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Sex + Relationships

Love Bites: Bella’s Dating Don’ts from Twilight

Twilight: Breaking Dawn, Part One is coming out in theaters this fall, and soon you won’t be able to escape the pop culture craze surrounding our favorite girl-meets-vampire love story.
In case you needed a recap: Bella, an average angst-ridden teenage girl, falls in love with the high school outcast, Edward Cullen. He’s tall, pale, and handsome (not to mention, he drives one mean Volvo). And while we collegiettes™ would all love to have a sexy Edward Cullen promise us eternal love– (with those come-hither eyes and tousled hair, Robert Pattinson is nothing short of dreamy) is that really good for us? In her relationship with Edward, Bella gets a lot of it wrong, love-wise!
Whether you root for Team Edward or Team Jacob, or whether you’ve ever even gotten into the Twilight franchise at all, most of us can agree that Edward and Bella have a less-than-healthy relationship. Here are some dating don’ts, brought to you by the creepiest I mean, sweetest teen love story ever told.

Don’t jump into a committed relationship.
Bella was admittedly in a rut by the time she moved to Forks, Washington. Her parents were divorced, and she was uprooted to a new town to move in with a father who, up until now, hadn’t been in her life. And in the depths of her teen angst, she didn’t focus on making friends or engage in her community. So what did she do? She locked her sights on the school “bad boy.” If you’re feeling unfulfilled, a boyfriend is not always the answer. And if you’re going through a significant change in your life, you might not be stable enough to be in a committed relationship.

Don’t date blood-sucker boyfriends.
Sure, he say she’s different. He might give you a line like, “I’m not like all the other vampires out there; I’m a vegetarian vamp, promise!”  But let’s not get confused, Edward is actually a vampire and what we call a blood-sucker boyfriend.
He might be all sparkly on the outside and have abs to die for, but really he’s just out to suck your blood. A blood-sucker boyfriend drains you of energy, time, and makes you feel unfulfilled as an individual, and that’s exactly what Edward does to Bella. Your best bet is always to stay true to yourself and not let a guy take up all your time and brainwaves. Your relationship should be an important part of your life, but it should never be the ONLY part.

Don’t get caught in his “bad-boy” trap.
Edward: he’s enchanting, elusive, and sparkles in the sunlight. He’s also manipulative, possessive, and, let’s face it: kind of a creep. He “protects” Bella by lurking down dark alleys to save her from bad guys and watching her sleep from her bedroom window… can you say stalker? You’re better off getting a restraining order than dating this guy.
Even author Stephanie Meyer admitted that he’s bad boyfriend material. “Maybe Edward would not be the best boyfriend, because he’s such a tortured soul,” she said in a 2008 interview. “But you also couldn’t just be his friend because he’s terribly sexy and charismatic.”
We want to believe that he’s not as bad as he appears. He looks like a creep, but maybe he’s just misunderstood…
…or maybe he’s just a jerk. Just take a look at some of Bella’s interactions with Edward:

  • When he first meets Bella, he tells her she smells bad.
  • He controls how physical things will get.
  • At a key moment of crisis, he abandons her in the middle of a forest.

Oh yeah, Bella, he sounds like a winner (which is why you’ve clung to him stood by his side for an entire movie franchise, right?). As collegiettes™, we love a challenge when it comes to romantic relationships. We love the mysterious type, the angst-ridden artist you can’t quite figure out. The bad boy you’re constantly left wanting to know more about. We like to think we can tame that guy. But in reality, if a guy pulls any of the above on you, run, don’t walk, no matter how much he sparkles.

Don’t let yourself be defined by your relationship.
You know that girl from high school who defined herself solely by whatever guy she was dating that week? She was never satisfied unless she was with someone, and when she waswith someone, she was totally convinced he was the one. And after they broke up, she’d mope around whining about how awful her life was until she latched onto the next boyfriend.
Meet Bella. Throughout the Twilight saga, it seems to be her one goal in life to be a dutiful girlfriend to Edward and nothing else. This kind of thinking is never healthy. And for collegiettes™, there’s never been a time where it’s more important to avoid, because college is the one time in your life when you can devote one hundred percent of your energy into figuring out who you are and what you want out of life. Don’t let your relationship consume you.

Don’t compromise yourself for him.
If you’ve watched the movies, you’ll know that the one thing that has kept the sexual tension alive between Bella and her undead boyfriend is the whole “I can’t touch you because I might kill you” thing (you can cut the sexual tension between them with a knife) and one of the biggest tensions in the series has been the question of whether Bella would change herself into a vampire. She seems to have two options: live with your boyfriend forever as an unhappy, undead vampire or die alone as a happy human?
Ok, so chances are you’ll never face the choice of being turned into an undead vampiress, but more likely, you’ve been faced with the decision to compromise a part of yourself to better fit the mold of a relationship with a guy. Bella gave up more than just her mortality. She jumped right into a whirlwind engagement and marriage, tossing aside possibilities for a career, independence, and personal fulfillment. You should never be willing to compromise your values, beliefs or dreams for anyone.

Don’t think being single is the end of the world.
In New Moon, their relationship takes a turn for the worse when Edward (gentleman that he is) decides to dump Bella in the middle of the woods “for her own safety,” feeding her a less-cheesy version of the same old line: “it’s not you, it’s me.” Bella responds to the breakup by lying in a fetal position in the middle of the forest for three days and, after moping around in a near-catatonic state for a few months of being single, she crashes motorcycles and jumps off cliffs in halfhearted attempts to kill herself.
Sure, breakups can be brutal, but despite what Bella might think, it’s not the end of the world. There are ways to cope, whether it’s a therapeutic scoop of Ben & Jerry’s or going out with your BFFs.

Don’t immediately go on the rebound.
So after all those failed attempts at ending her suffering, what did Bella do when Edward gave her the boot? She immediately looked around for reassurance in the (toned) arms of Jacob, the otherwise convenient guy friend she had been shamelessly friend-zoning for years.
Poor Jacob. We’ve all known the nice guy who always gets his heart broken by the girl he secretly loves. He’s the devoted best guy friend to his dream girl even though she’s made it clear time after time that she’s completely in love with someone else. It’s not fair to lead guys on the way Bella does, especially in the midst of a breakup. Take a lesson from Bella, and the next time you find yourself suddenly single or on the onset of a breakup try to resist the temptation to go on the rebound. Sometimes it’s scary to be single, but the last thing you should do is jump into another committed relationship. It makes for messy feelings and drama later if you decide to try patching things up with your boyfriend.
Hopefully, some of these points might make you rethink potential blood-sucker boyfriends in your life and maybe even take a second look at the Jacob that could be right in front of you (he might not be a shirtless Taylor Lautner, but you get our drift).

Alexandra is a graduate from the University of New Hampshire and the current Assistant Digital Editor at Martha Stewart Living. As a journalism student, she worked as the Director of UNH’s Student Press Organization (SPO) and on staff for four student publications on her campus. In the summer of 2010, she studied abroad at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge University, in England, where she drank afternoon tea and rode the Tube (but sadly no, she did not meet Prince Harry). Since beginning her career, her written work has appeared in USA Today College, Huffington Post, Northshore, and MarthaStewart.com, among others. When not in the office, she can be found perusing travel magazines to plan her next trip, walking her two dogs (both named Rocky), or practicing ballet. Chat with her on Twitter @allie_churchill.
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