#TrendingNews Blog Business Entertainment Environment Health Lifestyle News Analysis Opinion Science Sports Technology World News
One Day: Demystifying ‘Will They, Won’t They’ Love Illusions

“Will they/won’t they relationships” are hard to define. Typically, it’s a long-standing dynamic between two individuals, most likely friends, with romance either in their past or a chemistry that feels like it was an act of fate.

They never seem to be together but appear beyond perfect for one another this idea of ‘the right person at the wrong time’ that seems to plague them for years, much to the behest of those around them. 

The newly released series, One Day, which seems to be on everyone’s lips, plays right into this idea.

Netflix headquaters at sunset

The Netflix original, which is based on David Nichols’ book of the same name and a 2011 movie adaption, also of the same name, seems to be on everyone’s watch list. 

Featuring Ambika Mod and Leo Woodall, the show follows the lives of Emma Morley and Dexter Mayhew as they spend years in love with one another, crossing paths at random points, and yet never seem to be able to really work out their dynamic and form a proper relationship.

And this isn’t the first film, book, or TV show to play on this trope, nor will it be the last. In playing on this dynamic, this notion of a palpable tie and chemistry between two people that, for what seems like months or years, is never addressed gets romanticised. 

It makes the pining and daydreaming seem idyllic and romantic, a rose-coloured look at a long and uncertain relationship trajectory.

But this isn’t always the reality of it. ‘Will they/Won’t they’ dynamics aren’t always the rosy, wistful and romantic situation they are played to be.

We forget that in this long-strung love, which meanders through life events, new jobs, new cities, and new friends, that the two love-struck individuals will most likely find themselves in another relationship at some point in this timeline. 

This is often done as an act of denial, a way to prove to themselves that they are over the other love-sick puppy they are in the ‘dance’ with. Perhaps it’s just a result of not addressing their feelings properly, but for whatever reason they enter into this separate relationship, and there is always collateral damage.

As Angel Thomson, a licensed marriage therapist, suggests, ‘If they don't want to share these feelings because they do not want to pursue a romantic relationship, can they be responsible for those feelings so that no one is hurt or "collateral damage?"’

And in many cases, those at the centre of this whirlwind don’t seem to see the situation for what it is until months or years after when the damage is already done.

In the worst-case scenario, families, friends, and children can even become entwined in this web, just as they do in ‘One Day.’ The two ‘lovers’ (for want of a better word) are made incredibly selfish by their love for one another, and they end up hurting more than just themselves in this dance of ‘will they/won’t they.’

Beyond its selfish nature, the ‘happily ever after’ aspect of this dynamic is romanticised and repainted. ‘If two friends have secret feelings for each other, my question would be, why are they not being honest? 

Secure relationships require trust, and trust requires honesty, among other things,’ says Angel, pointing out that relationships without the stability of truth and trust are not likely to withstand much.

Furthermore, these blurry and drawn-out relationships often don’t work as a solid coupledom, as a lot of the chemistry is based on this give-and-take dynamic, this dance that is then killed as the mundane bliss of a relationship enters the picture. 

And then you are left with two individuals who have broken their friendship and hurt people in the process, all due to this romanticised notion that seems so appealing on screen.

Love heart hands

To be romantic and naive, the ‘wrong time, right person’ aspect of these relationship dynamics suggests that it is not meant to be. ‘The right person will be right and also ready. If they aren’t ready, then they probably aren’t right for you,’ says Paige Moyce, a relationship and breakup coach. 

While it can be easy to think of these individuals as a ‘soulmate’ or the universe’s attempt to offer you the perfect person, with life getting in the way, it’s also easy to argue that finding and falling in love should be easy. 

Lovers meet exactly when they are meant to, and while it’s easy to create ideas about a person being your ‘destiny,’ that should not be as complicated and messy as these ‘will they/won’t they’ dynamics. 

Or is it cynical and expecting too much of life and the notion of fate to say it should all be easy? We are all aware of how tumultuous and messy our lives can be people get in the way, and things go wrong.

Even small things like burnt toast one morning can stop you from running into the love of your life. All these major and minor things in our existence hang so precariously and exist only as a result of every single exact moment leading up to them.

Thus, it’s easy to see that these little things can mess with the ‘large picture’ and that it is also incredibly likely for that ‘large picture’ to be or include a certain person.

As Paige points out, “relationships can be worked on and sometimes two people really do have to get out of their own way to make it work.” Often we forget to be compassionate about these situations or to be aware of the fact that something doesn’t have to be perfect to be great.

“Relationships and humans aren’t perfect, and these shows/books do show this. We can have all the logical knowledge, but emotions do take over sometimes, and we shouldn’t criticise ourselves for that,”  says Moyce, who has even taken her invaluable relationship advice to social media under the TikTok page @PaigeMoyce

“We often regret the chances we don’t take rather than the chances we do, which is a key takeaway I think from One Day in particular.”


The ultimate issue is the longevity of these dynamics. Are they built solely on this back and forth, the lack of commitment and excitement of it? Or is it really fate, with life getting in the way?

Love shouldn’t be hard or painful, and while books like Normal People and the show One Day make the ‘will they/won’t they’ relationship look dreamy and romantic, this is far from reality.

There is undoubtedly a reason why the ‘timing’ or ‘place’ has been wrong, and that’s because the relationship isn’t meant to be. 

We know that love is one of the easiest and unembellished things we do as humans, thus for it to be complicated and heartbreaking goes against its very nature a sure sign that these tropes seem nice in books but are not realistic or sustainable in our busy and overcomplicated daily lives.

Share This Post On


Leave a comment

You need to login to leave a comment. Log-in