I've been reading the Twilight Series lately. I won't call it a saga. It's not epic enough. Right now I'm on New Moon. Most everyone knows the story by now and the controversy about how bad the books are. There are a lot of reasons to hate the books. They are poorly written for one. Another thing is this idea of true love that is being forced on the reader. That if you meet "the one" and you lose him or her that there is no one else out there for you. Do you believe that? What about the saying "there are plenty of fish in the sea"?
In Bella's case Edward leaves her in the beginning of the book. She goes into a deep depression and basically accepts the fact that she will never be happy again. At some point she starts to hear Edward's voice in her head when she does dangerous or reckless things. So she does these reckless and dangerous things on an almost daily basis so that she can hear her "true love's" voice scolding her. Her best friend Jacob develops feelings for her, but she doesn't really consider him an option because she considers herself forever broken because Edward left her. She talks constantly about how much she needs Jacob and wants to be near him. Jacob fills the void left in her when Edward left. Jacobs arms can hold her together when she's falling apart. She wants to have a claim on him, but she feels like being with him is a betrayal to her "true love".
She considers Jacob's love to be somehow of less value than Edward's even though she seems to connect better with Jacob than Edward. With Edward she mostly talked about how good he looked. More than half of the first book was about how perfect Edward's face was. With Jacob she talks about what he does for her, how she feels better when he is around, how his personality itself is attractive. When she starts to consider Jacob as an option, she belittles it. She could give Jacob that tiny fraction of her heart that is not forever devoted to Edward. She could make him happy, but she would never be happy with him. According to Bella, Jacob is not worthy of her love and she is not worthy of being loved by him.
It annoys me because "true love" in this case is forever pinning after a man who broke you. True love is throwing away a chance at happiness in order to hold on to your suffering. She refuses to let go of the man who broke her so badly her father was on the verge of having her committed. She denigrates Jacob's love ONLY because it is not Edward's love. There is no other reason. She would rather wallow in her pain than give someone the chance to make her happy. That is not true love. That is obsession and desperation.
What exists between Bella, Edward, and Jacob is more like addiction. Bella is addicted to Edward. When he leaves she goes through withdraw. Jacob is the pill she takes to feel better. When Edward comes back, she no longer needs her pill so Jacob is tossed aside.
People have different views of what love is and I cannot say from my own experience that I have the answer, but I know that sacrificing potential happiness to hold on to suffering is not love. Especially when the object of your affection is what caused the suffering in the first place. The people who truly love you want you to be happy. They don't want you to destroy yourself because they are not around. I have seen some good romantic movies where someone's love interest died and they handled it better than Bella did. Those characters lost their loves and found a way to move on.
Better love stories than Twilight: Love Actually, Casablanca, Titanic, Unfaithful, In the Mood for Love, Chunhyang, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Heaven Knows Mr. Allison, Howl's Moving Castle, The Princess Bride.