Pete Davidson and Ariana Grande's Relationship Validated the Intense Way I Love

Davidson’s openness about the effect of borderline personality disorder on his love life gave me hope.

Pete Davidson and Ariana Grande walking together while sucking on lollipops
Photo: Getty Images

From 2017 to 2018, the main component of my personality was my utter infatuation with Pete Davidson. The reason I loved Davidson was because he was 6'4," but also because of his candor about his borderline personality disorder (BPD) diagnosis. For me, that was everything.

I also have BPD. I was diagnosed in early 2017 and was afraid to tell most of the people in my life. After all, BPD is a highly stigmatized, misunderstood mental health disorder marked by emotional regulation troubles, suicidal behavior, and unstable relationships. For Davidson to discuss his BPD journey on such a public stage was freeing. It was a rebellion. In fact, I was so inspired I decided to finally share my own diagnosis online in October 2018.

I followed Davidson's career closely, dying at every "Weekend Update'' appearance the comedian made. His ability to make dark things funny made me feel a close connection to the SNL star, as most of my coping is through humor, too. Anyway, I was crushin' hard when reports emerged in May 2018 of his relationship with Ariana Grande — and I did what any other heartbroken gal would do: I poured a big ass glass of wine and mourned the imaginary, would-be relationship we never got to have.

However, as time passed, I grew up, and eventually developed a genuine affection for the couple. While their relationship didn't make a lot of sense to most given the rapid timeline, from "casually dating" to being engaged in a matter of weeks, I totally understood.

Pete Davidson and Ariana Grande appearing happy together at the MTV VMAs
Getty Images

In an interview with GQ, Davidson said, "The day I met her, I was like, 'Hey, I'll marry you tomorrow."

Yeah, feel ya on that, Pete, I remember thinking. Because that quote matched how I loved, too: quick and headfirst. For so long, I thought this made me broken and kept me from dating altogether. All my love affairs had been kamikaze, crashing and burning before they even had the chance to begin.

When people began to speculate about Davidson's mental health, questioning his ability to have a healthy, truly meaningful relationship with Grande due to his BPD, I began to worry more about my fears being founded in truth. However, on his now-deleted Instagram, Davidson addressed the commentary:

"Normally I wouldn't comment on something like this ... " he wrote. "But I been hearing a lot of 'people with bpd can't be in relationships' talk. I just wanna let you know that's not true."

This quote gave me all the hope I needed. If Pete and Ari could work in the stressful and very public eye, perhaps one day I could find someone, too. They made me believe the intense way I love is okay.

And then, a mere few months later, they parted ways for good.

Soon, the online chatter about Davidson's mental health began to turn to even nastier bullying, so much so that Grande had to ask her fans to stop.

"...please let whatever point you're trying to make go," Grande wrote on Instagram. "I will always have irrevocable love for [Davidson] and if you've gotten any other impression from my recent work, you might have missed the point."

The recent work in question was, of course, her hit "thank u, next," in which Grande addresses Davidson and other exes by name, expressing gratitude for those relationships whose expiration dates had passed.

And maybe that's the lesson I should be drawing from Ari and Pete, not that I am incapable of loving and being loved, but that sometimes beautiful things end. I can appreciate them for what they were when they were. Their end doesn't make them less real or meaningful.

We often measure the value of love by the amount of time spent loving, but perhaps that's not an accurate gauge. Maybe it truly is quality over quantity. Maybe the brief but intense encounters can make the biggest impression on us.

I'd call Pete and Ariana's relationship a tornado. A tornado doesn't mean to cause havoc. It's just what it's made to do. It doesn't know better, it simply runs its course. A tornado also only lasts an average of 10 minutes, not a long time to make a big impact. And yet, it still can.

As I said, I always appreciated Davidson for his ability to bring light to darkness. I also thought this made him a more interesting person capable of deeper feelings. But maybe the depths of our beings are not defined by our abilities to understand the sad things but by our willingness to trust in the good things when they happen to come along. For Ari, the good thing was Dalton Gomez, to whom she is now married. For Pete, it's Kim Kardashian, who he is seriously dating.

Maybe my love story is just on the horizon. I just need to trust my life enough to turn the page.

Breakups That Broke Us is a column about the failed celebrity relationships that convinced us love is dead.

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