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Is Briley abusive?

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#1
#WhyBuffyStayed: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Riley, and the Cycle of Abuse

So I came across this article from The Mary Sue and, whilst it seems like just an opinion piece, it brings up some interesting points about Riley's behaviour.

There are issues with Buffy’s relationship with Riley from the very beginning, but Riley’s abusive tactics are most clear in two episodes: “The Yoko Factor,” from season four, and “Into the Woods,” from season five.


In “The Yoko Factor,” after Xander inadvertently reveals how Angel lost his soul, Riley immediately shows signs of suspicion and distrust against Buffy, which seem to be coming from his feelings of emasculation (he lost his position with the Initiative) and what he sees as “unrequited love” in their relationship. When he expresses his “knowledge” of how Buffy had cheated on him—a conclusion he came to with absolutely no evidence whatsoever—she asks him why he’d jumped to that conclusion.

His response?

“Because I’m so in love with you I can’t think straight.”

Buffy’s reaction is to visibly soften, to smile, to get a little teary-eyed. It’s all supposed to indicate that she is deeply touched by his declaration. Except his declaration is an attempt to rationalize and justify his over-reaction, his suspicion, and his condemnation. He hears about his girlfriend’s previous sexual relationship and he goes off the deep end, immediately assuming her previous experience guarantees her infidelity.
The next dozen episodes chronicle Riley’s descent into darkness. After Spike reveals Riley has become a vampire thrall, Buffy distances herself from him because of his betrayal. However, in the last few minutes of “Into the Woods,” Riley’s actions change from questionable, unhealthy, and coercive to outright abuse.

He refuses to respect her boundaries, forcing a conversation Buffy makes clear she does not want to have. He manhandles her, grabbing her and using physical force to compel her attention multiple times. He blames her for Dracula’s attack in the season five premiere (considering the historical connection between vampirism and sex, the “Dracula” episode serves as a metaphor for sexual assault) and admits to wanting revenge on her for “letting” Dracula bite her. He superficially acknowledges becoming a thrall was his fault, but nonetheless shifts responsibility for his actions onto Buffy—if she’d just expended the effort to convince him of her love, he wouldn’t have done it. Then he then outlines all of the ways that she could have “proved” her love for him. Finally, he hands her an ultimatum: unless she “gives [him] a reason to stay,” he’s leaving that night.
I never thought about the Briley relationship like that before. However, Riley's behaviour does become questionable during Season 5.

What are your thoughts on the matter?
 

Athena

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#2
I hate when Riley shames Buffy for "letting" Dracula bite her. As if it's her fault. It's victim blaming and shaming in a lovely little package of abuse right there. :rolleyes: Season 4 Riley isn't perfect but at least he's a relatively decent guy just wanting a healthy relationship. S5 Riley is where the character is really let down by the writer's insistence he turn into a jealous, vengeful, suspicious a-hole.

And also, his insecurities that he can't be a "proper manly man" because his woman is more powerful; basically blaming Buffy for emasculating him. Pur-lease. Be proud of your girl and her abilities, she's not emasculating you, you're doing that all by yourself. :rolleyes:
 
Fool for Buffy
Fool for Buffy
I was gonna respond but I would have said this post exactly :D
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#3
Mixed feelings. I agree with it to a point, but I also see some limitations that it seems to intentionally overlook to make the point the author wanted to make. Which isn't all bad, but I do recognize its limitations. I just don't feel like writing a few paragraphs on that right now, but maybe later.

I will agree with this much wholeheartedly, however:

women are instructed to see acts of coercion, aggression, and violence as romantic. Instead of as abuse, women are taught to see these actions as simply the result of true passion and love
And Buffy the Vampire Slayer does little to subvert this formula, but then the formula is promoted because it's what's expected and wanted by the majority of people (talking of the general public, not the personal close friends of readers here who may mistake their friends for "the majority" when they're actually out of sync with the majority), male and female alike.
 
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Sineya
#4
No, I never saw Briley as an abusive relationship. Riley may have had some problems with his masculinity but it never directly harmed Buffy, I think she sympathised with Riley and understood that even though it's wrong for him to be emasculated by her power it was only a problem because Riley was so insecure :)
To be honest I understand why Riley felt insecure in 'The yoko factor', who wouldn't with Angel hanging around?
I'll give him a pass in that ep, Bangel is pretty intimidating ;)

The article is making things seem worse than they were that's how I see it.
 
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#5
I think Riley's insecurities do fuel his Season 5 behaviour. However, that's not Buffy's problem. Riley needs to sort that out himself rather than trying to blame Buffy for it. Spike certainly stirred things up, but he was only playing on Riley's existing issues.

Buffy can't help being the slayer and having that power, Riley needs to accept that and deal with it. He didn't like that Buffy wasn't crying on his shoulder because he wanted to feel "needed". In a way, that could be seen as the first big red flag of the Briley relationship: Riley wants Buffy to depend on him rather than seek comfort from her friends.

That also leads to the issue of the shift in power in Briley's relationship. In the early part of Season 4, Riley is in a position of power over Buffy. He's the TA of her class and he's the captain of the Initiative, she has to follow his instructions. When Riley leaves the Initiative but still has his super-soldier capabilities, he and Buffy are on relatively equal ground. However, when he loses those capabilities, he suddenly finds himself inferior to Buffy's position of power. Riley claims to "love" Buffy but there is an element of him trying to control her.

Here's some episode transcripts of scenes showing Riley's controlling behaviour of Buffy, either with her or towards others.

The Yoko Factor
Riley: Angel.

Angel takes a step forward glancing down at the commandos on the ground.

Angel: Welcoming committee your idea?

Riley: Way I heard it. You were all peaceable now. You didn't by any chance go and lose that pesky soul again, did you?

Angel: (dangerously) Don't push me, boy.

Riley: (calm rage) Now what possibly could've happened with Buffy that would make you lose your soul?

Angel is walking a slow path that would take him around Riley.

Angel: (coolly) That'd be between me and her.

Riley steps in Angel's path and hits the release on the asp in his hand extending it to a baton.

Riley: Where do you think you're going?

Angel: Going to see an old girlfriend.

They are now standing right in front of each other.

Riley: Oh, you really think I'm gonna let that happen?

Angel: You think you're gonna stop me?

Riley: I surely do.
Riley knows Angel is Buffy's ex boyfriend and is already showing possessiveness over her, trying to stop Angel from seeing Buffy. He sees Angel fighting and automatically assumes that Angel's lost his soul aka assumes Buffy and Angel slept together. It never seems to cross his mind that the Initiative attacked Angel first due to him being a vampire and that Angel was just defending himself.

The door bursts open a Riley steps in, steadying himself against the shelf of Willow's desk. He raises his arm and aims the Baretta in his hand at Angel, thumbing back the hammer.

Riley: (pissed) I told you, you weren't coming near her.
Riley had tried to dictate to Angel and warn him off of seeing Buffy and he's annoyed because Angel ignored his warning.

Buffy: (softly) Riley. (glances at his gun)

Riley: I'm sorry. (he holsters it) Just wanted to know that you were safe.

Buffy: (gently) I need to talk to Angel for a minute.

Riley: (exasperated) What?

Buffy: Riley, please.

He looks over at Angel who's just sitting down on the bed, elbows resting on his knees. He looks down at Buffy again.

Riley: (quietly firm) I'm not leaving this room. (crosses his arms) I mean it.
Riley is already trying to excuse and justify his reaction by claiming that he wanted to know Buffy was "safe". He then refuses to leave the room when Buffy asks him.

Buffy: (mournful) Riley, I have to tell you something.

Riley: Figured.

Buffy: Maybe you want to sit down.

Riley: I'm fine.

Buffy: Riley, I--

Riley: (insistent) Wait. Me first.

Buffy blinks in surprise.

Riley: Buffy . . . I feel like we've gotten really close. At least I thought we had. I don't know much about Angel (Buffy lowers her eyes) or your relationship with him . . but . . . all I ask is . . if you're gonna break heart, do it fast.

Buffy looks up at him, frowning.

Buffy: What? You think that Angel and I . . .

Riley: Didn't you?

Buffy: No. Of course not. How can you even ask me that?

Riley: (sighs) I don't know. Xander said--

Buffy: Xander?! Oh, he's the deadest man in Deadonia.

Riley: No. It's not his fault. I prodded and he explained how Angel went bad. The, uh, trigger.

Buffy: (quietly) Oh.

Riley: And, uh (chuckles) after that, I went a little nuts! You know? I mean . . . On the one hand . . I should believe in us. But on the other . . Sometimes things happen between exes and when I saw that he was bad. . .

Buffy: He's . . not bad.

Riley just looks at her.

Riley: Seriously? That's . . a good day? (Buffy rolls her eyes in confirmation) Well, there you go. Even when he's good he's all Mister . . Billowy Coat King of Pain and girls really--

Buffy: Riley, stop.

She takes his hand and they sit down on her bed.

Riley: See? Nuts.

Buffy: Have I ever given you any reason to feel that you can't trust me?

Riley: No.

Buffy: Then why with the crazy?

He looks into her eyes.

Riley: (meaningfully) Because I'm so in love with you I can't think straight.
So Riley has not only tried to prevent Angel seeing Buffy and automatically assumed Buffy cheated on him with Angel just because of their past relationship, but he is also now justifying his actions by claiming he "cant think straight" because he is "so in love" with Buffy.

Buffy vs Dracula

WILLOW: He, he can read and control minds... appear in dreams...
BUFFY: (distracted) Uh huh.
WILLOW: Makes sense. That stare ... he just kinda ... looked right through you. Didn't you feel it, Buffy?

Riley looks at Buffy.

BUFFY: (pause) No. (gets up) No, I didn't.
It seems as if Buffy is embarrassed about being bitten and, given how Riley accused her of cheating with Angel, she's quick to say she didn't "feel" anything from Dracula.

RILEY: You shouldn't go by yourself, Buffy. I mean, this guy's seriously dangerous.
BUFFY: It's cool, I got it. (Opens door, leaves.)

Buffy walking through the courtyard outside Giles' apartment. Riley comes out after her.

RILEY: Hey. (grabs her arm and stops her) Take off that scarf.
BUFFY: What? No. (puts hand over scarf)
RILEY: (gives an "I knew it" nod) You're under the thrall of the dark prince!
BUFFY: (scoffs) I am not under the thrall of the dark prince.
RILEY: Then take off the scarf.
BUFFY: Oh, let go of me! This is ridiculous. (tries to break arm out of Riley's grasp but he holds on)

Riley rips off the scarf as the others come out too. Everyone looks at Buffy's neck. She sits on the edge of the stone fountain and puts her head in her hands.
Already we have Riley trying to restrict Buffy's movements, telling her she shouldn't go by herself aka he should go with her. What comes next is red flag behaviour. He grabs Buffy's arm and demands Buffy take off her scarf (which she'd been using to hide the bite mark). When Buffy refuses and tells him to let her go, he ignores her before forcefully taking the scarf off of Buffy.

Buffy looks apologetically at Riley.

BUFFY: I'm not sure why I tried to hide it. Uh, there was just this voice, and it was, it was telling me to cover it.
RILEY: And what did I tell you? (to the others) That's thrall.
XANDER: You're saying Dracula has some sort of freaky mind control over her? You're watching too many creature features, man.
BUFFY: But it does seem like he has this ... control over me, I ... even though a big part of me is resisting.

RILEY: No, that's okay. I shouldn't take this personally. I mean, what with Angel, I mean, it's understandable that there would be transference. I mean, they're both broody immortals.

Buffy looks dismayed and gets up to walk close to Riley.

BUFFY: (firmly) I am not transfer-y. (quieter) I swear to you. I'm your girl, and I'm gonna stay that way.
RILEY: Okay. But you are not going anywhere near him again.
More red flag behaviour from Riley. "And what did I tell you" otherwise known as "I was right and you were wrong". The biggest red flag though is that when Buffy talked about Dracula having control over her despite "a big part of [her] RESISTING" aka what Dracula is doing to her is AGAINST her will, Riley has a dig at her about Angel but also infers that she has feelings for Dracula because of "transference". Essentially Buffy's told Riley she's been assaulted and his response is to blame her. When Buffy denies fault, she has to reassure Riley of her feelings for him "I'm your girl and I'm gonna stay that way". Riley seemingly accepts this "Okay" but also tells Buffy "you are not going anywhere near him again". He is asserting control over Buffy's movements.

The Replacement

RILEY: (grinning) Hey, I'm well aware of how lucky I am. Like, lottery lucky. Buffy's like nobody else in the world. When I'm with her it's like ... it's like I'm split in two. Half of me is just ... on fire, going crazy if I'm not touching her. The other half ... is so still and peaceful ... just perfectly content. Just knows: this is the one. (Smiles a little, continues packing for a moment, then looks up at Xander again.) But she doesn't love me.
So despite Buffy giving Riley no reason to doubt her feelings for him, he decides that she doesn't love him, yet he doesn't talk to her about it and decides to stay anyway despite the "lack" of love.

Out of My Mind

Cut to Buffy walking along, looking tired and annoyed. Riley catches up with her.
RILEY: Hey, hope I didn't get in the way.

He puts his arm around her. She gives a fake smile.

BUFFY: Of course not. I-I was just ... startled. And, you know I don't ... love the idea of you patrolling alone.
RILEY: Not much for bench-warming.
BUFFY: No, you made the squad. You ... threw that vampire like he was a ... teeny-weeny little vampire.
RILEY: (grinning) Hey, wanna go again? Come on, I bet this place is just teeming with aerodynamic vampires.
Note the stage directions. Buffy is tired and annoyed (given Spike's input about "neither boy is welcome", it seems like Buffy just wants some space to herself) yet when Riley puts her arm around her, she feels she has to fake a smile and lie about him not being in the way. Another red flag: Riley is not giving Buffy her own space, she's either in the company of friends, family or him, she doesn't get opportunity to be on her own.

BUFFY: What's happening to you?
RILEY: I go back ... let the government get whimsical with my innards again ... They could do anything that- Best-case scenario, they turn me into Joe Normal, just... (sighs) Just another guy.
BUFFY: And that's not enough for you?
RILEY: It's not enough for *you*.
BUFFY: Why would you say that?
RILEY: Come on. Your last boyfriend wasn't exactly a civilian.
BUFFY: So that's what this is about? You're going to die, all over some macho pissing contest.
RILEY: (shakes his head) It's not about him. It's about us. (Buffy shakes her head, not understanding) You're getting stronger every day, more powerful. I can't touch you. Every day, you're just ... a little further out of my reach.
BUFFY: You wanna touch me? (walks toward him) I'm right here. I'm not the one running away.
RILEY: Not yet.
BUFFY: So you have this all figured out? I'm bailing because you're not in the super club.
RILEY: (shrugs) It's human nature.
BUFFY: (angrily) Don't Psych 101 me. (Riley looks away) Not now. Not after everything that ... Nobody has ever known me the way you do. Nobody. (Riley doesn't look at her) I've opened up to you in ways that I've never opened up to ... God, you're just sitting back there thinking that none of this means anything to me.
RILEY: (still not looking at her) I never said that.
BUFFY: (teary-eyed) Because it obviously doesn't mean anything to you. Do you really think so little of me-
RILEY: Buffy.
BUFFY: No! No. Do you think that I spent the last year with you because you had super powers? If that's what I wanted, then I'd be dating Spike. (quietly) Riley, I need you. (He looks at her, looks apprehensive) I need you with me ... and I need you healthy. But if you wanna throw it all away because you don't trust me, then ... (firmly) then I'm still gonna make you go to that doctor.
Riley is shifting blame onto Buffy. He's not going to go to the doctor because being normal isn't "enough" for her. He brings up Angel yet again. When Buffy calls him out on this, he lies. She accuses him of thinking their relationship means nothing to her and he says "I never said that". He never said it to her face but we know he said to Xander "she doesn't love me". He then only agrees to go to the doctor because Buffy tells him she "needs" him.

Essentially what Riley has done so far is take a strong independent young woman and emotionally manipulated her into feeling like she "needs" him.


I'm going to have to stop here because it's nearly 3am but I'll look through the other episodes later for more examples of Riley's controlling behaviour.
 
Ethan Reigns
Ethan Reigns
Keep it coming! This is a guided tour of abuse.
caitaintdead
caitaintdead
Wow, sickening reading it altogether like that :(
MarlieTheSlayer
MarlieTheSlayer
eye-opening

white avenger

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#6
I would say more nonproductive than abusive. Briley just never went anywhere. It was almost like Season 6 Buffy/Spike without the mutually self destructive element. Buffy wanted to be in love, to have someone who actually could love her without going evil, and Riley seemed to fit the bill for awhile, but the fire just wasn't there. Not her fault, not his fault, it just didn't work.
 

Ayko

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#7
Firstly, I think that Bangel fans feel threatened by Riley’s character and looks, appearing on the scene so quickly after Angel and his sacrifice leaving her in S3. After Riley comes Spike who tried to rape her and again, fans could feel threatened as the two main characters don’t measure up to being a man (some may claim) as Riley does while being mortal normal and a minor character of the series as opposed to Angel and Spike. Many fans may not realize that they are (a little) biased. To be honest, I also was not a big Riley fan my first series watch (for many of the reason given here) but, after discussing it with others (and having them point out he is a lot like me to which I first winced), then rewatching the series with that in mind, and giving it some thought (philosophically) I have changed my stance and become a big fan of Riley.

Secondly, remember that Riley is in love for the first time and, in that way, is a like a ‘pre-teen just out of puberty’ and that is not an easy role to live with (as a grown man) especially when you are an important military leader. I know. Obviously, Riley has no experience with relationships and is just a kid, emotionally. To become a military leader at a young age means he must have lost his teen puberty years training and dedicating himself to his country. That is one good reason not to be so quick to judge Riley of low character.

To find your first love while being involved in military covert operations and secret research and thinking she is a civilian before finding out she is ‘a superhero’ is a lot to swallow especially while experiencing emotional tidal waves for the first time, and without knowing what it is like to be ‘on the rebound’ or even what that is. That is probably the reason she never once said to him, ‘I love you’ to his many times of saying it. Then he must of wondered why she doesn’t say it not understanding the (sometimes unseen) fear experienced investing emotion while being on the rebound.

Before he can find that out he must deal with a lot; his first relationship with a dominant female partner, the fact that her ex-bf is a ‘supervamp with a soul’ that she still has friendly contact to, being raped by a rogue slayer looking for revenge against her using magic to possess her body and then deal with being open and honest about the rape to her that he must deal with too (all alone), and also that he has invested his whole life and career in his country and only friends just to find out that they are corrupted before going AWOL leaving everything he is and knew behind to become ‘Buffy’s girlfriend’. During all that time he must also deal with being experimented on without his knowledge (by his military family/friends) using drugs and a mind controlling device implanted in him. Those are all big, BIG deals! Only a true man could survive them (and not easily and not without problems and mistakes, for sure) and come out of it still a man and dedicated warrior (to the civilian folks).

Thirdly…

Didn't they (Buffy & Riley) screw for an entire episode though? There was actually one episode where they literally couldn't keep their hands off each other. I mean, he ain't my type (none of Buffy's bed partners are, each maybe Satsu) but Buffy seemed very physically attracted to Riley, there just wasn't the intesity there that comes with the rollercoaster of pain and angst that Buffy joneses for so much...
That was magic. I don't think it counts.
Not when they started it wasn't. :D
In fact their 'sexcapades' are the very thing that woke up the spirit-things in the first place. That's right, Buffy and Riley out-shagged everybody else in the entire history of that particular frat-house. A frat-house. They 'broke' the frat-house with the huge amount of sex they were having.
That's kinda special I think. ;)
 
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#8
Riley makes a lot of mistakes in the relationship, and does become deeply insecure when faced with how awesome his girlfriend is compared to himself :) but I don't think he's as abusive as this article would have us believe. I think Riley's conversation with Spike in Into The Woods shows he really does have a deeper understanding of what's going on emotionally in his relationship with Buffy then we give him credit for.

“Because I’m so in love with you I can’t think straight.” might be a rationalisation but I also think it's Riley's way of apologising. He's not stupid, he's studied psychology, he must understand something of the human condition. He know's he's wrong and over-reacting and that's what love has made him do. But I don't think blaming Buffy, he's blaming himself.

The suck-whores and the ultimatium were appalling, and I hated Buffy running after him. But compared with the other relationships on this show, it's hardly the most abusive. Willow wiped Tara's memory, Xander used a spell to get Cordy to love him . . . not to mention what our two favourtie vampires have done throughout BtVS and AtS, the list is of abuses is quite long if you think about it.
 
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#9
I found that link very interesting. Thanks to @DeadlyDuo for sharing it. Although I always felt that Riley and Buffy were just not meant for each other and that both of them made a lot of mistakes right from the beginning of their relationship, I have always defended Riley as a charcter. I might have to change that in future.

I wouldn`t call the relationship abusive but I would definitely call it unhealthy.
Riley is right, that Buffy does not love him. Surely his reaction to that shouldn`t have been getting a kick in a vampire brothel. I could forgive that because everyone makes mistakes. But what makes me really angry is, that he does not take the blame for this mistake He does not say, I was wrong and I am deeply sorry.

Instead he tells her, to give him a reason to stay. And to do that within hours. He should give her a reason to stay but suddenly he is the wronged party and she has to make an effort to save their relationship.

If he is convinced, that she doesn`t love him and if he cannot go on with their relationship under this conditions, he is of course free to walk out of it. But that is not, what he is doing. He is blackmailing Buffy to run after him. And - that is even more appaling - Buffy does it.

It is the same pattern, as in "Because I am so in love with you, I can`t think straight". And that happens very early in their relationship. It means nothing else but "It is your fault and your fault alone, that I have made a mistake". There is no blaming himself, there is no apology, there is no self-reflection and therefore there is no need to try and change his behaviour in the future.

Flow
 
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#11
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#13
Firstly, I think that Bangel fans feel threatened by Riley’s character and looks, appearing on the scene so quickly after Angel and his sacrifice leaving her in S3. After Riley comes Spike who tried to rape her and again, fans could feel threatened as the two main characters don’t measure up to being a man (some may claim) as Riley does while being mortal normal and a minor character of the series as opposed to Angel and Spike. Many fans may not realize that they are (a little) biased. To be honest, I also was not a big Riley fan my first series watch (for many of the reason given here) but, after discussing it with others (and having them point out he is a lot like me to which I first winced), then rewatching the series with that in mind, and giving it some thought (philosophically) I have changed my stance and become a big fan of Riley.
No fan, Bangel or Spuffy, feels threatened by Riley. The relationship didn't work out so nobody cares. It's Angel vs Spike that causes the debate between fans. Riley is the one that's threatened by Angel's mere presence in the vicinity of Buffy.

Secondly, remember that Riley is in love for the first time and, in that way, is a like a ‘pre-teen just out of puberty’ and that is not an easy role to live with (as a grown man) especially when you are an important military leader. I know. Obviously, Riley has no experience with relationships and is just a kid, emotionally. To become a military leader at a young age means he must have lost his teen puberty years training and dedicating himself to his country. That is one good reason not to be so quick to judge Riley of low character.

To find your first love while being involved in military covert operations and secret research and thinking she is a civilian before finding out she is ‘a superhero’ is a lot to swallow especially while experiencing emotional tidal waves for the first time, and without knowing what it is like to be ‘on the rebound’ or even what that is. That is probably the reason she never once said to him, ‘I love you’ to his many times of saying it. Then he must of wondered why she doesn’t say it not understanding the (sometimes unseen) fear experienced investing emotion while being on the rebound.

Before he can find that out he must deal with a lot; his first relationship with a dominant female partner, the fact that her ex-bf is a ‘supervamp with a soul’ that she still has friendly contact to, being raped by a rogue slayer looking for revenge against her using magic to possess her body and then deal with being open and honest about the rape to her that he must deal with too (all alone), and also that he has invested his whole life and career in his country and only friends just to find out that they are corrupted before going AWOL leaving everything he is and knew behind to become ‘Buffy’s girlfriend’. During all that time he must also deal with being experimented on without his knowledge (by his military family/friends) using drugs and a mind controlling device implanted in him. Those are all big, BIG deals! Only a true man could survive them (and not easily and not without problems and mistakes, for sure) and come out of it still a man and dedicated warrior (to the civilian folks).
I strongly disagree with this, especially the top paragraph. Buffy being Riley's "first time" in love does not excuse his behaviour towards her. It could be argued that Xander is Anya's "first time" in love, yet she doesn't treat him the way Riley treats Buffy. Anya knows Xander had a fling with Willow, she was the vengeance demon that wanted Cordelia to wish revenge on Xander, yet Anya doesn't stop Xander from spending time with Willow. She doesn't feel threatened by Willow's presence, nor does Anya threaten Willow to stay away from Xander.

When people are in love for the first time, they normally think the sun shines out the other's backside. They think their significant other can do no wrong, yet Riley accuses Buffy of cheating on him the moment Angel shows up on the scene.

Riley makes a lot of mistakes in the relationship, and does become deeply insecure when faced with how awesome his girlfriend is compared to himself :) but I don't think he's as abusive as this article would have us believe. I think Riley's conversation with Spike in Into The Woods shows he really does have a deeper understanding of what's going on emotionally in his relationship with Buffy then we give him credit for.

“Because I’m so in love with you I can’t think straight.” might be a rationalisation but I also think it's Riley's way of apologising. He's not stupid, he's studied psychology, he must understand something of the human condition. He know's he's wrong and over-reacting and that's what love has made him do. But I don't think blaming Buffy, he's blaming himself.

The suck-whores and the ultimatium were appalling, and I hated Buffy running after him. But compared with the other relationships on this show, it's hardly the most abusive. Willow wiped Tara's memory, Xander used a spell to get Cordy to love him . . . not to mention what our two favourtie vampires have done throughout BtVS and AtS, the list is of abuses is quite long if you think about it.
I never used to think Briley was abusive, but going through the episode transcripts involving Briley, the evidence is actually there. Spuffy was quite open about how unhealthy it was for both participants and it was never treated as being healthy by the show. Briley on the other hand is very subtle in its unhealthiness, so much so it goes under the radar and gets treated as a romance, like a relationship that Buffy should want.

The fact that Riley studied psychology, and was obviously proficient in it enough to be accepted as a TA, also raises concerns. It means he knows how the mind works, he knows what buttons to push. Refusing to go to hospital, despite needing to, means that Buffy's care and concern is focussed on him rather than Joyce who is being cared for by doctors. Riley only agrees to go to the doctor because Buffy tells him she "needs" him which is what Riley wants her to feel. HE emotionally manipulated her.


Here's some more episode transcripts showing Riley's controlling behaviour of Buffy, either with her or towards others.

No Place Like Home

DAWN
(to Riley)
You can't patrol. Buffy said.

BUFFY
No, I didn't.

DAWN
Yeah, remember? You said it'd be easier if you didn't have to look out for anybody.

BUFFY
(nervous)
Well, I wasn't talking about Riley.

RILEY
Don't worry about it.

DAWN
Oh, she just said you look even cuter when you're all weak and kitteny
and she'd better go solo or you'd get hurt. So welcome to the
club. She'll never let me go either.

Buffy is mortified and furious. Giles, Willow and Riley look away,
uncomfortable. Dawn finally registers the awkward silence.

DAWN
What? What?

RILEY
Giles, you got that danger room set up out back? I'm feeling the need
for a little physical rehab about now.
Buffy doesn't want Riley patrolling with her which is a reasonable expectation. He's still recovering and in her line of work she needs to have her wits about her rather than having to look after someone else. Dawn puts her foot in it but note the stage direction, Buffy is "nervous" and tries to deny that she was referring to Riley. Dawn inadvertently puts her foot in it even more, leaving Buffy "mortified and furious", and Riley's reaction is to ask Giles if the training room is set up because he's "feeling the need for a little physical rehab about now". This is potentially concerning behaviour. Buffy's denying expressing reasonable concern for Riley's welfare because she knows that not wanting him to come would hurt his masculinity complex (which she knows he's got). Riley's response is essentially wanting to punch/kick something because Buffy doesn't think he's capable of safely patrolling. Whilst Riley would never try and hit Buffy (not least because he knows she'd kick his backside), in the real world that kind of reaction would potentially be a red flag, as the desire to punch/kick someTHING could easily turn into the desire to punch/kick someONE.

RILEY
So I'm not quite Super Guy anymore. It was borrowed power anyway. Had to give it back some time.

BUFFY
I know you can handle yourself. I just didn't want to see you get hurt.

RILEY
Maybe instead of you trying to take care of me, we agree to take care of each other. Deal?
Once again Buffy is having to reassure Riley. The whole deal of taking "care of each other" seems to be Riley trying to reassert his masculinity. He doesn't want to be taken care of, he wants to be the one that takes care of Buffy. He is too focussed on wanting Buffy to "need" him.

Family

BUFFY: She ... can't be running out whenever she'd like.
RILEY: (walks forward) It's more than that.
BUFFY: What do you mean?
RILEY: (sits next to her, shakes his head) You tell me.
BUFFY: We all have to be careful. This ... demon chick is ... exciting and new. I don't know what I'm up against.
RILEY: If we're in trouble here I could contact Graham, maybe get the government boys on it-
BUFFY: No! No, I-I-I don't want them anywhere near this.
RILEY: (annoyed) Just a suggestion.
BUFFY: Look, the fewer people that are involved, the safer I will feel.
RILEY: Every time I think I'm getting close to you ... (shakes head) I gotta take off. (Gets up)
BUFFY: (gets up to follow) Wait! What?
RILEY: (walking toward front door) I'll call you later.
BUFFY: Riley! (He stops walking) I *want* you to help. I'm not-
RILEY: Yeah. Know you got a lot on your mind. You decide you wanna let me in on any of it, (opens door) let me know. I'll come running.

He exits. Buffy looks troubled.
Riley takes the hump with Buffy, seemingly for just turning down his suggestion of getting Graham and soldiers involved. Riley then goes to Willy's bar and gets drunk. The bartender refers to Riley going there "night after night". Drinking is not a good sign in abusive relationships (as Xander can probably attest to with his parents' marriage). Riley's pushing Buffy away as if she's offended him even though she's not done anything wrong. interestingly Buffy says to Riley "I WANT you to help" yet Riley still walks out. He wants Buffy to NEED his help.

Shadow

SPIKE: Bloody pull me back in, you sod, I'm starting to sizzle!
RILEY: You don't know anything about Buffy, you never did. I'm the one who knows what she needs.
SPIKE: Oh yeah? That's why you're with her at hospital right now, giving her what she needs.
RILEY: (pulls Spike back inside) What are you talking about?
SPIKE: Don't you know, didn't she tell you?
RILEY: You tell me.
SPIKE: Mum's sickly. Buffy took her to the hospital for a bit of prod 'n probe. Bite-sized one went too. (needling) You know, it's-it's funny her not calling you about that. I've known since last night.
Cut to Buffy in the hospital, pacing outside a door marked "Examination Room." She twiddles her fingers nervously and sighs. A hand appears and grabs her shoulder; she spins around.
BUFFY: (sighs) Riley.
RILEY: Sorry. I heard. I thought maybe you'd ... need ....
Buffy hugs him.
BUFFY: I do. I do. I'm glad. (pulls back) I just, I-I didn't ... I mean, until we knew what it was...
RILEY: I understand. How's she doing?
RILEY: (OS) Buffy.
Riley approaches and Buffy gets up to hug him.
BUFFY: It's bad.
RILEY: I know.
BUFFY: I ... (grabs her coat and puts it on) I have to do something.
RILEY: Do something?
BUFFY: Yeah, like, you know, magic, like a healing spell.
RILEY: Buffy ... people get sick. I don't think magic-
BUFFY: That attitude's not helping. (Riley looks cowed) I have to try.
RILEY: Okay.
BUFFY: I need to talk to Giles. Uh, will you do me a favor and, and drop Dawn off at school, and tell her I'll meet her at the magic shop in an hour when she gets off?
RILEY: Of course, whatever you need me to do. (Buffy starts to leave) Buffy! (she stops) What do you want me to tell Dawn ... about your mom?
In these 3 scenes, there is a word that keeps coming out of Riley's mouth and that word is "need". He wants Buffy to "need" him and it annoys him when he's not getting that from her. Riley's showing possessiveness over Buffy towards Spike "You don't know anything about Buffy, you never did. I'm the one who knows what she needs." (Granted he'd just caught Spike in Buffy's room, but the turn of phrase is overly possessive). THe only one who knows what Buffy needs is Buffy.

RILEY: Where's Buffy?
GILES: Um, she-she left a while ago.
RILEY: What? (sighs) Where?
XANDER: That creepy demon woman's conjuring some kind of monster.
RILEY: And you let Buffy go after her? Alone?
GILES: Uh, "let" isn't really a factor when she sets her mind to something, you know that. (He sees a customer approaching the counter and hurries off.)
RILEY: (to Xander) She'll get herself killed. It's crazy.
XANDER: Yeah. Crazy. Going off alone, half-cocked, instead of waiting for much-needed backup ... charging in with a big old hand grenade ... oh, wait.
Riley looks a little guilty.
RILEY: This is different.
XANDER: Yeah, it is. Buffy needs something she can fight, something she can solve. I don't know what kind of action you're looking for ... (looks closer at Riley) Do you?
Riley stares at him, then looks away.
XANDER: Hey, I'm not trying to get-
RILEY: It's cool.
XANDER: You okay?
RILEY: (nods) Just a little crazed.
XANDER: I hear ya.
RILEY: (moving toward the door) If, uh, she needs me... (He shrugs and leaves.)
Again the word "needs" pops up. Everything from Riley's mouth seems to be about what Buffy "needs" yet nobody seems to ask Buffy herself.

RILEY: You okay? You look pretty beat up.
BUFFY: (nods) Minimal damage of the fighting kind. It's all the other kind.
RILEY: Come here.
He hugs her.
RILEY: It's okay. Just let it out. I'm right here.
BUFFY: I can't. (sniffles, pulls back) Not now. (glances toward the hospital room) They need me. If I start now ... I won't be able to stop.
"It's okay. Just let it out. I'm here" This is almost creepy. It's like Riley wants Buffy to break down in tears so that he can be the one to comfort her.

This is also when Riley first lets a vampire feed from him. As we later find out, he does it because it makes him feel "needed".

Into The Woods

RILEY: Plastic wood-grain. Looks real, doesn't it? (Grabs Spike's shirt again) Don't think I don't know what's goin' on with you, Spike. (They glare at each other) Stay away from her. Or we'll do this for real next time.

He pats Spike on the cheek and walks away. Spike leans against the pillar panting. He's still clutching his chest, but he begins to chuckle, and Riley turns back.

SPIKE: (chuckling) Oh, man. You are really under it, aren't you?
RILEY: (angrily) What?
SPIKE: Look at you. All afraid I'm hot for your honey.
RILEY: (walks back toward Spike) Because you are.
SPIKE: Well ... yeah. But that's not your problem. Even if I wasn't in the picture, you're never gonna be able to hold onto her.
Again Riley is showing possessiveness over Buffy by warning a male character to stay away from her. (It's Spike but still, Buffy is perfectly capable of telling Spike to piss off, she doesn't need Riley doing it for her).

RILEY: We need to talk.
BUFFY: (continues punching) I'm not ready to talk to you yet.

Riley walks forward, removing his jacket and tossing it aside.

RILEY: Too bad.

He takes hold of the punching bag. Buffy stops punching.

BUFFY: I'm serious. (turns away) Unless you wanna fight.
RILEY: So let's fight. We need to have this out, Buffy. Right now.

Buffy turns back, annoyed.
BUFFY: And say what, Riley? 'What were you thinking? How long have you been lying to me?' Nothing you say right now is gonna make this better.

She turns away again. Riley moves forward.
RILEY: I realize that. (Grabs her arm and turns her around) I don't expect... (angrily) I just need you to hear me out.
BUFFY: (quietly) Fine. Get your hand off of me.

He lets go of her arm, sighs, walks a few steps away.

RILEY: I think, when this thing started, it was just some stupid, immature game. I wanted to even the score after you let Dracula bite you.
BUFFY: I did not *let* Dracula-
RILEY: I know. On some level I know that. But I was still spun. (pause) I don't know, I - I wanted to know what you felt. I wanted to know why Dracula and Angel have so much power over you.
BUFFY: (shakes her head) You so don't get it.
RILEY: I wanted to get it, Buffy. I wanted to get you.
BUFFY: So this is my fault? Hey, gee, Buffy's so mysterious, I think I'll go out and almost die. I think I'll go and let some other w... (She stops and looks down.)
RILEY: This isn't your fault. It's mine. I feel like hell for what I've put you through. (Buffy still doesn't look at him) It's just... (sighs) these girls-
BUFFY: Vampires. Killers.
RILEY: They made me feel something, Buffy. Something I didn't even know I was missing until-
BUFFY: I can't. I can't hear this.

She turns away again and Riley grabs her arm again.
RILEY: You *need* to hear this.

Buffy pulls her arm away, walks a few steps away.

BUFFY: Fine. Fine! Tell me about your whores! Tell me what on earth they were giving you that I can't.
RILEY: They needed me.
BUFFY: They needed your money. It wasn't about you.
RILEY: (walks closer to her) No. On some basic level it *was* about me. My blood, my body. (sighs) When they bit me ... it was beyond passion. They wanted to devour me, all of me.
BUFFY: (teary) Why are you telling me this?
RILEY: It wasn't real. I know, it was just physical. But the fact that I craved it ... that, that I kept going back ... even if it was fleeting, they made me feel like they had such... hunger for me.
BUFFY: And I don't ... make you feel that way? (Riley looks away) How on earth can you compare me to that? How can you tell me you understand what those vampires are feeling? You aren't a passion to them, you are a snack! A willing, idiotic snack.
RILEY: (angrily) No, I know exactly what they feel when they bite me, because I feel it every time we're together. It's like the whole world falls away. And all there is is you.
BUFFY: And you think that I don't feel the same way about you? How dare you tell me what I feel?
RILEY: You keep me at a distance, Buffy. You didn't even call me when your mom went into the hospital.
BUFFY: (incredulously) Oh, I'm sorry. You know, um, I'm sorry that I couldn't take care of you when I thought that my mother was dying.
RILEY: It's about me taking care of you! It's about letting me in. So you don't have to be on top of everything all the time.
BUFFY: But I do. That's part of what being a slayer is. (shakes her head) And that's what this is really about, isn't it? You can't handle the fact that I'm stronger than you.
RILEY: It's hard sometimes, yeah. But that's not it.
BUFFY: Then what? What else do you want from me, Riley? I've given you everything that I have, I've given you my heart, my body and soul!
RILEY: You say that, but I don't feel it. I just don't feel it.
BUFFY: Well, whose fault its that? Because I'm telling you, this is it, this is me. This is the package. And if it's so deficient that you need to get your kicks elsewhere ... then we really have a problem.

They both stare at each other silently for a moment. Then Buffy looks down. Riley sighs.

RILEY: They want me back, Buffy ... the military. (Buffy looks up in shock) It's deep undercover, no contact with civilians. Transport's leaving tonight.
BUFFY: Tonight? When were you gonna tell me about this?
RILEY: I'm telling you now.
BUFFY: Are you going?
RILEY: I don't know. If we can't work this out...
BUFFY: Then what? This is goodbye? (Riley shrugs. Buffy gets mad.) You are unbelievable. You're giving me an ultimatum?
RILEY: No, I'm not.
BUFFY: Yes you are! You expect me to get over it now or you're gone!
RILEY: I don't, Buffy, that's not what I meant.
BUFFY: Well, I have heard enough. (angrily) I will not take the blame for this. (Starts to walk away.)
RILEY: I'm not asking you to. (Grabs her arm yet again)
BUFFY: Let go of me! (pulls her arm away)
RILEY: Or what? You'll hit me? (She stares at him. He spreads his arms out.) Go ahead. Come on, do it.
BUFFY: Get out of my way.
RILEY: I'm serious, Buffy, hit me. Hit me.

He walks right up to her. She walks around him and takes her jacket off a hook.

RILEY: I'm leaving, Buffy.

She stops walking but doesn't turn to face him. He turns to speak to her back.

RILEY: Unless you give me a reason to stay ... I'm leaving tonight.

Buffy opens the door and walks out, closing it behind her. Riley looks upset.
There are several things in this scene that show controlling behaviour from Riley:

1. Riley demands that he and Buffy talk. When Buffy tells him she's "not ready to talk to [him] YET", Riley's response is "too bad" aka they will be having the conversation she doesn't want to have whether she likes it or not.

2. Riley grabs Buffy's arm 3 times and each time she tells him to let her go (twice verbally, once physically by puling her arm away). The first time should've been enough for Riley to know not to grab Buffy's arm yet he continues to do so.

3. Riley tells Buffy his dalliance with the vampires started because he wanted to "even the score" after she "let" Dracula bite her. Even though Buffy made it clear what Dracula did was against her will, Riley is still blaming her for it and using it to justify why he went to the vampire whores. Thankfully Buffy calls him out on this, but if you notice Riley slightly backtracks "This isn't your fault. It's mine" before again trying to blame Buffy by insinuating that the vampires were giving him something Buffy wasn't "They made me feel something, Buffy. Something I didn't even know I was missing until-"

4. Yet again the "NEED" emerges from Riley's mouth. Buffy can't bear to hear what Riley says (Why should she when he's trying to shift the blame on her?) so when she turns away, not only does Riley grab her arm again (which she had told him not to do), he also tells her "You *need* to hear this." He tells her he went to the vamps because they "needed" him.

5. Buffy is totally right on calling Riley out. This exchange:

BUFFY: And you think that I don't feel the same way about you? How dare you tell me what I feel?
RILEY: You keep me at a distance, Buffy. You didn't even call me when your mom went into the hospital.
BUFFY: (incredulously) Oh, I'm sorry. You know, um, I'm sorry that I couldn't take care of you when I thought that my mother was dying.
RILEY: It's about me taking care of you! It's about letting me in. So you don't have to be on top of everything all the time.

Again Riley is trying to push the blame onto Buffy because she wasn't breaking down and sobbing in his arms, she wasn't making him feel "needed". Buffy calls Riley out yet again during this exchange:

BUFFY: Then what? What else do you want from me, Riley? I've given you everything that I have, I've given you my heart, my body and soul!
RILEY: You say that, but I don't feel it. I just don't feel it.
BUFFY: Well, whose fault its that? Because I'm telling you, this is it, this is me. This is the package. And if it's so deficient that you need to get your kicks elsewhere ... then we really have a problem.

Riley is still trying to blame Buffy for his actions because she didn't make him feel needed.

6. When Buffy doesn't play ball, Riley delivers his ultimatum to her. She is rightly angry about this. He tells her he's leaving unless she gives him a reason to stay. This is a bit of emotional blackmail. Unless she gives him a reason to stay, it's her fault if he leaves.

7. Riley grabs Buffy's arm for the third time and we get this exchange:

BUFFY: Let go of me! (pulls her arm away)
RILEY: Or what? You'll hit me?

Buffy tells Riley to let go of her yet again and Riley's response is to challenge her.

XANDER: Take this, for instance. You don't wanna deal, so you hide? It's not very slayer-like.
BUFFY: Just leave me alone, Xander. You have no idea what's going on.
XANDER: No? Good, so you and Riley *aren't* imploding? (Buffy turns to face him in surprise) It doesn't take a genius. What I can't figure out is how you never saw it coming.
BUFFY: What? Who told you?
XANDER: Nobody told me anything, Buffy. It was right in front of my Xander face. The guy would do anything for you.
BUFFY: The guy got himself bit by a vampire! (Xander is surprised) He lied to me. He ran around behind my back and almost got himself killed! And now he tells me that he's leaving with some covert military operation at midnight unless *I* convince him not to. Now tell me that you understand. Because I sure as hell don't.
XANDER: You gonna let him go?
BUFFY: (sighs) It's not my decision to make.
XANDER: Of course it is.
BUFFY: Well, it's not fair.
XANDER: Who cares if it's fair? In about twenty minutes, Riley's gonna disappear, maybe forever, unless you do something to stop him.
BUFFY: What am I supposed to do? Beg him to stay?
XANDER: (in disbelief) Why wouldn't you? To keep Riley here-
BUFFY: I don't even know who he is any more. I mean, I thought he was ... dependable.
XANDER: Dependable? What is he, State Farm?
BUFFY: You know what I mean.
XANDER: Yeah. I think you mean convenient. I think you took it for granted that he was gonna show up when you wanted him to, and take off when you didn't.
BUFFY: Look who's talking. Look who has Anya following him around like a lovesick puppy.
XANDER: Oh boy, is this *not* about me.
BUFFY: Is she more than a convenience? 'Cause that would kinda be a surprise.
XANDER: (angrily) If you don't wanna hear what I have to say, I'll shut up right now.
BUFFY: Good, 'cause I don't.

She starts to walk off. Xander intercepts her.

XANDER: I lied. See, what I think, you got burned with Angel, then Riley shows up.
BUFFY: I know the story, Xander.
XANDER: But you miss the point. You shut down, Buffy. And you've been treating Riley like the rebound guy. When he's the one that comes along once in a lifetime. (Buffy looks dismayed) He's never held back with you. He's risked everything. And you're about to let him fly because you don't like ultimatums?

Buffy's eyes begin to water as Xander's words finally get through.

XANDER: If he's not the guy, if what he needs from you just isn't there, (shakes head) let him go. Break his heart, and make it a clean break. But if you really think you can love this guy ... I'm talking scary, messy, no-emotions-barred need ... if you're ready for that ... then think about what you're about to lose.

Buffy looks up at him, then looks around anxiously. There are tears in her eyes.
BUFFY: Xander...
XANDER: Run.
Again the word "needs" comes up. Buffy says she thought Riley was "dependable" which Xander kind of scoffs at, yet Riley wanted Buffy to depend on him. Riley has played to Buffy's friends, making them think he's this good guy, and now all of a sudden Buffy is made to feel in the wrong for not wanting to give in to Riley's emotional manipulations.
 
Mrs Gordo
Mrs Gordo
Xander's speech is the worst in this scene. He is so wrong.
caitaintdead
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MarlieTheSlayer
MarlieTheSlayer
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#14
Is there anyone (including Buffy) in the Buffyverse who doesn't become stupid (with raging insecurities and/or obnoxious behavior) when in love? Sometimes it's even after the relationship is over. (It just occurs to me that Buffy should've been more understanding of Riley who reacted obnoxiously to Angel given how Buffy just reacted to Faith and Angel both in LA. And that wasn't because of what Faith did, it was because of Faith taking Riley--Buffy didn't see it as rape of herself or him unless we want to arbitrarily assume something never shown--and was then hugging Angel, something that stoked her insecurities even in season 3 so that Buffy was trying to read Angel's mind regarding his feelings for Faith. Faith stealing Buffy's body was just the ultimate manifestation of Buffy's fear of Faith from season 3, of Faith stealing her life, especially her boyfriend.)

I can't help but think that the difference between romantic love (as shown in the Buffyverse) and the obsession created by love spells is one of degree rather than kind.

I have to say, while I can see an interpretation of abuse with the patterns (especially if one wants to focus on metaphors), I'm not yet seeing Riley as abusive, though even to me he's being more obnoxious than I remembered him being. However, it does focus on his personality traits that show I'd never tolerate somewhat like that in a romantic relationship and it would've been over fast. I know from experience having had to deal with lovers of that nature, and it either ended fast, or there was a sudden change in attitude about treating me that way.
 

Mrs Gordo

And then she comes along...
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Black Thorn
#15
Firstly, I think that Bangel fans feel threatened by Riley’s character and looks, appearing on the scene so quickly after Angel and his sacrifice leaving her in S3.
Hello - I'm just here as a Bangel fan representative to say that I never thought twice about Briley as being a threat to what Bangel was. All you have to do if watch Sanctuary to see how Buffy feels about Riley v. Angel. And as far as comparing looks...

 

Fool for Buffy

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Sineya
#16
Hello - I'm just here as a Bangel fan representative to say that I never thought twice about Briley as being a threat to what Bangel was. All you have to do if watch Sanctuary to see how Buffy feels about Riley v. Angel. And as far as comparing looks...

This is just classic.

IMG_4585.JPG

It's clear that there is no threat here. As far as I understood it, Angel's feelings are the same as the audiences's. And whether Briley is abusive or not, imo it can be boiled down to that quote.
 
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#17
If you ask me it's a total waste of time to discuss Riley's character in S5 because the writers suddenly seemed to have forgotten who he was supposed to be and retconned him into some dumb soldier jock who wanted to basically kill himself because he couldn't bear to lose his superstrength, who knew Spike was a threat but instead of staking him used a plastic stake (one of the silliest scenes I have ever seen on TV). They even came up with the ridiculous concept of "vamp hos" who are bizarrely tolerated even by the Watchers' Council just to drive home the point that Riley had the plot completely. And then, when it was time to write him out (to make place for Spike - *spits*) they had Xander come up with a speech that felt aimed at the portion of the audience which never warmed up to Riley and kept whining about Angel or Spike. Mind you, I think this particular portion of the audience was and still is full of annoyingly clueless shippers who wouldn't know an interesting love story if it hit the on the head with a mallet but show some professionalism, writers - either stick to your guns and keep Riley as Buffy's love interest or refrain from taking meta shots at those fans who didn't like him. Honestly, it feels some writers liked him a lot and were pissed because they had to write him out.

So, in short, it's pointless to analyze Riley's season 5 behavior because it makes no sense due to horrible writing, IMO. If we need to blame someone, I prefer blaming Joss for pandering to the Spuffies. :) I don't think it's a coincidence that Riley's descent into suicidal stupidity is in the very same episode where Spike has his wet dream of Buffy.

I never used to think Briley was abusive, but going through the episode transcripts involving Briley, the evidence is actually there. Spuffy was quite open about how unhealthy it was for both participants and it was never treated as being healthy by the show.
Please tell me you are joking. Pretty please? Spuffy was romanticised so many times in the show itself... only for the writers to turn around and go all "why do fans find this relationship romantic?!? It's not our fault, you guys." The hell it isn't.

Anyway, if you really need to analyze the ugly mess that's Riley's arc in S5, I don't think he was being abusive in the usual sense of the word. He was playing the role that female characters tend to play in these situations - the really needy, insecure partner who needs to be reassured all the time and has nothing else to do with her life apart from that romantic relationship. I guess there are some shades of emotional abuse but I think abuse is too strong of a word in this case. Stupidity is far more apt.
 
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#18
Please tell me you are joking. Pretty please? Spuffy was romanticised so many times in the show itself... only for the writers to turn around and go all "why do fans find this relationship romantic?!? It's not our fault, you guys." The hell it isn't.
Spuffy was never romanticised, it didn't have other characters describing Spike as "the one that comes along once in a lifetime", Spike was never viewed as "the perfect boyfriend", Spuffy was treated as Buffy's dirty secret by Buffy herself. There are fans that like Spuffy because of the chemistry between SMG and JM, but that's the nature of fandom. People ship Fuffy but that doesn't mean the relationship between Buffy and Faith was romanticised.

Anyway, if you really need to analyze the ugly mess that's Riley's arc in S5, I don't think he was being abusive in the usual sense of the word. He was playing the role that female characters tend to play in these situations - the really needy, insecure partner who needs to be reassured all the time and has nothing else to do with her life apart from that romantic relationship. I guess there are some shades of emotional abuse but I think abuse is too strong of a word in this case. Stupidity is far more apt.
"I guess there are some shades of emotional abuse but I think abuse is too strong of a word"

So what would you call it then? You've said there are shades of emotional ABUSE but you don't want to call it abuse. It goes beyond stupidity, Riley knew what he was doing.
 
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#19
Spuffy was never romanticised, it didn't have other characters describing Spike as "the one that comes along once in a lifetime", Spike was never viewed as "the perfect boyfriend",
Those aren't prerequisites for romanticizing a relationship, you know. What do you call things like Spike saving his ass, I mean heroically resisting torture for Buffy's sake and then been rewarded with a kiss like in a fanfic written by a 13 year old if not romanticizing? Spike's speeches about how every night he saved Buffy, Buffy 37 speeches in S7 about how much the group needed Spike despite his trigger? Most of the episode called Foolish Writers, I mean Fool For Love where we were presented the (ridiculous, IMO) idea that Spike was looking for fair fights with Slayer, was a sensitive poet and moved by Buffy's tears? The entire episode is about romanticizing Spike and turning him into a legit love interest. Once More with Feeling when the only one who never wavers in his desire to rescue Buffy is (excuse while I vomit), you guessed it, Spike and which ends with yet another fanfic-y kiss? Buffy forgiving Spike's rape so quickly and easily this not romanticizing Spuffy in your book? Come on. Sure, it was never consistent because some writers like Espenson and Whedon seemed to view Spike as much more of a romantic hero than others (Noxon and Fury, for instance) but still.
 
Mrs Gordo
Mrs Gordo
I like all of this.... Didn't Noxon also fall in the Spike is a romantic hero camp too though?
RomanticSoul
RomanticSoul
Agree with all of this.
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#20
Those aren't prerequisites for romanticizing a relationship, you know. What do you call things like Spike saving his ass, I mean heroically resisting torture for Buffy's sake and then been rewarded with a kiss like in a fanfic written by a 13 year old if not romanticizing? Spike's speeches about how every night he saved Buffy, Buffy 37 speeches in S7 about how much the group needed Spike despite his trigger? Most of the episode called Foolish Writers, I mean Fool For Love where we were presented the (ridiculous, IMO) idea that Spike was looking for fair fights with Slayer, was a sensitive poet and moved by Buffy's tears? The entire episode is about romanticizing Spike and turning him into a legit love interest. Once More with Feeling when the only one who never wavers in his desire to rescue Buffy is (excuse while I vomit), you guessed it, Spike and which ends with yet another fanfic-y kiss? Buffy forgiving Spike's rape so quickly and easily this not romanticizing Spuffy in your book? Come on. Sure, it was never consistent because some writers like Espenson and Whedon seemed to view Spike as much more of a romantic hero than others (Noxon and Fury, for instance) but still.
Romanticising a relationship is to present it as an ideal eg Buffy being told that Riley, despite his controlling behaviour, is ""the one that comes along once in a lifetime". The Briley relationship is being sold as one that people should want to have despite it's dark undercurrent. Spuffy was never portrayed as the relationship people should want to have. It made both participants miserable rather than happy, it was treated as a dirty secret, it ended with the AR etc.

I don't like the direction Spuffy went in, I would've preferred Spuffy not to happen at all so I am not looking at it through the lens of a shipper, but Spuffy was never presented as a romance in Season 6 (Season 7 is a different affair full of crappy writing but Spuffy weren't actually in a "relationship" then).

We're comparing Season 5 Briley and Season 6 Spuffy.
 
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