Bones Theory

Don’t Go Breakin’ my Heart…(or Who’s Got More to Lose if the Enchilada Goes South)

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It’s not happening, ever. Just wanted to clarify. Because I refuse to believe anything other than B and B are together now-like TOGETHER  together-, and it’s going to stay that way until the show ends. I don’t object to a fight here and there, maybe a slamming door ending one episode and a thorough and fairly graphic reconciliation the next-but that’s as far as I’m willing to go. Still, it’s a long time to November and the mind starts to wander (hey, at least these thoughts are family friendly…) WARNING: massive doses of psycho-babble ahead.

So as a totally theoretical exercise, who do you think would get hurt more in the event of a falling out: our lion-hearted Seeley Booth, or our formerly impervious and now strong Temperance Brennan? Until recently, I was with Cam in her opinion that if Booth cracked Brennan’s shell and things didn’t work out Brennan might not recover emotionally. Not that she’d end up with Zack in some padded room, just that failure with Booth would make it very difficult for her to trust anyone else again relationship-wise. She’d closed herself off so much after her parents left and had become so rigid in terms of what she would (or could) accept that another failed connection might become her last real one, in part because of the effort it took to get her to take another chance on intimacy in the first place. Her previous liaisons appear to have been transitory, fueled more by what seemed like physical need, at least up to Sully. Sully got her and she almost let herself go all the way emotionally with him; but in the end, she couldn’t.

Booth seems to have had more by way of regular, long-lasting romantic relationships in his life. He certainly wasn’t scarred enough by the way they ended to stop him from giving Cam and Rebecca yet another turn on that ride. For much of the series, he came across as the more emotionally resilient half of the B&B duo, the one whose heart was open enough to embrace another relationship when a current one came to an end. I mean, he wasn’t thrilled when Tessa essentially dumped him, but he forged ahead. He possessed Zen-like optimism throughout, even “moving on” after Brennan left on her dig (ha! as if…) If past history was any indication, he’d be the more likely of the two to move on more easily, no?

But I believe that something happened on the way to the forum; something changed in Booth as he fell in love with his partner; something that ended up leaving him the more vulnerable of the two. My guess is that up to Brennan, Booth had never allowed himself to really be known by anyone; he showed people what he wanted them to see, the take charge, perfectly capable guy with few weaknesses-like he did with Hannah.

I feel that at the beginning of their relationship Booth thought of Brennan as a sort of personal project, something he could “fix” (and I don’t mean that in a bad way); but what he hadn’t counted on was the fact that she would change him as much as he changed her. With the other women in his life he remained cavalier, confident; well, cocky. I honestly think that in his mind he really was the way he projected himself to others, invulnerable to a fault. If you believe it enough, then it must be true. He started out that same way with Brennan; aggressive and confident, except she kind of offered a brick wall that he couldn’t just charm to bed. She was the mystery he couldn’t solve, and the desire to put her back together began to take the place of the sexual aggressiveness he had displayed in the past. He got comfortable with her on a different level because sex had been taken off the table (this idea had been explored in an earlier post), and I believe it allowed him to really let his guard down around her. He couldn’t rely on sexual charisma to win her over. He was forced to bring something else forward: the real Seeley Booth, faults and all. And he grew to appreciate that she actually seemed to like seeing that side of him; that she didn’t judge or think less of him.

Booth also respected Brennan’s honesty and the comments that mostly came without judgment or pity. He became increasingly vulnerable around her, showing parts of himself as a person that the other women probably never got to see, like when he told his judge friend on Soldier on the Grave that he had never talked to anyone about his wartime experiences and then proceeded to tell Brennan about the man he shot in front of his son, or when he told her that his dad drank. In part this is because Brennan had shown the same faith in him and his capacity to understand her. I feel that she let her guard down first with her revelations about her family history, and he followed suit. Although maybe he had set the tone for their relationship with his pre-pilot gambling confession-hard to tell. A good example of this dynamic was Mayhem on a Cross, where Brennan offered a personal story for Sweets’ sake but Booth only offered his for Brennan’s.

The two times we’ve seen Booth at his most vulnerable-in my opinion in the 100th and in Daredevil-he was with Brennan, reacting to something she’d said and revealing a hidden part of himself in the process. I’m a firm believer that the pain he showed at the bar was not really about Hannah, but about how he still was feeling about Brennan’s rejection. Hannah brought the moment in the 100th back with a vengeance for Booth, magnifying it, as well as all the other times that people had walked away from him. All of his failures and vulnerabilities were laid out for Brennan to see in that drunken moment, the biggest one being that he couldn’t get others, especially Brennan, to love him in the way he loved them. Those episodes leading up to Daredevil already show him conflicted, his attraction to Brennan surfacing up all over again despite all he’s done to convince himself that Hannah’s the one. But he could never really be himself with Hannah. Only Bones ever made him feel comfortable and safe enough to do that, and he missed her that way. Stripping down emotionally over time, though, comes at a price: he can’t pretend to himself that he’s invulnerable anymore.

That’s why I think that if something ever happened to the B/B relationship, Booth would be much worse off than Brennan. Considering that he pretty much went to the most dangerous place in the world when she left last time, I’m actually afraid for him. He’s been rejected so much in the past that I think he’s the one who might not survive another abandonment, especially because this time he’d be losing not just the woman he loves the most, but the family that’s finally so close within reach. It’s not like I think he’d commit suicide or anything; he loves Parker and he’d love the baby too much for that. But subconsciously, I think he would tend to gravitate to all sorts of dangerous assignments. Gambling with his life, instead of poker chips.

Why do I believe it’s different for Brennan? In some ways, her journey was the opposite of Booth’s. It wasn’t that she viewed herself as invulnerable, but that she built up all these defenses because she understood all along that was so vulnerable to pain. It’s what so many people commented on in Sophia’s “Ask the Questions” post. What Brennan needed was to desensitize herself enough so that she could tolerate the pain around her, something that came to a head in Doctor in the Photo. Kind of like allergy shots. She was primarily able to do that by trusting Booth bit by bit because if an experience didn’t work out, she had him to fall back on. She also implicitly trusted his judgment about people. When he asked her to give her dad a chance because it would turn out ok, she felt she could rely on what he said.

To go back to Sophia’s post, Brennan surprised herself with her personal strength after Doctor and I think she’d be ready for almost anything at this point. She had already lost Booth on a personal level and after Doctor came to accept the fact that she had to let him go. She seemed at peace with that decision and it makes me believe that if for some reason something like this happened again she could survive that, too. Besides, she would have the baby to connect with on a daily basis, as well as a built-in support group in the Jeffersonian staff. Booth, apart from Sweets and sometimes Cam, would essentially be alone again. Not a good place for him to be. Which won’t happen, ever. Just sayin’.

So what do you think? Booth, Brennan, or both?

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38 thoughts on “Don’t Go Breakin’ my Heart…(or Who’s Got More to Lose if the Enchilada Goes South)

  1. Like you, I use to believe that Brennan was the more vulnerable of the two when it comes to abandonment issues. Her ability to build walls around her emotions and her ability to detach herself from emotional issues always seemed to make her more fragile and yet by the end of season 6, we came to understand that she had used her past experiences with emotional upheaval to actually make herself stronger and more confident in what she could take.

    Booth on the other hand has slowly lost his ability to move on. With each rejection he has received by women he has loved, he has become weaker. You are right, he has always seemed to hide himself from those around him. Like the sniper that remains hidden to do his job, Booth has let only the part of himself that he feels comfortable with, be seen by others. He has few friends and most of the girlfriends he has had in the past seemed to only get the surface Booth. We definitely saw that with Hannah. Booth seems to have an idea of what the perfect boyfriend is and that seems to mean that his past is off limits and no emotional baggage can be opened. We first saw that with Tess (the silent diner after a very stressful day) and later with Hannah. It has only been with Brennan that he has been able to let his past into his life.

    With Brennan, Booth has been able to cope more with his brother, Jared, with the fact that his father drank and abandoned him, that Booth has a gambling problem. I think Brennan sees him for who he is and because she does not expect perfection (the perfect boyfriend) and sees Booth as her best friend, Booth is able to be himself. I think this also leaves Booth in a more vulnerable position. He has been abandoned by those he has loved in the past and with each abandonment he has grown less confident in his ability to find love. I really believe that if his relationship with Brennan were to die, something in Booth would die. He may not be suicidal; but, I think his ability to give himself to others would die. He was on the brink of this in Daredevil and the only thing that stopped him from giving up was the fact that Brennan stayed. She made the decision to be by his side at the time he needed her the most and this gave him the strength to move on. If he were to lose Brennan, I really do think that this would finish him.

  2. Great post. Don’t feel bad. I’ve thought that way theoretically too although I don’t think it would really happen. But I am inclined to think Booth would be worse off. I think Brennan would rely on her personal strength, but she probably wouldn’t bother with trying to open herself up to another man like she did with Booth. She’ll have to live by the saying, “It’s better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all.” But Booth’s idea that he can’t hold on to a lasting relationship and nobody wants what he’s offering – even his best friend and woman he loves the most – would be a devastating blow to his ego. His relationship with Brennan is his most treasured relationship. Also, I think he would feel guilty if things went south because he pushed the idea first and was trying to convince Brennan that they are the real deal.

    Like in most cases, if the breakup is not mutual, that would be very painful. They will not only have to deal with their own pain, but feeling the other person’s pain.

    Of course, if it is mutual, it would be less of a blow. They both could say, “We’re close, but this isn’t the right direction for our relationship. Let’s pull back a little.” Then I could see them remaining partners and friends.

    It’s so interesting that you posted this because of some of the things that I’ve been mulling over while people have been doubting Booth’s love for Brennan, mainly at the end of the season. But when I look at some of the tender glances and gazes he was giving her, I felt like I could see his heart open to her again, and he seemed to be in a more vulnerable position if Brennan were to go back on the changes in their relationship.

  3. Well, i won’t prolong this too much because i won’t even put this out there but i think both would suffer a lot. We know after the Doctor in the Photo Brennan became stronger to go throug this thinks but remember she never really got be with Booth before the Hole in the heart. On that night on Booth’s apart she surrendered for him. She gave her body and her soul to him. They made love for the first of endless time i hope and not have this anymore can make her suffer like hell as Booth too. Now they’re on a position that everything they do will affect each other big time so i think you’re right about everything you said about Booth but i think Brennan would be lost equally so please MAY THE BONES UNIVERSE NEVER LET THIS HAPPEN WITH THEM!

  4. I agree that Booth would probably be more vulnerable, but I refuse to consider this possibility.

    HH gave us almost 5 years of will they/won’t they. Then a year of nightmares. Now we’ve had two episodes of they did. The remaining year (or two, one hopes) better be a continuation of they did and continue to do. I don’t know what the or else is, but “OR ELSE!”

  5. Psychologists like to point out that in most relationships, one person is more “in love” than the other, more invested than the other, more more than the other. I tend to think that that might be true, but it’s not a permanent state in any relationship because people and circumstances change. I think that Booth would be more apt to fall apart if something happened in the relationship for the reasons you’ve pointed out as well as the fact that he’s going to be more aware of the hurts that he sustains. Brennan can raise the wall and move on because she can rationalize so much better than he can. Booth’s hurt is rooted in his childhood and he keeps repeating past behaviors because he’s been taught that he’s not worthy of anything else.

    Brennan has her intelligence and her accomplishments to fall back on because she’s allowed them to become her shield for the outside world. She learned that in childhood and her abandonment at 15 was critical, yet she had successes that gave her islands upon which she could reside and hide her true self from the world. While those are a bit threadbare at this point, she’s still got those. Booth has his sense of duty and protectiveness and desire to do the right thing, but it may not be enough for him especially as his abilities are influenced by age and time.

  6. You know, I think they would both be okay. Eventually, I mean.

    I can’t picture their relationship ending without both of them doing everything they could to make it work. It’s different now. It’s not one asking the other to give it a shot, to take a chance, so that one is in a more vulnerable place than the other. They’re on equal footing now, and they really have been since Blizzard (I think) and definitely since Hole in the Heart (I know).

    So, I don’t see that one has more to lose than the other, not anymore. And I think there’s a difference in a relationship that ends before it starts because they keep rejecting the possibility and a relationship that ends after a period of time when it just sort of dies of natural causes (so to speak).

    I think it would be painful, especially for these two who have gone through so much just to find each other. I think they’d each require some counseling and therapy and a lot of good tequila and some shoulders to cry on. But, then I think they’d each be okay. Because it did work, before it didn’t, and they would know that.

    Basically, that’s what every divorced person has to accept. It did work, before it didn’t, and you were in love, before you weren’t, and you can enjoy the memories of the good without letting the pain of the bad destroy you.

    I think they’re both smart enough and strong enough to see that.

    But, it ain’t happening. Nuh uh. Nope.

  7. I do really enjoy this post, and you bring up really interesting theories and ideas about B&B…that being said, I think I’m still on the “Mutual I’m sure” train.

    Yes, I agree with the thought that Booth has been getting weaker and weaker, so to speak, emotionally, as we saw at the the end of Daredevil, he was having a super rough time. But then I think back to such epsiodes at Doctor in the Photo, and we see that Brennan is right there with him in Emotional-town. The thought of missing her chance with Booth had her in tears. I think a break up (note: please HH NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!) would ultimately ruin both of them. Booth has shared more with Brennan than anyone else (hello egg and mayhem confession) but so has Brennan (her “regrets”, her criminal family, Riley, foster system scars, etc, etc). I think Cam’s analogy about cracking that shell would ring true for both. If they’ve not upped the relationship to making babies, to break up at that point would be completely devastating to both of them.

    All that being said: we better not see that ever. 🙂

  8. I want to start by saying I definitely think that we don’t have to worry about the two of them breaking up. Yes I’m sure they’ll have bumps in the road and can anticipate things will not be easy for them, but I just don’t see them actually getting to the point of completely breaking up.

    As for who would be more devastated if the unthinkable happened? I think it would depend on how and why it happened. I believe that each of them is very vulnerable emotionally, but in different ways with different…hmmmm…triggers (?).

    I do think that Brennan becoming a mother would subsequently keep her from being able to completely shut herself off emotionally as she’s done in the past (or as she’s SEEMED to do in the past). Her heart would have to remain open for her child and I guess it could go either way as to if that would make her stronger, or more vulnerable…I go with stronger. I don’t know if she’d be able to ever trust someone as fully as she trusts Booth though, but again it could really depend on the circumstances of their breakup.

    For Booth I do wonder though if he might just give up on having a home life with a wife/partner and child(ren) if things didn’t work out this time. Even after all of the times of him telling Brennan that she doesn’t have to be destined to being alone, he just might end up thinking that about himself.

    In the end I guess I just can’t make up my mind, I can see it going either way, or both ways, or maybe neither way and both would be able to pick themselves up and move on.

  9. *oops, no “not” in that last sentence “If they’ve upped the relationship to making babies….”

    It’s Monday.

  10. I think each would lose so much, but Brennan would survive it better. That’s not to say that she would survive it healthily or well, but she would survive it better. She would fall back to her work, shut people out and I really don’t think she’d go down that road again. Her friendships may stay intact, but she’d pull back some, ultimately finding comfort where she used to: with the dead.

    Booth? I’m not sure he’d survive it at all. It absolutely would permeate every facet of his existence. He would hurt so wholly that I agree he would take bigger risks, do more dangerous things. He’d justify them, but in the end, whether he would realize it or not, the man would feel expendable. I think it could literally kill him.

    That said, it’s not. going. to. happen. I read a beautiful fic by sunsetdreamer (who I need to harass for an update) that put it this way:

    *If Booth and Brennan had come together any sooner than they did – if they had leapt over the precipice that night outside the Hoover, or after his tumour, or when he pulled her out of a pit of earth and rock – these moments of conflict between them would be punctuated by slammed doors and sharp-tipped words they didn’t mean and stubborn quests for dominance in displays of anger-stamina. They would take one another for granted. They would assume that they could afford to be childish and petty.

    But they hadn’t come together then. They had broken each other’s hearts and they had fled to different worlds, and they had come back and they had been different in a way that neither of them could stand. They had lost track of the ways they had hurt one another, and they had rebuilt themselves from ashes. They didn’t take one another for granted. They tried their best to avoid being childish and petty, because neither one of them was strong enough to endure that kind of pain for a second time.

    They still argued (because sometimes they were different in all the wrong ways and the same in all the wrong ways, and these things would always, always happen). Doors were sometimes slammed and harsh words were exchanged, but mostly there existed the knowledge that there was nothing quite so bad as being without the other. They waited out the anger. They fumed, but they watched each other as often as they could and they were never as surreptitious about it as they thought. They danced silently in the same space, reassuring themselves that they were connected and the other person wasn’t running and it was okay to be upset as long as they didn’t forget.

    I hate you right now, but I don’t hate you enough to leave you. I don’t hate you enough to ever want to be without you.*

    Perfection. And I want that to be canon.

    • Read your latest installment of your story Unexpected Variables. Great job. You are really good with dialogue. I can see the episodes in my head since everyone seems to be true to themselves, so thanks. Are you going to keep this one going for awhile?

      • Thanks Lenora! I have an end game in mind and a general outline of points to hit on my way there. I can see another four or five chapters or so, I think. But sometimes an idea will strike me in the middle (the Parker thing originally went another way and I changed it) so I can never say for sure how long it will go. I know some writers think that’s a fic no-no, to not have it all pre-planned, but I guess I’m a fly by the seat of my pants kind of girl! 😉

  11. “All of his failures and vulnerabilities were laid out for Brennan to see in that drunken moment, the biggest one being that he couldn’t get others, especially Brennan, to love him in the way he loved them.”

    Interesting statement, Maria. The irony in the situation, of course, is that by this point in Daredevil, Brennan DID love Booth the way he loved her, and furthermore, she knew it. She wanted more – you can see it on her face and hear it in her voice when she asks him if partners or nothing is her only option. But then I’m guessing HE knew she wanted more too, unless he was drunk enough to miss all the signs, he forgot about what she said to him in Doctor, and/or he was cynical enough in that moment to believe that what she felt for him didn’t matter because it wouldn’t last.

    Based on this scene in Daredevil, I’m inclined to agree with your assessment that Booth would be worse off if what he and Brennan have ever goes south. Not that I believe that it ever would – at least not permanently. We may see a temporary break-up (although I hope not) but I don’t believe for a minute that we’ll ever see a permanent break-up between the two of them.

    But theoretically speaking…Brennan came into this relationship from a position of (personal) strength. She was finally able to love Booth and open herself up to him because she’d faced her fears and conquered them. Not so with Booth. Sure, by the end of the season, he’d demonstrated a new level of confidence, but it was confidence in how Brennan felt about him; confidence in their ability to make things work as a couple, NOT in himself. That confidence is a really good thing…as long as they remain a couple. But if you take away the faith Brennan has in Booth, the love she has for him, then my personal opinion is that we’ll see Booth right back where he was in that scene in Daredevil. And if that happens again, I’m not convinced he’ll give her options, rather he’ll skip straight to finding her a new FBI guy to work with. Here’s hoping that never happens! 🙂

  12. I’m with you. It’s Booth. For all the reasons you stated. I really have no doubt about that.

    However, I love that there are other ideas here that sound just as valid. One of the great things about this show in my honest opinion! That we come together, discuss varying opinions in a mature manner, exchange high fives sometimes and agree to disagree others and then come back the next day to do it all over again! Friggin awesome!

  13. Thank you for the lovely post. In order for me to really answer this question, I need help with something I think about. What evidence do we have that Hannah doesn’t know all the “true” Booth? Brennan helped pave the way for Booth opening up more about his past and she certainly sees more because she’s in the field with Booth, but do we think that Hannah doesn’t know that Booth’s dad was an alcoholic or that the number of people he has killed haunts him?

    • Hi Natbor, just off the top of my head, I think people started to assume that Booth had glossed over certain aspects of his past when she said that when he saved her life he ‘never took a life if he could help it’ or something. Which could either indicate he hasn’t told her about his sniper past, or, actually, it’s the truth – Booth doesn’t needlessly kill people.

      Also, at one point she made a reference to gambling in a casual way, like ‘care to bet?’ or something. Which I think people took to mean she wasn’t aware of his gambling addiction.

    • For me, it’s because of how they chose to portray the relationship with her limited screen time. They could have showed Booth opening up to Hannah in different ways, but they didn’t. Most of the time, they were making out, or at one of the eating places with Brennan. I happen to believe that was a deliberate choice of the writers. And since they didn’t show it, nor did they make an attempt to let us know it happened after the fact, I lean more toward thinking it didn’t happen. Also, Hannah didn’t seem like the type to be in that kind of relationship. She was more into a good time and not heavy emotions. I know some people liked Hannah because they saw Booth being happy and more compatible with her, but I just didn’t trust her to be able to deal with his issues and his demons of the past like how Brennan does.

      • I’m inclined to agree about the limited screen time. I also really like that explanation because other than the first conversation with Hannah, we never heard her mention anything about his past. When I heard her say “he never took a life if he could help it” I felt that he did tell her about his past as a sniper and that he would never kill if he could help it. That seemed to be the extent of it though.

      • I always took that statement in the context of getting to know him in a warzone. That’s information she could have gleaned right away, not from hearing about his past. So I was still convinced she didn’t know much about it. And it’s not typical to share some of the darker things in your past in the beginning of a new relationship. Hannah might have known he was a sniper (Brennan was able to find that information out, and Hannah definitely could as a journalist), but I don’t think he ever talked about it, and especially how it affected him emotionally.

    • Sophia has listed things that made many feel that Booth didn’t reveal his true self to Hannah, and as she stated those things can be taken more than one way. Yes he was a sniper so on the surface Hannah saying something along the lines of he never took a life if he could help it might sound like she didn’t know about his being a sniper, but even Jacob Broadsky who definitely knew about his sniper past said the same thing. Then the thing about gambling; well we had an episode where Sweets made a bet with Booth and Brennan was the bank so Hannah saying care to bet definitely does not mean that she doesn’t know about his gambling past.

      What seemed to point to them not having substantive discussions, and things being more superficial between them was more what we saw when we saw the two of them alone together. That was (at least to me) that when things did get serious they’d just deal with it by dragging each other off to bed for sex. I’m thinking specifically of when they were discussing the undercover story she was writing and the danger involved there. It seemed that the solution was instead of a serious discussion on where each stood on the issue they just went off and had sex. It was things like that which made it seem that Booth really wasn’t revealing the real him to Hannah.

    • I have to say that I got that impression from their relationship, and not just from the limited-and-choice-screen time. It was also that he was trying so darn hard, that he seemed so solicitous and overly careful. When I think of how long it it took him to show even little parts of himself to Brennan (not the gambling, but everything else) it makes it very difficult for me to see him divulging much to Hannah any quicker. So many of their scenes together involved bed time, or the “polite” stuff, or her running off somewhere that I can’t imagine really serious stuff got discussed very often, as witnessed by the misunderstanding in what I’ll term “The Pain in the Proposal”. I just think the writers kind of went out of their way to make their interactions seem light and trivial, but that may just be me.

  14. Gah, this is really interesting but I can only jot down a few quick thoughts right now!

    With relation to Booth and how it seems Brennan is the first woman he’s let in as far as he has – to see the ‘real him’, I think this is because he genuinely, albeit probably subconsciously, doesn’t believe anyone would love the ‘real’ him. He suffered abuse as a child from the person he probably respected most in the world (goodness only knows what happened to his mother), which wreaked havoc with his self worth and he still struggles with now as a fully grown man and father. I think it’s Brennan sharing her own vulnerabilities with him that slowly allowed him to share his with her.

    I think it’s interesting that he was a lot slower coming forward with his personal issues than she was – I know this is because season 1 primarily dealt with Brennan’s background, but still even at times in early seasons when it would have been apt for him to open up a little, he didn’t (I’m thinking specifically of when he brought the Thai round and told her that his dad flew jets and his mum wrote jingles – that may be true, but there’s alot of other things he could have told her in that moment that were more revealing.) I don’t think he really opened up until season 4, when we heard a little more about his past (still only a very little!) Booth is almost pathologically private – he doesn’t want people knowing the truth of him, he wants them to see what he presents.

    Regarding his sexual charm not working on her – it did work. It worked like a treat. Brennan would have jumped in that car with him and gone had a great time had he not opened up about his gambling problem – which resulted in her running a mile, adding yet another example to the ‘I shouldn’t tell people the truth about me pile’ for Booth.

    Booth suffers from self worth issues almost as much as Brennan I think – he’s just hidden it better. I wish Harmonia would come back and tell Booth that Brennan is dazzled by him. I think he needs to hear it. I hope next season we see a truly happy, calm, content and most-of-all confident Booth.

    So, in terms of who would it hit hardest if they didn’t make it – I’d agree it might be Booth because it would result in him having to be a part time father to both his children, which he’d hate, and he’d feel like a failure as a father as well as as a romantic partner. They’d both survive, because they’re survivors, but it would be settling. Brennan would knuckle down, shrink into her work, build those walls back up and live a life of solitude, content in the knowledge that she was right all along that love and feelings are temporary and ephemeral.

    Booth would soldier on, settle as well. He’d probably have transient relationships and throw himself even deeper into work. It might well hit him harder because he’d know he came so close to having it all and lost it.

    • You, as pretty much everyone here, make lots of great, interesting points, but I feel the need to add that in Woman in Limbo Brennan only asks Booth what his parents did for a living, so he only tells that. While I would have loved it if he had told something more, I don’t think it was necessarily the right time for him to open up more about his parents, since he’s there to comfort Brennan. Also, I think right after Booth has finished saying it, Brennan makes the point that ‘they weren’t bankrobbers?’ so for Booth the go back to telling about his parents wouldn’t have fit.

  15. Brennan to Booth: “Seems to me that someone like you can benefit hugely from an association with someone like me.”

    Such a Brennan thing to say, but it turned out to be so true. (Sidenote: I’ve been trying to figure out how to incorporate the words “I’m the best in the world” in my life.)

    It is well-known that Booth teaches Brennan about emotions and how to deal with people. But it’s easy to forget who Booth was before Brennan, and how much she rocked his world and literally changed his life. Personally, he had issues from an abusive childhood and horrible experiences as a sniper, he was gambling and had a child out of wedlock, along with a tense relationship with the mother who did not respect him as a father. Professionally, his personal issues were affecting his work because he wasn’t as focused as he should have been and wanted to be a lone wolf, so he was just another agent, getting cases that nobody else wanted. This was not exactly a “best of the FBI + best of the Jeffersonian” pairing. She was the best in her field and her special skills were in high demand in a lot of places. She had nothing to prove although she did find out later that she was a successful author, too. His skills and expertise were recognized after the partnership, then his standing in the FBI went up, and he got his own office. Because Brennan brought her A-game (okay, A+++) from the very beginning, he had to bring his. Booth needed something to put his life back on track, to give him purpose and a sense of personal pride, and that’s what being partners with Brennan allowed him to do.

    I know at the beginning she was often very harsh to him and it seemed like she was moreso crushing his ego, but he seemed willing to let it roll of his back so they could keep working together to put away murderers. Booth is a protector and a “fixer”, and his work fits right in with that. Someone mentioned recently how initially Brennan was kind of like a project for Booth, but not in a bad way, and I agree. When she began admiring the type of man that he was, and when she started to open up and trust him like nobody else, I think that did something for him as a man. I think he saw that she needed a friend more than she needed another lover, and he decided to be that friend.

    So Booth needed the partnership just as much, or maybe even more, than Brennan did at the time. There’s not much they value more than their partnership/relationship. Brennan may have initiated a break in their partnership by going to Maluku, but she had every intention of resuming it when she got back, and even dreamed about it when she was away. For Booth, even when he was at an emotional low point after three rejections, he was still able to say that he loved being partners with her. I think at this point, the only thing that I could see break them is a deliberate betrayal, and I don’t see that ever happening.

    • I think Brennan also does a lot to sooth Booth’s anger. We know he was more angry before he met Brennan. In Man in the Cell (I think), Eps’ lawyer tells Booth that he seems a lot less angry. Although after his breakup with Hannah he was angry again, I think he always feels better with Brennan around (even when she gets him all riled up-it’s not the same kind of anger). It’s tough to tell who would hurt more without knowing why they broke up but I feel that Booth’s anger would return. I never understood precisely how or why his anger dissipated after Hannah’s rejection but it did and I don’t know if circumstances could make him angry again. I do think that now that Brennan has lost the last of her imperviousness, it will take a lot to get her to shut down emotionally if they broke up. However, if Booth realized did something to make Brennan realize that she really isn’t capable of loving him, then, perhaps, she may shut down. I have no idea if I’m making any sense. Sorry!

  16. Brennan has grown a lot since we first met her, but Booth has not. Other than Bones and a little to Cam, he has never spoken about his past. He still has those scars that he carries around with him daily. I think if he and Bones break up, his past will come into play, and he will have a difficult time surviving.

    Children who come from an abusive family situations, have a hard time trusting other people with their faults. Booth’s cockiness stems from the fact that he needs to show the strong part of himself to others. He learned to hide his vulnerability, because if others see it, they may not approve of him. Just like his father did when he was a child. As a child he probably learned to tough it out, and not let his weaknesses show.

    In HitF, when Cam said to him “If you crack that shell you can’t change your mind.”, I think some of that applies to him too. Bones cracked his shell, just like he cracked hers. If they separate, I think he will never be that close to anyone again. I think he will eventually date, and maybe have a serious relationship, again, but he will never think of marriage again. I think he has been hurt too many times, to ever come back again.

    I also don’t think Brennan will consider loving someone again, because the break up will prove to her that she was right all along, and love is ephemeral. I don’t think she will work at the Jeffersonian anymore, and she will go back to research. Moving from one place to another, and never letting her guard down again.

    This better not ever happen, beacuse I will hate HH forever, and boycott anything with his name attached to it.

  17. Well, I have to say, almost every time I read this blog I agree whole-heartedly. These are the conversations I wish I could have with people in real life. I think if anything gets screwed up between B&B, Booth won’t ever recover, especially now that there’s a kid involved. He certainly wouldn’t just walk away, but he’d lose more than a few marbles.
    The point I agree with most is how vulnerable they both are with each other, but that it’s more of a precarious situation for Booth. You know those moments when he gets all soft looking and vulnerable, and every female in the world watching is like “awwwwwwwwww!” because they wish a guy would look at her like that? Yeah, I agree that he really only has those moments with Brennan. Sure, Cam has known him longest, Rebecca bore his child, and he wanted to marry Hannah, but those were relationships were almost entirely sexual and based on Booth being a superhero kind of guy. What’s so different with Brennan is that she’s just as protective and defensive of Booth as he is of her. He’s not used to people wanting to take care of him, he’s not used to people making exceptions for him, like she does, especially since she’s so rigid with everyone else.
    He just wouldn’t recover. He needs her too much.

  18. I think I agree with the consensus that Brennan would survive it better. In no way do I ever think their relationship would be smooth sailing – no relationship is and that would be boring – but I REALLY hope the show ends before they would ever try to break them up again or, god forbid, introduce an infidelity storyline. Ugh. Maybe that happens to B&B in HH’s mind but I hope we never have to see it. Ugh. And God only knows I sure don’t want to see round 2 of Hannah and Booth – Hannah’s “done for now statment” will forever haunt some part of my bones. Anyway, for me, season 6 was enough of the darkness. Bleh. Sure, there’s bound to be disagreements, etc., but I really don’t want to see full-on angst that would pull them apart. I’m kind of cringing at thinking what they may do to Angela and Hodgins… Anyway, yes, I feel that if Brennan and Booth can’t make this work that Booth more at risk of becoming really, really bitter. Brennan always had the belief that longtime relationships/romances are bound to fail so it would just prove her theory right. I don’t think she would want to be right in this case but…..well…. I think she would fall back to work and her friends and, yes, taking care of her child.

  19. One more thing…. I guess I hope that no matter what comes their way – whether they tie the knot or not – that the center holds. They know one another so well and after the Blackout in the Blizzard we know they have the capacity to know what the other is talking about. Yes, these are two passionate individuals but it would be nice to think that, at the end of the day, they both want to make the other happy and create a home for their child and for them. So, yeah, it would be nice if they could find a way to make sure the center holds – no matter how tough it might get. Let Angela and Hodgins bicker over taking the trash out and all those other cliches. Booth and Brenan can disagree about the universe, or deal with the ghosts of their pasts that might give them fears about their future – that’s where the good conversations will come from and I’d take that any day over the typcal mundane stuff that shows often shove down our throats as the reason relationships don’t work. Also, “making it work” shouldn’t really be “work”. Challenging, yes, but I don’t want to see it as a sacrifice on either Booth or Brennan’s part. The consequence to not making it work, I think, would not be worth being “right” or having their viewpoint “win”.

    • I agree that as much as I don’t mind seeing them make it work and being privy to all the things that it may take to do that, I really don’t want it to be “work”, as in painful and constant negotiations. I also don’t want it being about one person having more control over the situation than another, which (as we discussed recently) appears to be the case some times with Hodgins and Angela. I’m hopeful that the fact that it took so long to get B&B to where they’re at now means that there’s no intention to ever take them apart, because most of the logical and obvious obstacles have been overcome. From my keyboard to Hart’s ears!

  20. I love this, mariu, and I agree 100%. You practically read my mind! Season six made apparent just how guarded Booth is and how eager he is to appear “fine.” I think that’s part of the reason why he seemed like a different Booth to some viewers (though I usually didn’t share that opinion, I see where people are coming from when they say he changed): he wasn’t showing his sensitive side as often as he used to, which made him seem less like the lovable teddy bear we know he is–but by wrapping himself up in a shiny, hollow smile, he simultaneously revealed himself to be even MORE damaged than most of us ever realized. I just want to hug him!
    As for the breakup, well, I agree that I can’t see them breaking up now. Not that they’d ever fully cut ties, of course (the baby precludes that from happening), but I can’t ever see them breaking up as a romantic couple, even just for a little while. I think they’re both too “all or nothing” to let that happen. Their relationship might not appear traditional on the outside, but on the inside, they both know the commitment they’ve made, and they value it.
    Still, hypothetically speaking–yeah, I think Booth would struggle more. Brennan would be devastated and probably retreat back to her logical, guarded self for a while, but Booth would be more self-destructive, and that would be really hard to watch. Let’s hope we don’t have to watch it!

  21. I have a different take in that I think they would be about the same. They are a lot more alike under their differences, as GG alluded to.

    We already have a preview of what Booth would be like in a rejection. I won’t claim that being with Brennan and then it going south is similar to what he went through after season 5, but we saw him react to a very painful situation. Booth didn’t become suicidal, he didn’t close himself off from the team (Brennan did), he moved on and tried to find that someone to love him. That he wasn’t successful with Hannah doesn’t take away from that effort. Remember in Daredevil, Brennan came to him while he was drinking, she asked the question “What happens next”, and she asked if those were her only 2 choices. Booth was angry toward her, and justifiably so in my opinion. For all that her actions in Doctor were “Brave” they were also incredibly insensitive to Booth and not at all supportive of his relationship. Maybe in the long run he was better off knowing how she felt, but the idea that she would be ready on her terms and tell him, irrespective of his situation, had to resonate when she asked the questions she did in Daredevil. Even if he still had those feelings for her, which we know he did, he wasn’t ready, and wasn’t willing to be rushed. That speaks to me that whatever other problems he had in communication and expectations with Hannah, and there were many, that he had learned something from the experience. I think that would apply through here. There is also their baby to consider. Booth has been on that ride before with Rebecca, he knows that to be the father his child needs him to be, he has to pull himself together and function. Booth has always tried to put Parker first, and he would do the same for his child with Brennan.

    On the same token, I think Brennan would eventually be alright as well. I think fandom has exaggerated her difficulties in relationships, as we know she had a fairly involved one with Stires (even though the power dynamics weren’t equal), she had recently broken up with Peter in the Pilot, when she had been living with him, she dated David for the last part of season 1, and had an intense relationship with Sully. Her personality got a bit of an overhaul after season 3, but she knows more than relationships than what Booth tells her. She also had her Doctor in the Photo experience where even after she was rejected by Booth, she still understood and realized she wasn’t alone. She lived her life, and realized that infinity extended in both directions, as she told Angela in Skull in the Desert.

    Do I think they would be devastated initially? Yes I do, but I think to say that their existence is so bound up in each other that they wouldn’t be able to function is unfair to both characters. I don’t see them splitting, but if they did, they would carry on in their lives. Neither has had it easy, and they have survived. They could survive this too.

  22. I have to admit that I’m not a big fan of arguing about who would lose more if things went belly up….it’s tantamount to arguing who loves who more which we wouldn’t do.

    What I will say is I think you may be doing both Booth and Brennan a disservice here.

    For starters, I’d have to disagree that Brennan has only viewed relationships as a way to assuage a physical need. We know in the Pilot that she lived with Pete at some point, which suggests something more than physical. The end of S2 she had a relationship with David over a period of episodes. I would argue that the fact that David came to her work, and the fact she let him read her manuscript suggests it was more than just a physical relationship. Then we have Sully, and I don’t need to talk about him because we all know it wasn’t just physical. The only situation that I am aware of where she HAS used a man to relieve a physical ache is with Mark in S4. One time. That’s it. And Booth did a similar thing with Cam, so they are even there! LOL

    And you refer to the fact that Brennan ‘was at peace’ with losing Booth. Was she? Do we have any solid evidence of that, other than the fact she got through the day? In Body in the Bag we see Max asking about Booth/Hannah and the way she shot him down. If she was at peace with losing him, I think her reaction would have been much different. I’m not saying she’d have discussed it in great detail (because this is still Brennan! LOL) but her attitude would have been different. Also, she doesn’t move on. Or make any real attempt to. You could argue that, after Booth’s rejection, she stopped trying. That she gave up on ever being in that relationship.

    Now Booth…I’m struggling to understand your presentation of him here, because to me it suggests he’s somewhat…pathetic? That word may be too harsh but I can’t think of another! 😛
    I just don’t see him reacting like this in any way, shape or form. He’s already proven (in the form of Hannah!) that he can move on a lot more successfully than Brennan can. Sure, this time he chose the wrong woman to move on with but who’s to say that, if his relationship with Brennan went south, that he wouldn’t chose the right woman next time? Yes, he may be happiest with Brennan but the point is he’s capable of being happy without her as well.

    On top of that, I can’t see him risking his life regularly when he has Parker AND a baby. He loves Parker and he will love the new child, as you said, and that fact alone will be enough to prevent him acting rashly. If only because, with Brennan being the trouble magnet she is, he’ll want to make sure the baby has at least one parent! I mean, it’s not like Rebecca is going to get kidnapped by serial killers, or shot at on a regular basis, right?! 😛

    One final thing and I’ll shut up!

    All our opinions and thought on this subject are based on what has gone before. The 100th. Dr in the Photo. Iit’s almost impossible to say for sure how either Booth or Brennan would react to the end of the relationship because we haven’t seen them IN that relationship. But, based on the past, I would have to say neither one of them would end up worse than the other. They would both hurt, yes. But eventually they’d move past it.

    You’re right, Brennan does have Max and the Squint Squad. And Booth does have Sweets and Cam. But he also has Jared. We may not see Jared often, but the relationship the brothers have now is much improved. Booth is no longer alone. He has friends and his family. Neither Booth nor Brennan would come out of the relationship with no support system.

    Right…I’m shutting up now!

    Not sure if any of that made sense but you should be used to that by now folks 😉

    • I don’t think it’s so much that Brennan was “at peace” with Booth’s rejection, but it seemed like she understood and was learning how to deal with it. Her conversation with her father was way too soon after the incident to expect her to feel okay talking about it. I felt like she may have been more upset about the chain reaction of events after she said no to Booth, and so she could have been feeling like she was responsible for the situation she was in. I’m not necessarily saying that she was responsible, and I could be wrong about what she felt. But Brennan believes in cause and effect, and she could follow clearly the events after she said no. When she said, “I understand,” I believe she really did.

      And as far as her moving on, she really didn’t have a lot of time or space for that. Booth didn’t really start to move on in earnest until they both left (things with Catherine seemed to have fizzled soon even after initial interest), and he had at least 7 months without contact between them. Even Brennan knew her feelings weren’t going anywhere anytime soon, and she wasn’t sure what to do about them, but knew she didn’t want to come between Booth and Hannah again.

      • And I believe she thought if she could get another chance with Booth, she would go for it. It’s not that she thought she deserved it or anything, but there was hope there. Why look for someone else, if there’s still even a remote possibility of getting what you really want?

  23. I guess when I think about moving on, there are really (at least) two different aspects about it. They’re both mature adults, with obligations to honor, and their lives wouldn’t end if they broke up, nor should they self-destruct. The other aspect is whether they would be open to another romantic relationship. I guess the general consensus does make Booth sound pathetic – probably because of his heartbreaking speech in Daredevil. He’s faced several rejections already, and that hurt him pretty badly. It really is just a question of – how much is he willing to take? Yes, in the past he’s moved on, but would he still think it’s worth it? For a long time, Booth has wanted someone to love and that same someone to love him back for a long time. For a long time, Brennan didn’t, or at least said she didn’t, want or need that. That’s probably why people anticipate their reactions would be different. But they are survivors. And if anybody could work together after a break-up, it would be them. There’s so much history between them, especially their friendship. They still know each other the best. If anything, things could not work out, but I don’t see a nasty falling out. They respect each other too much. And of course with the baby between them they need to maintain peaceful relations.

    My perception based on the events of Season 6 is that Brennan has gotten stronger throughout this whole experience. It’s not so clear that Booth has, aside from him trying to rein in his anger. Booth has always appeared strong, but this season really highlighted his vulnerabilities. The lengths that he took to move on – keeping somewhat of a distance from Brennan and especially the squints (I don’t think he was a jerk), lying, being in denial about certain things – may have been justified, but I don’t think it was healthy behavior. In fact, it goes back to season 5. They probably should have taken time and space after Brennan’s rejection. Regardless of her request, he didn’t want to end their partnership either. And he was the one trying to get her to stay when she was thinking about taking some time out. He didn’t decide to go to Afghanistan until he thought Brennan was leaving. Sweets has been there the whole time if at any point Booth was willing to give face to his internal conflict, but he chose to dismiss Sweets’ concerns.

    I know this topic may seem unnecessarily depressing to some, but this isn’t as bad as an article I read stating 5 reasons why Booth and Brennan wouldn’t work as a couple. I’m like, come on, we all know the obvious big differences between the two that would keep apart any lesser human beings. But it’s scripted TV! If HH wants it to work, it will! lol

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