relationships television

an open letter to pretty little liars on healthy relationships

** Spoilers ahead!
Dear Liars (of the Pretty and Little variety) and their significant others,
You four lead the best show on current television. Congrats on that! What you don’t necessarily lead are healthy relationships on television. Though, come to think of it, you’re doing better than most…but there’s always room for improvement. I’ll address each of you individually for maximum healthy behavior edumacatin’.
Hanna and Caleb,
Y’all are topping the charts for healthiest relationship on the show. You both spend a good amount of time apart, you’re really open with one another, you get along with each other’s friends and family, and you believe in each other’s commitment to the relationship. Good for you! What concerns me is the way Caleb repeatedly goes behind your back to protect you, even after you’ve expressed that you don’t want him in that position. You’ve handled yourself thus far and his efforts to keep you safe sometimes put you both in more danger. Caleb, be respectful of Hanna’s boundaries! I know you want to be the strong man in her life who keeps her safe from all danger, but that isn’t necessarily your responsibility, especially if she’s asked you not to. And Hanna, don’t go behind his back with plans that could get you sent to jail. Less about healthy dating and more about common sense.
xo Nicole
//
Emily and Paige,
Hey Em, remember that time Paige tried to drown you? Yes, but you’ve forgiven her and you’ve both moved on? Great! That’s how it’s done. No, I’m not condoning her past behavior, but this is what it looks like to change and to forgive. Nicely done. What’s not so nice is the jealousy you both harbor. You’ve both experienced so much loss, Emily especially, so it’s natural to have jealous feelings. However, it’s not healthy to act on them. If you truly trust each other, it shouldn’t matter if Shauna had a thing with Paige or if Zoe has a crush on Emily, because each of you is committed not looking for anyone else. You’re making big plans for the future, but these aren’t going to be realistic if you can’t put the jealousy aside.
xo Nicole
//
Spencer and Toby,
My heart is all over this relationship, but I can’t let that bias distract me from the truth. The truth is that, after you found Toby was -A, you never fully got over it. Understandable. He legitimately joined the team of people trying to hurt you and your friends, and worse, he didn’t tell you. It was a big mistake, but moving forward, the mistake is that you haven’t decided whether or not you can trust him anymore. Trust is something that happens within us, not something someone can earn back by achieving a list of requirements. If his word that he’s not working with -A anymore isn’t enough, it won’t ever be. And Toby, you’re doing a terrible job of helping her learn to trust you again by going behind her back to avenge your mother’s death. You two have got to get your intentions and feelings in the open if you want to stand a chance at making it. I hope you do. #spoby4life
xo Nicole
//
Aria and Ezra,
I know, this is awkward, seeing as you’re not together anymore and…well…sorry to spoil it for you, Aria, but he might have been behind all of this -A business all along (though I’m not totally convinced yet!). But I want to talk about your relationship anyway. I know you thought that because you loved each other, it didn’t matter that he was your teacher, but it did. As your teacher, he was always in a position of power. Healthy relationships need equality to function, and yours inherently couldn’t. You were never able to fully overcome the secrecy, much less the worry of what would happen if anyone found out. We never saw it in the show, but as your teacher, he could have pressured you to do things with grades, college, and your reputation on the line. Even if he never used this power, it still existed, which is a big problem. This is why students and teachers can’t date: the dynamics will never be healthy if there isn’t equality. Martial Arts Jake is boring and you see yourself intellectually above him, so a long-term relationship isn’t in the cards here either. This might be a great time to fly solo and not define yourself by the men who are or aren’t in your life.
xo Nicole
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