Whether it was the original Gilmore Girls series or the Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life revival, fans of the show were given many lessons while watching their favorite fast-talking girls. Watching both a single 30-something mother and a sheltered, teenage prep school student navigate the dating world gives you a perspective of two very different times in life. It also allowed us to learn all the relationship lessons.
Lorelai went through, well, many men during the course of the show. There was, of course, the grumpy diner owner – Luke. In A Year in the Life, Lorelai finally (FINALLY!) ends up with Luke, but that is only after the pair had been through hell together. Lorelai was also charmed by Rory’s teacher, Max Medina. We can’t forget about the Christopher saga that seemed to never end. Oh, and Digger! Remember Digger? We’re not sure what we learned from that relationship but it was something.
Rory had her fair share of boyfriends too. First she dated the reliable, sweet Dean, who built her a friggin’ car. If you learn any lesson, you should perhaps learn that most dudes don’t normally build you a car for your 3 month anniversay. Next, there was the intellectual, bad boy Jess. He was followed by Rory’s entitled Yale boyfriend, Logan. All three of these guys helped Rory learn about both life and relationships.
At the end of the day, many guys have come and gone in the world of our Gilmore girls. They may have parted ways with our leading ladies, but they left behind valuable lessons about love and loss. Below are fifteen relationship lessons we learned while watching the coffee addicts fall in love and have their hearts broken.
Oh, and if you haven't watched the revival yet then consider this your *spoiler alert*!
15 One-Night Stands Aren’t A Necessary Experience
This lesson may be specific to the revival, but it’s an important lesson nonetheless. While on an assignment for GQ about people who wait in lines all around NYC, Rory and Lorelai make a night of it. Lorelai heads back to the hotel early, y'know because she's older and stuff. When Rory arrives at the hotel, she announces to her mother that she just slept with a Wookie. Yes, a Wookie.
While waiting in a line, she apparently hit it off with a guy dressed as a Wookie. They went to a party together and Rory hooked up with him. Upon telling Lorelai, Rory says that she feels like a failure because she only just now had a one-night stand. She reasons that she's 32 and should have experienced this earlier in life. Lorelai then tells her daughter that she's never had a one night stand – she maybe had a few three-night stands, but never a one-night stand.
This proves that all of these milestones people think they are supposed to hit hookup-wise are not necessary. If you never have a one-night stand, there is absolutely no shame in that. Hey, Lorelai Gilmore's never done it.
14 Don’t Say Yes Unless It Feels Right
Lorelai was a big fan of it feeling right. When she calls off her wedding to Max Medina, who was the sweetest guy in the world, she claims that it just didn’t feel right. She also uses that reasoning when her relationship with Christopher falls apart for the 100th time. Lorelai was waiting for the guy who made everything fall into place. That guy was obviously Luke. It was a long journey to get there, but it was well worth it.
Having watched her mother call off a wedding and divorce Christopher, Rory learned to not say yes unless it absolutely feels right. When Logan proposes, Rory turns him (and that huge ring) down because it isn’t right. Whether her turning down the proposal had to do with Logan personally or the time in her life is up for debate. Either way, she learned from watching her mother and made the right, rational decision.
Wait for the guy who it feels right with. It may be a longer journey but it will be worth it. You’ll also avoid breaking hearts along the way.
13 Even The Most Stable Relationships Require Work
Emily and Richard had a stable marriage on the show, but it was not without its flaws. The pair had been married for a whooping 50 years. After he passes away, Emily states that she was with Richard for most of her life and that he was half of her. All the tears, right?
Even though they were successful contributing members of society, who took luxurious vacations together and owned a lavish house, they still had their problems entering new stages of their lives. When Richard retires from his career, he cannot bring himself to tell Emily. He’s too ashamed to admit this to Emily and she feels betrayed to have not known about this major life decision. He then starts a new business, which leaves Emily feeling neglected and she takes to shopping to fill the Richard-sized hole in her days. Of course, they work through all of this but that is because they are willing to put the work into their relationship.
No matter how long you’ve been together or how much you love each other, the relationship will require work in one way or another. It may not always be fun, but it's worth it.
12 You Don’t Have To Agree On Everything
This is one of the biggest lessons in all of Gilmore Girls. You don’t have to agree on everything in order to be in a functional relationship. In fact, sometimes the relationships in which both parties passionately disagree with each other bring the most into your life. In the case of Luke and Lorelai, the pair disagreed on basically everything. There were fundamental differences in the way they viewed the world. Luke was a pessimistic loner, while Lorelai was an animated people person. While their personalities led them to many disagreements, the pair always found a way to reconcile and they grew from trying to see the other's side of things.
This lesson can also be applied to non-romantic relationships. It is a lesson that all the mothers and daughters learn about their relationships. Every generation of Gilmore women had different opinions and viewpoints. This caused many arguments but in the end, they always reconciled because their love for one another outweighed their difference in opinion.
11 Your First Impression May Be Wrong
Don’t judge a book by its cover and don’t let first impressions dictate how you feel about someone. This seems basic, but it's something our ladies certainly learned. Jess, in particular, was introduced as the bad boy of the show. He wants to jump out of Rory’s window. He smokes cigarettes. He steals beer from Lorelai’s fridge. He crashes Rory's car. He was bad, but he was also a frustrated and smart kid. His mother abandoned him, which is something none of the other characters on the show ever dealt with.
Throughout the course of the show, we see a different side of Jess. He’s embarrassed by his shortcomings. He’s well-read and has an active mind. He cares deeply for Rory. Yes, he started as a bad boy, but he also had many redeeming qualities. He grows into a successful member of society. He wrote a book and owns a printing press. That's actually wildly successful by most standards. If they had all judged Jess based on his introduction, they wouldn't have seen what a great guy he turned out to be. Of course, some characters warmed up quicker than others. It takes Lorelai until the revival to forget about Jess' bad boy past.
10 Don’t Sleep With Your Married Ex-Boyfriend
Ugh, Rory. Every time she does something like this, it makes us cringe. But, hey, we’ve learned to never do something like this ourselves.
Throughout season four, Rory deals with the fact that Dean is married. Y’know, the Dean that she dumped for Jess. She struggles to accept his marriage to Lindsay, even talking poorly about Lindsay in public spaces. The season ends with Rory losing her virginity to Dean, her married ex-boyfriend. Lorelai was just as shocked as audience members because, really? Really, Rory? In order to make the tryst seem less condemning, Rory begins dating Dean again, but this fizzles out due to their different paths in life.
This isn’t the last time Rory would do something like this. In the revival, Rory has a full-blown affair with her engaged ex-boyfriend, Logan. Logan had proposed to Rory, but she turned him down. Now that he's engaged to someone else, she’s sleeping with him again. Oh, and she's most likely pregnant with Logan's baby at the end of the revival. That's about the only thing that could make matters worse.
Everyone has a habit of sliding backwards when it comes to relationships. It’s natural. Just don’t slide back if your ex has moved on in a big way. This makes for a disaster.
9 Accept The Differences In Guys
Some guys will build you a car. Other guys will crash that car. All guys are different and that’s something we have to accept.
Dean, Rory’s first boyfriend, builds her a car from scratch. It’s perhaps one of the most romantic gestures on the entire show. It made fans fall for Dean, who proved to be the kind of boyfriend every girl dreams of having. While she is still dating Dean, Rory lets Jess drive her car and we all know how that ends - with a crashed car and Rory in a cast. The point of this is that all guys are different. Stable Dean built her a car and exciting Jess crashed it. We can’t expect one guy to act exactly like another.
This point is further highlighted when Rory begins dating Jess. He doesn’t call her, even though he tells her he will. She sits by the phone. We've all totally been there, right? When she compares Jess not calling to the fact that Dean always called when he said he would, Lorelai stops her, telling her not to compare. All guys are different and comparing one to another will only result in disappointment. Accept their differences.
8 Growing Up Sometimes Means Growing Apart
Ah, one of the hardest lessons to accept. Sometimes, no matter how much you love someone, a relationship will still end. It has nothing to do with compatibility. Life just has a way of pulling people apart. Let's all cry a million tears at that sad truth.
This happens time and time again to Rory. She outgrows both her high school boyfriends, Dean and Jess. Jess sees this happening and flees to LA, as he’s unable to keep up with Rory’s growing opportunities in life. While this broke Rory’s heart, it was something Jess had to do in order to grow. And, grow he does. Meanwhile, Rory actually starts dating Dean again while she's in college but this makes their different paths in life more apparent than ever. She’s wrapped up in her world at Yale, while he’s still the small town Stars Hollow boy. This sad truth drives the pair apart. There’s also Logan, whose proposal Rory turns down in order to pursue her career. We watched all of Rory’s relationships fizzle out, not because someone was necessarily a bad boyfriend, but because they grew in different directions.
7 Your Relationships Don’t Just Effect You
We rarely think about others when we start up a relationship. It’s the hormones. They control us and all we can think about is our hot crush. Unfortunately, relationships affect everyone in our lives whether we want them to or not. Lorelai knew this better than anyone. When she gets together with Max Medina, she fears that it will affect Rory in a certain way. Considering that he was a teacher at Chilton, it was right to worry in such a manner. She calls off the relationship because of this reason.
While Lorelai seemed to be hyper-aware of how her dating affects Rory, she also hurt Rory through her relationships. When Lorelai married Christopher in Paris, Rory is devastated to have not known about this marriage beforehand. While Lorelai seems to understand that her relationships affect others, she also forgets this from time to time, especially in the case of her mother. Lorelai often leaves her mother out of the loop, resulting in her mother feeling rejected and hurt.
6 Embrace The Breakup Feels
When Rory and Dean break up, she creates an insane to do list. She wants to keep busy so she can avoid feeling sad about Dean. Lorelai tells her to embrace the breakup. Wear pajamas. Ditch the makeup. Eat ice cream. Watch bad movies. Rory keeps trucking on with her extreme to do list.
Rory eventually had to give into her emotions about her break up, proving that no matter how much you try to avoid negative feels, they are part of life. You have to embrace the sad feelings. It's a natural part of a breakup. Lorelai understands this better than anyone, which is pretty evident through her breakups with both Max and Luke. Ugh, remember her Luke breakup? Lorelai was in a bed for days, guys! She embraced those breakup feels harder than anyone we know.
You may not want to be a cliché, which is why Rory rejected the notion of mourning her relationship. We get that, but if you’re feeling feelings, embrace them.
5 Use Protection
This might be the most obvious lesson on the show. Use protection, ladies and gentlemen. Sure, Lorelai’s unplanned teenage pregnancy didn’t ruin her life. In fact, she has a wonderfully full life. She owns a successful inn and marries another business owner. She travels to Europe, dates men and has wonderful friends. She owns a house and has a dog. What doesn’t Lorelai Gilmore have in life? Well, we definitely missed the struggle to get there. Lorelai and Rory lived in a shed, behind the Independence Inn, while Lorelai worked her way up, starting as a maid. It was not always rainbows and Paul Anka in Lorelai’s world. Yes, we see the upside of Rory and Lorelai's relationship, but we’re sure that Lorelai would preach protection if you asked her.
In the revival, Rory seems to be repeating her mother’s mistake. At the end, it was revealed that she’s pregnant with (presumably) Logan’s baby. She seems to be planning to raise the baby alone. We’re sure that Rory and the newest generation of Gilmore will have a lovely life, but had she used protection she may not be in this difficult situation. Rory still hasn't even found her box of underwear, so it's safe to say that she's not 100% ready to be raising a child.
Learn from the Gilmore women's mistakes: No glove, no love.
4 The Tough Relationships Can Be The Most Rewarding
Relationships should feel easy to some extent. They should also challenge us to better ourselves and grow into the people we are destined to be. Relationships that push us aren’t always easy, but they are rewarding as hell.
Of all of Rory’s boyfriends, her relationship with Dean was the easiest. They floated along a placid sea for most of it, but they also didn’t grow much as people in that time. In comparison, Rory’s relationships with Jess and Logan were not as easy. They were relationships full of fights, breakups and situations that pushed her out of her comfort zone. Rory grew more during these relationships than she had with Dean. We’re not insulting her easy relationship with Dean. We’re just saying that a difficult relationship may be worth sticking out if it helps you grow as a person.
3 There’s Someone For Everyone
There is someone for everyone in the world, even Kirk. Remember that during your next lonely single moment. Because Kirk is probably the kookiest character on Gilmore Girls in so many ways.
Sure, Emily and Richard make it seem like companionship is easy, but it can be really hard to find that person who is your perfect match. If nothing else, Stars Hollow should give us hope that we’ll find someone to love our weirdest side. Kirk and Babbette have significant others. Mrs. Kim is married and, if someone can love Mrs. Kim’s harsh side, someone can love us all. Lane finds her rock and roll soul mate. Lorelai and Luke even find that they are perfect for each other. Sure, Rory ends the series single but if Kirk can find someone, there’s hope for Rory and for all of us!
2 Freud Was Right
Apparently, Freud was right. We’re all destined to date our fathers. I know, it’s a total ick factor, but Rory’s Logan is completely Lorelai’s Christopher. Amy Sherman-Palladino even said she created Logan's character because she wanted Rory to date her father. Yep, even intellectual Rory is just another girl with daddy issues.
Logan is just like Christopher in the fact that he was raised in a world of wealth and entitlement of which he longs to break free. Both Logan and Christopher rebel against their fathers but, in the end, work for the family business. They are both arrogant, but redeemed by their charming personalities. Rory takes it one step farther and repeats her mother’s mistake, getting pregnant by the immature boy who she doesn’t plan to raise the child with.
Oh, Freud. He had some zany ideas but if Rory Gilmore has daddy issues, maybe we all have some daddy issues.
1 The Most Important Relationships Aren’t Always Romantic
Yes, Lorelai and Luke give us all the feels. Yes, there is some heated debate about who Rory’s one true soul mate is. However, this is not the heart of the show. This show is about the relationships between the Gilmore woman. It’s about the mother-daughter relationship that Lorelai and Rory, and Emily and Lorelai have.
While the men in Gilmore Girls provide us with sweet gestures and romantic love, the love between these three women is what the show is about. Rory and Lorelai have always had a deep connection that borders on being too close. We watch them navigate this closeness while Rory grows into her own person. We also watch Emily and Lorelai repair their chilly mother-daughter relationship.
On top of that, the friendships with Sookie and Lane evolve beautifully as they grow. The women in this show all have beautiful relationships with each other. It’s a sweet reminder that you don’t always need to find all your fulfillment from your romantic relationships. That final lesson may be the most important of all.