Gonna be honest. Romance as redemption has always felt a bit cheap. And that’s as an aro who can feel attraction some of the time (aroflux).
1) it often fails to address “does this change of heart apply to literally anyone else but the one they’re in love with?”. Now, it’s fine if their feelings are a sort of springboard for realizing “oh shit, the people I’ve hurt are also people, just like my love!”, but this needs to be actually shown. Not merely assumed.
2) it often fails to show the redemption seeker doing anything to apologize or change or rectify what they’ve done or show remorse. The status of the relationship is treated as a stand in for all that. This doesn’t work at all unless the only person they’ve wronged is their new lover, and even then, their lover at least deserves an apology, you know?
I will add the caveat that it’s not only romantic relationship fueled redemptions that fail to answer these questions. Return of the Jedi failed to sell me on Darth Vader’s redemption because it wasn’t clear to me from the movie that his change of heart applied to anyone besides Luke, including his other child Leia.
hard same! and i think it boils down to this:[caption: fred from scooby doo says “okay gang, let’s see who this really is” as he unmasks ‘the trope of romance supposedly magically turning someone into a good/better person’ to reveal ‘the arophobic idea that not being in love makes someone a bad/worse person’]