I just can't escape this feeling of her being irreparably damaged. Her heart. Her interactions with Spike--the way she's only able to express her love as he's dying. The way she reaches out to Xander and Satsu as love interests (which um what?!) in Season 8. She's so closed off and hurt and permanently in crash-position when it comes to love. Angel gets a big chunk of the responsibility for this. I just look at the way she was back then and she was so open with her emotions. Figuratively wore her heart on her sleeve. Her being the Slayer and having to deal with so much loss didn't help. But I'll also add Riley's leaving her to the mix. (And the loss of her mom, of course.) Yes, she was partially shut down with Riley because she needed to be stoic and deal with life while her mom was sick. But then she ran after him. She wanted to be loved and to love and if it was with Riley, then she was gonna try. She took a look at the pickle jar of her heart and forced it open with her Slayer strength--she wasn't gonna shy away this time. She was gonna be brave and vulnerable. She was gonna try (because it's what she does). And I don't care if I think Riley was the wrong guy and I'm glad he got away.
I care about Buffy desperately opening up her heart and being too late. Always. Forever.
"I'm too late, aren't I?"
I think Buffy convinced herself she was in love with Xander because he was her stalwart true. He's always been there for her. He was safe. Except even Xander wasn't safe for her heart--she confesses her feelings and gets rejected. He was supposed to be safe, but he wasn't safe at all. And isn't that why she slept with Satsu? Satsu was guaranteed to care for her, wasn't she? There was a spell proving she loved Buffy. And if Buffy didn't care as much, if she was the one loved and not the one loving, then her fragile heart wouldn't get stomped on. It couldn't. She could flirt with intimacy without the danger of heartbreak. She's got like PTSD of the heart.
Oh, Buffy. *heart aches*
Every time she opens up her heart, it's right before the fall where she smashes to the ground and little bits of her heart shatter. Her heart is fragile, it's wounded, but she keeps trying to make it work. Is she ever gonna give her heart to someone, fall for them and gift them with her heart, and have them catch her? Have them actually be there for her?