Do you really think Buffy didn't deserve Riley and that he was perfect? I mean, I like Riley, but he was pretty selfish toward the end (and I get that you have to be a bit selfish in a relationship, but there are some fucking limits)
I mean, their relationship was very complicated, but on the whole, yes, I thought Buffy was far more selfish in it than he was. Riley was consistently there for her, dedicated to her, open with her, vulnerable with her, willing to go the extra mile. And Buffy locked him out. She refused to connect with him. She gave him none of herself. And that just doesn’t work. Riley was utterly in love with her, willing to do anything for her. Up until the whole vampire blood leech fiasco, Riley was a saint. He was stable, dependable, attentive, sweet, loving, flexible, understanding, etc, etc. Of course he wasn’t perfect. Nobody is, but Riley tried his damnedest to make Buffy happy. And she was totally emotionally unavailable during their entire relationship. And he waited for her. He gave her time and space. He was a ludicrously supporting and caring partner without reaching clingy territory.
And yes, he fucked up. After so much time spent trapped in a relationship where he was giving far more than he was receiving, he lashed out. He did something rash and stupid to try and remedy his own emotional confusion. And he was definitely in the wrong there. But what he was feeling wasn’t. He had every right to feel frustrated with Buffy. To feel neglected and ignored. I don’t think Buffy ever loved Riley. And yet she kept expecting the relationship to work. She selfishly continued something she had no true emotional stake in and seriously hurt Riley in the process. So, while Riley’s departure was abrupt, was it really? The signs were all there. Everything with the leech was just the straw that broke the camel’s back. He didn’t belong with Buffy because Buffy wouldn’t let him belong. That’s where all of Riley’s insecurities came from! Not the fact that Buffy was strong and independent. Riley’s wife is INCREDIBLY strong and independent. But she’s also in sync with him. They fight together – side by side. But Buffy always left him behind. Always pushed him away. And when Xander finally smacked some sense into Buffy? Made her realize all that she was losing by shutting Riley out? It was too damn little too damn late. Riley had been through enough at that point. HE screwed up on top of it all and I think he knew the relationship was never going to be what he wanted it to be without seeing a change in Buffy’s behavior.
And even if Buffy had made it to the platform on time and Riley had seen her and they’d reconciled? I don’t think anything would have been different. I think Buffy would have still been distant and unwilling to connect with him. I think Riley would have been just as starved for that connection. It would have been a rehash. And Riley gets his happy ending and I’m glad. He deserves it.
But yeah. I think Buffy was the problem in that relationship, not Riley. Riley acted out in anger and frustration and it wasn’t cool. But there’s a reason he did that. Buffy dismissed him – maybe not consciously – but she did. Their relationship was unbalanced. Riley tried to be understanding of her situation and her baggage. He did. He was beyond patient with her. And it wasn’t enough for Buffy. No matter what Riley did, it wasn’t enough. He wasn’t Angel. And she never fully let that go.
I also just really loved Riley in the show and so many people hate on him. It is immensely rare to find another Buffy fan who likes Riley. Most of them seem to despise him for some reason. Which confuses and frustrates me. So I’m overly defensive of him. Because I feel as if I have to be. I get out my mamma bear claws whenever he’s mentioned. Riley was an incredibly admirable character who made some mistakes. He was a good person. He was a great person. And while I understand people thinking he’s boring or not right for Buffy (I don’t think he’s right for her either, obviously) I have no patience with people hating him or trying to convince me he was a slimy guy. Cause he wasn’t. He really wasn’t.
So that’s why I got a little intense in my tags about him. Hahaha.