Buffy Love, Lust and Trust -- A Relationship Analysis

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Title: Buffy Love, Lust and Trust -- A Relationship Analysis
Creator: Colleen Hillerup
Date(s): 2001
Medium: online
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Topic: Buffy/Spike
External Links: On Buffy, love, lust and trust, Archived version
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Buffy Love, Lust and Trust -- A Relationship Analysis is a 2001 Buffy the Vampire Slayer essay by Colleen Hillerup.

This essay was posted to the Tabula Rasa website.


Does Buffy love Spike? That's the question I sought to answer in reviewing the current season thus far since Afterlife. I admit to a certain pro bias which will colour my conclusions, and no doubt another poster could come up with an equally valid argument in the negative, using the same source material. I'm not only looking for evidence of love (whatever that may mean), but also sexual attraction to and trust of Spike.

Unfortunately, there are a few gaps in my tape collection, specifically Flooded and All the Way, which I cannot fully investigate here beyond memory, but hope to garnish sometime in the summer rerun schedule.

In studying these episodes, I also came to the conclusion that a study of the instances where the characters lie, both to each other and to themselves, would also be enlightening. Perhaps another day.

Is sexual attraction love? No, but I would say there is a correlation. The desire is obvious, "A bloody revelation" Spike calls it, yet she denies it. She tells him, "One vampire got me hot, and it wasn't you." She's spent the night proving this to be a lie. When she spits out the words, "You were ... convenient" she seems to carefully pick out the worst word she can think of. It is another lie. There is nothing convenient about Spike. When Dawn is in trouble, she goes to him. Again, she trusts him without consideration. Apparently, she is afraid to touch his naked body, throwing a candle at him to wake him up. She looks away from his nudity, though she has become familiar with his body; less embarrassment than the avoidance of tempting thoughts.

Though she may deny it, he knows he has touched her emotionally. "You felt something last night." "Not love." "Not yet." When Dawn screams, they are a team. The look they exchange is instinctual. And while she may not trust herself with Spike, she trusts him with her sister. They communicate on a non verbal level when he suggests she go to Willow. When she stops thinking about the implications of her feelings, they work as one.

I think that when she says to Spike, "You're not a part of my life," it is a reaction to the words of the doctor in the asylum. Spike is a vampire and cannot exist in real life. She will soon extend that concept to include her friends and sister. But Spike takes it as another rejection of their relationship, and inadvertently echoes her 'mother's' words - that she shouldn't be a hero. She can't deal with the complication their relationship brings to her life, and she pours out the antidote, rejecting not only Spike, but everyone else in her life that she should love - her friends and Dawn. She retreats to the childhood love and care of her parents. In trying to destroy her 'construct' life, she tries to kill them all, telling Dawn that this can't be reality. How could she be a "girl who sleeps with a vampire she hates?" But I ask, if she asks the question, does she really hate him? She finally decides to face her problems, which must include her relationship with Spike, when asylum Joyce tells her, "I know the world seems like a hard place sometimes, but you've got people who love you." She chooses the people of Sunnydale.

What would be necessary for their relationship to work? Before Buffy can truly love anyone, her friends, her sister or Spike, she needs to learn to love herself. And she needs to respect Spike. On his part, he needs to accept himself as the less than evil person he has become, and gain some self-esteem.

So, does Buffy love Spike? I think so, but only time will tell the tale conclusively. In the meantime, I do not think the ship has sailed. I think it is in drydock for a refitting.