt he had gained redemption after all the terrible thing he had done in his life. We saw a brief glimpse into Stefan’s true nature when he fell off the wagon for a few episodes. “The Ripper” part of him was revealed to Elena briefly before he was weened off human blood again. It’s been interesting that they have compared Stefan’s love of human blood to an addiction. He definitely had to go cold turkey to return to his “normal” self. TVD writers have done an excellent job of showing that, unfortunately, Stefan’s alter wasn’t that far beneath the surface and that it could be brought out.

I have enjoyed seeing Elena begin to develop as her own person starting in Season 3. She has taken it upon herself to let Damon train her instead of forever being the “damsel in distress” to Stefan’s eternal hero.

Photo Credit: Bob Mahoney/The CW

Stefan and Elena have had a tight bond with each other that hasn’t been shaken. That is, until Klaus came to town. Klaus has ignited in Stefan some of his worst parts. Although before the Original hit town, we surprisingly learned through flashbacks, that Stefan was the one to turn Damon. Stefan was the one to be the most evil before reforming himself with the aide of Lexie.

I believe Elena and Stefan may be down for the count for a while. I do think Stefan will eventually come around but I think he has done enough to really kill the majority of Elena’s feelings of love for him. I call them “attachment injuries” to the relationship. These are events that cause trauma in the life of a relationship. Stefan committed a few of these in Elena’s eyes. Her deep feelings and bond with him is being severed because of these events. Stefan has looked her in the eye and talked to her as a stranger who didn’t care about her. Her family has been hurt because of him.

I’m sure that eventually Stefan and Elena will make their way back to each other but I’m rooting for Damon in the short-term.

Mjcc64 is an experienced licensed therapist and is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy.

The Vampire Diaries airs Thursdays at 8/7c on the CW.

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1 Comment

  1. water leader

    elena pls. i miss her so much

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