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7 Beautiful Love Lessons From ‘Never Have I Ever’ Season 3

1. Sometimes we just aren’t ready to love someone like they deserve.

Paxton and Devi aren’t a bad couple, they just can’t seem to give the other what they need and deserve. At first, Devi can’t commit to Paxton because she’s exploring the new feeling of being desired; later, Paxton can’t give Devi the relationship she wants because he’s afraid of what others will think if he’s openly dating the girl who humiliated him. Even when they’re finally able to commit to one another and start a serious relationship, Devi can’t give Paxton the trust that he deserves, not because she doesn’t think he’s a good guy but because she just doesn’t have the self-confidence.

In all of these instances, it wasn’t that Paxton and Devi didn’t like one another, it was simply that they didn’t—or couldn’t—give the other what they needed to have a healthy relationship. Sometimes, when we’re in the process of growing and learning and healing, we simply do not have the bandwidth or the tools to give someone the healthy relationship that they deserve.

2. The only worthy kind of love is one that doesn’t bend to others’ expectations.

At the end of season 2, Paxton is hesitant to begin seriously dating Devi because he fears what others will think; in season 3, Devi is similarly affected by how others view her in the context of their relationship. Her classmates speculate that she must be a slut for someone like Paxton to be interested in her, and later, when she tells them that they haven’t even had sex, they tell her that there’s no way Paxton would stay with someone who wasn’t willing to put out. While these outside opinions make their relationship suffer, it’s ultimately Devi’s and Paxton’s fault for letting themselves be so susceptible to what others think.

Love is between two people, not two people and the rest of the world. We can’t—and shouldn’t want to—please everyone. So what if other people can’t understand what you see in each other? Who cares if they think you should be doing certain things in your relationship? It’s not their relationship, it’s yours—so don’t let what others have to say influence you.

3. It doesn’t matter if everyone else loves us if we still can’t love ourselves.

Throughout the show, Devi wants nothing more than to be desirable—she wants the popular boy to want to date her, the popular kids to befriend her, and her other classmates to envy her. Above all else, Devi wants to be loved. But as the show progresses and more and more people begin to accept her, one thing remains constant: Devi struggles to love herself.

Because even as her classmates’ opinions of her change—from the girl in the wheelchair to the UN to Coyote Girl to, finally, Devi—she still sees herself as the unlikable nerd. She doesn’t get why Paxton would want to be with her when he could be with anyone he wanted to be with; later, she doesn’t get why Des thinks she’s cool and beautiful and seems to think that letting him believe that is a lie. The way she views herself constantly becomes a roadblock in her relationships, not because she isn’t worthy of love but because she can’t seem to believe she is.

4. Love requires more than the bare minimum.

Aneesa and Ben had a rocky start at the beginning of this season, especially since Ben revealed that he still had feelings for Devi at the end of season 2. But though he does seem to like Aneesa, he also can’t seem to give her more in the relationship than the absolute bare minimum. He tells her he can’t make her soccer game because he has to study for an important chemistry test, then spends his free time messing around with Devi; later, when he actually agrees to go to the game, he misses Aneesa’s big play because he’s too busy texting Devi.

Here’s the thing: Ben wasn’t a terrible boyfriend. Really, he wasn’t! But he also wasn’t offering Aneesa anything substantial and constantly made her feel like she was always going to be in second place. He never went out of his way to make her feel seen and loved, and because of that, Aneesa realized it was time to move on to better things.

5. Someone can be all the right things on paper but just not be the right person for you.

Speaking of better things for Aneesa, let’s talk about her other love interest: Fabiola. After Ben fails to give her the support she needs, Aneesa ends up kissing Fab spontaneously, and after a few awkward months, the two decide to start dating. The two clearly care about each other a lot and put the necessary work into their relationship—they show up for one another, stand up for one another, and do everything they can to make the other feel loved and seen.

But here’s the problem: Despite seemingly doing everything right, they both agree that their relationship just doesn’t work.

Sometimes relationships that seem like they should be great just… aren’t. Sometimes the people who do all the right things are still somehow the wrong person. Unfortunately, love just isn’t that clear-cut.

6. Love should challenge you, but it should also understand you.

After breaking up with Devi, Paxton begins to realize that the quality of relationships that he used to be okay with has changed—he no longer cares for the superficial but wants a love that will challenge him to be a better person. Similarly, Ben realizes that even though he chose to be with Aneesa, she just doesn’t understand him the way that Devi inherently does (and Aneesa realizes that Ben just isn’t able to see her clearly). 

The thing about love is that it’s often more than a feeling—it’s a partnership. It helps you grow. It helps you understand yourself. Ultimately, love often shapes who you are and the path in life you choose to take. That’s why it’s so important to choose a person who helps you become the best version of yourself.

7. Growing up means understanding that sometimes we outgrow certain loves.

At the very end of the season, Devi realizes that she no longer feels butterflies when she’s around Paxton, even though he was saying all the things a younger version of herself would have swooned over. It’s in that moment that she recognizes that while she may no longer have the same feelings for him, she was still grateful for his place in her life, because he had been a dream to hope for when she was in the dark days of grieving her father’s death. She’s outgrown her feelings for Paxton because she realized she no longer needed him the way she once did—she’d grown.

We are always growing, always evolving, always becoming a newer version of ourselves. When we’re lucky, we grow with the people we love and our relationships evolve with us. Unfortunately, though, that’s not always the case. Sometimes our healing journey takes us in a different direction than where our loved ones’ are taking them. Sometimes our relationships stop making sense in the context of who we’ve become. It can be a devastating realization, sure, but it can also be beautiful in its own way. Just because Devi doesn’t feel the same love for Paxton anymore, that doesn’t mean she still doesn’t love him for the role he played in her life.