There are definitely aspects of that relationship that I prefer to other relationships. I like Buffy/Angel because the writers had such a clean slate to work with (no interactions that had already happened in the show to affect character development). The character development for both Buffy and Angel begins with their relationship. I like that their relationship had passion. I like that their relationship actually centered a lot around non-sexual interactions (I know that we have a reason for this, and that this aspect is something that annoys quite a lot of people). I think that it is interesting to see a high school student portraying in a relationship that isn’t centered around sexual interactions (which is what the Xander/Cordelia relationship, and even certain aspects of the early Willow/Oz relationship, was centered around). I liked that I could genuinely feel the love that one had for the other, and I liked the season two storyline because it was both a commentary on relationships changing when sex is involved, and what love actually feels like. Buffy doesn’t feel that hurt in Innocence 2.14 if she doesn’t truly love Angel, and Angel doesn’t threaten to die instead of harming Buffy in Amends 3.10 if he doesn’t truly love her.
On the other hand, there are many things that annoy me about their relationship, namely how overly dramatic it was. It got drawn out to the point where I sometimes just say “I get it, let’s move on already” to certain scenes. I also think that their relationship got drawn out in the third season, where they go between loving each other and wanting to be in a relationship, to loving each other and not wanting anything to do with each other. It’s almost as though 22 episodes was too long for their relationship in the third season. There is also a part of me that wishes there was a bit more sex (again, I understand why this couldn’t have happened). When there is so much tension, you just want them to have sex and be done with it (alternatively, it might not have boded well for Buffy’s character and development to have more sex than the one time in all of high school). The relationship also confuses me a bit. I’m still always trying to figure out why Angel became so enamored with HER. Why a Slayer? Why this Slayer? She really wasn’t anything special when he saw her called at Hemry.
What I will always take away from this relationship is the direct difference from the relationship with Spike: Buffy loved Angel, but didn’t ever really know if she could trust him (Lie to Me) whereas she always trusted Spike, but never knew if she could love him (The Gift).