like, the most compelling ships for me always stem out of one thing: the characters have a profound, ongoing effect on each other’s senses of selves. when they are apart, the characters’ actions are still affected by each other. the way they approach the world changes because of the other.
which is this deeply Austenian view of ideal romantic relationships as mechanisms by which we come to know ourselves better and become better versions of ourselves. good romance, for me, is always tied in with a sense of self-actualization, and the way in which a beloved partner allows a person to know themselves better.