Relationships between humans and supernatural entities are common in the world of The Vampire Diaries, but Stefan Salvatore and Elena Gilbert were the couple that started it all. Before Stefan, a 161-year-old vampire, came to Mystic Falls, the town had overcome its vampire infestation, leaving its citizens in relative peace. When Stefan saved Elena after her parents’ car went off Wickery Bridge, though, he found he couldn’t keep away from her. Sparks flew as soon as the pair met, kicking off a relationship that drew all manner of supernatural creatures to the formerly tranquil town.
Soon, Mystic Falls became a center of supernatural activity. As vampires, werewolves, and witches swarmed there, the people in Elena’s inner circle found themselves drawn into her and Stefan's struggles, too. Often Elena's loved ones became supernatural creatures themselves.
Through it all — at least for The Vampire Diaries’ first few seasons — Stefan and Elena maintained their faith in one another no matter what challenges they faced. Even as Elena learned more and more about vampires and then other supernatural beings, she never questioned her love for Stefan. Yet, even though the heightened melodrama that comes with dating a vampire makes for good TV, it also frequently defies logic. And this is often the case in Stefan and Elena’s romance. Sure, they’re sweet together, but there are numerous things about their coupling that raise questions.
Here, we delve into 20 Things That Make No Sense About Stefan and Elena's Relationship.
20 THEY’RE UNAWARE OF EACH OTHER’S SUPERNATURAL ORIGINS
When Stefan and Elena first meet, he has no idea she’s a Petrova doppelganger, and she has no idea he’s a vampire. Now, in all fairness, Elena had no idea she was a doppelganger either. However, given Stefan’s connection to Katherine, it seems improbable that he wouldn’t have picked up on at least a little something about doppelgangers and, as a result, would have been a little less flummoxed by Elena’s uncanny resemblance to Katherine.
At the same time, it’s surprising that Elena wasn’t told about vampires from an early age. Although everyone in Mystic Falls isn’t in on the supernatural secret, the Gilberts were a founding family and members of the Council. Plus, John Gilbert, Elena’s uncle, and her biological father says he was taught to hate vampires as a child. Why would the family keep Elena in the dark?
19 STEFAN KNOWS HE SHOULD STAY AWAY FROM ELENA
From the very beginning of the show, Stefan says he knows he should stay away from Elena. He’s well aware that his status as a vampire and the baggage that comes with it has the potential to completely change the course of Elena’s life — and not for the better. Yet, the show hinges on his ignoring his better instincts and approaching her anyway.
After he meets and falls in love with her, Stefan makes a half-hearted attempt to leave town again in order to ensure Elena can live a normal life. Inevitably, it never happens. Of course, if Stefan left there’d be no show, so it’s not surprising he didn't. Yet, if Stefan truly loved Elena and valued her happiness away from the madness he brought with him, he would've gotten far away from Mystic Falls.
18 STEFAN iS NO FUN
Stefan may look dreamy, but he's kind of a stick in the mud. Early in the series, viewers are told that Elena was a lot of fun before she lost her parents. She’s been grieving and hasn’t enjoyed the things she used to. Yet, it seems odd that as she gets over her loss, her main source of happiness comes from hanging out with a vampire who just wants to skulk around and brood.
In fact, the times Stefan is the most fun and carefree, the times he makes Elena laugh and smile, are when he’s drinking human blood. The problem is while the blood makes Stefan fun, it also makes him dangerous. So, the safest Stefan is the one who is constraining his natural instincts — and has the personality to match.
17 THEY GET TOGETHER WHEN ELENA’S AT HER MOST VULNERABLE
Throughout the series, Elena shows that she’s a strong character who knows what she wants and is confident enough to express it. Yet, when Elena loses her parents, it’s implied that she becomes vulnerable in a way that she hasn’t been before. This is when she meets Stefan.
As anyone who’s gone through the loss of a loved one can attest, the grief can make you do things you typically wouldn’t. Eventually, though, you learn to live with the empty space they’ve left in your life. However, on The Vampire Diaries, Elena isn’t so much shown learning to live with her parents’ absence as replacing her grief with her relationship with Stefan. Whether deliberately or not, Stefan took advantage of Elena’s vulnerability.
16 SO MUCH TEEN ANGST
At this point, audiences know they can expect a certain amount of angst from any series that centers on teen romance. When the series involves the supernatural, that angst is turned up to 11, and The Vampire Diaries exemplifies this tradition. Yet, in this show, a great deal of the teen angst is generated by the vampires, most of whom are at least 150 years old, and sometimes far older than that.
In Stefan’s case, almost all of his actions revolve around Elena. He gets jealous, is overprotective, and wants to martyr himself for her at every chance he gets. Part of the vampire mythology of the show is that being a vampire heightens one’s emotions, just like being a teenager does. Still, after a century and a half, Stefan should be exhausted from generating all that melodrama.
15 SHE KNOWS NOTHING ABOUT HIM BUT FALLS ANYWAY
One of the storylines at the beginning of the series involves Elena trying to get to know Stefan. Yet, by the time Elena starts making a bid to learn about him, Elena’s already fallen for him. So, even though Elena’s frustrated that Stefan refuses to talk about himself and dodges her personal questions, the relationship is never truly in danger.
Furthermore, even when Stefan attempts to appease Elena by sharing parts of his life, he continues to lie and omit pieces of his story in an effort to prevent her from learning he’s a vampire. This leads to Elena continuously discovering things about Stefan’s past by accident. Yet, Elena always forgives Stefan for every lie and obfuscation.
14 WHAT HAPPENED TO THEIR JOURNALS?
One of the things that initially brought Stefan and Elena together was that they both kept journals to record what happens in their lives. It was one of the few things Elena knew they had in common, and it made her feel like they shared a connection.
In the first episodes of the series, Elena and Stefan’s journal entries serve as narration for the story. This made perfect sense given the series is called The Vampire Diaries. Yet, after those initial episodes, the narration, and by extension, the journals vanished from the story. This also eliminated one of the most obvious things Elena and Stefan shared, a foundation for their relationship. It’s true that writing in a journal isn’t the most dynamic thing ever put on film, but in the case of The Vampire Diaries, it seemed odd that it disappeared.
13 ALL THE BREAK-UPS AND MAKE-UPS
Elena and Stefan’s relationship lasted about four seasons. However, the amount of time they actually spent together during that time was significantly shorter due to their frequent break ups, makeups, and the various other circumstances that kept them apart.
Initially, Stefan tried to leave town to get away from Elena, and then Elena broke up with Stefan when she discovered he was a vampire. Next, they broke up because Katherine threatened Elena’s family. And there’s also the time Stefan takes an extended trip with Klaus and turns off his humanity. Through it all, neither is willing to completely let the other go and they keep coming back to each other — even when they acknowledge it’s a bad idea.
12 ELENA’S ATTRACTED TO DAMON
Damon rolls into town at the beginning of the series as the bad boy counterpart to his upstanding younger brother. At first, Damon is the character everyone hates, even Stefan. Yet, after a few episodes, and despite her best efforts to stay away from him, Elena starts to bond with Damon. By the end of the first season, it becomes obvious that Elena is starting to feel attracted to Damon despite her commitment to Stefan.
Elena makes a big deal of being Damon’s friend, but that friendship is frequently threatened. Damon often does the wrong thing, including ending Elena's little brother. Yet no matter how many times Elena says she’ll never forgive Damon, she always does. By the time he almost passes away from a wolf bite, Elena’s cuddling with Damon in bed. When Stefan’s away with Klaus, they kiss. No matter how hard she denies it, Elena can’t seem to stay away from Damon.
11 THEY NEVER TALK ABOUT ANYTHING BUT VAMPIRE BUSINESS
Once Elena learns the truth about Stefan and vampires, it seems the supernatural crises never stop coming. Whether they’re dealing with Vicki turning into a vampire, the Council hunting Stefan and Damon down, or an Original hot on their heels, Stefan and Elena don’t get a moment’s rest from the forces that are constantly menacing them.
As a result, the pair never seems to talk about much besides vampire business. They’re constantly strategizing about how to overcome the latest threat. Or fretting over what may be coming. Or attempting to understand what they’re up against. While it keeps things interesting, there doesn’t seem to be much time left over to talk — and bond — about anything else.
10 ELENA HAS NO LIFE OUTSIDE OF STEFAN
Before Elena lost her parents, it’s implied that she had hobbies and interests. She was a cheerleader, she applied to be a part of Miss Mystic Falls. Yet, while Caroline maintains so many commitments she seems super-human before she becomes a vampire, and her other friends cultivate various activities that keep them engaged with the world, Elena seems to have no investment in anything outside of Stefan.
Elena makes half-hearted attempts to return to her old life, but she also confesses that the things she used to care about simply hold no meaning for her anymore. She claims this is because of the loss of her parents. However, it seems she also replaces those pursuits with the drama surrounding all things Stefan.
9 STEFAN STALKED ELENA FOR MONTHS BEFORE MEETING HER
Stefan eventually confesses to Elena that he was the one who rescued her from the car when her parents drove off Wickery Bridge. In the process, he also admits that he stalked her for months afterward before introducing himself to her.
He explains away his actions by saying he was curious about her and that by following her he learned how wonderful she was. Maybe Elena only hears the second part, but the first part makes Stefan seem super-creepy. Essentially, Stefan was a presence in Elena’s life far long before she realized, violating her privacy during the most difficult part of her young life.
8 THEY STAY FRIENDS EVEN AFTER ELENA GETS WITH damon
Stefan and Elena were supposed to be soul mates. After Elena becomes a vampire, however, she quickly loses interest in Stefan. At first, this is due to her sire bond with Damon. Yet, even after the sire bond is broken, Elena still chooses Damon over Stefan. Stefan has to let go of any hope of rekindling a relationship with Elena. Over time, though, they manage to develop a close friendship.
It’s strange enough that the only two guys Elena is interested in are brothers, but it’s even stranger that she would stay close with the brother she didn’t choose. It seems like that would make family gatherings pretty awkward. On the other hand, Stefan and Damon were very open about sharing Katherine before they became vampires, so perhaps the practice helped.
7 THEIR RELATIONSHIP PUTS THEM IN DANGER
Being with Stefan makes Elena a target. Anyone who wants Stefan to do something for them can come after Elena, whose humanity makes her fragile. This danger ensnares all of Elena’s friends and family, too, making each of them vulnerable to the whims of supernatural entities.
However, more than once it seems Stefan and Elena believe love will conquer all. When Katherine comes back to town and threatens everyone Elena loves, the couple maintains their relationship despite the risk. It isn’t until Katherine compels Jenna to take her own life that Elena recognizes the dangerous reality. Still, Elena tells Stefan they have to make sure her friends and family are safe before they get back together, seemingly unaware that Stefan’s status as a vampire ensures they’ll never be completely safe.
6 ELENA TRUSTS STEFAN EVEN WHEN SHE SHOULDN’T
Early in their relationship, Stefan gets addicted to human blood after Elena forces him to drink hers. Despite the obvious danger and the warnings from others, including Stefan himself, Elena maintains her faith in Stefan regardless of what he does. His blood addiction causes him to pick fights, to come very close to hurting her, and to abandon her when she needs him.
Yet, Elena’s trust is so unconditional that even after she locks him in the basement to get the human blood out of his system, she still doesn't believe he'll hurt her. So, instead of keeping him isolated while his cravings are at their worst, she lets him out. Sure, her trust is rewarded, but it doesn’t make her actions less foolhardy.
5 STEFAN’S RIPPER PAST
Of the two vampires that originally reside in Mystic Falls, Stefan is considered the good one. He’s moral and honorable and wants to protect the town’s mostly oblivious humans. In contrast to Damon, Stefan seems like a prince. However, Stefan is unlike Damon in one very crucial way. Stefan is a Ripper, meaning that when he starts drinking a person’s blood he can’t stop. When that side of him comes out, he's absolutely brutal.
Stefan feels guilty afterward, but that doesn’t prevent him from taking more lives when his hunger gets the better of him. To prevent that from happening, Stefan maintains a steady intake of animal blood. At several points throughout the series, though, it’s shown how dangerous he can be when he isn’t disciplined about his diet. While Elena learns about Stefan’s Ripper tendencies and even discovers that he was responsible for dispatching one of her ancestors, it barely gives her pause. She loves him despite the horror he’s caused.
4 ELENA LOOKS JUST LIKE STEFAN’S EX
The thing that first attracts Stefan to Elena is her resemblance to his ex-girlfriend, Katherine, the woman responsible for making a vampire. Initially, he wants to understand how it’s possible that Elena looks identical to a vampire Stefan believed was long gone. Instead, he falls hard for her.
He keeps Elena’s resemblance to Katherine a secret from her until she discovers a photo of Katherine among his things. Despite Elena’s dismay at the revelation, Stefan convinces her that his interest in her is totally unrelated to anything he had with Katherine. Yet, Stefan is constantly comparing Elena to Katherine. While Elena comes out on top in those comparisons, Stefan still seems to view her as one of a pair, not as an individual in her own right.
3 STEFAN TREATS ELENA badly BUT SHE STILL LOVES HIM
During The Vampire Diaries’ third season, Stefan is forced to go on a quest with Klaus during which he can’t call or write. After his return to Mystic Falls, Klaus compels Stefan to turn off his humanity and make sure no harm comes to Elena. So, although Stefan protects her, he also treats Elena like dirt. Once Stefan finally gets his humanity back, instead of apologizing and reuniting with Elena, he becomes obsessed with ending Klaus.
Through it all, Elena remains devoted to Stefan. There are numerous times when she would have been justified if she had given up on the relationship. Nonetheless, she still attests to her love for him, even when he’s acting like he couldn’t care about her less.
2 SUBSTANTIAL AGE DIFFERENCE
Traditionally May-December romances between a much older man and a young woman raise some eyebrows. If the young woman is 16 at the time, it raises suspicions even more. Then there are romances between teenage girls and vampires who’ve celebrated a centennial, like Elena and Stefan.
If Stefan actually looked like the 161-year-old he was, his relationship with Elena would definitely have raised a few eyebrows. Yet, because he looks like a young man, no one questions the romance. Of course, most people have no idea Stefan’s a vampire. But Stefan does, and his continued interest in a girl who’s still in high school is strange. He seems to have gained no wisdom over his century and a half of existence that makes the concerns of a teenager become less than intriguing.
1 REGULAR SLEEPOVERS
When it comes to the things that make no sense about Stefan and Elena’s relationship, one of the biggest examples is one of the most practical. Elena is still in high school and yet she often sleeps over at Stefan’s place or has Stefan sleepover at her place.
Yes, Elena’s parents are gone so she isn’t being raised in a so-called “typical” family anymore. However, it’s difficult to imagine her aunt Jenna, her guardian, wouldn’t object to this arrangement given Elena isn’t of legal age. Jenna is young and isn’t exceptional at her new parental duties, but putting her foot down on this one seems like the least a legal guardian would do.
Is there anything else that doesn't make sense about Stefan and Elena on The Vampire Diaries? Let us know in the comments!