Everything our fave onscreen couples taught us about love

Ready for your romance era? Whether you're looking for your OTP or just want your coupledom to give chaotic-but-cute energy all day, there's nothing stopping you from living a fully cinematic love story IRL. 

That's because the truly great fictional relationships (aka the ones that will live rent-free in your head when you're old and gray) are actually the ones that would survive a jump from the screen to the real world—even if everything else surrounding them is pure fantasy. 

So if you want to live the kind of rom-com that deserves its own fandom, learn from the experts and study this list for relationship rules worth following straight from the screen. 

1. Don't worry about what other people think 
The couple: Devi Vishwakumar and Ben Gross, Never Have I Ever

We've all gotten caught in the trap of obsessively worrying about how we look to others...though hopefully not as much as the forever chaotic (but lovably iconic) Devi. The prob? Whether you're comparing yourself to your crush's ex or feeling insecure about how people will judge your new bae, you're not living *your* truth. When Devi stops stressing so much about surface-level things like popularity, she tunes into her authentic feelings, pushing her toward her eventual endgame, Ben (an enemies-to-lovers romance for the ages, tbh). 


2. Doing what you love can lead to who you love 
The couple: Peter Parker and Michelle Jones, The Marvel Cinematic Universe

When you're single, it's easy to fixate on your ideal S.O.—and where you can find a person who checks all the boxes on your list. Instead of spending your time looking for a purely hypothetical human, do things that make you feel full of joy all on your own. Not only will you feel happier (already a win), but you'll meet other people who share your passions. Peter and Michelle barely speak to each other during Spider-Man: Homecoming, but doing academic decathlon together helps them get close enough to crush. 


3. ...But you don't need to have *everything* in common
The couple: Eleanor Shellstrop and Chidi Anagonye, The Good Place

Common interests definitely help some couples bond, but "opposites attract" is a saying for a reason. Dating someone who sees the world in a completely different way can challenge you to grow. When you're opposites in the right ways, it's like two halves of a friendship necklace coming together—and The Good Place's Eleanor and Chidi epitomize all of this. Chidi is anxious and overly cautious to the extreme, while Eleanor is bold and decisive. When they first meet, they seem barely compatible as friends, but they end up bringing out the best in each other—and growing together like the soulmates they are. 


4. Own your communication chemistry 
The couple: Taylor Jewel and Steven Conklin, The Summer I Turned Pretty

No shade to Belly, Conrad and Jere (we're as invested as the rest of the fandom), but there's already a winning team...and it's Taylor and Steven. Their chemistry is so intense it grabs our attention every time they're onscreen (and any couple able to pull focus from the Belly/Conrad/Jere triangle is clearly doing something very right). The thing that really cements Staylor's soulmate status is their top-tier banter. It gives a flirty edge to every conversation, from bickering over a playlist to judging each other's pajama choices. 


5. Honesty is the *only* policy
The couple: Lara Jean Covey and Peter Kavinsky, To All The Boys I've Loved Before

When it comes to making a relationship work, honesty isn't just the best policy, it's the *only* policy. Want a master class on the importance of truth in your relationship? Just rewatch the TATBILB movies, because it's completely at the core of all of Lara Jean and Peter's best (and worst) moments. Since Lara Jean never intended to send her letters, she held nothing back. That openness launched her love journey with Peter and was always part of their biggest couple moments—from confessions of love on a ski trip to writing up a literal long-distance contract at the end of the trilogy. In fact, the only time we see these two really struggle is when they aren't completely transparent with each other (remember the Stanford acceptance debacle?). Not. Worth. It. 


6. Embrace the unexpected
The couple: Paige Evans and AJ Campo, Crush

Nothing in this life is ever predictable, but that goes double (triple? Infinit-able?) for love. Even when you're crushing harder than you ever knew was possible, remember to be open to whatever (or whomever) life throws at you. In Crush, Paige has such tunnel-vision feelings for Gabby that she can't imagine falling for anyone else—until she finds herself on the track team with AJ. Even though the sitch leads to some embarrassing (but also adorable) moments, what seemed like a wrong turn leads Paige down the path she was truly meant to take.


7. The real thing is worth waiting for
The couple: Gina Porter and Ricky Bowen, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series

Being patient is hard—especially when feelings get involved. But if you want the kind of romance that deserves to be immortalized onscreen, then you don't just want a S.O., you want happily ever after and all of it. And that kind of love takes time. If you feel your patience wearing thin, just think of Ricky and Gina's love journey on HSMTMTS. It takes them *years* to go from friendship to relationship, but it ends up being worth the wait. 


Hey, girl! Just wanted to let you know that this story originally ran in our February/March 2024 issue. Want more? Read the print mag for free *today* when you click HERE.

Top image: @xokittynetflix
Slider image: @tsitpseriesupdates


by Kayleigh Roberts | 2/1/2024