'To All The Boys: Always And Forever' Proves Teens Shouldn't Date

To All the Boys Always and Forever Lara Jean Covey Lana Condor Peter Kavinsky Noah Centineo Netflix
Katie Yu / Netflix

Should teens date? My potentially controversial answer is no. I have felt this way since I was a pre-teen, and upon watching the final installment in Netflix’s “To All the Boys” franchise at 31, the movie provided vindication for the sentiment. In “To All the Boys: Always and Forever,” Lara Jean and her boyfriend Peter are confronted with the crashing reality of burgeoning adulthood: college.

It is the potential nail for any high school romance’s coffin. As a teen, so much of your life is up in the air. Making decisions while balancing a romance is theoretically “complicated” at best. My case? There is no need to invest in an emotionally-trying relationship that a teen is not ready to fully commit to. In “To All the Boys: Always and Forever,” Lara Jean and Peter are confronted with this reality.

Spoilers for the ending of “To All the Boys: Always and Forever” get discussed below.

The Netflix movie, an adaptation of Jenny Han’s novel of the same name (and boasts several differences), tries to skip over the reality check that teen romance should be a no-go. However, the truth is plain to see. Lara Jean and Peter use time and energy to pursue a love that may not last instead of enjoying their lives commitment-free and studying.

To All The Boys Always and Forever Peter Kavinsky Noah Centineo Lara Jean Covey Lana Condor Christine Chris Madeleine Arthur Trevor Ross Butler Netflix
Katie Yu / Netflix

The Truth About Teen Dating

Speaking of studying, if Peter and Lara Lean wanted to go to the same college, there would be no issue in “To All the Boys: Always and Forever.” But…they do not. Lara Jean wants to go to NYU (hello “Gossip Girl”) while Peter has gotten accepted into Stanford University, which does not accept Lara Jean. Cue the drama.

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At the core of what unfurls in “To All the Boys: Always and Forever” is that Lara Jean does not want to give up on pursuing her dreams for Peter. At 17-years-old that is what Lara Jean should do. She is too young to sacrifice her future. It is okay for Lara Jean to want what she wants.

At the same time, Peter does not deserve to get his heart ripped out by Lara Jean deciding to leave. Peter takes the initial long-distance between Berkeley and Stanford in stride. He and Lara Jean were on the same coast at that point. California to New York is a whole other story, though, and I get Peter feeling betrayed.

To All The Boys Always and Forever Lara Jean Covey Lana Condor Netflix
Katie Yu / Netflix

So, What Was The Solution? 

The answer was to never engage in any teen romance from the beginning. If that had happened, there would be no “To All the Boys” franchise or “To All the Boys: Always and Forever,” so it had to occur. Plus, teen romance is the cornerstone of lots of television, movies, and music, for that matter. They all constantly promote it despite teens not being truly ready to deal with life’s winding road.

Do not get me wrong. After three movies and over six hours, I rooted for Lara Jean and Peter’s relationship to survive. That said, the immaturity of their teenage years betrayed Lara Jean, especially. With his rightful abandonment issues due to his father absconding from the family home, hurting Peter does not keep Lara Jean from putting her future first.

To All The Boys Always and Forever To All The Boys Always and Forever Christine Chris Madeleine Arthur Gen Genevieve Emilija Baranac Lara Jean Covey Lana Condor Peter Kavinsky Noah Centineo Netflix
Katie Yu / Netflix

The Ending

Yes, Lara Jean and Peter do end up together, sort of. The couple has a long (as in really long) distance relationship with Lara Jean in New York and Peter in California. In the final moments of “To All the Boys: Always and Forever,” Lara Jean expresses hope that she and Peter will endure and remain a couple despite the distance.

I really hope young viewers watching “To All the Boys: Always and Forever” notice the message that is not meant to get conveyed. If Lara Jean and Peter had pursued all of their dreams and met with all of that experience under their belt, they could do what they did not completely manage for three movies.

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Lara Jean and Peter could be completely confident in their relationship and enjoy it. Or Lara Jean could realize John Ambrose is the one for her. Either way, she would be equipped to make that decision as a full-grown adult woman. There would be nothing pulling Lara Jean and Peter or any other suitor she may fancy apart as they would have completed their “adulting.”

PS: I loved the movies. But the title says it all -- “To All the Boys.” Lara Jean will eventually be a grown woman who does not desire to marry a “boy.” She should want a full-matured man. There is no shame in waiting until you have your life figured out to take the step into a Hallmark-worthy romance.

If you are curious to see Lara Jean and Peter’s romance unfold, you can. All of the movies in the “To All the Boys” trilogy, including “To All the Boys: Always and Forever,” are available to stream on Netflix, alongside some other great content.