Ah, young love. Intoxicating, all-consuming and 10 or 15 years later...
What was that guy's name again?
But in the moment, it's all about that guy. And if you're Selena Gomez, and the world was along for the ride when you first fell in love, it doesn't even matter if you're not with him anymore. Because, as far as other people are concerned, that was your big relationship, the one after which everything you do will be portrayed as part of the aftermath of that breakup.
That's not relegated to just super-young love either. Ask Jennifer Aniston about the world getting hung up on yesterday's relationship. But at least Jen was in her 30s, and she wasn't simultaneously growing up while married to Brad Pitt.
Selena, on the other hand, had it rough. She was barely 17 when she met 15-year-old Justin Bieber in 2009, after their managers arranged for them to make each other's acquaintance. It wasn't until February 2011 that they made their red carpet debut as a couple, at the Vanity Fair Oscar party, but they were both still teenagers.
Anyway, you know what happened next.
Drama, with a capital D.
Despite initially breaking up in 2012, tales of their indecision—be it instigated by her or him—became the stuff of young Hollywood legend. Jelena was no more, but Jelena also wouldn't quit.
Social media didn't help their cause, Instagram over the years providing a place for the sporadic "casual" post, which would then prompt mass analysis as fans tried to figure out if the photo or video was new or a throwback. And even if it was a throwback, then what did it mean to post it in the first place?
This high-school-level drama continued apace for years, even through respective hookups with other people (which were inevitably played against each other) and Bieber's antics, which at one point seemed to be leading up to an epic career crash-and-burn before he managed to turn things around.
And he just turned 23 in March. Bieber's still a baby. He makes Selena, who'll be 25 in July, look like a seasoned veteran at the game of life in comparison—and she has every right to feel that way, after all she's already been through.
Despite what we can all only assume is genuine affection for her, Bieber saying things like "I'm never going to stop loving her, I'm never going to stop checking in on her," as he told Access Hollywood in 2015, wasn't exactly helping with his ex's long-term healing process.
By the time everything came to a head (again) last summer, when Selena couldn't help but get sucked into Justin's Instagram drama involving his latest flame, Sofia Richie, it had been almost four years since they first broke up. Since entering young adulthood, Selena had been using up her emotional energy on...all that. And she certainly didn't have time for...whatever that was. Nor, as it turned out, did she have the desire to keep going down that same road.
So Selena Gomez, who had taken a few noncommittal breaks from the spotlight in the past, decided to take a real break. She canceled her tour, checked into treatment, stayed off social media for close to three months and emerged stronger than ever at the 2016 American Music Awards in November.
The holidays passed and then, seemingly out of nowhere, Selena was spotted out on a romantic dinner date with The Weeknd, whose real name is Abel Tesfaye, in early January.
Well, it wasn't quite as easy as that—and not only because Bieber inserted himself into the equation by calling The Weeknd's music "wack" in the wake of the dating news.
But it didn't take long (fans probably needed a little reassurance that this wasn't just a fling for Selena and the only recently single singer, who'd dated Bella Hadid off and on for two years) before Selena Gomez and The Weeknd were the new everything couple.
We all knew that, at some point in her life, perhaps even in the not-too-distant future, Gomez would be untethered once and for all from Justin Bieber, the great love of her late teens who, while under the guise of still being a caring friend, turned into the source of much heartache in her early 20s.
When you're living it, however, that relationship, and its aftermath, seems like all there is. Jelena shippers felt the same way.
It just so happens that The Weeknd came along and helped take care of what time would have accomplished eventually.
They both approached their new situation cautiously. A source told E! News that the "Can't Feel My Face" singer had always had a bit of a thing for Selena, but neither was looking for a relationship when their paths crossed late last year.
But after stepping out in public in January they became increasingly inseparable, traveling to Europe and South America together, visiting his hometown of Toronto and ultimately making their red carpet debut as a couple at the Met Gala last month.
"I hang out with my new person a lot," Gomez smilingly acknowledged her new relationship status during a SiriusXM interview this week. And getting to be along for the ride while The Weeknd's on tour has proved most therapeutic.
"I love being supportive," she said. "I love just being there and having someone's back. It feels good. I haven't had that feeling in awhile."
But having the chance to be supportive without also feeling the need to fix someone is key. Selena admitted to Z100's Elvis Duran that she tends to "take in everyone's energy" on the road, which can make for an overwhelming experience. At this point, she has worked hard on healing herself and she deserves a significant other who's going to make life easier, someone whom she can enjoy spending her energy on because he isn't siphoning it all away.
So far, The Weeknd has been that guy. And if he's helped bring about the part where Selena Gomez gets to just be Selena Gomez again, then he's already played an important role in her story.