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Thread: The Xander/Anya relationship

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    Default The Xander/Anya relationship

    I have just listened to the latest Still Pretty podcast "The Prom", and Lani keeps saying that Xander was a horrible boyfriend throughout the relationship and that Anya brings out the worst in him, on the other hand, Anya is basically flawless.

    Such argument always bothered me because while Xanya wasn't perfect - from both sides - it just wasn't an abusive relationship as people make it out to be. Sometimes I feel like I'm watching a different show. My problems with Xanya are different - I feel that it had more potential to be an interesting relationship but was wasted on comic relief. That's not the topic here, though.

    Some of the problems with Xanya IMO are:

    1) Xander wasn't interested in Anya at first, but having her is better than being alone.
    2) Anya doesn't understand Xander's attachment to his friends and the fight against evil.
    3) Xander is embarrassed of Anya's lack of understanding of how the human world operates, especially when it gets side looks from his friends.
    4) Anya rejects the human rules, even if it bothers Xander - like talking about their private life without his consent.
    5) Xander trying to guide Anya through the human world can sometimes veer towards condescending.
    6) Anya doesn't show remorse or guilt about her demon past and talk about her crimes with pride.
    7) Lack of communication on both sides. Xander never openly talked about his discomfort with Anya's past. Anya never openly talked about her dislike of Xander's coping mechanism.

    I find these problems to be very human and exist within real life relationships, which should have made the relationship more interesting if executed well and not shown in a comic relief light.

    Now what no one talks about, the good in Xanya:

    1) Xander took Anya in when no one did, he'd included her in Scooby meetings and events, was openly and publicly affectionate towards her, his friends not warming up to her immediately didn't stop him from showing up with her to various Scooby activities.
    2) Anya made Xander feel loved and respected - like a man - and didn't look down on him despite his young age and lack of experience.
    3) Xander guided Anya through the human world with solid advice most of the time, and gets excited when Anya talks about meeting important figures in history and present day.
    4) Anya's unconditional love for Xander gave him the confidence he sorely lacks.
    5) Xander tries as hard as he can to give Anya what she wants, be it pretty things or the apartment.
    6) Anya endlessly talks up Xander to anyone who would listen.
    7) Xander tends to put Anya's needs first - like in Older and Far Away when Anya needed to be comforted despite his injury, and later siding with her against Willow.
    8) Both showed that they'd sacrifice their lives for each other: Anya pushing Xander out of harm's way in The Gift. Xander going against Buffy in Selfless.


    So... what I'm trying to say is, it's a far more complicated relationship than what others think it is, and it was in no way abusive and the worst thing ever.
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    I've had to stop listening to Still Pretty, it's become too painful.

    I'd agree Xanya is complicated, with good and bad on both sides. I don't think either of them were ready for a serious relationship as they both seemed emotionally immature in a lot of ways.

    2) Anya made Xander feel loved and respected - like a man - and didn't look down on him despite his young age and lack of experience.
    Did Xander make Anya feel loved and respected - like a woman - didn't look down on her despite her vast age and lack of experience in the modern human world? Not sure he did.

    4) Anya's unconditional love for Xander gave him the confidence he sorely lacks.
    Was Xander's love for Anya unconditional and did it give her the confidence she, like all of us, need? I don't thinks so.

    HALFREK: Who told you that it isn't easy to love you?
    ANYA: Well, you know, I'll do something, or say something, and, and then he has to say stuff like, (imitating Xander) 'it's incorrect for you to appreciate money so much,' or, or, 'Observe: here is how a real human would behave.'

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    I seem to enjoy Xander and Anya more and more. I think they are my second favourite couple in the 'verse now.

    It is easily the best exploration of a regular, heterosexual relationship. Xander is a normal dude and Anya is trying to figure out what having a relationship to a normal dude entails. At first, she relies on rom com/sit com cliches, but slowly her genuine human-ness starts to emerge.

    Anya brings out the best in Xander. His relationship to Cordelia, however, was much more messy and usually brought out his worst traits. Xander's biggest problems are his insecurities and his jealousy. Being with Anya makes him both more secure in himself and able to appreciate what he has.

    Xander may seem a little stand-off-ish in "The Prom" (and later "Harsh Light"), but how are you supposed to react when a former all-powerful super villain who tried to kill your best friend suddenly forces herself upon you?

    I think some people have Anya as this wish-fulfilment fantasy (sic!) where they can say whatever is on their mind without consequences, and so they don't like seeing her having to compromise herself in her encounters with other people.

    Quote Originally Posted by Priceless View Post
    Was Xander's love for Anya unconditional and did it give her the confidence she, like all of us, need? I don't thinks so.
    Unconditional love is just fairy tale love. We all yearn to be loved unconditionally, but we know deep down that such a thing is impossible. Neither Xander nor Anya are perfectly lovable people. Nobody is. And so there is some tension.

    Seriously, if Xander loved Anya unconditionally, she would revert back to the psychopathic maniac she used to be.
    Last edited by Willow from Buffy; 20-07-19 at 09:58 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Priceless View Post
    Did Xander make Anya feel loved and respected - like a woman - didn't look down on her despite her vast age and lack of experience in the modern human world? Not sure he did.
    I think he did make her feel loved, some quotes by Xander and Anya:

    Xander: I'm in love with you. Powerfully, painfully in love. The things you do ... the way you think ... the way you move ... I get excited every time I'm about to see you. You make me feel like I've never felt before in my life. Like a man. (Into the Woods)


    Xander: Smart chicks are so hot. (The Gift)

    Anya: I get to be with my best friend forever! (Hell's Bells)

    Anya: And ... before I knew you, I was like a completely different person. Not even a person, really... ...and I had seen what love could do to people, and it was ... hurt and sadness. Alone was better. And then, suddenly there was you, and ... you knew me. You saw me, and it was this ... thing. You make me feel safe and warm. So, I get it now. I finally get love, Xander. I really do. (Hell's Bells.)


    XANDER
    I'm not gonna find anyone out there like you, am I?

    ANYA
    Doesn't seem likely.

    XANDER
    I guess I'm more replaceable, obviously.

    ANYA
    No.There's no one like you, Xander. You were willing to stand up to danger, even when your hands had no weapons. You were ready to protect me with your life.
    (Storyteller)


    Signs of Xander loving and respecting Anya in S4, and reasons for her falling in love with him by Primeval:

    1) Xander still dated her after having sex, and didn't ask her to leave, which means interested.
    2) Xander beat up Spike because he thought he bit Anya.
    3) Xander's utter relief when he found out that Anya wasn't dead.
    4) When Anya freaked out about Xander joining Buffy in her trip to the Initiative, he didn't snap at her, he calmed her down gently.
    5) Ever since they started dating, Xander took Anya to almost all the research sessions with his friends as well as family/friends events such as Thanksgiving, Buffy's nineteenth birthday party, and the frat party. (Which shows he isn't ashamed of her.)
    6) While having Scooby meeting, Xander was never shy to express his feelings for Anya, holding hands with her in front of his friends, lost in their own world, willing to run away with her to have sex time.
    7) Xander doesn't want his relationship with Anya to be all about sex. He wants a real relationship with her, "There's a lot more to you and me than just sex."

    Xander digs Anya, he wants her, he gets upset when she gets upset. He takes her along to all his friends' activities. He doesn't mind explaining to her the weird human costumes and how to socialize with them. He's angry at Willow because she doesn't like Anya… etc.

    By S6 and on their wedding day, Anya describes Xander as her best friend. Ever since she lost her powers, Anya had no one to turn to. She was abandoned by her family of demons. No one asked about her, not even Halifrek who was supposed to be Anya's closest friend.

    Anya spent months alone after she ran away from Sunnydale in S3. She didn't make any friends while she was away. She came back for the only person who even bothered to talk to her much less take her to the prom. Xander didn't seem interested in her at first, but later he took her in and she became his girlfriend.

    Throughout Anya's relationship with Xander, she didn't build a close friendship with any of his friends. She hung out with Tara sometimes and she worked with Giles in the Magic Box, but no special bond was there. Anya was only interested in Xander. They spent all their free time together.


    It's quite understandable why Anya fell for Xander. He was the only one willing to be with her and help her understand the human way of things. No one bothered to do it, not even her so-called best friend Halifrek, or Buffy, or Willow, or Giles. They couldn't care less about her, but Xander did.











    Quote Originally Posted by Priceless View Post
    Was Xander's love for Anya unconditional and did it give her the confidence she, like all of us, need? I don't thinks so.
    From the episode Family:

    ANYA: What kind of demon is she? There's a lot of different kinds. Some are very, very evil. And some have been considered to be useful members of society.

    Xander smiles proudly at Anya. She returns it.
    (Family)

    From the episode I Was Made to Love You:

    ANYA: Oh, that girl. Tara and I met her. She speaks with a strange evenness and selects her words a shade too precisely.

    XANDER: Well, some of us like that kind of thing in a girl.

    Anya smiles at Xander.
    (I Was Made to Love You)


    Unconditional love where you see no flaw in your partner is not healthy love IMO. Anya's unconditional love for Xander didn't help him face his demons. Anya clearly didn't like the way Xander hid behind jokes, and it took her until Entropy to tell Xander that.
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    Xander: I'm in love with you. Powerfully, painfully in love. The things you do ... the way you think ... the way you move ... I get excited every time I'm about to see you. You make me feel like I've never felt before in my life. Like a man. (Into the Woods)
    This is one of the best things Xander says in the whole show.

    Anya: And ... before I knew you, I was like a completely different person. Not even a person, really... ...and I had seen what love could do to people, and it was ... hurt and sadness. Alone was better. And then, suddenly there was you, and ... you knew me. You saw me, and it was this ... thing. You make me feel safe and warm. So, I get it now. I finally get love, Xander. I really do. (Hell's Bells.)
    I think we read this dialogue a bit differently. Do you see it as proof that Xander loves Anya? I think that's one way of reading it, but I think it speaks to the complication that is Xanya and how complicated Anya is as a person.

    Xander has moulded her and formed her into what he wants, and she believes this is a good thing, because she doesn't know herself. She is living through Xander's image of her, trying to live up to that image, and in return she feels safe and warm, which is nice, but she lacks any knowledge of herself as an individual separate from Xander. Which she'll come back to in S7.

    So, I get it now. I finally get love, Xander. I really do. (Hell's Bells.)
    I think that her saying she gets it, three times, says to me that she really doesn't get it. As I've said before I do think they were both far too immature to get married and both had a lucky escape.

    No.There's no one like you, Xander. You were willing to stand up to danger, even when your hands had no weapons. You were ready to protect me with your life. (Storyteller)
    Another sweet line, but the fact that it's in Storyteller makes it a bit suspect for me. Is this just Anya telling herself a story about a lost love that she'd like to rekindle a relationship with?

    1) Xander still dated her after having sex, and didn't ask her to leave, which means interested.
    I think this sets the bar pretty low actually I think Xander knows that if he doesn't care about someone, he shouldn't be sleeping with them, especially after what happened with Faith.

    1) Xander still dated her after having sex, and didn't ask her to leave, which means interested.
    2) Xander beat up Spike because he thought he bit Anya.
    3) Xander's utter relief when he found out that Anya wasn't dead.
    4) When Anya freaked out about Xander joining Buffy in her trip to the Initiative, he didn't snap at her, he calmed her down gently.
    5) Ever since they started dating, Xander took Anya to almost all the research sessions with his friends as well as family/friends events such as Thanksgiving, Buffy's nineteenth birthday party, and the frat party. (Which shows he isn't ashamed of her.)
    6) While having Scooby meeting, Xander was never shy to express his feelings for Anya, holding hands with her in front of his friends, lost in their own world, willing to run away with her to have sex time.
    7) Xander doesn't want his relationship with Anya to be all about sex. He wants a real relationship with her, "There's a lot more to you and me than just sex."
    I agree that all these speak to the fact that Anya and Xander were in a continual sexual relationship for several years. But I don't think any of it says true love. Their relationship had few big defining positive moments where Xander put his life on the line for Anya? I think it just lacks that sweep or romance that Buffy/Angel, Willow/Tara, Buffy/Spike (to me( had. Perhaps it was the most grounded relationship and therefore didn't need a great sweeping romantic arc to make is special.

    From the episode Family:

    ANYA: What kind of demon is she? There's a lot of different kinds. Some are very, very evil. And some have been considered to be useful members of society.

    Xander smiles proudly at Anya. She returns it. (Family)

    From the episode I Was Made to Love You:

    ANYA: Oh, that girl. Tara and I met her. She speaks with a strange evenness and selects her words a shade too precisely.

    XANDER: Well, some of us like that kind of thing in a girl.

    Anya smiles at Xander. (I Was Made to Love You)
    These are lovely moments between them, and Xander does make Anya feel good about herself sometimes. I guess that's they the relationship is complicated, because he can also be quite mean to her.

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