I don't understand why people assume that it will always be Stefan and Elena. Even some DE fans believe this, and that seriously puzzles me because there's a lot about the way the triangle has been written that seems to be saying the opposite.
Let's look at the source of this mythical assumption. First: that Stefan was the first brother Elena fell in love with; a very common (but highly illogical) belief amongst Stelenappers that this somehow acts as a precedent to an SE endgame.
I don't think there was anything very remarkable about the way SE met and fell in love. While I do think that the speed of how it happened is unusual for any couple in any TV show, the rest of it is very ordinary. After a lot of flirtatious looks and banter exchanged between them, they get talking one night, hit it off, and subsequently decide that they are 'in love'.
If you look at Elena and Stefan's lives individually at the beginning of the show, they are 2 people who are in danger of sleep-walking through their days and are looking for something to give them a new focus and a new direction. Elena is readjusting to life without her parents, and is determined she won't be stuck in a vortex of grief, and pitied for being a 'sad little girl'. She is looking for a fresh start, and I think she finds that in Stefan. Likewise, Stefan has been floating through the days, months and years until he sees Elena. At first he thinks she is Katherine, but when he finds out she is not, he is compelled to leave his shadowy existence on the fringes of society because he has to know her. It's like he needs her to get him through the emptiness. His infatuation with Elena makes him feel alive. So I think SE's relationship and the 'fairytale' lens it was seen through had much to do with the fact that it was a relationship that was borne out of a need for stability and a re-awakening, not necessarily because it was built on an 'epic' love.
A lot of people use the 'I love Stefan, it's always gonna be Stefan' line in 2x01 as a guarantee that it will indeed always be Stelena. But there are several problems with this. First of all, when Elena said this, she was much more naive than she is today. She said it not knowing that Stefan had been a ripper in the past. When you think about it, the Stefan Elena fell in love with was just a persona; it wasn't the real Stefan. If he had told her everything about his past, not holding anything back, then it might have been different, but he never told her the whole truth. He wanted her to believe that the guy she saw when he was with her was the real him, and it wasn't.
The second thing is, Elena later unknowingly retracts her declaration of eternal love in 2x20. They're talking about why Damon force-fed her his blood, because he loves her. Elena comments that Damon doesn't know what love is, and then admits she doesn't know if she does either. 'I'm only seventeen years old, how am I supposed to know any of this yet?' she asks, on the verge of tears. How can Elena confidently announce she will always love Stefan...when she in fact, doesn't know what love is anyway? Answer: she can't. If she doesn't know what love is, she is in no position to decide if she's going to love someone forever. Quite the opposite actually. I believe that if Stefan WAS Elena's true love, her soulmate, the one she was destined to be with forever, then she would know it within her heart, beyond a shadow of a doubt. But she doesn't, and that means her true love is yet to come. As someone on YouTube wrote: 'Just because Damon wasn't her first love doesn't mean he isn't her greatest love.'
Perhaps the reason why people are so quick to dismiss Delena is because we haven't seen their relationship yet. But here's what we do know. Delena have had an epic build up, and that could signal Stelena's downfall. Instead of just throwing DE together without much thought, the writers have invested a huge amount of time developing the foundation of their friendship, trust and faith in each other, so that when they do have a relationship, DE will be virtually indestructible. In 3x09 when Elena tells Damon 'We'll survive this. We always survive,' it could be a foreshadowing of what the future holds for them, meaning that whatever life throws their way, and however dark or terrifying it might be, it will not destroy them. Forget about Stefan and SE. I don't think the story is about them. Maybe it never was. It's Delena. It will always be Delena...
Comments welcome. (But trolls will be prosecuted.)
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