Unrealistic Expectations & the Rebecca Renner Saga

Dr. Lisa Xochitl Vallejos
3 min readMay 26, 2021

5 things she probably wishes she’d known

Rebecca Renner twitter

Last week, writer Rebecca Renner posted the above photo, thus launching the saga that would capture the attention of Twitter for the next couple of days. In the post, she wrote that a “recent personal tragedy reminded her that life was too short” and with that, decided to fly cross country to tell a man she was in love with him.

Within 24 hours, she was posting a selfie from a “shitty hotel room” after having been rejected by the “love of her life”.

Here’s 5 things you can takeaway from this to avoid the same fate:

  1. Life is not a romantic comedy. The whole idea of grand gestures seems to have taken on a new life in romcoms. In those, we see Jerry Maguire interrupting a girl’s night to declare “you complete me” and we all swoon, cut to credits and we leave happy. Grand gesture can be great, but only when both people are equally into a relationship, when the interest is mutual AND it’s 100% clear that it is the case…
  2. When someone says no, accept it. Part of this saga that was most bothersome was that he’d already told her that he had a lot going on and wasn’t available to date. She decided that his first no wasn’t good enough and that a 10 hour flight might be just the trick.
  3. This could have been a phone call. Showing up unexpected & uninvited is invasive and coercive. Showing up to declare your love to someone who has already said no is creepy.
  4. Love values free will. When you truly love someone, you value and respect their free will, even if their free will takes them in a direction away from you.
  5. No one is obligated to love you back. At the end of the saga, Renner stated that they were “working on forgiving each other”, but I’m not quite sure why. He made a boundary, said he didn’t want a relationship and she chose to book a flight to declare her love anyway.
  6. (I know I said 5 but I have to add this) Someone who says “no” is not leading you on. In this story, Renner states that he was leading her on. However, he’d already told her he didn’t want a relationship. He told her he wasn’t available. She chose to continue to…