Sonny’s side in all of this is what’s so interesting. We know where Paul stands. He thinks Sonny is the love of his life. The only time he felt truly happy was when they were together. He’s been crazy lonely since Sonny left him, and he has their connection/past on a pedestal. I get him relating their relationship to John/Marlena because Sonny probably represents something like the end of the rainbow for him. If he can just get there, then everything will be good again.
With Sonny, it could go either way, depending on the writers. Right now, do I believe Sonny would equate their situation to Jarlena? Not really. Not yet. Sonny walked away from Paul, and I honestly don’t think he looked back (at the time). We first met Sonny fresh off the Paul breakup– apparently– and he was fine. He was still happy-go-lucky Sonny who was dating and optimistic and romantically minded. The break-up didn’t break him. He moved on. Paul didn’t. The truth is that if Sonny and Will had been in a good place when Paul first reappeared, then there would have been no emotional affair on Sonny’s part. He would have shut all this down at the start like he did with my poor Brian. If you go back and watch their early scenes, from before Sonny found out about Will and Paul, then you’ll see a lot more resistance on his part. The heart eyes were not quite so strong, and he seemed way more enthusiastic about his marriage while talking about it with Paul. We saw Sonny being ride-or-die for Will Horton for YEARS before Paul was even a thought in anyone’s mind. So no, I would not buy that he and Paul have been soulmates a la Jarlena all along. More wishful thinking on Paul’s part.
HOWEVER. Going forward, I think Paulson could absolutely BECOME a la Jarlena. Because Sonny’s marriage has been crumbling for months. He hasn’t been happy in months. He’s at his most vulnerable. And he has people coming out of the woodwork to fill his head with doubts about his marriage. Justin flew all the way back from Hong Kong to confuse him about Paul. With everyone constantly pushing him, Sonny would have to wonder, “DO I still love Paul?” The confusion is key. Considering all of his issues with Will, Paul, with all his romantic declarations and unswerving devotion and THAT BODY… well, he’s got to be looking pretty good about now. If you continue a behavior, then it’s because you’re getting something out of it. Sonny is currently having an emotional affair with Paul even if he doesn’t acknowledge it. He’s getting something out of it or he wouldn’t keep having these moments with him.
Still. For Sonny to be the Marlena in this triangle, the writers need to turn the dial up on Sonny’s side of this mess. And they might do just that. The potential is there. Sonny’s increasingly torn expressions while gazing at Paul and his increasingly weaker defenses of his marriage hint at some tumultuous stuff going on under the surface. The potential is really in Sonny’s basic character. Sonny doesn’t just love someone. When he loves them, he LOVES them. Ride or die. So, if he admits that he still loves Paul, then how is he supposed to just turn that off? Five months later, he still hasn’t. So there’s potential here for some truly angsty, glorious twists in this triangle.